Before You Take Your Next Job — Consider The Commute

Dr Stuart Woolley
6 min readMay 9, 2021

The ongoing pandemic may have influenced your memory when it comes to the daily commute. Don’t let it.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

The Rat Race

“The trouble with being in the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.”
- Lily Tomlin

Commuting is something, particularly if you work in an office, that you might previously have taken for granted. Now, after a year of primarily remote working, you may have forgotten what a drain on your own time and resources it really is.

Pre-pandemic, it was a trade-off between the desirability of a job versus the amount of unpaid overtime you’re going to do travelling to and from the workplace to do it. You really just got on with it for the most part.

Here’s an example.
Think of it like this — one hour to work, one hour back from work, two hours a day, ten hours a week, that’s more than one extra working day.
One extra unpaid working day taken out of your own time. That you pay for.

Don’t just think about the time it takes for your bus or train’s journey, figure in the waiting around time. And with driving, remember to factor in traffic delays too. Your mileage may vary, literally.

Of course, some commuting is inevitable if you’re working outside of your home, but it’s worth bearing in mind that it’s been some time since most office based workers have been in an office and the memory of the sheer drudgery of the daily commute may have worn off.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Some would disagree that commuting is wasted time and that it be used to read, listen to podcasts¹, or ‘study’. I think that’s really an ideal case.

Firstly, you’re not commuting on a plane, you’re not running Greenpeace.

With a train you’re spending time getting to the station (walk, bus, bike) then waiting around on a platform, in the variable weather. Perhaps you’re wondering if you’ll get a seat. Eventually you’re (usually) crammed into a crowded carriage — perhaps standing in the stifling humidity for hours on end. Not idea then, especially not ideal in the modern Covid world.

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Dr Stuart Woolley

Worries about the future. Way too involved with software. Likes coffee, maths, and . Would prefer to be in academia. SpaceX, Twitter, and Overwatch fan.