During a difficult job search you may find yourself considering a commute. Before taking a far-off job there are questions to carefully consider before committing to a big commute that will cost you time and money.
That said, remember that if you live in metro area, a willingness to commute may open up a variety of great job opportunities. You can use Simply Hired’s job search radius filter to set how far you are willing to travel and track down jobs within a distance that will be suitable to you.
Once you determine a good travel distance, evaluate potential commutes with the following criteria:
1. How will you pull off the commute?
Will you drive to the office? Catch a bus, train, or commuter shuttle? (I actually use all three each day to get to my office). Will traffic be a problem? Will you be able to do this every day? Each of these logistical issues can make a commute impossible to maintain, so before you take a job figure out how exactly you’ll make it work.
2. How much will it cost?
If you are serious about a job with a commute you should also have the approximate cost in mind. You want to be sure the projected take-home pay will cover the cost incurred by commuting, whether it’s driving or taking public transit. If you’ll be driving, use Google Maps to give you the total distance and use your car’s average miles per gallon and the price of gas to calculate how much you will spend on a weekly basis. If taking public transit, look into whether the company offers any commuter benefits.
3. How flexible are your work hours?
Sure, you want to be at work on time. But if you are commuting every day, there are going to be times when you don’t make it in at the prescribed time. Therefore, if you are commuting you need your employer to be flexible. You don’t want to lose your job because of bad traffic or an accident on the train tracks.
4. What opportunities will the new job bring?
With a costly commute, either monetarily or time-wise, you want a job to be a great opportunity. If the job won't offer much besides a paycheck, you should keep looking.
But also, think about how permanent the job will be. It's much easier to tolerate a long commute for a part-time or temporary job than a full-time one you’d hold for 10 years.
5. How likely are you to find a job closer to home?
Use the availability of a job to gauge how willing you should be to take on a commute. If your job search has yielded a great number of jobs in your immediate area, you might not need to commute. Furthermore, if you’ve interviewed for a number of relevant jobs in your area you know you don’t have to take something 50 miles away.
It comes down to how long you have been job searching. If you've found nothing after months on the job hunt you need to be open to a commute.
6. Is relocating an option?
If you are thinking about a commute, is relocation also an option? If a move would save money and time, why not at least see if it is possible? Of course a move can be difficult for a host of reasons--available housing, moving expenses, change of lifestyle. But it might also make what would be a difficult commute the beginning of a new chapter in your life.
When you are thinking about a taking on a commute, don't forget these key questions that will help you determine whether traveling to a potential job is worth it or not.