How Far Will You Go?

This is a question every job seeker eventually needs to ask her/himself.  “How far am I willing to go for my job?” Certainly most folks want to go as far in their careers as they possibly can, but this is more a question of physical and geographic distance than of accomplishment.  How far are you willing to travel for your job?
In certain jobs, being on the road, literally behind the wheel and driving long distances, or flying or taking trains, is part of the job.  All kinds of positions require regular and often distant travel.  If you don’t mind living out of a suitcase, and being away from home, family and friends for long stretches, being a road warrior may be your calling.
For others, driving is their job. Whether it’s in a taxicab, bus or limousine moving people, in a light truck providing small package delivery or other services, or long-distance freight hauling in a semi trailer, millions of workers make their living driving, frequently logging hundreds of miles, eight or more hours a day behind the wheel.  And that doesn’t include the distance and time they travel to get to their jobs!
But, regardless of the type of job you have or are looking for, on a daily basis, how far are you willing to commute to and from work?  If you live anywhere near a major metropolitan area, you are undoubtedly familiar with the traffic patterns and congestion that eat into people’s time and lives during their commute.  We all know at least one person whose commute takes longer than an hour long in each direction, whether they are driving their own vehicles or taking public transportation.
Your commute eats into your lives and personal time.  Yes, we have become a mobile society in so many ways.  And there’s a certain level of productivity than can be achieved while commuting.  Surely this idea is being promoted by the electronics manufacturers; particularly those in the telecommunications industry who keep pumping out gadgets that supposedly make our lives easier.  Have you seen how many folks are walking down the street talking or texting over their cell phones, watching movies or downloading music to portable devices?  It’s one thing to use these devices if you commute on public transit.  But if you’re behind the wheel the use of any of these devices is a major distraction, extremely dangerous, and in many states illegal!  You don’t gain any productivity or personal time if you’re dead!
The overcrowding of many urban areas, and the movement of many jobs away from the cities has had a major impact on where people choose to live, and ultimately affects the amount of time they spent commuting.  The flow of our population moving in and out of the cities to and from their jobs continues to strain the existing roadway infrastructure.  The more vehicles on the street, the slower they all move.  It doesn’t really matter if you’re commuting across town or across two counties, if your commute takes an hour or more.  If you’re working anyplace but your own home, commuting is both a necessity and unavoidable.  Folks chose to live in both the cities and ‘burbs for all kinds of reasons, though one of them is usually not to spend more time commuting to work!
If you are looking for a job, have you thoroughly considered all that it will take to get to work, and arrive on time?  Have you done a “dry run” to key locations under similar traveling conditions to what you would encounter on your work days to know how long your trip might take, the best way to get there, and explored at least one alternative route, just in case?
Might your next job require relocation?  If your next employer needs you to move from one geographic area to another, don’t forget to research traffic conditions and public transportation options, as well as the usual considerations of proximity to services, shopping, schools, etc.  Keep in mind that in many locations, public transportation is not an option; many municipalities do not have good local or regional transit systems to shuttle you to and from work.  But car share and ride share programs are increasingly available around the country, so you may more options than you realize or are obvious.
Unfortunately, telecommuting has yet to reach critical mass.  So until it does become a more widely spread work option, you’ve got to ask yourself:  “How far will you go?”  Of course I hope that all attain a high level of success and growth in their careers.  But it’s your personal circumstances that will dictate how much time you spend in your daily commute.
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