Author Topic: About to accept a job with a big commute- Help!  (Read 2405 times)

BuffaloStache

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About to accept a job with a big commute- Help!
« on: November 29, 2017, 08:45:01 AM »
So, I have been fortunate enough to get offered a really phenomenal job in a town that is 30 miles from my current home. The offer seems too good to pass up; it's really exciting work, a 10%+ pay increase over my current salary, and ridiculously good benefits (including a mini pension!). I understand it would mean more time stuck in traffic jams, but even despite that it would likely cut 2+ years off of my FI timeline. Unfortunately, my wife and I bought our current condo before we learned the ways of mustachianism, and so we are both clown-car commuters. Since my wife works ~30 miles away from this place of business, it means that at least for the short term we would probably continue to be.

There is a decent chance that my wife could get a job in the same town as this offer in the future, but it wouldn't likely happen for at least 8 months to 1 year. It's not guaranteed either, but there is a chance.

Should I:
-Accept the job and worry about mitigating commutes later? (I've already broached the subject of working from home, and it seems like I could probably do it occasionally but not often)
-Decline the job, because the perks aren't worth it in the end?
« Last Edit: November 29, 2017, 08:53:32 AM by BuffaloStache »

terran

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Re: About to accept a job with a big commute- Help!
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2017, 09:11:24 AM »
Sounds like you're getting a 10% raise for an approximate 10% increase in working hours. Do you want an extra 1 hour of work as a paid driver at your normal hourly rate? Of course this ignores other benefits of the job and additional costs of driving, and the situation could improve if your wife gets a job closer to your new job and you're willing to move.

How does your wife's current work location compare to your condo?

If you could find housing in between her job and your job you'd each have a 15 minute commute. Or a more cost effective solution (but less fair to one of you) would be to move right next to one of your jobs (walking/biking distance), leaving the other with a 30 minute commute, and become a one car household thereby saving on the fixed costs of car ownership (tied up value, taxes, registrations, insurance).

nereo

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Re: About to accept a job with a big commute- Help!
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2017, 09:22:03 AM »
This is one instance where talking in terms of percentages is not entirely helpful. 
If 10% = $6k, no it's almost certainly not worth it; you'll lose that much in commuting costs, not to mention lost time.  But if 10% + benefits = $20k+.... then yeah, it could work.

If you're willing share some hard numbers that will help.
Also, you should do a clear estimate on how much extra time and extra cost (e.g. commuting) this job will require.

FWIW, the DoD set the reimbursement rate at $0.535/mile, so each round trip could cost $32.5 with your typical non-mustachian vehicle, or ~$6,700 each year.  If you drive a used fuel efficient car you could probably get that down to $3k, but not much lower.  This still doesn't factor in the additional time you'll spend commuting year, which could easily top 400 hours/year depending on your traffic.

BuffaloStache

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Re: About to accept a job with a big commute- Help!
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2017, 09:57:56 AM »
Thanks for the responses. Nereo, a 10% raise is over $10k for me. I'm not willing to go into specifics, but that at least sheds some light on it. That means the additional ~$6,700 commute cost each year (and that assumes I have a zero commute cost now, which is false- current commute is ~13 mi each way) does eat into the raise, but the raise overall is still worth several years of annual salary increases (average about 2.5%/yr). I also think the mini-pension alone (which would bring in ~1/3 of our spending/yr starting at age 65) adds significantly more to this offer.

terran- Our condo is currently ~6 mi from my wife's work. Close enough that she bikes one day a week in the spring/summer/fall, but she's not as interested in biking as I am.

If you could find housing in between her job and your job you'd each have a 15 minute commute. Or a more cost effective solution (but less fair to one of you) would be to move right next to one of your jobs (walking/biking distance), leaving the other with a 30 minute commute, and become a one car household thereby saving on the fixed costs of car ownership (tied up value, taxes, registrations, insurance).

This is my long-term plan, but since my wife wouldn't know about any other job for 8-12 months, we would wait until then to look. I'm leaning more towards the 'less-fair-for-me' option, since even though she is interested in FI, my wife does plan on working even after we are FI. However, the "moving halfway" option is also attractive, as it would actually make using public transportation for commuting much easier than our current location.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2017, 10:03:58 AM by BuffaloStache »

BuffaloStache

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Re: About to accept a job with a big commute- Help!
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2017, 10:12:37 AM »
I also just did a quick comparison of current job commute to job offer commute. It would add ~5% time to my day, not 10%

nereo

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Re: About to accept a job with a big commute- Help!
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2017, 11:03:57 AM »
From what you've said the financials put you ahead doing this switch - the main question left is whether you will feel like your soul is crushed having to lengthen your commute every day.  For some it's easy, for others.... no so much.

Personally I always take pensions with a dose of salt. FOr starters they generally require you to stay in that particular job for many years, which despite our initial intentions often doesn't happen.  I've also seen lots of pensions get discounted or evaporate as companies hit hard times.  This can be impossible to predict in advance, as you need to look at the solvency of a company 20-40 years into the future.

Dicey

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Re: About to accept a job with a big commute- Help!
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2017, 11:14:06 AM »
What do those thirty commuting miles look like? Easy, open road driving or molar-grinding gridlock? In CA, we refer to driving time, not miles driven. How long will it take to cover those miles and how much longer is that than your current commute?

That mini pension may be worthless if you don't like the new company well enough to become fully vested.

BuffaloStache

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Re: About to accept a job with a big commute- Help!
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2017, 11:35:41 AM »
From what you've said the financials put you ahead doing this switch - the main question left is whether you will feel like your soul is crushed having to lengthen your commute every day.  For some it's easy, for others.... no so much.

For ~1 year in the past I commuted 3 days a week to the town the job-offered company is located, from the condo we live in now. I wouldn't say it was "fun", but I didn't seem to mind it then. The drive is about half open road and half medium-trafficked roads. Current commute is between 25-35 min each way, this would be 45-55 min each way until we move. Even if we moved to a walkable location to my wife's current work, it would shorten the commute down to 30-40min each way. I also feel that getting my soul squeezed a little bit might be worth it short-term if it is cutting several years off of FI.

Also, the pension vesting period is rather short (about as long as I've stayed at my current job, which isn't that long), and the plan allows for a lump-sum early withdrawal (with some penalties) at any time after you leave the company if you don't want to trust them with the money. The amount of pension increases if you stay a lot longer, but the numbers I listed above were for the minimum vesting time. I know the future is never predictable, but the company has a broad customer base and has been around for 100+ years. I could easily see myself staying for the vesting period with no issues.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2017, 11:42:37 AM by BuffaloStache »

Josiecat

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Re: About to accept a job with a big commute- Help!
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2017, 12:30:33 PM »
See if you can negotiate some work at home days before you accept the job.

Slee_stack

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Re: About to accept a job with a big commute- Help!
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2017, 03:08:06 PM »
It comes down to how much that extra drive time is worth.

I despise my commute.  its 56mi RT.  Without traffic it isn't bad.  If I could work between midnight and 4am it would be pretty easy.

Its never less than 90min a day.  Bad days are over 2 hours.  Its really a special kind of hell treat as many commuters here are hyper aggressive assholes really friendly and considerate.

Thankfully DW gets the <2 mi commute so at least one of us is happy.

BikeFanatic

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Re: About to accept a job with a big commute- Help!
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2017, 06:08:52 PM »
45 minutes to an hour does not sound too bad to me. Though not ideal. I would take it and move if you two are up for that. I personally hate moving.
The other day it took me 1.5 hours to get home on the bus and I live 5 miles from work! I usually ride my bike or my EBike which takes 30 minutes with traffic.

BuffaloStache

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Re: About to accept a job with a big commute- Help!
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2018, 09:27:05 AM »
I just wanted to provide an update here- I accepted the job and am liking it so far. The work environment is a lot less stressful than my previous job, and I've been listening to a lot of audiobooks and podcasts to help pass the commuting time. I've also started a pattern of working ~2 days a month from home, not as much as some but better than nothing. Overall it seems to be working out, but more to come...

lbmustache

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Re: About to accept a job with a big commute- Help!
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2018, 11:16:51 AM »
That's good to hear! I *hate* my commute, the only good thing is uninterrupted time for podcasts, which make the time go faster. Happy to hear the same for you!