Author Topic: Career advice - would you take a new job for more $$ but long bus commute?  (Read 2367 times)

redtuna29

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I know the default right answer is to live close to work and don't be a car clown - long time reader. But when does a salary increase make a long bus commute worth while?

Current gig: cushy full-time software eng making good salary, nice benefits, 7mi/ 20 minute car commute (and I could bike to work but I'm lazy). Work one day from home.

Upcoming offer: assuming benefits and job excitement are equal, would a 40% raise justify a 40min to hour bus commute into downtown Denver? Bus pass and hotspot provided, so I could theoretically work some of those commuting hours. Could work some days from home.

Background: late 20's, own house, student loads nearly paid off, homebody, strongly hates car commuting (but this is a bus, so is it better?). No strong desire for FIRE and savings in good shape.

What would you do?

apricity22

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A transit commute is a lot different than a car commute because you can make use of that time working, reading, sleeping, surfing, writing, daydreaming, texting or whatever. For that reason a 40% raise would be worth the extra commuting time for me.

You mentioned that you own a house, a 40-minute bus commute probably would preclude you from popping home if you needed to let a maintenance man in but I suppose that's what those work from home days are for.

What about kids or a significant other? Will you be away from family for an extra 40 minutes a day?

JLee

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That depends how much 40% is and how much it'd cost / how annoying it would be to move closer.

You're going from 40 minutes of commuting time to 80-120 minutes of commuting time a day, let's say split the difference at 100 minutes (so one hour longer than your current commute).  If you consider your current commute as a baseline / lost time, this effectively extends your work week by 12.5% (40 hours to 45 hours).

Would you take a 40% raise for working another 5 hours a week? I sure would!  The bus pass is provided, so you're even cutting costs there...and if you can work with the hotspot and consider that working time, it's not even extra time.

All else being equal, I think you'd be foolish not to take it.

EarthSurfer

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Would you take a 40% raise for working another 5 hours a week? I sure would!  The bus pass is provided, so you're even cutting costs there...and if you can work with the hotspot and consider that working time, it's not even extra time.

All else being equal, I think you'd be foolish not to take it.

What is your tipping point for when work becomes drudgery?

When your employer cuts back staffing (This always happens in tech.), there will be a premium put on those whose faces are seen most in the office. The pressure will shift to add an hour or two in the office to "collaborate" to bring the program back on schedule (while understaffed.).

If you have minimum commitments outside your work life on work days, and you can get a clear agreement to work from home a few days a week, a little bondage now may be worth an earlier FIRE date.

If you have little ones waiting at home to have dinner with you, or a spouse who highly values your time together, opting for a long commute may cost you far more in the invaluable intangibles than could be replaced by the additional income.

I will say that exposing yourself to the Denver market will enhance your opportunities should you ever move to a contract / consulting self employment situation. Having slowly moved down the Front Range from Fort Collins, to Longmont, Boulder and now Denver over 28 years has given me a fair number of opportunities when I want to work.

JLee

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Would you take a 40% raise for working another 5 hours a week? I sure would!  The bus pass is provided, so you're even cutting costs there...and if you can work with the hotspot and consider that working time, it's not even extra time.

All else being equal, I think you'd be foolish not to take it.

What is your tipping point for when work becomes drudgery?

When your employer cuts back staffing (This always happens in tech.), there will be a premium put on those whose faces are seen most in the office. The pressure will shift to add an hour or two in the office to "collaborate" to bring the program back on schedule (while understaffed.).

If you have minimum commitments outside your work life on work days, and you can get a clear agreement to work from home a few days a week, a little bondage now may be worth an earlier FIRE date.

If you have little ones waiting at home to have dinner with you, or a spouse who highly values your time together, opting for a long commute may cost you far more in the invaluable intangibles than could be replaced by the additional income.

I will say that exposing yourself to the Denver market will enhance your opportunities should you ever move to a contract / consulting self employment situation. Having slowly moved down the Front Range from Fort Collins, to Longmont, Boulder and now Denver over 28 years has given me a fair number of opportunities when I want to work.

When I feel like I'm not being paid enough for my time.  I've been there, and quit, and nearly doubled my income in the process.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Personally, for 40% I'd take it, and make sure you make good use of the commute to do something productive.

I commute ~ 35 mins on a train, and I love how many books I can get through, just on the train.

lizzzi

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For a 40% raise I would probably take it, assuming I didn't need the extra hours at home for family life or a side gig. For me, the bus time would be reading time...that would definitely make it worth it.

You might want to try that bus ride, just to make sure the bus is clean and quiet, that you can always get a seat, etc., etc.

Lady SA

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I have a 30 min bus commute, and I LOVE it. I read, I practice languages on Duolingo, I catch up on news, answer emails, etc. It takes otherwise unproductive driving time and gives me an extra hour "back" and I feel so much less stressed when I'm not the one battling traffic. I love that my bus drops me off within a few blocks of my workplace and I never have to deal with parking or fees, AND I have a built-in excuse to leave tedious afternoon meetings -- "Sorry, have to run, gotta catch my bus!"

I guess this also depends on the flexibility of your employer. Will they let you leave the office early in exchange for you still being productive for that 1.5 hours? Or do they expect you to be butt-in-chair from 9-5 regardless? My employer is very flexible, and I actually come in a bit late and leave a bit early (using part of my commute as "work time" as I answer emails and then a bit extra work in the afternoon at home gets me to my 8 hrs/day, but with that setup I'm not getting home ridiculously late.

For a 40% raise and all else being equal, I'd totally do it.

tawyer

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I have a 30 min bus commute, and I LOVE it. I read, I practice languages on Duolingo, I catch up on news, answer emails, etc. It takes otherwise unproductive driving time and gives me an extra hour "back" and I feel so much less stressed when I'm not the one battling traffic. I love that my bus drops me off within a few blocks of my workplace and I never have to deal with parking or fees, AND I have a built-in excuse to leave tedious afternoon meetings -- "Sorry, have to run, gotta catch my bus!"

I guess this also depends on the flexibility of your employer. Will they let you leave the office early in exchange for you still being productive for that 1.5 hours? Or do they expect you to be butt-in-chair from 9-5 regardless? My employer is very flexible, and I actually come in a bit late and leave a bit early (using part of my commute as "work time" as I answer emails and then a bit extra work in the afternoon at home gets me to my 8 hrs/day, but with that setup I'm not getting home ridiculously late.

For a 40% raise and all else being equal, I'd totally do it.

+1. When I started my new job the commute was essentially an extra hour a day for... coincidentally... a 40% base raise. I tried different ways of commuting and settled on ways that allowed me to spend the time doing things I like to do anyway, such as read.

MBot

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Put another way... would you take a 40% raise in exchange for 40 minutes more work a day (20 minutes added to each commute)? During which you could sit and read or do anything you like?

It's like getting paid $xxxx (some exorbitant number) per hour just to sit around.

Especially since it's by bus. You're (a) cutting costs, (b) able to use the time for something active, unlike car commuting.

Unless you decide that you truly do not want to give up 40 minutes more a day, it should make fiscal sense to do this.

« Last Edit: August 03, 2017, 08:32:10 AM by MBot »

StudentEngineer

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I'd go for it.  As others have noted a bus ride isn't as stressful and can be actually productive for you.  My only question would be what are your long term career plans?  Do you plan to stay with them for a long time and if so do you want to stay in this position or move to a different position?

marielle

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I would absolutely take it, you're also saving $140 a month from not driving that distance (assuming 50 cents a mile, 5 days a week, 4 weeks a month). So it's really more than 40% when you factor in the free bus pass, not including time saved driving where you can't do as much.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2017, 01:03:28 PM by marielle »

lizzzi

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Forgot to say to make sure the new job isn't going to segue into longer hours. You don't want to get stuck having to stay at work for longer periods of time than originally advertised...and then have the long bus commute to do on top of that.