Author Topic: Ditch the commute or get a promotion?  (Read 4047 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Ditch the commute or get a promotion?
« on: August 29, 2014, 05:42:27 AM »

I'd be grateful for some comments on my current situation please.

I live in the UK and commute 4 hours a day (2 hours each way). If I moved to the city where I work, my wife would have to commute 4 hours a day - she currently doesn't commute at all - and we'd leave all our friends behind. We've got good jobs that we enjoy and similar ones would be hard to come by. The commute is actually quite pleasant. I spend it sleeping, reading, studying, playing games and generally chilling out.

I don't own a car so its public transport all the way and costs me 4K a year. I earn 47K before tax. I love my job and am quite good at it. There is a chance of me being  promoted very soon which will see my earnings climb to 58K + inflation in 7 years time - progressing about 1.6K a year + inflation between now and then.

It looks very likely that I am about to be offered a job that's so close to home I could easily cycle there, or even walk on a sunny day (4 miles). The job looks exciting but also scary since its quite different from what I have now and I might not be so good at it. It's likely that I'll be offered the same salary that I have now but there will be very little, if any, scope to earn more other than inflation based raises.

So, if everything pans out (and it might not!), I might have the choice of

- Higher paying job that I know I'm good at but big-ass public transport commute (currently 4K). Initially 1.6K better off a year, rising to 11K per year better off in 7 years time.
- Same pay as now but no commute at all. No pay rises. Exciting but scary job that I might suck at.

I'm curious - what would you do?

A noob mustachian


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Re: Ditch the commute or get a promotion?
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2014, 05:50:26 AM »
I would go for the one close to home! Losing 4 hours a day is a lot!


  • Stubble
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Re: Ditch the commute or get a promotion?
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2014, 05:52:11 AM »
Can't give you much advice on the promotion/career advancement, but that possibility of a promotion is quite a ways away.  A LOT can happen in 7 years - the company might not even be around then.

Basically, the new job will give you a significant hourly pay bump (you'll have 20 extra hours free per week at the same salary).  That would be highly tempting in my book...


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Ditch the commute or get a promotion?
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2014, 05:53:24 AM »
Lets, see - 4 hours a day, plus $4k in after tax money. Guessing at your tax rate, that's more like $6k pretax.

And O M G - FOUR HOURS a DAY! Pick up a side gig if you want more cash. Or do more of your own repair/maintenance/whatever to save on outlays. Or both.

Seriously consider the local job.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2014, 05:54:57 AM by TomTX »


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Ditch the commute or get a promotion?
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2014, 06:03:11 AM »
When I lived in the UK I commuted as well. about 90 minutes each way. In a way it was good - great time as a buffer between work and home - plus the naps (especially when driving :D) !!

However I'd also done a longer commute that was better (intercity trains). and lived closer  - 10 minute bus ride.

When my son was born for 5 days a week I'd see him for a few minutes in the morning and then again as he went to bed. I had no idea what clothes fitted him as I only ever saw him in PJ's. and I missed dinner with the family every night.

It was one of the main reasons that I was happy to take a job where I could live closer to home (OK - it was in the States but the principal is the same).

In other words its tolerable for a while and can be pleasant at times. Long term I'd look for something closer - either move the job or the home. If you are planning on having kids then its a serious consideration.

then add up the hours you commute per year and also gross up the fares...

maybe you could work from home a day a week - that could make a huge difference (well not to the fares - just the mental state!!).

Not all problems can be fixed by a pint :D


  • Stubble
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Re: Ditch the commute or get a promotion?
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2014, 06:56:21 AM »
less than 10k raise in 7 years?  MEH.   There are lots of folks here that were able to have the same job for ages, but I think most of us can realistically say there's not a ton of incentive to stick around most jobs for more than 5.

Granted, not hating your job is worth something, but 4 hours a day=32 additional non paying hours per week! 

At @ $22/hr, that's $704/wk...ouch.

Plus then you'll be driving back to see your friends, etc.

If it was a chance to double your money or something, MAYBE, but this one is a no-brainer IMHO.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Ditch the commute or get a promotion?
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2014, 07:32:06 AM »
Thanks all.

Ditching the commute is the option I'm leaning towards as well and it's fascinating to me to see how different people think the issue through.

Looking forward to spending more time with you all,

neo von retorch

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Re: Ditch the commute or get a promotion?
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2014, 08:25:25 AM »

Remember - our brains (and skills) are not fixed. And learning is one of the most enjoyable things you can do.

Check out

You'll enjoying learning the skills you need at this new job, particularly if...
There are clear goals every step of the way.
There is immediate feedback to one’s actions.
There is a balance between challenges and skills.
Action and awareness are merged.
Distractions are excluded from consciousness.
There is no worry of failure.
Self-consciousness disappears.
The sense of time becomes distorted.
The activity becomes an end in itself.



  • Stubble
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Re: Ditch the commute or get a promotion?
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2014, 08:31:41 AM »
Okay, I just have to add one more way of thinking about this.

@$47000/yr - $4000 transit costs = $43000. Assuming you're working a standard workday, plus your 4 hour commute, you're earning >$14/hr for the time you're spending to work.
@58000/yr - $4000 transit costs = $540000 you get $17.31/hr.
@47000/yr - $0 transit, and even if we give you a ludicrous 1 hr /day for your new, much closer commute, you're still earning over $20/hr.

Plus, the whole new challenge aspect. Stuff that scares us really helps us grow. FWIW I once took one of those scary new "holy-crap-I-don't-know-what-I'm-doing" jobs. It turned out to very much not be the thing for me, and I only stayed there a little over a year. But I'm SO glad I did it. I learned a lot of new skills, and I learned a lot about what makes me tick. And it's a great breadth of experience on my resume.


  • Bristles
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Re: Ditch the commute or get a promotion?
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2014, 09:13:19 AM »
I also vote to ditch the commute. The regained time, in my opinion, will be worth it alone. Plus, if you are close enough to bike, now you're getting some exercise in instead of sitting for 4 hours a day commuting. More time with the family and more freedom. I understand that you are worried about sucking at the job, but you could look at it as a very exciting opportunity to test out your limitations and abilities. Always look at the silver lining!

former player

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Re: Ditch the commute or get a promotion?
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2014, 09:26:43 AM »
That sounds to me like a civil service promotion.   Can be scary to leave the civil service.   You don't mention a difference in pension provision?

A pleasant commute on public transport is not necessarily a bad thing, particularly as you are far enough out of the city to always get a seat on the way in, and wifi connections on trains are going to get better.  I'd say that whether the commute will be a problem for you in the future largely depends on your family circumstances.  How will your wife feel about seeing you in daylight during the week?  If you have or are planning to have kids, I'd say ditch the commute.  If not, and you don't have any compelling hobbies to take up the time you would otherwise be on the train, I'd say it's a more of a wash.