Author Topic: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute  (Read 33335 times)

Val

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Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« on: August 15, 2013, 10:41:46 AM »
Hi everyone,
I am interviewing for a position that pays $80,000/year. I am currently making $65,000 and have been looking for new opportunities for a while. This seems like an interesting position for my skill set.
I am well advanced in the interview process and feel I have high chances of getting an offer. However, it would be a 40 mile commute!
My current 10 mile commute is probably the only thing I like about my job right now.
Before MMM, I would’ve had no doubt about accepting the new position. But now that I understand the impact of a commute in one’s life, I'm not so sure. The extra $15,000 (+ bonus, +benefits that I currently don’t have) will justify the higher commute cost (30 new miles @ 0.51 per mile = $7,300 / year approx.) but I will face more highway traffic, will have to wake up earlier and, worst of all, will probably have to give up 15 minutes of play with my 3-year-old at daycare when I drop her (the highlight of my day).
I have mixed feelings about this decision. What would you do?

Silvie

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2013, 10:44:12 AM »
Is it possible for you to move closer to your new workplace? That way you can still bike to work AND take the better paying job.

Val

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2013, 10:55:03 AM »
Hi Silvie,
I forgot to add that I have an underwater mortgage on my house, so I can't sell it. Renting it and moving close to where the new job would be will result in a $600 negative monthly cash flow (I know, buying that house was the worst financial decision I've ever made. Lesson learned) Foreclosing it is also not an option.
I could, though, move to an area from where the new commute would be 30 miles instead of 40. Rentals are more reasonable there. But all the moving hassle would only save me 10 miles...

Eric

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2013, 11:11:04 AM »
I think it's clear that the increase in pay would outstrip the increase in commuting expenses.  There are a few other factors to consider.  I drive 50 miles round trip a day, so let me throw out a few things that you may have not considered.

The longer the commute, the more variable your commuting times are.  There's a greater chance that you'll encounter an accident or a breakdown, causing extra traffic and increasing your drive time to or from work.

Do you like to drive?  Or does driving in traffic aggravate you or possibly make you nervous?  You'll need to settle in for a lot of driving everyday.  And driving the same route over and over is pretty boring.  All of this is amplified by the number of miles in my opinion.

You'll become more dependent on your car and it's reliability.  It's a lot harder to take public transit or get a ride from someone or ride your bike when you're going 40 miles as opposed to 10.

That said, for me, it's not all that bad.  I crank up the music, roll down the windows, and just cruise.  Lots of people listen to books on tape or podcasts to help pass the time.  I also entertain myself by trying to hypermile and get the best MPG I can.  My arrival times are reasonably flexible, so it doesn't stress me out if I'm going to get home 20 minutes later than normal, or to work after my scheduled start time.

Good luck!

rubybeth

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2013, 11:27:36 AM »
In this case, the pay bump sounds worth it. Also, what are the odds that you'll be promoted and end up making even more a few years down the line? Eventually, you'll be able to sell the house and cut down the commute, right? I would take it with the plan to get on top of the mortgage and sell as soon as possible. Good luck!

MissStache

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2013, 11:31:02 AM »
Is there any option for commuting in a way that doesn't involve driving alone in your car?  Carpooling?  Public Transit?  Private bus company?

My current 10 mile commute is probably the only thing I like about my job right now.


That's a pretty grim statement.  Working a job you hate will sap you more than almost anything else.  I would trade an extra 40 minutes in a car daily for a job I enjoyed.  In fact, I did this in February and don't have any regrets, but my commute is on the Metro and doesn't include any driving, so it isn't exactly apples to apples.

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2013, 11:31:53 AM »
I would most certainly do the job that you would enjoy the most. The commute is secondary, enjoying 8 hrs a day should be the priority, along with making more money. Too bad about the 15mins though... maybe there is a way to spend time another way?

savingtofreedom

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2013, 11:37:36 AM »
Can you negotiate working from home one day a week? Or more when you become more familiar with the job and its associated responsibilities.  Probably worth bringing up during the negotiating process if it is at all feasible.

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2013, 11:55:46 AM »

My current 10 mile commute is probably the only thing I like about my job right now.


That's a pretty grim statement.  Working a job you hate will sap you more than almost anything else.  I would trade an extra 40 minutes in a car daily for a job I enjoyed.  In fact, I did this in February and don't have any regrets, but my commute is on the Metro and doesn't include any driving, so it isn't exactly apples to apples.

Ditto.

I also traded a 5 mile commute for a 30 mile commute a few years ago, for a job I would enjoy more. I struggled with the loss of time with my infant, but my spouse took to daycare pickups and drop-offs and appreciated having a less-stressed, happier spouse in return! That said, my new commute was against traffic and highway all the way, so it wasn't stressful. As a new parent, too, I felt like it was some of the only alone time I got -- not at work, not caregiving, not cooking or cleaning. Just me and my audiobook or singing along to cheesy pop music!

AlanStache

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2013, 12:00:47 PM »
Also would it be possible to work an odd schedule at the new job cutting down on time in traffic.  Work say 9hr/day four days per week then 4hr the firth day.  This might move you outside the busy hours and cut the total time spent driving.  Yeah also look remotely working maybe you can be in the office 6hr/day and finish the day at home also avoiding the worst of the traffic.  Sounds like you might be able to work on getting out from under water then move down the line.  There is not always a perfect answer :-(

destron

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2013, 12:05:22 PM »
This is definitely a difficult decision. I think you need to figure out a few things to make your decision:

1. Figure out your total salary, including an estimate of benefits and bonuses.
2. Estimate what your take home pay will be after subtracting all taxes and work related expenses (e.g. lunch at work, commute costs)
3. Figure out your true hourly wage (add up work hours / lunch hour / commute time for the year and divide total take home pay).
4. Do the same for your current job. How much more will you really be making?

Using that information, take into account that you will also be spending more time on the road away from your loved ones and how that will affect your life at home.

You can use my Real Hourly Wage calculator to help if you'd like: http://mustachecalc.com

MissStache

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2013, 12:12:03 PM »
You can use my Real Hourly Wage calculator to help if you'd like: http://mustachecalc.com

This is amazing.  THANK YOU!

Silvie

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2013, 12:17:55 PM »
It sounds like it's worth the extra commuting time. If the job makes you so much happier and you're going to earn more than the extra commuting costs, I'd say, go for it! :)

wrightstuff

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2013, 12:45:50 PM »
This is definitely a difficult decision. I think you need to figure out a few things to make your decision:

1. Figure out your total salary, including an estimate of benefits and bonuses.
2. Estimate what your take home pay will be after subtracting all taxes and work related expenses (e.g. lunch at work, commute costs)
3. Figure out your true hourly wage (add up work hours / lunch hour / commute time for the year and divide total take home pay).
4. Do the same for your current job. How much more will you really be making?

Using that information, take into account that you will also be spending more time on the road away from your loved ones and how that will affect your life at home.

You can use my Real Hourly Wage calculator to help if you'd like: http://mustachecalc.com

+1 on this as I did the exact same as you are suggesting, taking a job with a 30 mile commute each way for about $15,000 increase in pay (all before I discovered MMM).  I found that my hourly rate after adding commuting time in and subtracting out fuel and maintenance was lower than before.  Being 30 minutes from home resulted in more hardship for DW and winter weather added another dreary factor to the mix. 

I just accepted a new job 5 minutes from home, relief is palpable; however will admit that I will miss the cruising with the windows down and the tunes cranked!

You have to do what is best for you at the end of the day, best of luck in your decision!

« Last Edit: August 15, 2013, 12:54:33 PM by wrightstuff »

CDP45

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2013, 01:59:43 PM »
What if your company counters? How are the future growth prospects in both positions?

destron

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2013, 06:10:30 PM »
You can use my Real Hourly Wage calculator to help if you'd like: http://mustachecalc.com

This is amazing.  THANK YOU!

You are welcome!

olivia

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2013, 07:10:38 PM »
Is that the final offer?  Have you negotiated yet?  If not, I would negotiate for more money.

oldtoyota

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2013, 08:15:31 PM »
I second always asking for more money than what is offered. Also, could you find daycare near the new job? That would give you more time with the baby.

Roses

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2013, 09:11:45 PM »
I agree with trying for an alternative schedule.  My aunt is in a similar situation and she negotiated a four day work week, working 10 hour days and one of those days is from home.  So she actually only drives to work 3 days a week.  Of course those 3 days are very long, but being home for 2 days during the week is great (even though one of those is a work day).  You could compensate the time away from your daughter on those long days by spending lots of quality time on the other day.  Not all employers are open to these alternative schedules, but it's worth a try!

Rural

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2013, 01:08:54 AM »
If you liked the current job, I'd say stay, no question. But since you don't, weigh the quality-of-life factors. Which will make you happier in the long term: keeping the job you dislike or taking a job you'll (hopefully like)but adding the commute with its stressors and loss of personal time?

tpozywio

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2013, 03:45:35 AM »
Perhaps this job will help you find a job closer to home that pays more with a year or so of experience

theSchmett

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #21 on: August 16, 2013, 04:29:54 AM »
I totally get this issue.  If I ever get a new job it will likely mean giving up a train commute, which is long but not totally horrible, for a car commute, in NJ traffic.

I also understand the 15 minutes of playtime at daycare. I have a 3yo and it breaks my heart to leave him with other people in the morning. My wife gets to pickup, she is the hero! Although he likes daycare, you wouldn't know it at 7AM.

51 cents per mile sounds like a high cost of commute. I think that's the federal expense rate for miles reimbursement?  Its not a hard and fast number.  Its got to account for average wear and tear on the car, tires, maintenance, and fuel - all of which are highly dependent on the vehicle, the trip, and the driver. Your costs may vary. 

How LONG will the commute take?  If its 30 more miles at highway speeds, that's around an hour a day, and significant but not unheard of. If its 30 miles on backroads, or in reliable traffic, that's a consideration.

Finally - depending on where you are there may be programs that will help you get into a carpool, or map a transit route, etc... in New Jersey and I think most of PA they are called TMAs, Transportation Management Associations. The one in Metro New York is called Metropool. There may be people at the new office taking the same commute that you can ride with, and a TMA can help match you with them, although I know the daycare trip can sometimes interrupt that sort of thing.

Good luck getting an offer and making a decision!

theSchmett

lr

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2013, 08:34:57 AM »
If you happen to live in California, you might want to look into trading into a low emission vehicle that's still HOV legal.  With current government incentives and the state's awesome headlock on the auto industry, even new cars can cost as much recently used family models, and decrease commute times and expenses, while kicking mother nature more gently.

This would be a terrible idea for most people, but I know some where the stars have aligned enough for this to be an interesting lifehack.

Doubleh

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #23 on: August 16, 2013, 08:54:11 AM »
A few people here have said the the extra commute will clearly pay off but I feel I have to chime in and point out that it is far from being that clear cut. Don't forget you still need to pay tax, social security etc on that 15k extra which would bring it down to what, 12k? 10k? I'm British so I'm just guessing but for sure the amount you getin your hand  is less than 15k. Out of that you're spending 7k on commuting - and yes the federal rate of 51c per mile is probably a good guide here as you're using your clown car way more than before which will crank up your maintenance costs as well as increasing your reliance on it.

You also say you could rent closer to the new job but it would cost you 600 per month. My math is shaky on a Sunday morning but this is pretty much the same as you're estimating for your additional commuting cost so if this job is really what you want why wouldn't you do this instead? Cost is the same but your commute time is back down, voila! Don't underestimate the cost of your own life spent in a box in traffic - see here: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/10/18/why-your-time-is-worth-way-more-than-25-per-hour/

Personal disclaimer: I have a 3 month old baby and recently moved to be closer to work at the cost of increased housing cost. The extra time spent with my baby instead of pressed into a stranger's armpit in London transport has been worth every penny and I would not change it.

Bottom line is that the extra cash will be much smaller than it looks at first so probably shouldn't be the primary driver here. If you need extra cash you could probably get a similar amount through brown bagging and cutting Starbucks if you haven't already, or through a side hustle or second job. So the real question is whether the possibly more interesting new job will be worth the decrease in quality of life caused by the clown commute. I guess a big part of this depends on how likely it is that the job will be interestingly different from the current one, vs just more of the same shit for more money?

If its about money can you use the offer as leverage to get a raise out of your current job? Or if its about the different type of work is there any way your current place can accommodate that?

I also feel that, this being the MMM forum and all someone should offer up, if not a full on face punch then at least a gentle slap to all the people saying that a 40 mile commute ain't no thing.

One of the core principles of Mustachianism, as far as I understand it, is to optimise your life no only to save money but also to increase efficiency, reduce time spent in non-productive activities and reduce the impact you leave on the planet

acanthurus

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Re: Should I take this job? Higher salary but longer commute
« Reply #24 on: August 17, 2013, 10:16:30 AM »
This is far too difficult a question to simply look at commuting costs and time vs additional salary.

What's the career outlook like for the new job? What's the likelihood you could turn that 80k job into a 100k job in 2-3 years somewhere else? And that 100k job into a 120k job after that? In some industries this is very easy, and it makes the commuting cost and "hourly wage" calculations non-issues. In other industries you'll hit a ceiling and then no more, so in that case it may be a big issue.

Are you retiring in 5, 10, 20 years? Accelerating salary growth now is like saving money when young. Take the 80k job, commute for two or three years, parlay it into that 100k job, and work for another 20 years. What was the total cost (in time and dollars) of commuting for three years? What's the payoff over the rest of your career? Will the new job get you more connections to make that next job hop?

It also sounds like you don't like your job. Even if the money was a wash, is it worth an extra hour per day commuting to enjoy the other 8-9 hours of work? I recently left a job I absolutely hated with a 2 mile commute for a different employer with a small salary increase and a 25 mile commute. Money-wise it absolutely did not make sense and I almost turned it down, but I love the new job so much I find myself working until they turn the phones off in the evening and rush hour traffic has long since dissipated. I am incredibly happy. Looking back, it seems silly to have almost turned the job down.

Do you have family obligations that the extra commute time would negatively impact? A divorce certainly isn't worth the extra money.

I think everyone's recommendations will reflect their own situations - family life, industries, what part of their career they're in - so this is one of those things where I think it really will take some introspection. For me this is a no-brainer - take the 80k job and drive a beater. On a side note, does anyone actually pay 0.51 per mile ownership cost? I just thought 0.51 figure was a way for me to make money on business travel :)