I love swing sets, freshly painted nails, the art of negotiation, and getting lost on road trips. I am afraid of losing friends, heights, and not living up to my potential. Mostly I am afraid of being broke, and doing something mundane, and I am very afraid of mediocrity. I want to be someone who my cousins and siblings look up to. I want to be something or someone that my parents are proud of. I want to be proud of myself. I do what I can to make sure that these ambitions become reality, and although I rather sit at home and build my life from the ground up, I find myself doing a job that pays the bills, but sucks all the creativity out of me. Being an entrepreneur is difficult, and it requires someone to be either extremely brave, or incredibly foolish; either one will do. I am not that brave, although I have bordered on the foolishness part a few times.
For reasons that most people can not understand I chose to work about an 100 kms away from home. My commute is about 50 mins on a good day,and 2 hours each way on a bad day. By bad day I mean, monday to thursday. I really do enjoy my job. Even though I like the people I work with, and like the work that I do, I despise the fact that my 8 hour work day is about 10-12 hours each day. I know a lot of people commute for work and look at their salary as just that. They don’t factor in the extra costs involved in travelling.
Now you may be asking why I chose to work this way from home. My previous commute was about 8 mins, and I loved it, however the opportunity for growth was almost non existent. Thus I took the plunge and accepted an offer to work in a different city. And the for the first few months I was perfectly fine with sitting in the car and unwinding after a long day, but as the days get longer, I find the commute to be a extreme waste of time and money.
How is commuting costing me?
I broke down the costs of commuting and the numbers are staggering.
Gas – $500/month. This is a low estimate since I travel a lot after work as well.
Maintenance (oil changes, tires etc) -$3500/year
Insurance -$4000/year . I am a high risk driver, apparently.
Extra time spent commuting- $20000
I took a look at the numbers to analyse what my actual hourly pay is, and clearly it is 30% lower than I had originally thought when I accepted the position. Now for most that wouldn’t be an issue, but I strive for a work life balance. I really enjoy taking part in extra-curricular activities, I volunteer for quite different organizations, and I run a business on the side. I also blog. These things all take time and energy. Time that is being dwindled away sitting in traffic. Time that I will never get back. I have been at my current company for a few years now, and although I love the company, I wouldn’t move away from the city that I live in. My hometown is amazing. It has that the small hometown feel but I have Research In Motion is my backyard. It is such an interesting blend of small town charm and a growing tech sector.
All in all, it is definitely worth the experience that I am gaining, and I don’t want to sound ungrateful about having such a fantastic job and commuting is only one part of this role. It is however that part that I truly despise. I have set up a budget according to my salary, and am counting on it to get me to where I want to be. I would leave if I was braver, I would sit at home and build my life from the ground, but I am afraid.