The Job Experience, StartupVille: Year #8

Commuting Woes

If you've seen Office Space, you know why I'm including this.

Programming Whiz Michael Bolton, in Office Space, raps while stuck in traffic.
I got this killer up inside me.
I can’t talk to my momma so I talk to my diary.

Amidst all of this relative job serenity, there’s one downside to my first year at StartupVille. Four months in — this would be about June or so — they moved their headquarters.

Offices relocated about 12 miles south, and there was an easy route along a major interstate, I-95.

Whatever, though — 12 miles extra, on top of the original 3 mile commute, for a total of 15.  Just suck it up and do it, I told myself.

Easier said than done.  Most days it took me 35 minutes door to door, and if there was a major accident, it’d be over an hour — each way.

Look, I know people have it much, much worse than this.  But still, this was a major bummer.  I’d specifically moved close to the office in order to avoid, as Mr. Money Mustache would say, a clown-car driving habit, only to be smacked with one anyway.

Just another reminder that as long as you’re tethered to your company, the strings controlling your life are not under your command. Developments that impact your day-to-day well being can occur in an instant, and most of the time there’s nothing you can do about it, except adjust.

In 2008 (Year #9) I resolved this issue, but until then, I got used to spending a lot more time in my car.

You know, rapping, and whatever.

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7 Responses to The Job Experience, StartupVille: Year #8

  1. Tom says:

    I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I’ve had jobs where my whole life revolved around work with little time for anything else – for extended periods of time. Years… I use to envy people with 9-5 jobs who never had to take work home with them. As you noted, work is so much more tolerable, and dare I say, even enjoyable, when you can assign it sufficient energy but with remaining stores in the battery packs for other things. Money is nice but when you don’t need much you have to question your motivation. You figured that out much earlier than I did.

    Over two years ago I turned down a contract gig that would have required a horrendous hour plus commute in both directions. Having FU money, I turned it down and two weeks later was offered a better position for more money and an apartment with less than a five minute walk to work. I know two other guys who were not as financially secure and to this day are still making that two-hour commute. Though they didn’t complain all that much, to me, at least, I could see them aging in front of me. The world will be a better place when we greatly reduce the need to sit in traffic for hours each week to earn a paycheck.

    • livingafi says:

      I really love the stories like this. Not the part where you were overworked, of course, but rather the fact that your stash allowed you to carefully consider your employment options and ultimately gave you a huge boost in life-quality in the form of not having to commute. Aside from the fact that long daily drives simply cost a lot, they’re draining and often feel like half of the work you do, on any given day. Lots of co-workers throughout the years have said their commute is the #1 thing preventing them from exercising on a more regular basis, for example, and it makes sense — that hour and a half on the road would be the perfect time to dump into a trip to the gym or even a long walk around their neighborhood. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Frankie's Girl says:

    I haven’t been a good commentator, but I just wanted to say that this series has been FASCINATING to me. I actually check in every day or so just to see if you’ve written more about your working life, so the length of the posts have been a bonus as far as I’m concerned. Awesome reading!

    • livingafi says:

      No worries, I’m still working on the next one. For what it’s worth, they take me a while to put together, mostly because of the length and image work. Not complaining at all — actually I find the process very enjoyable — but trying to offer an explanation on the number of days between posts. It’ll definitely be out in another day, two tops. There goes my regular job, getting in the way of my hobbies yet again… BTW, thanks for the comment and I’m glad you’re not bothered by the word count.

  3. Sounds like some good opportunities out east! Is the demand for engineers as hot as it is here in SF you think? The job market here seems to make people want to move every 2-3 years.


    • livingafi says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Sam. So I’m not familiar exactly with how hot things are in SF, but definitely it’s cooking along the NE corridor right now, and has been at least since 2012. For many people, it’s a good time to move and finally get that job-change-payraise that your current employer has been denying you for the past X years.

  4. Frank says:

    This is an excellent story, hell of a read

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