My work used to be three miles away from my house, which was a huge blessing and my commute was guaranteed to be under 15 minutes. A month ago my work moved… Closer to my house. Now my commute is only 1.3 miles, making it an enjoyable 30 minute walk.
I live in San Francisco/Bay Area, where jobs for software engineers are plentiful. I often get emails from recruiters asking me to move. They list various benefits, but they don’t ever mention commute time.
I don’t think Recruiters are to blame. We live in a culture where people routinely accept hour-long-one-way-commutes like it’s a normal thing. It is not.
I work in San Mateo. A fourth of my co-workers commute from San Francisco, a fourth from San Jose, and another fourth from East Bay. Only a fourth of us actually lives close to where we work. I believe a similar break down is universal throughout this area.
What is even more crazy is that we have plenty of jobs everywhere. I get why people working for Facebooks and Googles of the world would chose to fight a long commute. Most of us, however, are employed by start-ups or less popular companies. Chances are, at least for Software Engineers in the Bay Area, there is a comparable job to the one we currently have closer to where we live.
So why do we choose to do this to ourselves? I can think of many reason, but the main one being that people just don’t make short commutes a top priority. They look for and accept jobs in a wide geographic regions. I would encourage everyone to re-consider.
In the past month I walked to work every day. My car stayed parked, costing me zero dollars in gas and almost no money in maintenance. I did not pollute the environment. I actually lost some weight for the first time in a long time. I didn’t have to go to the gym once, I just walk to and from work. I sleep better and I feel better.
I encourage recruiters to spend more time investigating how far people would have to commute and highlight short commutes as one of the top benefits. Most of the time they don’t even mention the locations of proposed position in their emails.
I encourage companies to offer smaller offices in various locations or be more remote friendly.
I encourage tech professionals to make commute a bigger consideration when choosing their next jobs.