I had a job interview of sorts today. It’s a great opportunity at a great company (doing web development work), but there’s one great big problem: a two-hour bus commute. The office is in Avalon Beach, which is miles and miles from here. I knew as soon as I looked at the map that I couldn’t do it, but I went to the meeting anyway to check it out. I almost wish I hadn’t, because now it’s just going to torture me. Do you commute? How long is too long?


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  1. Just a thought – couldn’t you get a room or an appartment closer to Avalon Beach or even in Avalon Beach ?

  2. Anyway, to address everyone’s suggestions:

    Our lease is up next month, but moving isn’t really an option. It’s not just that Avalon Beach is on the other side of Sydney; it’s also that it’s way, way, WAY the hell out in the Burbs. Like, it’s a lovely little seaside town, but I came here to live in the city, not two hours away from it. And besides, all of Snookums’s job opportunities (including the one he’s currently working at) are INSIDE the city, relatively close to our current place. I’m just not ready to move yet.

    As for getting a car – unfortunately now that I’m a resident, I can’t drive on my American license. (Of course that expired three months ago, but that’s beside the point.) So I’d have to get an Aussie license. And trust me folks, it’s 150 times harder to get a license anywhere outside the U.S. I didn’t even have to take a driving test, for God’s sake! Plus I’m not a city driver at all, so I’d probably have to shell out big bucks for lessons. Not to mention the facts that Snookums doesn’t drive much, and a car would be heinously expensive in the city. (Another difference between the U.S. and everywhere else – gas is ridiculously expensive. Other countries can’t threaten the suppliers with missiles everytime they do a price hike.) And besides, I LIKE not having a car. The beauty of London and Sydney is that you don’t need one. Public transport is relatively good. I enjoy not worrying about accidents or theft or parking. So a car is out.

    I tried to read on the bus yesterday, but it didn’t work. It’s not like a big smooth Greyhound. It’s one of those double length old chuggity-chuggity city buses. Reading for more than five seconds made me want to puke. Listening to my iPod is about the extent of what I can do, and that’s not exactly productive.

    I went to the interview knowing that I wouldn’t be able to work there full-time. I was hoping maybe we could do some sort of arrangement, like I could come in one or two days a week and work from home the rest of the time. But the company is really small and the boss (and I totally understand this) really wants someone that can be there and get to know the team and work shoulder-to-shoulder with them. It’s possible they might farm some contract work out to me, but it doesn’t seem likely.

    So… I’m not upset because I expected to work at the job, but rather because I DIDN’T expect to and it turned out to be a real nice place. But thinking about it – the problems really outweigh the benefits to me at this point. Like I told him, my opinion might change if I start desperately needing a job, but we’re still doing okay right now. I can afford to look a little closer to home. Hey, if I can find something in the boonies, I ought to be able to find something in civilization, right?

    Thanks for the kind words, everybody!

  3. Jeremy – I’ve just tested it and links with files and extensions work fine. I think maybe your URL had more characters than I allowed for in the database, so it was throwing up an error when it tried to insert that data. I’ve upped the limit to 75 characters now, so hopefully that’ll work.

  4. If I take the bus, then my commute is an hour each way. Longer if it’s raining. By car or taxi, it’s an easy peasy 20-25 mins. I think anything longer than an hour is too long. If you have to spend 4 hours a day going to and from work, you’re going to lose out on a lot of “you” time. How will you fit in things like the gym, making dinner and doing laundry if you work an 8 hour day (and who ever only works the minimum 8 hours in real life?), spend 4 hours on a bus, and sleep for 8 hours, then you are only left with a measly 4 hours of time to yourself. Arg. Of course, if you need a job, then you need a job…

  5. That is so long. Every day, man… so long. I know what you mean- like, now that you’ve gone you are ripped up about it, right? The only thing maybe you could consider is A., Could you get things done on the bus that you would enjoy/ get some you-time, and B., Is there any possibility that you could afford (or desire) a car to cut time?

  6. Well… You know that I live in the Washington DC Metro area. Traffic is horrible the majority of the time, especially on the south and Virginia sides of town. The typical commute for me, one-way, is anywhere from an 1.5 to 2 hours… That’s 3 to 4 hours a day on the road for me. It really isn’t that bad, I guess, especially if you take the bus. You can listen to your iPod and read, which helps while away the time. I take my iBook with me sometimes, and I use it to play games, watch DVDs, or to write.

    But it really is hard to have this 4-hour a day commute. Kristen is right about the “me” time. I quit the gym this month because I never had time to go — I’m busy now at work, and haven’t been taking my lunch break because my boss freaks out if I leave my office. I have to leave my house at 7:30 to get to work by 9:30, leave the office by 6:00, and get home around 8:00 or so. Sometimes I’m lucky and traffic won’t be so bad. But I think the reason that I’d gained weight is because I’m eating so late in the day. I don’t get dinner on the table until well after 9:00, and that’s horrible.

    So… I don’t know. I LOVE my job, but HATE the commute. Not only does it take 4 hours of my life away from me, it’s expensive as hell. You may want to think about that if you decide to go for the job and discuss salary with them. Will they help pay for your bus tickets? If you decide to get a car later and drive, is the parking free? I had to threaten to leave this job before they upped my pay enough so I could afford to commute AND eat.

    So. It’s really up to you. It’s a hard decision to make; I know that better than anyone. If you think that this job is something that would really make you happy, then go for it. Try it out for a year. If you find that the distance is too much, or that your lifestyle is suffering because of it, then hand in your resignation and try again. At least then you’ll have some great experience in Australia to list on your resume.

    Good luck, Kris! I’m rooting for ya!

  7. Can you get a car? 2hrs is a bit long. mine is about 50mins each way.

    Can you work on the way? Then you could use the commute time efficiently ro even work from home some days? Assuming its that good. 🙂

  8. any way you can work on site for 6 months or so and then switch over to telecommuting, only coming into the office for meetings and such?

    i will say that a long commute by bus does have its advantages over one by car. i read so much more back when i bussed to work.

    of course the biggest bus draw back would be the bus people…but then i didn’t exactly live in the most savory of neighborhoods my first year in seatown. 🙂

  9. I’m coming in really late and missed the discussion, but one more option might be to see if there’s anyone in the company who lives near you and drives in with whom you could ride (share the gas money,etc).

    I work 30 miles south of my Seattle house (like you I’ve gotta live in the city despite working in the burbs), which means a 40 min, against the traffic, drive each way (not too bad, not ideal) but there are a lot of other folks who have the same commute and there are a lot of car pools.

    Another option with this job is to see if you could work in the office for a month or two, and then once you know the team, you could do the work from home thing most of the time.

    I used to have an 1 1/2 hour commute each way, but it was 1 hour on a ferry and 15-20 minutes of cycling, plus a couple extra minutes to ensure that I didn’t miss the ferry, so it was fun, scenic, and great exercise. Plus, since that was while I was on sea duty, I spent most of that period at sea, so didn’t actually do the commute often enough to get tired of it. And it was all worth it to live in a cool location.

    Regardless, you’ll find another great opportunity closer to your home soon, Kris, I’m sure.

  10. I asked about the other guys in the company, but most seemed to live relatively close the office. (There are only about eight people working there anyway.) Plus I seemed to sense some repressed male nerd misogynistic hostility towards me as well. Which sucks, but kinda goes with the territory in this industry.

  11. does repressed male nerd misogynistic hostility have more to do with the fact that your presence would remind them of all the girls they’ve struck out with in their lives or the asinine presumption that you wouldn’t be able to carry your “geek-weight?” either way, their loss. 🙂

  12. Ahh I bet you’re all kicking yourself that you can’t get into The Super Ferret Freeway network. Hidden in every country and made available to every ferret so that you can cause mayhem and destruction on wherever plus whoever you want.

  13. Knowing what a crappy time my brother time had when living in Cambridge and commuting to London, I would have said it’s not worth a long commute as “Snookums” time etc just dies.

    He spent 2 hours each way and had to be in work for 8isham. So he would just come home for about 8pm, have dinner, 1 hour to spare and then by 9.30-10pm it was in bed for getting up at 6.30am.

    You’re doing the right choice imo. Anything more that an hour each way and I think you really have to think about it.

    As for cars. Damn I really wanted to see you and Rodd tearing around causing havoc in Sydney with the Snookmobile.

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