Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

Killer Commute: How Far Are People Willing to Commute for a Job?

So you’ve been scouring the market and hopefully Spark Hire for your dream job. Or maybe you’re just searching for a “right now” job to keep the bills paid off. Either way, there’s an important factor to the job search process that you may not be considering right away. With the market being as rough and sluggish as it is right now, it seems as though many people are happy to get an interview with a company no matter the circumstances. Of course, Spark News discourages this kind of attitude, but you have to do what you have to do, right? What you should be doing though is making sure you are applying to positions that are within your travel range. Failing to think about this aspect can result in stress, headaches and a ton of wasted time.

Just recently I was looking to hire a couple of writers to add to our team here. Working remotely was not an option as I needed these writers in-house. The job post stated what city we are located in, but still I received dozens of applications from job seekers that lived close to an hour or 90 minutes away. Now, I would never discourage someone from doing what they wanted to do- especially if snagging a job is part of it. However, this particular position was not one that would be worth the time, effort and money invested in making a commute that long each and every day of the week. The cost of travel alone would take a good deal of money out of that person’s pocket and it just didn’t seem logical to me. It got me thinking though, how far are people willing to commute for a job today?

My immediate answer is that if you are currently unemployed, you’d be happy to drive an hour or perhaps even more to and from work each day as long as you had a job and earning a paycheck. The story may be very different for someone who is currently employed and searching for a new position. Travel time may be more important in this circumstance seeing as though they already have a paying position. No matter the situation though, a long commute can be very taxing on your health and overall happiness. Sometimes my personal commute to work is 45 minutes and after making that commute to and from work for a couple days in a row, by the last day I am a notably different person.

I get easily agitated, visibly angry in the car and my stress level sky rockets. When I have to make this commute (well, it’s really somewhat by choice) it’s truly a test of my patience. I have to put in the effort to remain calm and find ways to ease the strain of my commute. On top of that, the construction they are currently doing on the roads adds a pile of stress to the mix. I start to feel like Michael Douglas’ character in Falling Down– it’s not pretty! I know that if I absolutely had to make that commute each day, it would likely take a large toll on my health. However, that’s just me. Plenty of people make that length of commute, and even longer, every day and are perfectly happy doing it. It seems that what really matters in terms of how far people are willing to commute depends upon the job.

It seems as though people are more willing to make a long commute if their pay is good. Also, those that love their jobs are more willing to travel farther to get to and from work. To me, this all makes sense. If you love what you do, why not travel a bit longer to do it? It also seems as though the overall commute time for people living in the U.S. has increased over the past decade. Specifically, commutes that are longer than 60 minutes have increased by 50 percent in the last 10 years. That’s quite a jump, wouldn’t you say? This may point to the fact that people are more willing to travel far for their work. It can also just mean that our population levels are rising at a fast rate and more people on the road equals more travel time for everyone.

By the same token, a survey conducted by Regus, a workplace solutions provider, revealed that 16 percent of the U.S. workforce has considered leaving a job as a direct result of their commute. Also, 33 percent of those surveyed stated that, though they do love their job, they have considered leaving due to an hour long or more commute. That is why it is so imperative for you, as a job seeker, to keep your travel times in mind. If you know you would hate your life every day if you had to drive for an hour to and from work, then don’t look for positions so far away- no matter how awesome they may seem.

Know what kind of commute is doable for you and what kind of commute just isn’t. Be mindful of this information when you are searching for jobs because it can truly make or break a great job.

How far would you be willing to travel for work? Do you currently have a very long commute> Perhaps you have a five minute commute. (In which case I would be very envious!) Share with us in the comments or tweet me @nicole_spark.

SOURCE: HOUSE, Technorati
IMAGE: Courtesy of Computer Quote

Nicole Nicholson

Nicole is the Content Editor for Spark Hire and mainly writes for and edits the work for the Spark News blog. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She has a passion for writing, editing, and pretty much anything to do with content. In her free time she frequents the Chicago music scene and writes reviews on shows for her own personal blog. Connect with Nicole and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter

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