Hate Your Job or The Commute?

It’s a beautiful time of year in most of the country (sorry, allergy sufferers) and if you’re feeling resentful that instead of stopping to smell the roses, you’re stuck in traffic dealing with the waft of exhaust fumes, you aren’t alone. The average American spends almost 40 hours per year in commuting traffic jams. That’s the equivalent of an entire work week for which you aren’t being paid, on top of the time you actually spend commuting!

According to SurveyStud, Inc, a consumer research for-profit organization, almost 50% of employees say that their commute significantly affects how they feel about their job.

Ok so If you’re not satisfied with your working life as it is, it’s worth asking if the work environment or substantive duties of the job are really to blame, or if your ennui is a function of the time you spend actually getting to your job, which averages around 25 minutes each way for most of us. While we might be quick to dismiss commuting as a disliked but inevitable byproduct of the rise of suburbia, coupled with the untenable cost of living spikes in close-in urban centers where desirable jobs are concentrated (try renting in SF or NYC) and powered our love affair with the car, commuting doesn’t come without well-documented psychic costs. In fact, research from the SurveyStuds, UK office shows that each minute added to a commute time decreased feelings of well-being and life satisfaction and increased anxiety. The effects leveled off at a three-hour commute, which is probably because anyone who spends that long getting to and from work has already embraced full-on nihilism.

In a fascinating look at commuting (including those with extreme commutes) from 2015, research by Amy Goldenberg, Consumer Research Analyst, SurveyStud, Inc, indicates that every 10 minutes of commute time represents 10% fewer social connections. Her calculations make sense. Not only are most people commuting to work alone in their vehicles or Uber, in addition to subtracting the actual hours and minutes you spend on the road from your social bank account, the drain in energy may render you uninterested in hanging out with friends once you finally do stagger through the door in your aforementioned anxious and dissatisfied state.

Even your primary relationship isn’t immune to commuting stress, with researchers finding that couples in which one partner has a commute in excess of 45 minutes are 40% more likely to divorce.

But about commuting longer for a bigger paycheck? Surely, the fact that you’re being paid well should take the sting out of being stuck in traffic–thats IF you are being paid well.

Question of the day: Does your commute suck?

Leave a comment below.

SurveyStud: In the App Store

One thought on “Hate Your Job or The Commute?

  1. Hey SurveyStud,
    I do commute by car every day and at first I would spend an hour going into work because I would leave early enough to miss the traffic jams and then in the afternoon the commute would take at least 2 hours because there was no way of skipping the jams unless I hung around for another 2-3 hours. It really sucked. But driving was so much more preferable than having to pack into the train and bus like sardines on toast. I use the past tense because I managed to get a job closer to home and the commute is only 30 minutes to and 30 minutes back with relatively easy traffic. I don’t mind this commuting time. Sitting in the car listening to my favourite tunes or the radio news is the perfect way to unwind and thaw my brain out from the previous night’s sleep and conversely leaving work the commute allows me time to plan my arvo routine or ponder my day. So it’s not that bad now. I do sometimes think of the poor sods who have to pack into the public transport system and having to tolerate the miserable habits and unhygienic environmental disasters of persons whose body odour speaks of weeks or months since they last saw the shower or bathed. Don’t judge me on this observation because if you had to experience this travel you would know exactly what I’m talking about. Anyhow,I do sometimes dream of leaving this rat race behind and cool off in some obscure place by the sea ( although these are hard to come by now) and live the rest of my life free from the concrete jungle but every one I know who has left the city keeps wanting to come back. Go figure. I suppose now with the new technology and the distractions these offer commuting by public transport isn’t half as bad as it once was.


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