The effects of the Commute..
When I first started my job in North Sydney, I had no qualms travelling from Newport each day on the bus. I was just so excited to be in a job I loved, working with people I liked, that the commute didn’t bother me. I was able to catch up on some reading, people watch, have a sleep it was ideal it was my time to catch up and have a break before my hectic workday. Fast forward 15 years, it’s a different story; what was a 45-minute journey on one bus direct, now takes me on average 1.5 – 2 hours every morning one way! I now have to change buses and we haven’t even considered traffic jams, the weather (yes, if it’s raining add another 25 minutes) and most recently the bus being at capacity so I can’t even get on it! The idea of going to work has lost its shine; I feel the effects of my commute are impacting on my social life ( I would love to play indoor netball with the girls but I don’t make it back on time) and my husband is sick of me complaining about the bus and by the time I rush through the door at 6:30pm (the earliest) I’ve missed out on precious time with the kids and I’m so angry that I take it out on everyone and that is why I have decided to put a stop to this, I’m calling out my behaviour I just cant help myself sitting in traffic for 3 hours every day is just a waste of my time and I’m angry all the time so I am finally going to do something about it.
Ok so 3 months after my rant and after talking to my boss and family I started driving to work. The first few weeks were bliss, I could sing in the car, make all my phone calls, listen to my podcasts and while I enjoyed driving to work each day, (it a change from being on the bus after all those years) and I’m convinced I was not nearly as sick. All those germs on the bus, every time someone sneezes on the bus I feel like I’m going to catch something. However, the commuting time is the same ☹ sometimes its longer as I can’t go through the T3 or bus lane and it wasn’t until the other week that I did the sums and it’s not pretty. The parking fees are through the roof; to get a free all day parking spot I have to get to work an hour earlier and walk about 20 minutes however family life and getting the kids off to before school care has meant I’ve been late and have missed the free spots so I have recently been parking in the 2 hour limit spot (still a good 10 minute walk from the office) and I have been moving my car every couple of hours. Needless to say this is not productive and my co-workers are not impressed as I’m always nipping out and I won’t lie, I’ve forgotten a few times to move the car and I now have 4 parking fines that I need to pay before my hubby finds out. On top of that the days I can’t find a car spot I have no choice but to go to the parking station and while I’ve just found an early bird deal I’m still out of pocket $30 every day for parking. I did pay $96 for the day once. I haven’t even taken into consideration the cost of petrol, the extra mileage on my car and the wear and tear of the car but I am a slightly nicer person to be around.
Crunch time… It was good while it lasted but I can not commute any longer. I feel so liberated since I’ve made this decision. The commute time for me is never going to change if I am on the bus or driving and after adding up the cost of the weekly opal card, parking fines, parking fees, extra take away coffees because I’m stressed, petrol and before and after school care I’ve decided its time for a change.
I don’t know why I never really considered looking for a local job. I was always content with my role and the people I worked with that I didn’t want to change. I guess looking back I was scared of change. Not just getting a new job, I hadn’t interviewed in 15 years but upsetting the applecart so to speak. We were used to juggling the kids and work and saying no to after school activities as it was a nightmare to organise and the money side of things I had worked my way up at my company over 15 years, I didn’t want to go backwards. Well can you put a price on sanity? Hmm I don’t think so. Now I’m on the other side and through the roller coaster of emotions I feel like getting on the bus at my old stop and yelling “ there is more than this, just believe in yourself and don’t just accept it”. I finally updated my resume and sent it to some local agencies, and I was utterly surprised to find the money being offered for a local job was not bad, not bad at all. In fact, I now still commute (just 15 minutes in the car) I have a free car spot, I don’t have to fight anyone to get it; there is always space. I no longer have to get the kids up at the crack of dawn to get them ready for before school care, I now drop them to school via my work; my kids love it and I now have time to chat to the teachers, see other parents and I feel a part of their lives more than before; so another huge cost saving for me . Not to mention the reduction in petrol costs and I don’t have to wear a suit every day; don’t get me wrong I like dressing up as much as the next person but my new workplace is smart casual, I am literally savings hundreds of dollars on clothing.
I could go on all day about how much I love my new job and basically my new life. I now have time to socialise with my friends, I’m back to my old self I am no longer stressed and anxious all the time. My kids are able to have play dates and go to their after school activities and best of all I am there, I’m working close by if someone needs me or if I need to go see an important school assembly for an hour it’s all do-able.
I’ve finally stopped rushing and running around and feeling I just can’t take a breath. I now enjoy working and living on the Northern Beaches; I am far better off financially, mentally and socially than when I was commuting 3 hours each day.
Make the move or even just changing jobs is the unknown and making the leap is daunting but I really don’t think you will regret working close to home; take the chance and change careers or do something you have always wanted to do.. Ok I could go on all day about this so I’ll leave you with my favourite quote this week“ It’s really not about what you have. It’s about how you’re able to enjoy life in general “ Quote is by Kevin Harvick Did I mention now that with day light saving a few weeks away I have time for afternoon walks along the beach, BBQ dinners in the park; I’m experiencing a freedom I haven’t felt in years.
Written by Frustrated Northern Beaches Commuter