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Drive My Car

October 22, 2010

We regularly bemoan the state of the horrible traffic situation in Baton Rouge.  For a metropolitan area with 750,000 souls, we seem to have traffic that could rival the best that LA, Chicago or Houston has to offer.  Miles traveled are minimal – time it takes to travel those miles is super-sized.  Accidents on various parts of the system, closed lanes on the Mississippi River Bridge, and good old rubber-necking slow down the traffic flow.  We may be the 67th largest MSA in terms of population, but we are the 35th worst metropolitan area in the nation – for traffic congestion.

Length of commute has always been an important factor for me in any employment situation, and most of my life I’ve been able to have an average commute time of about 20 minutes.  Which is particularly awesome since my tolerance level for being on the road doesn’t extend much beyond that 20 minute mark.  But I have co-workers, friends and family who think nothing of a commute extending well past an hour….. on a GOOD day.   Throw in some rain, an accident or just some plain old congestion and the commute time can easily become much longer.

The reality is, some people will always need to commute some distance to get to the jobs; we encourage car pooling and walking and public transportation, but yet our roads continue to get MORE clogged-up rather than less.  Some metropolitan areas are too sprawling, people who live in suburbs or rural areas must travel to where the jobs are located, and not every metro area has appropriate public transportation.

Is the commute a deal-breaker for you when accepting a job?  What if the job location changes (i.e. your office relocates)?  Has your employer been able to accommodate employee requests for flexible work hours to assist with commuting times?

As for me, until the day comes when I have someone who can “Drive my Car.”, I’ll just continue to battle the traffic each morning.  The bonus – I can sing along to the radio in privacy.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Caryn Sarvich permalink
    October 22, 2010 7:41 am

    Hi Robin,

    The commute is a factor for me. I once accepted a retail management job (Victorio and I share that career path) with those crazy hours plus an hour commute. Factor in Midwestern ice and snow and the annual summer-long road construction to repair winter’s damage, and it felt like I’d lost control of my life. Seemed I was home only long enough to eat and sleep. Work I’d loved became something I dreaded.

    I am fortunate to now work for an organization that values the critical nature of flexibility and balance to employee engagement and recognizes the return on productivity that ultimately nets. We do allow flexible work hours and work from home, providing very general guidelines and empowering managers to make those decisions based on what works for the business. We’re currently working on work from home options for our customer-facing contact center staff and if technology cooperates, will roll out in 2011.

    • Robin Schooling permalink*
      October 24, 2010 7:52 pm

      Caryn – I like the fact that you can explore work-from-home options for the contact center staff. And oh boy….I don’t miss the snow and ice.

  2. Jonathan Krass permalink
    October 22, 2010 7:57 am

    Dearest Robin,

    I currently live in the city of Chicago, and for the past 2 months, I’ve been working in Libertyville. For those non-FIBbers, that’s a 37-mile reverse commute in some of the worst traffic ever. I say reverse commute, but honestly, as I drive 75 miles a day, the traffic going in my direction is worse than the traffic going the other direction. It doesn’t matter what time I leave – it’s always bad (unless I’d like to work from 6am to 8pm). The morning commute usually takes me about 50 minutes (as long as I leave while it’s still dark outside), and the evening commute takes anywhere from 1:15 to 2 freaking hours. There’s no rhyme or reason to why I’m sitting on the highway/parking lot. I think I’ve seen maybe 1 cop, and zero accidents in 2 months. Yesterday, I saw a deer on the highway, though. That’s a reason for traffic.

    So how am I solving this problem? Moving. Next month, we’re moving out of the city to the burbs, so my commute will be 20 minutes on back roads. No highways. Since the 2 guys who own this company live 5 minutes away (literally), I can’t see the office moving anytime soon. As such, I think my move to the burbs is a safe one.

    BTW, during my morning commute today, I saw your doppelganger in the car next to me. Seriously.

    • Robin Schooling permalink*
      October 24, 2010 7:53 pm

      I would never ever be able to do a commute like that. I would have been sleeping in my car in the McD’s parking lot in Libertyvillle. Bravo on the move. Freaky on the doppelganger!

  3. John Jorgensen permalink
    October 22, 2010 8:18 am

    Like Jonathan, I live in the Chicago area. My commutes were regularly an hour each way, with the worst ever being 5 hours in a surprise Valentine’s Day snow storm. Ah the joy of big city living.

    • Robin Schooling permalink*
      October 24, 2010 7:54 pm

      5 hours. FIVE HOURS!!!!

  4. Damona Dee permalink
    October 22, 2010 10:40 am

    Absolutely! When I was offered my current position I immediately searched for living arrangements that would allow me to avoid as much traffic as possible. However, due to family illness I moved further away from my job. It can be a depressing thought to have potentially sit in the car for an hour and a half each day.

    Typically, in regards to staffing we try to make sure that employees live pretty close to the location that they work. We also have telecommuting options for certain essential personnel (i.e. – IT, Senior Managers, ect.)

    Personally, I think that the traffic situation could be better if we had adequate public transportation as well as a loop with a toll. I know this may be wishful thinking but a large part of the problem is that every has to drive themselves everythere through out most of Baton Rouge.

    • Robin Schooling permalink*
      October 24, 2010 7:55 pm

      I keep hoping and praying for the loop. But we will probably have Jetson-style hovercraft cars before we get a loop in BR.

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