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Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Work-Life Balance - Priceless
In a recent survey conducted by, workers said they would make career decisions based on commute time. When evaluating a job offer or attempting to gain some work-life balance, it is important to consider location of a job and not just salary. Not only does commute distance affect the amount of time spent with family or personal time, but it has an impact on the pocketbook. With gas prices skyrocketing, fuel expenses now factor into family budgets as much as rent and utilities. A shorter commute translates directly to money in the pocket.

Executives at the higher pay scales tend to have a longer commute, according to an article in the Journal of Accountancy. Highly compensated executives average a commute distance of nearly twice that of the average worker, spending 42.3 minutes in getting to work one way. The article speculates that perhaps this can be contributed to the fact that those at higher salary ranges can afford to live wherever they wish, rather than having to consider the commute distance. I wonder if it could also be a matter of being willing to sacrifice for the income.

Thus, my original question – is it worth it? Many workers don’t think so. Making a decision between career and family is a no-brainer for some, with the choice definitely swinging toward the family side of the spectrum. Home offices, flex schedules, job sharing, and self employment have provided alternatives to long commutes and rigid work schedules. Employers are learning that productivity for telecommuters is much higher than for in-office workers while also reducing costs. Not only are workers making adjustments in their career lives to accommodate families, employers are too.

It’s important when looking for a job to consider more than the salary. Would taking a higher salaried position with a longer commute be worth it in terms of cost in time, fuel, stress, and vehicle wear? Many a job seeker has accepted a position because of the salary only to discover rapidly that the commute is a tremendous burden. Other factors to consider when job searching or considering an offer include health benefits, schedule, work environment, comp time, days off, sick time allotment, etc. These components of the benefit package have high impact on work satisfaction and work-life balance, much more so than salary. Salary may be able to fund vacations, but if you get no time off to go on the vacations, it is useless.

November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 /


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