Numerous studies show that commuting is the most unhappy part of the day for most workers. One study equated 20 minutes extra on a commute to be equivalent to a 19% pay cut in terms of contributing to career unhappiness.
A few weeks ago, I was traveling through Connecticut’s stretch of I-95. As tends to be the case, I was stuck in some undefined traffic crawl from New Haven through Fairfield County. I was traveling for a work event that I knew I would enjoy. Of course, that was not fun but knowing that I was heading to something enjoyable made all the difference as I reflected on my past.
I once had a job where I would need to leave the house around 7:45 am in order to arrive around 9 am. During the ride, at best, I would be listening to an audiobook that I enjoyed. At worst, I would be stuck in traffic and not necessarily looking forward to the traffic ending so I could get to work and pondering “why am I doing this?”
Many, and likely most, workers in what I call the new world of work – those living off the grid – do not have such commutes. I drive about seven minutes to my Old Saybrook office and about 15 minutes to my Madison office. I mention mindful of seeming self-congratulatory. I would rather that this fact simply creates hope.
Commuting is universally disliked. It is a necessary evil for many good jobs that produce happiness. But if you don’t like your job and you have a long commute, you must leave. Otherwise, you are dooming yourself to an unhappy day. After day. After day.