What is your career really taking from you?

“I never thought of it that way!!!” Landon said.  Landon’s consulting job was based out of Stamford but he travelled Tuesday to Friday most every week. The pre-dawn Tuesday trek from his home in Fairfield through Connecticut’s torturous I-95 in Fairfield County to the arguably worse New York traffic to reach JFK or La Guardia airports had become a nightmare ritual. “I can’t enjoy Mondays because I know I have to get up at 5 am and deal with air travel.” 
That wasn’t the issue that I had raised. Landon travelled about 120 days per year. Whatever joys he had from initial business travel had long faded. He now saw the same cities every year and going out with his colleagues had been replaced with time watching TV in hotel rooms. He missed being with his family. 120 days per year sounds like a lot to me but it was when I pointed out that if he continued on this way for 10 years, he would miss over 3 years of time with his family that Landon nearly shouted “I never thought of it that way.”
Not only due to my career counseling but due to my own transition I have thought a great deal about what people give up for their jobs. In my case, I often express gratitude for my short commutes to either my Madison or Old Saybrook offices. I vividly remember my long days of commuting into cities. I keep quiet when my friends who still do so mention their long commutes. My total commute time shifted from 10 hours a week to 2 hours per week. That sounds pretty great but it is only when I extrapolate to a full year: 500 hours to 100 hours and realize that I’m gaining a better use of 400 hours of time that I smile with deep gratitude. After 5 years, I had 2000 hours of additional time.  That was the amount of time each year that law associates had to bill so the number was meaningful. I gained an extra year of work time that I used delightfully for being with my growing family, exercising, and writing (“A short commute”. I tell those who ask how I found time to write a couple of books).
What is work really costing you? How many days? Weeks? Years? Optimize your life. I’m happy to help.