This tweet from the DWP yesterday gave me the hump. It appears to be an old post that has somehow resurfaced. The premise, and that of the accompanying link, is that if job seekers would only travel a bit further (the just ‘try a bit harder’ merely implied) they will open up the opportunity of so many more job vacancies – and you will undoubtedly be paid more if you commute into the big city too!
YES! You too can spend your life in a car or on a dirty, unreliable train. You too can spend all your money on travelling! Increase your stress levels! Spend your time wondering whether you will get back through the traffic or the rail chaos in time to pick your kids up before nursery closes and they hand your children over to social services! Have no time at all for activities that are important to you!
But you know, money. And dedication.
I do a 90 minute commute, and it is no fun at all. It is expensive, and I spend a lot of time waiting for delayed trains, standing in packed carriages with my face in a stranger’s armpit, and generally grumbling about it. Sorry not sorry. My commute stops me from getting to the gym, and means that there is often a pressurising mental list of life stuff that doesn’t get done. I do it because I like my work, but that is a privilege that not everyone has.
Instead of suggesting people just get on their bike, why don’t we do something more radical instead? Like realise that cramming everyone onto the same packed roads and creaking public transports systems all at the same time isn’t helping anyone. And embrace flexible working, technology and new ways of working, so that we can have both a job, and a life?
Just a thought.
I think at the end of the day it’s all relative.
I used to live in London. My commute was around an hour, perhaps a little more.
Nobody ever questioned the time it took me to get in to the office of a morning. Some of my colleagues travelled up to 2 hours from home.
I have a pal who lives in Gran Canaria. His commute’s just over 30 minutes and he tells me his workmates are shocked by how far he’s willing to travel.
So I guess it’s all a geographical / salary / opportunity mish mash that we all have to decipher when considering what we’re prepared to do for a living.