This has certainly been a challenging start to 2022. The positive is that we are finally seeing some light from the darkness of the COVID-19 pandemic. The downside is that rapidly increasing inflation on key consumer items has hit our paychecks really hard. One has to look no further than the gasoline pumps on their street corner to see where someone’s hard earned pay has been disappearing. Gas prices over $4 a gallon and climbing with no relief in sight is causing many workers to pause and do some serious soul searching regarding what they should do.
Gasoline prices has caused many WNY workers to question the value of their commute and whether things have reached a financial breaking point for them. If you believe you are in this position, then you have several potential options to consider. Our focus is on your employment options, but we (of course) recognize that there are other possible considerations, such as converting to a more gas efficient vehicle, using public transportation, or participating in a carpool.
• Moving Closer to Your Job: This option, of course, allows you to avoid impacting your current job. If you have a position that you truly love and feels like a perfect fit, then perhaps moving closer to your work is feasible. This is especially true if you are more mobile, such as an apartment renter versus a homeowner, or do not have an immediate family to consider. For most, however, going through the life upheaval and cost of a household move is not worth it for their current job. If you are thinking of selecting this option, then make sure you can honestly see yourself with this company for many more years.
• Asking To Work Remote: The movement of many workers back to their physical place of employment has caused much of the angst over gas prices. Employees who worked at home went from virtually no gasoline needs (and fuel expense) to facing $50+ a week in commute costs. For many workers, doing your job remotely is not an option, as physical interaction with people or equipment is necessary. You can ask your Manager if working from home is a possibility, even if it is only for a couple of days a week, since even a partial change could have a positive impact on your budget.
• A Schedule Change May Help: Another possible conversation you could have with your Manager is whether a tweak in your schedule may assist your commute. We all know there are various traffic pinch points on our Western New York roadways during heavy commute times. These periods of “stop and go” driving serves as a gasoline guzzling exercise causing not only driver stress, but a significant expense. A change in start and/or end time may allow you to avoid these traffic hassles, saving you both time and money. You could also discuss going to a longer workday (perhaps a 4 day-10-hour shift) in order to save a day and the associated commute dollars.
• Changing Employment: Probably the most common change would be to find a new employer closer to where you live. The goal would be also to find a better job that not only will provide you with a more economical commute, but also increased satisfaction, higher pay, and richer benefits. While leaving your employer for commute reasons makes perfect sense, it is probably best to not communicate this as your primary reason for wanting to leave. You should continue to focus your efforts and communication on finding a better job with more responsibility, more stability, etc. Use the interview to map out your potential commute so you can get a good sense of the trip and cost. Try to simulate the commute that you will have during your actual schedule. This is particularly important if your travel will occur during traditionally peak traffic times. A quick tip is that with the WNYJOBS website you can narrow your job search to companies within a certain distance from home 5, 10, 25 or 50 miles. This will make it much easier for you to focus on openings closer to you.
Regularly reviewing your employment options is a good thing, and it is especially timely with the sky rocketing gasoline prices we are all facing. There are a number of avenues to consider, including changing your employment to reduce your commute and save money. Carefully consider which option works best for not only your pocketbook, but also your overall career and personal happiness.
As always, the best of luck in your job search.
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
Joe Stein WNY Human Resources Professional
Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at: Joe Stein