$$ If you’re a developer interested in who’s hiring near you, check out http://www.jobstractor.com for the latest word of mouth jobs mined from twitter. /$$
There was an article linked on Hacker News yesterday called The True Cost of Commuting and an associated comments thread on hacker news mainly discussing errors in the calculations in the article and generally agreeing that there is a cost people forget about to commuting. I’d like to talk about the other side of that, the opportunity commuting can give you to invest in yourself.
I took my current job nearly 8 years ago, it’s about 60 miles from where I lived then and still live now. I live in Bristol which is a moderately large city in the south west of England, the job is in Taunton which is a small town a bit further south. Fun fact, Bristol became a county in 1373 thanks to the power of the local merchants and them not wanting to commute to Taunton to go to court in Somerset.
The first question I asked my future boss in the interview was why the hell he’d started a software company in Taunton? He was living approximately as far south as I was north of Taunton at the time. Taunton seemed like a good solution to wanting to get close enough to Bristol to attract some people down whilst not ruining his own commute. It worked reasonably well and we have a number of people who commute from Bristol or similar distances.
The benefit to me has been how I’ve spent the time commuting. Since podcasting has become more popular I now spend 1 hour a day (walking to the train station and back) listening to podcasts (see below for my top 3ish podcasts). This has been an excellent experience, very educational and inspirational. I’ve spent another 1 hour a day on the train coding or reading. I’ve read 2 inch thick technical books I enjoyed but honestly wouldn’t have read otherwise. I’ve experimented with some code for work which has helped me better understand the problems we’re solving or occasionally has been useful enough to go into the product. I’ve also worked on my own projects (most recently http://www.jobstractor.com, did I mention it already? ;-)).
That’s it really. Yep, it can be a pain. Yep, getting home after everyone else has already nipped for a quick pint after work is a shame and yep it costs. But, there is a positive side as the time you get to yourself commuting can be an investment in yourself.
As promised, my top 3 ish podcasts: