Commuting conundrum: Work


I live in a bustling metropolis of approximately 2,700 people, with about 58,000 in my township.   Needless to say, work opportunities are few and far between.

I have been working at TalentEgg this summer as an egg-tern and, to do so, I commute.  And I don’t mean a quick jaunt on the subway. I mean two transit systems and a considerable amount of time in a car.

An average workday goes something like the following:

  • Wake up at 6 a.m. and get ready
  • Leave the house at 6:45 a.m. and drive to the GO station
  • Arrive at the GO station and depart on the 7:40 a.m. train
  • Get to Union Station around 8:20 a.m. and hop on the subway
  • Arrive at the office around 8:40 a.m.
  • Work until 5 p.m., and then do everything in reverse
  • I usually get home around 7:10 p.m.

And of course, that doesn’t include things like accidents, really bad weather, GO train or TTC delays. All of which I have experienced more than once this summer.

I’ve commuted to Toronto for two different positions now (the other my high school co-op position at The Hospital for Sick Children), and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to anyone coming from a long distance, simply because of the amount of time it takes.  And it’s not the GO train or subway rides that are the issue: I can do other things while riding, like read, catch up on phone calls or emails (provided I get a seat, of course).

It’s the 30 to 40 minute drive that gets me.  Nearly every day, I have some kind of encounter with a dangerous driver or someone who doesn’t know the rules of the road.  And usually a rather large string of obscenities and some wild gesticulation from me follows.  I seem to get people going 40 km/h in a 60 km/h zone, and I’m not able to pass them.  Do you honk, or will that make the situation worse? I never know what to do.

But enough about me and my hatred of commuting (and bad drivers).

Your daily commute to and from work should always be considered when you are looking for and applying to jobs. In addition, you should also consider how much your commute will cost in comparison to your living expenses.

Some things to ponder when you are looking for a job:

  • How much is rent in that city?
  • How much does transit cost in that city?
  • How long will your commute be inside the city?
  • What are your expenses for a car (insurance, gas, maintenance, etc.)?
  • How much is rent outside of the city?
  • How much would transportation be to get into that city?
  • How long will your commute take outside of the city?
  • If you live with family or friends how much will your rent and expenses cost compared to living on your own?
  • Are you planning to buy a place in a certain amount of years, or do you want to keep renting?

The longer your commute takes, the more likely you are to buy convenience foods for meals (and get fat) and be tired from not getting enough sleep.

But if you’re living with family, commuting can be a great way for you to save money to put towards a larger purchase, like a car or a house.

For me, gas costs about $35 a week , my TTC pass is $121 a month and my GO pass is $159 a month, for a grand monthly total of around $420.  Because I don’t have to pay for rent or most living expenses living at my parents’ house, commuting is a much more economic option for me while I complete this internship.  Trying to find a place that was closer didn’t seem to be worthwhile for only four months.

If I got a full-time job in Toronto, would I do it again?  I’m not sure.

It may be something I’d consider in a shorter time frame in order to help me save up some money.  But in the end I would probably look for a place that was closer, since it would allow me to do more in my evenings than have dinner and watch a little bit of TV.

TalentEgg asks:

  • How far have you commuted for a summer job?
  • What was your experience like?
  • What advice do you have for other people who commute for work?