This morning seems like a good time to have another think about commuting. For those of you not based in the UK, the whole country is having what reporters are calling a ‘snow event’! I am feeling slightly alarmed at having to brave the weather for my 2 hour journey to Manchester, but also resigned to my fate. But it certainly makes me reassess the wisdom of living so far from my place of work.
I am now half way through my second year working at MMU and up till now have actually been enjoying my commute. I have a two hour train journey each way to work and I go into the office two or three days per week. I am lucky in that my train is never overcrowded: I always get a seat and can get on with my work which means the journey passes quickly but also I have less work to do at home in the evenings and weekends. If I am really tired the journey can seem a bit tedious, and obviously the cost is a huge negative factor to be considered, but overall I have been enjoying it.
Occasionally in England the weather does get really bad and today is one of those days. The decisions I have to make about traveling are only the same as those with shorter commutes, but I have more distance to cover and more potential for delays and cancellations on the train. I also have to travel through the Pennines: beautiful in summer, but hostile in winter.
What does this mean for my job though? I put pressure on myself not to use my long commute as an excuse to avoid things at work: after all, it’s my choice to live so far away. So despite the annoyance, I sometimes travel for four hours to attend one-hour meetings . In bad weather I feel I ought to at least make an effort to get into work. This might be my over-enthusiasm for my job, when most people would take a sick day or a holiday, and after all, students need little or no excuse to take the day off! Ironically if I do make it to work those students will probably have decided that they could not!
So, if you are considering taking a job a long way from your home, as well as other work-life balance issues, weigh up what you will do in severe weather situations, rare though they are in the UK. And keep safe on the roads, trains and planes!
And if you have any nightmare commuting stories to share, please post them on this blog!