Cost of season ticket for my new commute: £3000, gasp!
I have been thinking about the issue of work-life balance today. I like many academics (especially those with partners) am not able to move to the town where my job is, so I have at least a few years of commuting ahead of me. While I am not sure that I want to spend 4 hours every day on the train (!), the prospect of spending the same amount of time driving on the M6 upsets me even more! Question: Is my new job worth the price of traveling in terms of time and money? Answer (for me at least): of course it is.
The great thing about a career in academia is, unlike in schools or FE, it’s not just teaching-focused. Therefore I will be given time each week by my employer to go off and do some research and prepare my classes. So, an academic career is suitable for a long commute, at least more so than a traditional 9-5 job. I certainly won’t have to be in the office five days a week. And with the purchase of a laptop, I can spend those 4 hours a day on the train working, answering emails, marking and so on.
You do hear of some comically-long commutes by people in academia: I will be doing Coventry to Manchester, others I know of include York to Manchester, Sheffield to Canterbury and London to Edinburgh, although those last two are weekly rather than daily commutes. Think about the U.S. and it’s even sillier there, I know people who regularly travel several hundred miles daily, or several thousand miles weekly. With both members of a couple working full-time in equally high-powered jobs, this sort of thing is only going to become more common in all sectors, not just academia.
Do you have any experience of doing a long commute, or living away from ‘home’ to do a job? At what point does this sort of sacrifice become not worth it?