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Can You Survive Long Commutes? 209

Posted by Cliff
from the airports-can-be-worse-than-a-beltway dept.
Should I Be a Frequent Flier asks: "I am currently considering a job offer in an Aerospace company, and suffice it to say, I am very excited. Unfortunately, there is a catch - I would have to fly to work. While this may seem appropriate for an Aerospace job, it might not be appropriate for a married life, as it would require that I spend two or three nights a week away from my family. This is a big step, and I don't want to pass up a wonderful opportunity, but I don't what to wreck my marriage for a job. Does anyone have any experience with this sort of arrangement, either pro or con?"
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Can You Survive Long Commutes?

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  • by shadwwulf (145057) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @09:28PM (#15418403) Homepage
    MOVE!!!

    Pretty much any place in the country has the same services you have where you live. Nice people exist called real estate agents that can help you with this, if you happen to own your home.

    It'll kill your relationship with your family. Don't do it man..

    MTW
    • by pjay_dml (710053) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @09:50PM (#15418467) Journal
      "Nice people exist called real estate agents..."

      You're joking, right?
    • I'll second the opinion given above that this person is talking about Area 51.
    • Pretty much any place in the country has the same services you have where you live.

      Some places have different costs of living to other places, and house prices.

      Some places have vastly different levels of crime to other places. It wouldn't be worth moving from a peaceful area to the middle of a crime zone for the sake of saving a commute.

      Some places have different amenities to other places and of vastly different quality and prices.

      Some places have a wide variety of shops selling a wide variety of produce. S
    • by bergeron76 (176351) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @02:27AM (#15419269)
      You're assuming that he _can_ move close to work. If his employer is at Cheyenne mountain, or Roswell New Mexico, he doesn't have that option. Employees are flown in on a commercialesque airline from a normal airline terminal/local airport.

      I commute 45 minutes each way, 5 days a week. At first it sucks, but eventually you adapt and it becomes great thinking time. The only reason I commute is for my family; if it weren't for that, I wouldn't do it.

      Commuting is a sheer waste of time...

      • My commute takes 2 hours each way. Apparently I'm 'mad'.
      • 45 Minutes really isn't that bad for commute time. I communte an hour and a half both ways every day. That's to go only 18 miles. Congestion around here is so bad that I tend to average about 12 miles an hour. On a good day (IE when I have to go in at 3AM to reset a server or something) it will only take me about 25 minutes.

        Consider yourself lucky that you only commute 45 minutes. I lose 3 hours every day in commute time. I would give anything to have those 3 hours of my life back. If I could, I woul
        • 90 minutes to go 18 miles due to congestion? Suck it up and buy a damn bicycle. Almost anyone can do 15mph on a bike, if youre in decent shape you can pull 20-25 on flat ground. Get a streamlined low rider recumbent, if there are no steep hills on the way, and 30mph is feasible. You will get to work up to twice as fast, get good exercise, AND save a few hundred dollars a month on gas.

          Up front cost is anywhere from $50 to $5000 depending on just how nice and fast of a bike you want to get. Your call.

          The
          • Don't think that thought hasn't crossed my mind. What scares me about that are the few roads that I have to travel on which do have 55mph speed limits and are free of congestion.

            The unfortunate fact is that on occasion I have to visit sites other than my home site. This requires a car. Not to mention occasionally bringing work home with me. Granted this is a worst case scenario, but it is hard to fit the odd desktop machine in a backpack. It boils down to one of those situations where 95% of the time t
      • You're assuming that he _can_ move close to work. If his employer is at Cheyenne mountain, or Roswell New Mexico, he doesn't have that option. Employees are flown in on a commercialesque airline from a normal airline terminal/local airport.

        Ummmmm... people don't have the option to live near Cheyenne Mountain? There's a fairly sizable town (Colorado Springs - pop. 360,000) right next to it!

        Regardless, I'm surprised that noone has given any thought to reasons why this guy might not be able to move ea

      • On a point of pedantry, Cheyenne Mountain is an easy drive from Colorado Springs.
        It sounds like this guy is living in one city, and commuting to another hundreds of miles away.
    • It may not be an option. He may be in consulting or more field service type jobs.
      I am a computer consultant and I am at different locations every day luckily most of the time they are in normal commuting range, around 10 miles of my house. But for aerospace you could be in different states or countries every couple of days while the main office is located close to his home.
    • You have to fly there [wikipedia.org]!!

      Common /.! Why was I the only one to think of this!! Alright, everyone hand over their nerd cards... NOW (and just to avoid any questions - no, handing over your nerd cards DOES NOT entitle to you re-aquire your man cards).

  • Move? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by numbski (515011) * <numbskiNO@SPAMhksilver.net> on Saturday May 27, 2006 @09:29PM (#15418407) Homepage Journal
    I don't mean to be so obvious, but really...if the opportunity is worth it (sounds like it is), then move. I know pulling children out of schools, or asking your spouse to find a different job seems cruel and unfair, but it happens. I've been through the cross-country move-for-a-job thing twice now. It sucks, I won't lie to you, but it will wear on you far less in the long run than trying to commute like that and not have time with your spouse.
    • pulling children out of schools, ... cruel and unfair

      It's summer, they aren't in school.

      asking your spouse to find a different job seems cruel and unfair

      It's perfectly reasonable for the secondary breadwinner to follow the primary breadwinner.

      The real question should be:
      On your new salary, can you afford to live in the new area?
      • It's summer, they aren't in school.................It's perfectly reasonable for the secondary breadwinner to follow the primary breadwinner.
        You aren't being as clever as you think. "Pulling children out of school" means making them leave friends at their current school, which will be the case regardless of whether it's summer or not. Furthermore, we have no evidence that the author IS the primary breadwinner.
      • Re:Move? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by nighty5 (615965)
        On your new salary, can you afford to live in the new area?

        Exactly.

        I bought a place within 30 minutes walk to my office in Sydney because I was sick to death of relying on a woeful public transport system we have.

        I also sold my car, and get taxi's everywhere. Walk to the shopping centre. I'm fitter for it and its actually saved me time and money.
        • Do you have any idea how much a 2-way flight every week costs? Unless this guy has a family of 8, cost of living isn't likely to come into it.
    • Agreed. Don't think of it from your side. Your wife is going to be sleeping alone several nights every week plus taking care of the house (and family?) during that time. Spending a lot of time away can ruin a marriage. Taveling one week a month for work would be a lot less stressful on your marriage.
    • Re:Move? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RedWizzard (192002) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @02:56AM (#15419329)
      You're assuming a consistent destination. What if they are asking for the submitter to travel to different offices around the world?
    • There are a number of places where you can't take your family. The United States Air Force's operating location near Groom Lake [wikipedia.org] is one.

      An oil rig is another.

      You could actually move to Kodiak Island [wikipedia.org], but the kids would get eaten [wikipedia.org].

    • If you communicate and your spouse really understands how much this job means, then she will move. Not sure why you're asking Slashdot instead of discussing this with your wife...
    • Re:Move? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tverbeek (457094)
      My sister's family has tried it both ways. They moved to another state when he got a great job, but they really wanted to live here, so he found another job and brought the family back "home". When that job didn't work out, he took another job out of state, but this time he commutes: driving there once a week, working for a few days, then driving home for a few days and working at home.

      It works for them. Part of the reason is that their kids are old enough that being a "single parent" a few days a week

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 27, 2006 @09:32PM (#15418415)
    Why are you asking me? I'm not your wife/husband. They're the only other person who could tell you if this job would wreck your family.
  • by AuMatar (183847) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @09:33PM (#15418416)
    Maybe its because I put a high value on my family, but I would never take a job that required me to be away from them with such regularity. You're talking about missing a quarter or more of their lives. No amount of money is worth that.
    • Newsflash (Score:3, Insightful)

      by babbling (952366)
      People lose more than half of their lives (along with time that could be spent with family/friends) by working full-time jobs. This is how most people have chosen to live their lives.
      • This is how most people have chosen to live their lives.

        Chosen? F*** that, man, if you wanna live a comfortable life, you got no choice. Work sucks, and everybody knows it, but there aren't any other options for most people.
    • by grammar fascist (239789) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @11:42PM (#15418846) Homepage
      You're talking about missing a quarter or more of their lives. No amount of money is worth that.

      Seconded, thirded, fourthed, and fifthed. I have a wife and three kids, and they're voting too. :)

      Just yesterday, I came home from work and my little 13-month-old held her hands up and said "YAY!" for the first time. I wouldn't want to miss anything like that.
    • > Maybe its because I put a high value on my family, but I would never take a job that required me to be away
      > from them with such regularity. You're talking about missing a quarter or more of their lives. No amount of money is worth that.

      That's fair - but what about the value to a family of living in a good community? If you have strong attachments to a positive local friend & family network, you're well-interated with the schools, churches, etc...

      Then moving to chase a job can be worse than bei
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 27, 2006 @09:39PM (#15418432)
    I have a better idea. Clone yourself. Did you see Multiplicity [imdb.com]? Michael Keaton was, as usual, hilarious, but more importantly, he had the right idea. One of you can go to work, one of you can take care of the kids, one of you can have sex with your wife, etc. I'll let you figure it out amongst yourself who gets to do what, but I believe this is the solution you're looking for.
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @09:42PM (#15418442) Journal
    As usual, the answer depends on a few things.

    The most important one, I think, has to do with what stage your marriage/family is at. If the kid(s) is/are young, don't do it.

    Assuming your family situation/schedule is such that you can dissappear two or three days a week without seriously screwing things up, your wife is the next factor.

    Even if your wife is currently "okay" with the idea, it might not last. Her family history is extremely relevant to this discussion. All kinds of psychological issues might crop up while/because you're gone.

    Marriage counseling is a smart move, no matter what you decide.

    If you go ahead with the job, you need to figure out, in advance, what problems you might have and how to deal with them. If you don't take the job, make sure you aren't going to resent the fact that your wife had some role in keeping you from it.

    The alternative, if the kids are young, is to move.
  • Depends (Score:3, Insightful)

    by reldruH (956292) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @09:43PM (#15418445) Journal
    There's no golden rule. What works for somebody else might be perfect for you or the worst possible thing you could do. The most important thing is to be honest and open and trust your wife to be the same. Talk it over with her and come to some kind of understanding. The worst thing would be having to sit down again six months later and one of you say something like 'I thought I could handle it, so I didn't say anything before, but I really didn't want you to take this job.' That's when you're in trouble. Also, be open to change. You might think you'll be OK and find out a few months in that you're not or vice-versa. Be open and honest and you have a better than average chance of things working out.
  • by geminidomino (614729) * on Saturday May 27, 2006 @09:46PM (#15418458) Journal
    Honestly, if moving isn't an option (as it may well not be), slashdotters aren't the ones you should be asking. You really should talk about it with your wife.
    • Err... yes, and no.

      I'm guessing wife is supportive. However, he's probably double checking (seeking advice) to make sure that his default opininon of, "Yes, its a good idea", and his wife's default opinion of, "Yes, I love him, I can make it work," are pratical.

      If his wife was 86'ing the idea, I'm guessing he wouldn't bother asking Slashdot ;-)
    • by jamesh (87723)
      When you have a difficult decision to make, it is important to ask as many people as possible what they think you should do. One of them is sure to tell you to do what it is you actually want to do anyway :)

      As for moving, it may be that you don't want your family living near a place where rockets are tested, or maybe the place of work is a long way away from populated area's for exactly this reason. Or maybe it's a secret government agency and he's actual flying to the far side of the moon twice a week.

      One
      • Then 20 different threads are started exploring the possible reasons why this might not be possible.

        Which is the entire point of Ask Slashdot: to exhaust the special cases so that each of us may learn about our own special case.

  • by sentientbrendan (316150) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @09:52PM (#15418478)
    when you say aerospace company, I bet that means you will be flying to different sites around the world, not a particular work spot. I think that most slashdotters are speaking from their experience where they've been asked to move where the company is, but that doesn't really apply here.

    I know one boeing engineer who flies to the middle east and africa on a regular basis to help with sales. He seems ok with it, but has drawn a firm line as regards how many hours he's willing to spend at work and how much time he's willing to spend overseas. I've been told he's refused promotions several times that would have required too much time out off his family life.

    My suggestion is that when you are in town, make sure you aren't working overtime, and that you get home to spend time with your family. I'd also explore the option of bringing your family along on vacations once in a while (I don't know how practical this is though...).

    If you still don't get enough time with your family, I suggest starting new families at the various locations you fly to. If you marry the right people you might even turn a profit and be able to quit your job and be a husband full time.
  • Do it. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by slashflood (697891) <flow@@@howflow...com> on Saturday May 27, 2006 @09:59PM (#15418500) Homepage Journal
    I can really speak from my own experience. Just do it. You don't have to keep the job until the end of your life. And it could be refreshing for your partnership as well.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    As a consultant, I have spent the past three weeks travelling and just spending three days and four nights with family. My advice: Don't do it. I'm starting to feel tired and away already and already longing to my previous not so exciting job. The job is nice, but having to miss the family turned out much more than we originally thought it would be. I can't even start to imagine how I would feel if my wife or one of the kids got sick. Hopefully I would find a job that doesn't require travel before then.
  • It's Been Done (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TooOldEngineer (808047) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @10:00PM (#15418508)
    My boss from two jobs ago lived in FL, commuted to VA via plane, and rented a local apartment for what little weekday sleep he could get with his work hours. It worked for a year or so, before he took another job. It was obviously stressful, and I'm not sure that from what I saw that I would recommend that life to anyone. So much time gets absorbed with travel (and that was pre-9/11) that there wasn't time for a quality life wih this family when he was back home. OTOH, he made a large amount of money and was able to use the experience to get an even better subsequent job that didn't require such a hellish commute. As for me, I wouldn't do it. I'm quitting a job with a two hour commute in the DC area to become stay-at-home-dad for a while. We'll have to cut expenses, but I think it'll be worth it. Maybe I'll have a different view in a year, tho.
  • Not worth the risk (Score:5, Informative)

    by Shabbs (11692) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @10:03PM (#15418516)
    Dude... I've spent the last year and a half commuting to work via airplane. Flying out early Monday morning and coming home late Thursday night. Wicked opportunity, excellent client, lots of great experience. But it comes at a MASSIVE price. Recently married, trying to start a family - it weighed HEAVY on us. Took its toll and the ride has not been smooth. Looking back at it all now, I would NEVER have taken the chance after all that has happened. It's just not worth it man - family is number one. If you can move 'em with you and setup shop there, then do it. But otherwise, pass and find something local. Trust me. Jobs come and go but the love of your life does NOT and neither does your family.

    Cheers.
  • by SysKoll (48967) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @10:18PM (#15418569)
    Jobs come and go. A wife and kids... they're bloody hard to replace.

    I have a 3 hours/day commute (90 mins each way, sometimes it takes 2 hours to get there) and it's really eating into my productivity and my life. My advice: move to someplace closer, even if it's a smaller place, with your family.

    Then again, consider that aerospace isn't the most stable kind of carrer today. Right up with microelectronics for cycles. Boeing has a huge bad rap for mistreating its engineers nowadays. Where are you moving to? Chicago?

  • by kasparov (105041) * on Saturday May 27, 2006 @10:21PM (#15418577)
    I worked for a company that did a lot of remote network installs. 50% travel, i.e. we were typically gone every other work week (though often we could get done in 3/4 days). There were 20 of us in the department. 10 of us were married. I was there 1.5 years. 5 of us got divorced. In a 1.5 year time period. 5 of us (yes, me included).

    The problem is, if you don't take this opportunity there is a good chance that you will resent having to turn down an opportunity that you are really excited about. Resentment kills relationships--it has a tendency to fester over the years. If you take the job, your wife (if she is like our wives were) could resent that you are essentially choosing your job over her (no, you can not rationalize this away by saying you are doing it "for the both of you", if she feels this way, she will continue to feel this way despite your best efforts. Feelings are feelings, they don't have to fit themselves to any arguments you come up with). Or, you can move. There are chances for resentment here as well--it really depends on your situation. I would normally say that I would try to see if she offered to move, but this doesn't necessarily mean that there won't be resentment on her part later (remember the rule--feelings are feelings--the fact that she offered of her own free will has no bearing on the feelings she has days/months/years later).

    So, frankly, you are in a very difficult situation. What to do greatly depends on the personality traits of both you and your wife. Proceed carefully and discuss things in detail. Try not to make any life-altering decisions until finding out what all of both of your options are. Find out what she would be doing for a living if you both moved to the new town. Are there things that she would like to do there? How does moving there fit in with her personal life goals. Would it be a long-term move? What happens if she gets a great job offer several years later?

    Anyway, I would say be very careful about any situation that you will be away on a regular basis. Some people can handle it, but I would definitely say that they are the minority. Good luck, and I hope some of this helps.

    • I was there 1.5 years. 5 of us got divorced. In a 1.5 year time period. 5 of us (yes, me included).

      Of course, you have to consider that more than half of all marriages end in divorce, so it's hard to say if this is atypical or not.
      • More than half of marriages in the U.S. do not end in a 1.5 year period. Per capita, 0.37% of the U.S. [divorcereform.org] gets divorced each year. Out of 20 people in the department (married and unmarried) in 1.5 years 25% of us went through a divorce. That is well above the national average. If we were average, 0.555% of us would have divorced that year. or 0.111 of us. Even if this figure is skewed by being per capita across the entire population of the U.S. (i.e. no children, etc.), go ahead and multiply it by 10 so t
    • Parent is absolutely right. A friend of mine moved for a job opportunity a little over a year ago. The move put a lot of stress on his relationship with his wife, as she was feeling resentment and loneliness in the new town. It eventually caused their divorce. I could also say the same about a different friend at another job, who moved with his wife and child down for the job. Again, the move and new town caused stress in their relationship. They moved again a little while later, and they're still together,
  • by tropicflite (319208) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @10:25PM (#15418595)
    As an airline pilot I've been living is one city and commuting to another for many years. In my case, my wife knew when we got married that the job would involve me being away for days at a time and so that was part of the ground rules of the relationship. In your case, though, it's a substantial change.

    I can tell you, it's not only the fact that you're away for a days at a time... but the commute itself is just tiring. I've been lucky that my commutes have all been north - south, but my east - west commuter friends tell me that the time zone change makes a bad situation even worse. Also, the fact that after a hard week's work you know you still have an air commute home is something that wears you down. I probably don't have to tell your how aggravating airports are these days... security, weather delays, mechanical delays, etc. etc. You will be spending a lot of time waiting around at the airport, because flights don't just go when you want them to. You'll also spend a lot of time onboard planes even if the commute isn't very far because of various delays. On the plus side, you'll have plenty of time to get Linux running the way you like it on your laptop. On the minus side, you'll wind up leaving home and arriving back home at very early or late hours and there's a good chance you'll miss your kid singing in the school play, your anniversary, and the like.

    Having said all that, it's a rare privilege that people can live where they want and work where they want at the same time. There's compromise in every situation, and personally I prefer commuting once a week by air to sitting in car traffic twice a day. Also, depending on the type of relationship you have with your wife, you may find that a little 'breathing room' makes you appreciate each other more when you're together. You have a chance to miss each other a bit. When I get home from my trip each week, I get the celebrity reception from the whole family.

    Some wives are more the independent type, and others prefer the subordinate role. If your wife is comfortable making decisions and doesn't require your input for every little thing, then that's in your favor. In the end, though, you'll have to make sure you're both truly comfortable with the decision, because if you do it and she doesn't like it (even if she says it's ok), her resentment will start building up, which will create instability. YMMV. Good luck.
  • I was on a short term contract with a major oil company. It was work I kinda just fell into. I'd fly out sunday morning, spend two weeks working 12 hour days. On the weekends I didn't go home, I played tourist. I learned a lot, explored a lot and just about ruined a relationship. By the time I got done flying to and from the job site I was spending 36 hours at home every two weeks. After a year the job was moving to off shore platforms, the work was more dangerous, the time away would have been even lo
  • Can you survive? Of course.

    Will you survive? That's another question entirely.

    I'm not expecting a response, but is there any reason why you'd have to commute instead of moving? Is moving your family impossible? Did you just forget the obvious answer? :)

    To be honest, I can't offer any useful suggestions. Hell, I'm still in college - I haven't had a stable relationship yet, let alone marriage. All I know is that Slashdot isn't the place to turn to for help. You've got to talk to your family, and

  • Depends (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 27, 2006 @10:35PM (#15418625)
    I spent a winter working in the oilfield as a roughneck for some cash one winter ten years ago. I would spend 2-3 weeks working 12 hour days, 7 days a week, with 1 week off. Since travel came from my own time, I ended up with 5 days at home in a 3-4 week period. My wife hated it, and had I stayed much longer, she would have quit her job and come out to be with me. I'm a total homebody, so I was happy to quit once I had enough cash banked to last through til spring. I couldn't even imagine doing this today now that we have kids.

    On the other hand, my dad has worked in the oilfield for most of his life. All through my childhood, he worked different shifts, ranging from 2 weeks on / 1 off, to 5 weeks on / 5 weeks off. I survived. Sure, he missed both my brother's and my high school graduations, and lots of other things, but we would also spend a month each summer on vacation as a family, including an unforgettable 5 weeks in Europe when I turned 16. My parents have been married for over 37 years, and he's still doing that type of work. If anything, his schedule is even worse today.

    Of course, 2-3 nights isn't that big of a deal. I do that (and longer) on occasion as a consultant, but not every week, and less frequently now. My wife is a shift worker, and we'll see each other for maybe an hour in some 3 day stretches when she's on nights and I'm working days.

    Every person is different. My dad is fine with that type of work schedule, I wasn't. My mom was fine with that type of lifestyle, my wife isn't. My brother and I turned out okay, and while I wish my dad had been around more, I still feel that him spending his entire month home watching sports on TV was more of a problem than his work schedule. You won't know until you try, but just make sure you know what you'll give up if problems arise - preferably the new job. And be willing to compensate for it - focus on your family when you're at home, and save Slashdot for evenings when you're alone at work.

  • "commuter death" in google yields aprox 2M results. Don't do it man! long commutes can be DEADLY, no way you'll surive
  • 5-4-3 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crath (80215) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @10:58PM (#15418704) Homepage
    In the consulting industry (which is where I work), many of us regularly work what we call a 5-4-3 schedule: 5 days of work, 4 days at the client site, 3 nights away from home. We fly out on Monday AM, and return on Thursday PM; working Friday from home.

    This is very do-able, and needn't impact your family negatively. The trick is to stay in close touch when you're on the road, and to develop a routine. My family's routines are structured around the regular days I am away. I make sure that when I'm home I am really home; which means I don't get out much with my old friends in the neighbourhood... since I'm out during the week with my project team I'm not anxious to get out when I'm home.

    One last point: your spouse has to buy into this 100% before you commit to it.
  • We have been doing effectively this for a couple of years; I stay in a rented room close to work during the week and we see each other during the weekends (it's changing this month though). However, and that's the big one, we have no children and live in an apartment - running the household by yourself is thus no problem. With children and a house (and, I guess, a daily commute for your spouse as well) things are of course more difficult.

    If you can, yes, you probably should move. But beyond the important is

  • How old are you and how old is your marriage? Does your wife work? I assume that you have no kids.

    I say go for it if it is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. You may not get another one soon and if your current relationship cannot cope with you being away for a few days per week then there might be a problem there.

    If there are little kids involved it's a different story.
  • by Fished (574624) <amphigory&gmail,com> on Saturday May 27, 2006 @11:19PM (#15418780)
    I did this (four days at work, three days home every week) for about six months several years ago. I think that, for us, the separation probably strengthened our marriage by encouraging us to make the time together count. (And, yes, we had a lot of sex during those three days home.)

    However, I wouldn't even consider it now. Here are some factors to consider:

    1. Children. Do you have children? Do you want to have children? If so, then you need to think very carefully about how that's going to play out. Young children especially will grow very quickly if you don't have daily contact.
    2. Is this a permanent thing? After about six months of this, both my wife and I were ready for it to be over. I was able to make a telecommuting arrangement, but the nature of the work (computer systems troubleshooting) and the nature of the company (major, national company with 10's of thousands of employees) allowed that. What's your exit strategy?
    3. How stable is your marriage? While it was okay for us, when I worked (bi-vocationally) as a minister in a military town I saw way too many women who would fall into adultery when their husband was away for months at a time. And we won't even get into what soldiers in remote locations do. (Call me old-fashioned, but I happen to think that adultery is wrong on either side of the equation.)
    4. Can you handle it? It can get really lonely being away from home like that. You're not in the "remote" location often enough to form roots, and you're away from home often enough that friendships tend to be compromised. It's not just your wife, it's you too.
    I could probably list more, but the bottom line is that this is not (necessarily) the end of the world, but you definitely need to think hard about whether it's what you want in life. I would personally not advise it unless your marriage is stable, you trust your wife (i.e. you won't be concerned about her having outside relationships--which can be bad whether she's having them or not) and you have no small children. But it will have to be your call.
    • One more very important one. If you are going to be depending on health insurance offered by your employer, make sure it works at home. Often, HMO style plans really suck if you are not in the same area that they were purchased for. Call the company and make sure there won't be any surprises, and be aware that just because a company has the same name (e.g. United Healthcare) doesn't mean it's the same company in different states.

      Yes, I found this out the hard way and it cost me thousands.

  • by josepha48 (13953) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @11:31PM (#15418813) Journal
    I hated it! I saw my home enough to feed my fish, and do my laundry.

    But that is me.. I have heard that there are some people who enjoy that much travel. The last one that I knew was a Republican who was raised by a nanny and had no problems raising his kids by a nanny. Personally, I think that that kind of parenting is more like a sperm doner that pays child support.

    Having a family or someone at home and traveling that much, you have to ask yourself, ( IMHO ) do you have to travel to support your family? If the answer is no, then the question is, do you love you job more than your family and which is more important to you?

    Something to keep in mind though. If you invest in highspeed internet and some really good quality web cams ( Quickcams now have 1.3 Mpxl versions out ) you can do that much travelling and do video conferencing with your family when you are away.

    Just my feeling though

  • Don't be afraid to turn down a job, especially if it might not be a good fit for your family situation. In the end, your family will be much more important than your yearly salary.

    Just recently, I turned down a job because the schedule and commute would play havoc with my personal life. Although I was interested in the position, I wasn't willing to trade away my social freedom during this 1 year commitment. In the end, my gut said no and I moved on.


  • In consulting, it's not unusual to work four days on-site, then fly home on Thursday and work remotely on Friday.

    However, during crunch times, it's also not uncommonn to only go home every second weekend.
  • by SoupIsGood Food (1179) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @12:15AM (#15418927)
    I work 3rd shift on a "SSMTW" schedule for a Telecom/ISP Which Shall Remain Nameless. I will call it Tiswsrncom. I live in a fantastic community, a small New England town better known for its culture, comforts and conveniences than its proximity to anywhere you can make money for knowing what "ls -laF" does. So, I commute 45mins each way, 1.5 hours total daily, while speeding, to get to a job that's a long ways away from being close to real money.

    My S.O. is so totally not cool with this. For one, she wants me awake during the day on the weekends, especially long weekends. For another, she doesn't want to wake up from a nightmare to be greeted by an empty bed.

    But she and I both realize that it's not going to be forever. I'm working where I am to put a roof over our heads in a very nice part of a very nice town, at a rate that would put us in a rat-infested hovel closer to a majot city. She's going to law school (or, in other cases, might be raising a kid or two, a fully acceptable full-time occupation, be you dad or mom), and I'm working for crap money at a crap job I have to drive halfway to Outer Mongolia to be near.

    But here's the deal: in three years, I'll have either seniority or a new company paying me what I'm worth. My S.O. will be pulling down fast-track corporation money the closer she gets to her degree. This will mean a larger new house nearer to where she works, or where I work, or an enormous investment property right where we are, only I'll be there the whole weekend and all night as I go to day shift, and we'll enjoy our position.

    The key is this: your job is an investment in future happiness. If it will bring you wealth and security for the next 30 years, do it. Your wife will understand... she won't be happy, not at all, but if she understands, deep down, what you're doing is for her and not something you're doing to her, you'll be ok.

    If it will bring you strife, unhappiness, anguish and the misery of being alone, forever: go work for 7-11 and screw aerospace. The key is to explain how it will make the both of you deleriously happy for decades if you're unhappy, but mostly content, for a year or three.

    Also, more practically, I sold my '69 Cadillac convertible, and bought something Asian with a 100k mile warranty and 35mpg. Sacrifices must be made, and I couldn't make it with a gas-guzzling, unreliable V8 pickup or luxo-barge.

    SoupIsGood Food
  • I've actually had a completely wacked out schedule, sometimes working at home 5 days a week for a year straight, other times doing the ole' 5-4-3 for half a year or more. Its rare that I actually have a commutable assignment. Luckily I haven't had to fly for the 5-4-3 jobs (yet), but I was still away from home nonetheless. Those who pointed out the importance of your wife's situation speak from experience. My wife grew up as an "IBM daughter" and therefore knew her Mom as an "IBM wife". Now she's an IBM wif
  • I've been pursuing my PhD in Psychology for many years now, and the final piece for me was to take an internship for a year. Unfortunately, my plans fell through, and I ended up staying in California, where I ended up living with my significant other. Instead of me heading off on internship, she got accepted into graduate school, and I planned to move across the country to be with her. (I even turned down a 3-year contract job as a researcher, to follow her). Within a week of getting out there, however,
  • I did ~.5M miles/year the last few years in a row with wife and child, so I have a few thoughts on this. Just finished printing my boarding pass to Zurich tomorrow - missing out on a traditional three-day weekend here in the States - so yes, there is a dark side.

    Traveling can be really hard on the marriage. Don't underestimate this. Be sure that is in solid ground first and foremost... We were married for about seven years before I became a road warrior, which helped some. It still was not easy. Due to my heavy travel, she ended up switching to a stay home Mom. (So much for having our cake and eating it too on the financial side. A few things help.)
    • When I'm not on the road, I work from home.
    • Massive investment on communication equipment. Unlimited cell plans, skype, sms, blackberries - all used every day.
    • She (and the child) gets my miles. Even flying from Minneapolis to New Delhi, I save my points to fly my Bride and little one whenever I can. Harder since my child is now in school, but much better spent to fly them then upgrade me.
    • Figure out the angles on points for hotel, airline, etc. My Bride gets to stay at a Marriot rather than her Mother-in-law on the holidays.
    • Fill up the gas tank every 3-4 weeks, as the airlines do most of the work
    • Oh ya, the money... Can't buy happiness, but beats being broke. (grin)

    Being willing to be a road warrior was a fast track in on the corporate side. It was fun to 'travel the world' the first six months, but the thrill wears off quickly. One hotel/restaurant/card table at a customer is the same as another. I kept my job, while others did not, so that is worth a fair bit of stability on the home front. Risk vs. rewards, I also made more than those who followed a track that got them home each night.

    Another thing to think about is staying in shape. Very easy to move into the plus sizes when you dine in a restaurant every night. The clean plate club is not a good idea. Much more work than I ever thought it would be.

    I try to strike a balance these days. A few weeks of heavy travel, followed by a couple of weeks close to home.
  • Several years ago, I lived in Burbank CA and worked in Phoenix, AZ. I flew from the Burbank airport (10 minute taxi from home) to the Phoneix airport (57 minute flight) then went to the office (10 minute taxi ride). About a 90 minute trip each way with lines (pre-911 security). I took this trip several times a week, only staying overnight 1 or 2 nights for work. I worked 7 days a week.

    It's fun, and if your spouse wants to travel (and your family situation allows it), you get many miles. In my case, I
  • My wife's office is 200 miles away from home, 4 hours by train, and with other business travel it works out at 2-4 nights each week away from home (she does a lot of work from home on the other days). We've been doing this for nearly 3 years now, since our children were 8 and 4. I'm in the happy position of being the director of a small consultancy firm, which means I can set my own hours. Also my office is about 10 minutes bike ride from home, and school is even closer. So I get the children up and out
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder. It is not like you will be away for long periods.

    Offcourse it all depends on your relationship and both your personality. Can you deal with being alone. Some people actually prefer this lifestyle.

    Basically is she willing/can she run the house on her own. Are you willing to let her do that. You will become far more of a guest in your own house if you are away half the time.

    What can really bum people out is maintenance of all kinds. You will only be home on your days of

  • ...this story has impeccable timing for me. Last week I was contacted by a recruiter from a big-name company that I would *really* like to work for, but working for them would require relocating, which is not an option at the moment -- my wife can't leave this place because she's working on a PhD at the local university. The other option would be to go there by air every week (it's a 1.5 hour flight, plus another 1.5 hours of travel), which is doable but which would mean I'd be away from home for most of th
  • I was at a startup with half of my group flew (or drove in) from south calif. to north each week. usually they'd stay in temp housing or apartments that were setup for 'commuters' like that. this was back just before the fall of the dot comms and we were a telecom company with 'big plans'. the stock was held in front of us and dangled there as a motivation. that was the sole reason why these guys left their families and stayed away from home for a week at a time, going home only for weekends. I think t
  • You've got to weigh your options... A lot of people have made excellent points, but I wanted to mention a few other things.

    * Do you have family or close friends in the area? If something happens, is your wife going to be on her own, or will she have support?

    * Who's paying for the commute? Are you paying out-of-pocket and getting reimbursed, or do you just show up and get flown off? If you're getting reimbursed... well, everyone's heard the horror stories.

    * Will you be getting a security clearance out of the
  • by Cthefuture (665326) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @10:22AM (#15420329)
    Seriously, these types of jobs are for single people not people with families. Don't do it.

    If you have a family that should come first. No job is worth destroying that.
  • We all have different tolerance levels for this sort of thing. I probably wouldn't have done it six months ago, and right now I *know* I wouldn't do what you're describing. Not quite six months ago I took a job that required about a two hour commute each way (by road...I never would have dreamed to do such a thing by air!). I figured I could handle it every day, and be home to see the wife every night. She agreed, and was behind me 100%. Within a week, I was looking for a place to stay in the town wher
  • Right now, I'm on an out-of-state contract. Money was tight, or I'd never have taken it. It ain't no fun to live in a bloody motel room except for a three-day weekend ever other week.

    If you might wind up moving, or the opportunity is so good, because it will lead to something in the near term (within a year or so). Otherwise, pass.

              mark
  • I left a job with about the same amount of travel you talk about when I was relatively early (five years or so) into my marriage - we simply couldn't cope with being apart that much.

    Now, 16 years into it, I travel even more than that long-ago job required and, although we don't love it, we're at peace with it because we've got more shared history and shared stability together. So I guess I'd give you a classic consultant answer and say "it depends."

    My disclaimer: We didn't have kids. There's no real way to make that much travel work with kids unless you make your peace with being the de facto equivalent of a divorced couple with visitation rights.

  • I did this... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Yonder Way (603108) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @03:10PM (#15421319)
    ...and while the money was good, I deeply regret the year I spent so far away from my wife and newbord first child. I was home, but three nights a week I was on the other side of the state on a lucrative consulting gig.

    So while I only worked a few days a week, making more money than I would at a full time job close to home, I missed that precious time full of firsts with my daughter. I will never get that time back again. It was an even bigger waste than going to see Star Wars Episode I in the theater, only stretched out over a year instead of just a couple of hours.

    And no, moving wasn't a viable option. This was just a consulting gig and could have ended after two weeks or two months. And there was no other work to be had in that part of the state.

    So now I've learned to do more with less, pass up jobs that sound good financially if I feel they will put an undue burden on my primary responsibilities (i.e. to my growing family), and I'm now happily working at a job that pays poorly only 7 miles from my home (but has other less tangible rewards).

Gosh that takes me back... or is it forward? That's the trouble with time travel, you never can tell." -- Doctor Who, "Androids of Tara"

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