Is having a long work commute such a bad thing?




If you would have asked me that question when gas prices were not only through the roof, but also through the cumulonimbus clouds (take that 8th grade science class!!), I would have likely had a much different response. But now that gas prices have subsided a bit (although it looks like they’re inching back up again), it’s easier to appreciate some of the benefits that go along with a long work commute.

A few mornings ago, I was speaking to one of my colleagues and he mentioned how much he missed being able to download after a long day at work during his commute home. And I know what he means. When I lived in North Carolina, I lived six miles from work. And as my ex-fiancé will attest, there were plenty of times when I came home from work all wound up because I didn’t have a chance to decompress.

For me, a longer drive means leaving the house before dawn. And luckily, I happen to pass a 24 hour Dunkin Donuts on my way into work. The coffee is great but I’ve also developed quite a fondness for their sour cream glazed donut…but we’ll worry about that if I get to the point where I need an intervention.


And then there’s the radio. There’s nothing like a good morning show (of which Pittsburgh has plenty), to start the day off right. And on the ride home, I catch up on local and national news and, or of course, Steeler football.

Sure traffic jams and bad weather can be a pain, but I’d like to think my coworkers, friends and family all benefit from my having a longer commute into work. I know I’m definitely less stressed when I get home after an intense day at the office.

Shawn Graham is Director of MBA Career Services at the University of Pittsburgh and author of Courting Your Career: Match Yourself with the Perfect Job (

About the author

Shawn Graham partners with small businesses to create, implement, and manage performance-driven marketing strategies. His knowledge base includes media relations, business development, customer engagement, web marketing, and strategic planning.