Jobs in big cities often have attractive salaries and room for advancement. What they often don’t have, however, is affordable housing. Some people deal with the housing costs or live in houses with roommates. Others choose to commute varying distances. The U.S. Census reports that the average commute for workers is 25.5 minutes. However, 8.1 percent of workers are stuck in their cars for an hour, and 600,000 people have commutes of 90 minutes or more. When you get a new job offer, you need to look at the pros and cons of relocating directly into the city or joining the so-called megacommuters.
The Overall Job Market
You want to look at the overall job market of an area before you drop everything and relocate. While your particular industry may be doing well, if the job market as a whole is languishing then you may end up in a city that isn’t investing in infrastructure and development. When you have an area that shows positive job growth, such as the 6.9 percent job growth in the Phoenix area, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that would bolster the case for relocation.
The Housing Market
Explore your housing options carefully before you decide to move directly into the big city. In many cases, housing is significantly cheaper when you go outside of the city, while still giving you a reasonable commute. That studio apartment in a sketchy part of downtown turns into a 2 bedroom house if you’re willing to venture outside of the city. Several websites can help you find apartments for rent in the right parts of town. Forbes also recommends asking your employer for relocation expenses. That helps take the sting out of relocation, especially if you’re moving long distances. If you are selling your old place, keep in mind that time of year can affect sales prices.
Public Transit and Carpooling
Cut down on the amount of wear and tear you put on your car by using public transit and carpooling options. Craigslist has a rideshare section that gives you leads on people wanting to share their drives into the city. You save on gas and car maintenance this way. If you have access to carpooling lanes, you also cut down your commute time significantly. Public transit isn’t typically an option if you’re living a far distance from the city, but if you’re on the outskirts it’s worth looking into.
Quality of Life
Don’t overlook what your quality of life is like with a long commute. If you have 8 hours a day at work, and another 2 hours stuck on your commute, you don’t have a great deal of extra time to work with when you get home. This leads to additional stress and strain in the household, particularly if you have a family. Balance your commute time with your day-to-day needs before you make a decision on where you want to relocate to for a new job.