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Shall I accept a commute for a better paid job?

(24 Posts)
andy4 Thu 27-Nov-14 15:09:39

I am currently on £41k with my work being an easy 15-minute walk from home. I live in Milton Keynes and we own the house. Shall I accept a £65k job in London with travel costs paid as a bonus? The commute would involve a 20-minute bike ride to the train station, 35-45 minutes train and a 25 minutes walk from Euston station. I would only be doing this 4 days a week (with Friday left for the family). The travel expenses would be fully covered by the employer, but I would lose out on child benefit for two kids (-£140 per month). I would also face a £350 increase in childcare costs.

I like my current job, but the new one would be an opportunity to progress my career. Still, I am unclear whether the additional £500 net per month is enough to justify spending 40h extra commuting per month. I am worried about the potential impact on the family (spending less time with the kids). On the other hand, we live in a small 2-bed house (but love the area) and this difference might allow us to buy something bigger. Moving closer to London is not an option.

I wonder if anybody has a similar experience. Is the commute worth it?

MakeTeaNotWar Thu 27-Nov-14 15:14:48

Wow that sounds like an amazing opportunity. I commute 3 days a week to London, 1.5 hours each way. My season ticket costs £4200 and my employer doesn't cover it. My salary is about half of what you're being offered. So I would totally grab this. Can you say what you do (I'm curious) but don't reveal anything if it would out you!

WidowWadman Thu 27-Nov-14 15:19:25

Could you shorten your commute by taking a folding bike on the train to cut down the walking time?

Spindelina Thu 27-Nov-14 15:24:35

Could you do the bit in London by bike too? Would that make it faster?

How productive can you make the commute? (the bit on the train, and the bit cycling i.e. getting exercise)

What's the plan if there's an ill child?

FishWithABicycle Thu 27-Nov-14 15:33:04

I wouldn't, tbh. At £41k that's enough to be comfortable - maybe not wealthy, but you've got all the basics plus a few luxuries covered. When you get to the end of your life you aren't going to say - "oh I wish I'd spent a bit less time with my family and a bit more time working and commuting so we could have had a bigger house." But you might feel you missed out on valuable family time while sitting on a train.

InfinitySeven Thu 27-Nov-14 15:40:12

What would your hours be?

I do London to MK quite often and at peak times, the trains are so rammed that not everyone can get on. It is PACKED. I'm not talking not getting a seat - you need to be having a bloody good day for that to happen - but having enough room to stand.

I'd trial it at peak times, if I'm honest, because it's not fun, and it gets pretty rubbish doing it day after day.

andy4 Thu 27-Nov-14 16:29:35

Thanks for all the responses. I am in IT. I like the idea of a folding bike. Alternatively, I might be able to take a Boris bike at Euston station and shorten my journey by about 10 minutes.

I know how full the trains can get as I go to London about once in two weeks anyway. The idea is to wake up early, get on a train at 7 am (have a bit of extra sleep if seat is found), then return after peak at 7 pm (pray for a seat and read a book or do something enjoyable on the way back). Take care of the kids on Friday and rest with the family. My wife stays most of the time with kids (works two days a week), so would need some extra help. We currently swap with childcare, but will not put our children in a nursery, so need a nanny for a day.

I am considering going from either MKC (faster and better train, but further from home) or Bletchley (a bit slower train, but closer to home).

Spindelina Thu 27-Nov-14 17:12:40

Another question: how flexible is your day off? Could you have Wednesday off one week if that was when the school play was (i.e. with some notice), or if the nanny called in sick (no notice)?

andy4 Thu 27-Nov-14 21:13:16

I can select the day off and it wouldn't have to be the same one every week.

iamthenewgirl Thu 27-Nov-14 23:26:15

You're talking about going from 30 minutes of walking to a 3 hour (possibly longer) bike/train/walk commute. That will have a very big impact on your day. When you walk to work, you know exactly how long it will take you. When you travel by public transport it is in the lap of the dogs.

Difficult commutes are dull, frustrating and a complete waste of time. They certainly do not nourish the soul. So no, I wouldn't do it. My mental health and work/life balance are more important than money/status.

iamthenewgirl Thu 27-Nov-14 23:27:07

in the lap of the gods not dogs.... smile

TheTruffleHunter Thu 27-Nov-14 23:40:03

That does sound pretty good. Especially if it opens up future career progression. As you say that extra c£84k mortgage would go a long way and if you still have the flexibility of moving your day off it's a no-brainer surely? Sometimes it's nice to have a commute to separate work & home too, (if you get a seat)

What's your gut feel?

BackforGood Thu 27-Nov-14 23:47:06

Personally I don't think I would, but I have to say, it does sound like a very good deal if you had to.
If you were unemployed, or in a job you hated, or really poorly paid in your current job, then I'd say 'go for it', but as you are doing fine, enjoying it, and having a calm 15min walk to work now, I'd not swap that, myself.

For me, I wouldn't like not seeing the dc for 4 days a week.

What would happen when it snows / a strike / someone jumps onto the line / wrong leaves on the line / etc.,etc. ?

dh used to cycle to work - he gave up in the end because it's just horrible to arrive for the start of the day all wet, and muddy from the splashed up water.

LePetitPrince Thu 27-Nov-14 23:53:02

Yes I would take this job. As you have a partner who is local and doing less hours, I would do this for a year. IT jobs pay well in London so then I'd look out for an even better paid job.

This is the start of great possibilities - go for it!

antimatter Thu 27-Nov-14 23:57:22

the new one would be an opportunity to progress my career

this in IT is v.important
if you aren't learning new stuff and progressing, you are making yourself sensitive to changes ahead

I would take the job, as we all do in 12 months time - re-evaluate and decide what to do next

for now - save the money, don't make big jump for new mortgage until you know you are going to be able to keep this pace.

btw - my commute is up to 2.5/2.45 a day, I am lone parent and don't earn 65, but more than 41 grin and have to pay for my petrol

how old are your kids?

RandomFriend Fri 28-Nov-14 00:03:38

The salary (and possibly the job) is much better than your current one, and working in London will expose you to different and better career opportunities. However, I am not sure the commute is worth it. A 15-minute walk to work is a lifestyle luxury that is worth quite a lot.

Are you super organised? Commuting works best for people who are very organised. How old are you and how old are your children? Do you have good childcare arrangements in place? What happens when the trains are delayed?

Could you work out a deal with your current employer for unpaid leave with a return ticket if you find out that you don't like the commute?

LuannDelaney Fri 28-Nov-14 00:10:28

Could you live with yourself if you don't progress yourself further? If you accept this job could you go back? If you don't, could you go forwards?

AliMonkey Fri 28-Nov-14 00:14:13

Having moved jobs to swap a 1.5 hour commute for a 10 minute walk I would say don't do it. My quality of life has improved massively and whilst the children are still booked into the same amount of childcare on the 3dpw I work, I can regularly pick them up early, am no longer stressing if we leave the house later than planned and can attend most school events and meetings. But then my DH is in a long hours job (well paid) whereas your wife can be there more. And my job was for same money (but no commute costs so better off). At time I actually felt I was reducing my career prospects but actually I was just changing direction and am now better positioned to progress further.

Being out of house for 12 hours and barely seeing the kids 4 days a week is no fun though as my DH would tell you - but then you do have 1dpw with them which he doesn't.

So might be right for you but wouldn't be for me. Also depends on what alternatives might be if you tried it and didn't want to continue - could you return to old job or other local job?

kevincan70 Fri 28-Nov-14 00:14:21

Im in exactly the same situation. I currently earn 49,000 I walk to work and I've done it for so long I can do it on my head. I get 48 days off a year also. Currently im off with stress? I know, my friends have high pressure jobs and juggle family and relationships and tell me "your so lucky"! The stress is real, I need to do something worthwhile. Dilemma is if I take the leap will I regret it?

AMinorBird Sat 29-Nov-14 07:18:23

I had a similar opportunity but turned it down. Life is too short. £41k is a good salary especially if it's the second income. If you earn more money, you are likely to fritter away more on things that don't really add value to your life. I would stay put but maybe keep an eye out for another opportunity locally.

Squeegle Sat 29-Nov-14 07:23:15

Personally I wouldn't. Not for the money. That will get eaten up in fares and parking, London life etc.

If there will be a lot more opportunity professionally then maybe? But don't forget about all that time travelling, it's a real drag. Makes you feel part of the ratrace every day.

I'm in herts, my life has improved immeasurably since found a job I can drive to and don't have to go on the train to London.

andy4 Sat 29-Nov-14 21:37:07

@AMinorBird It's not the second income, but the first main income as my wife works just two days (we don't want to put our children in nursery) and we currently swap childcare (I have flexible hours).

@Squeegle The travel costs would be fully paid by the employer, so no additional fares, parking, etc.

TinyWishes Thu 04-Dec-14 10:12:04

Just to add my spin.

I left a 29k London job for a 22k local job and it's the best thing I ever did. In theory your commute is manageable. Add on those delays, traffic, signal problems, cancelled trains, smelly commuters, no seats, it just wasn't worth it for me. I also suffered heavily from stress and was signed off whilst I handed in my notice.

The extra £500 which you will spend on crap wont be worth it. Unless you urgently needed the money then yes go for it.

Wouldn't you go into a higher tax bracket?

Eastpoint Thu 04-Dec-14 10:17:13

Is your current job sufficiently stimulating? Will you thrive on being in a more dynamic environment? Are you at the top of the ladder in your present position? In your situation I would go for it (I've moved overseas twice for work & get bored).

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