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Can You Survive Long Commutes?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | 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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I've got a wild idea for you... (4, Insightful)

shadwwulf (145057) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418403)


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..


Re:I've got a wild idea for you... (4, Funny)

pjay_dml (710053) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418467)

"Nice people exist called real estate agents..."

You're joking, right?

Re:I've got a wild idea for you... (1)

shadwwulf (145057) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418481)


Re:I've got a wild idea for you... (4, Funny)

John_Booty (149925) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418566)

Were you kidding about the "nice" part or the "people" part?

Re:I've got a wild idea for you... (3, Funny)

shadwwulf (145057) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418767)

All of the above

Re:I've got a wild idea for you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15418520)

They're nice as long as there's a big fat commission in it for them.

Real estate agents are people? n/m (1)

oSand (880494) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418976)

Quick brown fox

Re:I've got a wild idea for you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15418940)

It is plainly obvious that this job is at Area 51. They only house aliens and military personnel there. Everyone else flies in.

Re:I've got a wild idea for you... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15419087)


And how does one save up for that?

Pretty much any place in the country has the same services you have where you live.

O rly? Some cities have bus or underground rail service 7 days a week. Other cities (such as Fort Wayne, IN) have no public transportation at all between 1800 Saturday and 0600 Monday.

Re:I've got a wild idea for you... (1)

damiam (409504) | more than 8 years ago | (#15419243)

If this guy is gonna be flying to work, I doubt he's too worried about missing out on public transport. And if you can afford a round-trip plane ticket every week, then you can afford a mortgage.

Re:I've got a wild idea for you... (2, Funny)

jericho4.0 (565125) | more than 8 years ago | (#15419136)

I'll second the opinion given above that this person is talking about Area 51.

Re:I've got a wild idea for you... (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 8 years ago | (#15419211)

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. Some places just have Walmart.

Some places have decent schools, some places have glorified crack houses and Intelligent Design.

Some places have decent laws, some places have the death sentence and anti-alcohol laws.

You're trying to make light of a really serious issue here.

Re:I've got a wild idea for you... (3, Interesting)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 8 years ago | (#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...

Move? (1)

Lacit (909742) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418406)

Can't you move? Maybe we need more details

"have to fly to work" (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418473)

That sounds an awful lot like Area 51. Supposedly the airplanes don't have windows.

So no, he can't move there.

Re:"have to fly to work" (1)

silvwolf (103567) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418854)

Ahhh! That was exactly what I was thinking when I read the OP's question, and was wondering why no one thought of it as I read the comments.. And yours was the very last one on my page! It does sound like some sort of government deal where families are not welcome..

Move? (4, Insightful)

numbski (515011) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418407)

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.

Re:Move? (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418462)

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?

Re:Move? (1)

246o1 (914193) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418491)

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? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418542)

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

Not necessarily: (1) Moving is a major inconvenience; and (2) Whose to say one of the breadwinners' careers and interests are more important?

Having to fly on the commute is a really big negative. If you move, will the "secondary breadwinner" be able to find a new job at your new location? How will the cost of living differ?

Even if the new job gives significantly more pay, the net effect could be a loss: by moving you take a substantial risk, by taking the long commute you take a substantial loss (time with family), which would normally seem unacceptable.

Re:Move? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15418548)

we have no evidence that the author IS the primary breadwinner.

there is plenty of evidence, the company is willing to pay for him to fly or he can afford to fly to his work. That happens to less than 1% of people in the world. The chances of his wife making more are slim to none.

Check those gender assumptions (1)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418807)

we have no evidence that the author IS the primary breadwinner.

there is plenty of evidence, the company is willing to pay for him to fly or he can afford to fly to his work. That happens to less than 1% of people in the world. The chances of his wife making more are slim to none.

We don't have any evidence that the author is male, either.


Re:Check those gender assumptions (1)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418831)

We don't have any evidence that the author is male, either.

We have a prior belief based on the general population of Slashdot that looks something like this:

Male: 0.99
Female: 0.01

Is it so un-PC to make reasonable assumptions backed up with strong evidence?

Re:Check those gender assumptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15418843)

This is still slashdot, right?

Re:Check those gender assumptions (1)

toddestan (632714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15419088)

We don't have any evidence that the author is male, either.

Furthermore, we are assuming that their family has two breadwinners and not just one.

"I am a worst case, you insensitive clod!" (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15419097)

Furthermore, we are assuming that their family has two breadwinners and not just one.

This assumption is warranted, as while hoping for the best we still have to plan for the worst for the sake of discussion.

Re:Move? (1, Interesting)

nighty5 (615965) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418492)

On your new salary, can you afford to live in the new area?


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.

Re:Move? (1)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418636)

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? (4, Interesting)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 8 years ago | (#15419329)

You're assuming a consistent destination. What if they are asking for the submitter to travel to different offices around the world?

I'm not the one you should ask ... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:I'm not the one you should ask ... (0)

secolactico (519805) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418531)

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.

Wow. You trolled and got a +4 insisghful. Read the blurb. He isn't asking wether he should or not. He is asking for people with similar experiences to come forward and share their stories. I'm guessing to figure out "gotchas" that might not be evident now.

Re:I'm not the one you should ask ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15418570)

Don't talk nonsense. If anybody is qualified to give marriage advice, it's Slashdot readers.

Re:I'm not the one you should ask ... (0)

bar-agent (698856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15419283)

If anybody is qualified to give marriage advice, it's Slashdot readers.

Mod up insightful! Since Slashdotters aren't married, we actually make the perfect impartial observers -- always good people to get advice from.

Re:I'm not the one you should ask ... (1)

Hydryad (935968) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418859)

To be honest, it really is only your family who can really decide. But I highly, HIGHLY suggest that if you move.. make sure that you don't hire someone who will bend a $100 craftsman handsaw in FREAKING HALF to fit it in a box. (Not that it ever happened to me.. no, not at all.)

Move or look elsewhere (5, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#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 (2, Insightful)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418430)

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.

Re:Newsflash (1)

glassjaw rocks (793596) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418904)

So I guess homeless people have it all..?

Re:Newsflash (1)

bar-agent (698856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15419277)

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.

Re:Move or look elsewhere (4, Insightful)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418846)

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.

Flying to work 'appropriate' for an aerospace job? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15418431)

What are you? A fucking idiot? And why the fuck are you asking slashdot to give you advice on a decision like this? "Hmmmmm.... this +5 insightful says move, but this +5 interesting says this and this +5 informative says that... This -1 troll says I'm an idiot, which I'm obviously not, because why else would it be -1 troll. Any, so there is this +4 insightful post. Now I know it's only a 4, but it is really hitting a chord with me. But it's only a 4.... WHAT EVER WILL I DO?????" Is that your thought process?

Re:Flying to work 'appropriate' for an aerospace j (2, Insightful)

mnemonic_ (164550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418530)

I'll probably get modded down like the parent, but the parent has a point. It's absolute madness to consult a bunch of random geeks on the internet about this. Your question doesn't relate to open source software or emerging technology; it's not news for nerds or anything for nerds. And I have a point too: what someone says is far more important than how he says it.

Re:Flying to work 'appropriate' for an aerospace j (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15418863)

1) Parent says that the moderation system is inconsistent and does not neccessarily bring forth good advice, therefore it's not a good way to get advice on such an important issue.

2) Parent gets modded down.

3) Poster agrees with parent post.

4) Poster gets modded up.


Re:Flying to work 'appropriate' for an aerospace j (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15419042)

"It's absolute madness to consult a bunch of random geeks on the internet about this. Your question doesn't relate to open source software or emerging technology; it's not news for nerds or anything for nerds."

OSS and emerging technology? The guy was probably looking for the words of wisdom from somebody who's gone and done something like this. Considering how big Slashdot is and considering the field he's in, the odds are pretty darned good that somebody who has actually done this would be able to respond. Slashdot's the perfect place for him to ask this question despite how 'obvious' it is to everybody else. I've worked with two or three people that have done exactly what this guy is describing. It's a pity I'm no longer in touch with them because I'm sure they'd have something more useful to say than "Derr der err fuh fuh fuh."

A lot of people are suggesting you move, but... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15418432)

I have a better idea. Clone yourself. Did you see Multiplicity [] ? 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.

ahahaha holy shit (1)

mnemonic_ (164550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418563)

This is one of the funniest posts I've read on Slashdot in a long time, and a nice break from lame "geek humor." Jesus fuck people, lighten up. The mods must be crazy.

Homer Simpson did this too! (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418581)

Homer did this in one of the Halloween episodes [] .

Re:A lot of people are suggesting you move, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15418816)

She touched my peppy, Steve.

Lots of people spend time away from home. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15418437)

There are many professions where people spend extended periods away from home. If you're only spending a few days a time away from home, my reaction is "Not so bad". Having said that, it seems like getting off the road can be hard. I used to spend months away from home and it took years and two steps backward in pay before I was able to get a job that I liked and that got me home every evening.

My advice: If it's your dream job, take it. It's not that hard to work around the details.

Speaking as a child of a father in "aerospace" (3, Insightful)

sterno (16320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15419128)

My dad was a commercial airline pilot. This meant that he was home for a few days a week and then would be gone for a few days at a time. Provided that it's a fairly predictable few days a week rather than a situation where you end up spending weeks away, it's not too bad. Besides, you'll have airline miles out the wazoo when you want to take the kids to Disney :)

Where you get into trouble is when you become a road warrior where you fly home on saturday and then fly out on sunday night or monday morning. If you live that kind of life, you're probably better off just filing for divorce in advance. I've known people who have tried to live that life where their home is an airline gate. It rarely works out.

The Answer: Depends (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418442)

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 (2, Insightful)

reldruH (956292) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418445)

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.

Don't ask slashdot. (4, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418458)

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.

Re:Don't ask slashdot. (4, Insightful)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418561)

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 ;-)

Re:Don't ask slashdot. (2, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418676)

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 of my pet peeves is 'ask slashdot' articles with an obvious answer ('move closer to work' in this case), where they don't say why this isn't a possibility. Then 20 different threads are started exploring the possible reasons why this might not be possible.

The point of Ask Slashdot (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15419104)

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.

Flying JANE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15418468)

Sounds like someone's flying those unmarked planes from JANE to Groom Lake....

Screw em! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15418475)

Hey, who cares about the wife and kids?

Odds are you won't be with them 10 years from now, so don't worry about it.

Re:Screw em! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15419106)

Bitter much?

some people have suggested moving but... (5, Insightful)

sentientbrendan (316150) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:some people have suggested moving but... (1)

talkingpaperclip (952112) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418592)

He could always just move every week or so when his work location changes.

Do it. (2, Interesting)

slashflood (697891) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418500)

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.

I have just taken a job like this (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15418505)

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.

Mod parent up (0, Offtopic)

mnemonic_ (164550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418537)

AC has firsthand experience, unlike every other responder to the question. His opinion is the only informed one. The other comments are like Katie Couric talking about linux.

It's Been Done (3, Interesting)

TooOldEngineer (808047) | more than 8 years ago | (#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 (5, Informative)

Shabbs (11692) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.


My advice (-1, Troll)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418539)

My advice? Ditch the wife and kids, take the job and move. They'll find someone else to take care of them...

Don't stay away from your family (2, Insightful)

SysKoll (48967) | more than 8 years ago | (#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?

Re:Don't stay away from your family (0)

bar-agent (698856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15419288)

A wife and kids... they're bloody hard to replace.

What are you talking about? You can get 'em mail-order, for Pete's sake!

Let me give you some statistics from a job I had (5, Insightful)

kasparov (105041) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.


repruhsent (672799) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418841)

They obviously know something about relationships. Anyone who disagrees is a dolt.

ouch (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418580)

i am semi retired, but i still enjoy working part time for fun and profit. i work with a friend of mine that does finish/trim carpentry about 80 miles away and i can not affored to drive it everyday, so i boing an army cot & etc. and and camp out in one of the unfinished apartments (with plumbing & electric). drive up on a monday morning and back home thursday evening - four days on three days off.

As long as you both know what you're getting into (5, Insightful)

tropicflite (319208) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Short Term Contract (2, Insightful)

gremlin_591002 (548935) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418606)

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 longer. I called a meeting with my contract manager and said, "This work is going to last at least another year, if you commit to 12 months of employment, I'll move my family, no more expensive plane flights, no more scary cell phone bills." He went to bat for me with his boss, in the end, they couldn't promise the contract length and I went home, got married, and had kids.

I've never looked back and I still keep in touch with my contacts in that company. Moving is a very real option unless you are doing site to site travel.

Consider non traditional work schedules, 3 weeks on, 1 off. Extended time is required to properly bond with your family. Big firms know this. They should also know that a stable family life makes for a more productive workier. At least twice a year, fly the family to you instead of flying home, it's an adventure and an educational tour all at once.

The simplest answer... (1)

Gothic_Walrus (692125) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418622)

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 that's the only option here.

Godspeed, man. Here's hoping that things work out for the best for you, however they do turn out.

Depends (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

whoa! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15418675)

dude, you just got an invite that is an excuse to own your own plane and get to deduct a lot of the expense! What's not to like?? *Plus* you get to get a motorcycle to keep at the airport to get ya to work! I mean, cool beans or what?? Bad weather days I guess you can take the pro version flying and cabs,or stay over, but other days use your own rides!

Can you survive long commutes? (2, Funny)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418698)

"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 (4, Insightful)

crath (80215) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418704)

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.

Re:5-4-3 (1)

Shabbs (11692) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418772)

Ahhh - the good old 5-4-3. It may work well over a short period of time, but an extensive absence exposes the flaws of the system. You end up working longer (to make up for time you missed while travelling) and that comes at a high cost.

Interesting observation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15418718)

A lot of people have been saying "talk about it with your wife, she would know better than anyone here." Yet the author never said anything about being the husband in a marriage. Women can get offered jobs in aerospace too, these days. And even post on slashdot.

Anyway, most of the posts have been on-target. Discuss with the family, and see what options you have. If the job is at a fixed location, move closer rather than flying. Moving may not be an option, either because the location is not fixed, or because flying to work is actually a requirement (I know of a research lab somewhere out in the middle of the desert in SW USA, and everyone has to fly in, for security purposes; there are no roads to the facility).

As for pros and cons of taking the job, there isn't much that can be said here that you couldn't have imagined on your own anyway. You need to talk to the people who know most about the situation: your family, your potential employer, and yourself. Since all of them have a big stake in your remaining happy and having a good home life, the advice you will get from those sources is the best you can get. Strangers on the Internet will not have nearly the same insight.

Got Kids? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15418733)

If you have kids, then DON'T do this. Your children need daily support/discipline from you. Additionally your spouse needs your daily assistance with the kids and/or time away from the kids. HOWEVER, if you have no kids, and your spouse has family and/or social friends nearby, then I say take the job. HERE'S WHY: Your spouse needs time away from you, just like you need time away from your spouse. If you trust each other than time away from each other will make the time together much more valuable and endearing. PLUS: Your business travel will undoubtedly earn you frequent flier miles and hotel points, and both of those combine to equal very nice vacations for you and your spouse. Again, if you have no kids, take the job and then make sure that you and your spouse enjoy the perks.

Um, waaah? (0, Offtopic)

Kredal (566494) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418737)

Try joining the military, getting stationed at a remote assignment for a year, with one chance to fly home and spend some time with your family for a month. And then, once you get back to living stateside, you could be called to go to Iraq for 4 months at a time, with no chance of seeing your family at all until you're done there.

I would LOVE to be able to spend 3 nights a week at home.

Count your blessings.

Can be done (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418739)

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 issues of your spouses career and what moving will do for your total cost of living, you really do need to consider the possible downside: what happens if you lose your nice, high-paying job? If your spouse does not have a job at the new place, what would happen to your economy? If you need to borrow a large sum for a new home, what will happen with those payments? Is the area you move to filled with opportunities in your field so it's easy to find a new job, or do you need to budget for a possible second move if you lose this job?

Married guys need not apply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15418743)

Those 100% travel jobs are for single guys. You are not a single guy; this job is not for you. If you can't find a way to not travel then don't take the job.

If you find yourself constrained by your occupation then consider moving to an area where you can get a good job. If you have relatives you would like to stay near then find a niche in that industry that allows you to telecommute. If possible start your own business or switch careers entirely.

I could never understand why anyone would willingly subject themselves to a long term traveling position. I would say short term even for single guys. Long term only if your only other alternative is getting a new job and you are unable to quit.

I guess I could add that you could live "military style" and bring your unemployed wife with you if your company is willing to pay for her tickets on top of yours. I suppose that might work for childless couples whose children are already grown or do not anticipate to have children soon or possibly ever.

Fly to Work (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418753)

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.

It can go either way... (5, Insightful)

Fished (574624) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.


Fished (574624) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418788)

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.

Regular travel *always* sucks after 2 weeks (1)

cwcowell (443546) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418800)

Sure it's exciting at first, but trust me--regular air travel gets *really* old *really* quickly. I traveled a bit with my consulting firm, and I think the thrill lasted two weeks. Then for another two weeks it was tolerable. And from then on it was just miserable. Virtually all of my colleagues feel the same way. Throw in a wife, a pet, a kid, or a house that you're paying a lot of money for, and you're looking at a recipe for disaster.

10 months of 100% travel... (2, Insightful)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418813)

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

It really depends (1)

neehon (450013) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418840)

I started flying for my new consulting gig more than a year ago. One connection, at least 10 hours total travel time one way, or more, 17 once. There on Monday, back on Friday, still making 40 _working_ hours (travel time is not paid). It is very, very hard. Both personally and socially. Personally, vitamins and other supplements is a must. Without multivitamins, lots of C and ginseng, I truly feel I would be completely exausted by now. Socially, I have practically no time for friends, and not much for family. I have a girlfriend (together for close to two years) and two kids (teens), staying with my ex. They miss me a lot, as I do miss them. Call every day. I try to take kids every weekend, and while this helps to maintain relations, it adds another layer of pressure. I used to cook a lot (I like cooking), now have to order in, or go out or buy prepared food as much as possible. If you decide to do this, get as much rest as possible during the week. Forget nightlife, don't burn yourself with coffee. If there is a local office or telecommuting is an viable option, try to get an arrangement, when you spend only two or three days in the field. On the other hand, I see lots of familiar faces on the same flight. Many of the people are in their late forties and fifties, and are flying every week (or every other week) for several years. As far as I understand, most of them have grown up kids, and either no wife/stable girlfriend, or very long relationship, that cannot be hurt by travel. And I'm sure everybody is dreaming to retire ASAP (I know I do, and I'm in early 40s). So, as always, YMMV, ask yourself, ask your SO, and plan accordingly. I personally don't want to return to my previous job, mainly because of money, but I for sure keep thinking about other, less taxing opportunities.

Don't be afraid... (1)

masdog (794316) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418842)

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.

#no comment (1)

mmmiiikkkeee (930217) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418891)

//no comment

Common in consulting gigs (1)

SteeldrivingJon (842919) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418922)

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.

Happiness Rules All (2, Insightful)

SoupIsGood Food (1179) | more than 8 years ago | (#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

5-4-3 here, too.. (1)

LinuxHam (52232) | more than 8 years ago | (#15418966)

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 wife and has absolutely no trouble adjusting to dramatic schedule changes.

If you haven't done something like this before, get ready for a big change. If you have kids, get ready to pull your hair out and cry into some scotch at the hotel bar. We don't have kids yet, so we only had to adjust to the changes (and having 48 hours notice to pack for a trip to Europe -- commonly referred to as, "The Upside").

Here is my story... (1)

Mad_Rain (674268) | more than 8 years ago | (#15419031)

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, an internship position opened up at a place I wanted to work. Unfortunately, it was a 5-hour drive away. Which isn't horrific, it just means we end up doing what you're worried about doing - just seeing each other on the weekends. Although we were disappointed that it ended up that way, we both knew the sooner that I got that done, the better. So I'm off on internship now. Of course, now that my internship is almost done, I'm looking to move back to find a job in her state.

I suppose the lesson here is that although you might move the family together, you never know what will happen. All things to those who wait, yadda yadda.

A few thoughts from a road warrior... (2, Interesting)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 8 years ago | (#15419054)

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.

My 2 Cents; I actually do fly to work. (1)

Arctic Fox (105204) | more than 8 years ago | (#15419168)

Unlike many of the posters' suggestions, I don't have the option of moving to where I work.

I work in an oil field in a cold state (not hard to figure out) and I live outside of Philadelphia.

There's no place to live, outside of the camp here... and it's more of a dorm than a home.

I'm away for two weeks at time. However, when I'm home, it's 100% home time. No office to go to, no work to think about. Working 12 to 16 hour days for fourteen straight days was hard to adapt, but I can't imagine going back to a regular job now. It's too good. Especially the offtime. I literally have six months a year off. If you can get that kind of deal, definately go for it.

If you're working a 9 to 5'er, no way. That's crazy. But if your job is a 12 hour job or 7 days a week, etc. It's not that bad. I've been doing this for 7. Been married for the last four of them, and have a three year old daughter. It's not easy, but as far as my wife and daughter know, I've always been like this.

The number one tip would obviously be make sure your home time is your home time, and it should reflect on your commute & work hours.

Can You Survive Long Commutes? (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 8 years ago | (#15419190)

I didn't.

Think twice! (1)

C.A. Nony Mouse (860026) | more than 8 years ago | (#15419255)

I did the long-commute thing for a couple of years, with two nights a week away from my wife (two careers, different cities). Once our first son was born, we decided to consolidate. After talking it over, we decided that I would leave my job for a new opportunity. Whether this was a good long-term career move for me is debatable (my wife is still with the same employer, I've changed again), but I sure don't regret it.

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  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>