I live around 30km away from the capital i.e. where my work is located. Given the fact that most of the offices are in the capital, it takes me around an hour and a half to reach the office, my work starts at 8:00, so I usually leave at the house at 6:45am and reach the office a couple of minutes after 8:00am.
Being a person that hates wasting time, I decided to leave my house at 6:15am. This means waking up at 5:45am. Since this is a very early time, I can make it to the office in a max of 40 minutes; add to that a 10 minute walk from the parking, this means that I usually reach the office at 7:00am.
Well, that’s a good idea; I can use that hour to finalize some pending work, or simply to relax read my newspaper.
By 8:00am, when most people are coming to the office, I would be fully awake and in the first quarter of my day, having been awake for more than 2 hours now.
As opposed to my situation, I have some colleagues that already live in the capital and walk 10 minutes to reach the office, oven come by bicycle. This means that they can wake up sometime around 7:30am thus resting for 1 hour and 45 minutes more than I do.
In the afternoon, we all leave the office at 4:30. While it takes me 10 minutes to reach my car, it takes some of my colleagues a little bit more to reach their house, and start the other half of their normal day.
As for me, I get stuck for an hour and a half in the traffic. By the time I reach my house, its 6:00pm.
I have no energy for I have been awake and on the run for 12 hours now. In addition, I am so exhausted from all the crazy drivers and the unpredictable roads; I barely can regenerate energy for the next day.
Let’s do some calculations:
Let’s consider 2.5 hours wasted per day times 5 days a week, I get a total of 12.5 hours lost per week.
12.5 hours times 52 weeks (average weeks per year), we get 650 hours.
650 hours divided by 24(which is the number of hours a day), we get a total of 27 days (rounded from 27.08).
So every year I and the other million employees that drive to the capital every day lose 27 days on the road, not to mention holidays, and special occasions.
I will not continue with how long will this take in my whole career time, but 27 days lost on the road are too much. Not to mention, the energy I lose, and the opportunity of having a calm and smooth life after work.
Remember we work to live, not live to work.
Looking at that situation, and comparing it with the people that live in the capital, I believe that living next to your workplace is a comparative advantage you have over others.
You get more time for yourself, less personal energy wasted, less money spent for fuel and car maintenance, more money for your leisure; thus the ability to produce more without an extra effort.
Okay, Bravo! Good idea! But how can we find work all over the country while we live in a decentralized country where everything is in the capital?
So we are stuck with two options:
1. Find any job as long as it is next to your house
2. Get stuck in traffic and have a wonderful career
While discussing this issue with one of my colleagues that actually lives in the capital, he told me that we are all paying for it in a different way.
He believes that people living outside the capital, do get stuck in traffic, but they get to breathe clean air on one side. They also get to enjoy the calmness of a smaller city with less crowded buildings on the other side.
That makes a little bit of scene, after getting stuck in traffic, and after a long day, I do get to drink a cup of tea on my quiet balcony and contemplate the view of some clean trees around me…
So in end, I was convinced that this situation is a comparative advantage helping both sides in different areas…
If you live near your workplace you do not lose 27 days per year on the road, yet you do not get the privilege of some quiet time to drink a cup of tea surrounded by a calm and uncrowned environment.
So is this cup of tea work losing 27 days per year?