Career

Commuting Thoughts

Motion-blurred road

It’s a metaphor. Picture via Pixabay

I always seem to have epiphanies about my life and my career when I’m doing mundane things. When I’m in the shower, washing dishes, or cooking, my thoughts start wandering, and I end up coming up with all sorts of ideas. Most of them are terrible, or weird, but sometimes, they actually lead to relevant insights.

Apparently, this isn’t just my own overactive brain; “boring activities” can actually lead to epiphanies, because simple tasks allow your brain to wander.

During my morning commute to school, when I was squished against a bunch of grumpy strangers on a packed vehicle, I started thinking about how much I hate commuting. From getting up hours before I actually have to go to class, to dealing with overcrowded conditions during rush hour, there are numerous reasons why I dislike commuting.

This got me thinking: there is no way I can spend the rest of my professional life commuting from a long distance.

This may seem like an arbitrary or high-maintenance factor in choosing a future career, but, for me, commuting is inefficient and inconvenient, can sometimes be expensive, and—at least for me—does take away part of the experience of being a student at U of T. I think I would be happier and more satisfied in a job closer to wherever I end up living.

I was thinking about all this while a sick person coughed directly on me, and while I listened to an impatient baby crying from somewhere on the vehicle.

My “shower thoughts”—or, in this case, “commuting thoughts”—then digressed into the sacrifices I would be willing to make for career opportunities. Sure, commuting is a pain, but what if it was the only way I could work at my dream job?

While I do think I wouldn’t let distance get in the way of me achieving my goals or working in a fulfilling career, I also think it’s important to consider how your job affects your personal life, especially in the long-term.

For example, right now, commuting sometimes leaves me feeling drained and a bit distanced from my friends and peers living closer to campus, but it also allows me to attend U of T. I don’t plan on transferring schools because of the distance anytime soon, but then again, I won’t be a student at U of T forever.

I didn’t come up with a final answer during my commute; I guess this is one of those decisions you can only make once the situation actually arises.

At this point in my commuting journey, I was probably being pushed by a bunch of impatient people trying to exit the vehicle.

My mind started to wander again, and I realized that—in choosing a future career or job—I probably wouldn’t like to work in environments that mimic commuting. For example, jobs that involve repetitive tasks, involve sitting down or standing up in the same place for extended amounts of time, or involve tired and irritated strangers.

I didn’t realize I had spent my entire commute thinking about how my commute would affect my future career decisions until I reached my destination. I wouldn’t exactly call my “commuting thoughts” epiphanies, but they did lead to some valuable insights into the sacrifices and decisions I might have to make when choosing a career. Maybe I’ll have my next big epiphany on my next commute.