A long commute is a common reason for career burnout. Spending hours in a car alone, day after day can be a drain. If the distance is too great for you to maintain a work-life balance, it may be time to look at your options. No matter the reason for quitting a job, you always want to leave on favorable terms. While it might be tempting to throw in the towel to avoid another day of long drives, think through your resignation and get out on the job market well in advance.
Commuting is a lifestyle for many working professionals. According to the Washingtonpost.com, a 2013 Census report shows that the average American worker commutes approximately 25 miles to work every day. More than 1.5 million American workers commute 90 minutes or more to work and home again. It's no wonder you would desire a change of jobs if the commute is a life-limiting headache. Working until 6 p.m. and adding another 90 minutes to your journey home makes it difficult to put dinner on the table, enjoy an outing with friends, or have any downtime before preparing for the next day.
Make a Plan
If you decide to quit, don't do it abruptly out of impulse or frustration. Have a plan in place before you go. Start the job search before you quit because it could take six months or more to find a new job. Prepare objective reasons to explain why the commute was too much. For example, most commuters spend more on eating meals out because the drives make it difficult to cook and plan meals at home. Everyone knows that commuting requires gas and vehicle maintenance or daily train tickets if you live in a city. You might assess how much you're spending on meals out and dry cleaning simply because you have no time to be at home, and you might explain to an interviewer that commuting was putting a strain on your finances.
Phrase your resignation reason in a positive way. You'll be asked in your next interview why you left your last job, and the last thing you want to do is supply a negative reason. Instead, think of the positive benefits you're going to gain from the transition. A good example is, "I am looking for a way to spend more time with my family outside of work, and a shorter commute allows me to do that." The only really positive reason to quit a job, according to Forbes.com, is the pursuit of a new opportunity or a better future. Point out that meals on the road were not sustainable, and you're ready for a healthy work/life balance. However, point out that the experience of commuting also made you more aware of the value of other professionals' time or made you more organized. Always show your next move as a positive step toward a better future.
Go through the proper channels to formally resign from your job. Most companies require you to submit a formal letter of resignation. This letter must be placed on file for a record of your departure, so date the letter, include your position and position number if applicable, and the official date of resignation. Since handling a commute is not a negative reason to quit, it's OK to outline your reason for leaving in your resignation letter. Do so in a positive way: "I am currently looking forward to a position with a shorter commute and better work/life balance."
Since you're leaving your job because of distance, there is no reason to leave with bad blood or tension. Instead, thank your supervisors and co-workers for the experience of working with them, and give your contact information to those with whom you'd like to maintain a relationship. You may need to call on your former colleagues and supervisors in the future for references. It's always best to maintain positive ties with co-workers. Make sure your co-workers understand your reason for leaving is not a slight against the company. Sure, your reason to quit is personal, but it doesn't hurt to quash rumors by putting the real reason on the table.
Jan Archer holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a master's degree in creative writing. Roth has written trade books for Books-a-Million and has published articles on green living, wellness and education topics. She taught business writing, literature, creative writing and English composition at the college level for five years.