We Asked If You Ever Quit A Job Because Of LA Traffic. 300 Of You Said 'Duh.' These Are Your Stories
Angelenos are quitting their jobs because of commute times. We know this because of a new survey from the carpool app Scoop, and also because you told us every last, terrible detail about it after we sent out a query on how traffic affects your career choices.
We asked: Have you ever quit a job because of the commute -- or thought about it?
You sent back nearly 100 direct responses and another 200 through social media. A lot of them were an enthusiastic, "Hell yes!" One person even tweeted:
You also didn't hold back on the Facebooks. Perhaps that's because, as the survey found, commuting causes daily stress for 33 percent of Los Angeles commuters. But you already knew that:
I refuse to commute longer than 30min each way. Will happily quit or relocate. The stress is not worth it. Stress kills, remember!— Gerti Shtylla (@GertiShtylla) September 26, 2019
Below is a greatest hits of your experiences, frustrations, life choices, and stories. We've grouped them into loose themes, because you're not alone out there. (We've left out some last names and locations at the request of some who responded.)
I LEFT L.A. SEE YA NEVER.
"Quit a job? Hell, I've made the last-minute decision to move from Los Angeles more than once while sitting on the 405. I did so every time but always ended up back there. Of course now I live in Patagonia, so there's really no commute at all to speak of."
-- Chad Horton, Southern Chile
"I left my job and moved out of state because I calculated 20 full days a year I was sitting in traffic going to and from work. Not worth missing three weeks a year of my children's lives. Best decision ever."
-- Tami L. Hodges Gruneich, Denver
"I left Los Angeles because of the commutes. Both for work and for your personal life. Much happier now that I don't spend hours a day in a steel cage and instead walk and bike. Oh and there's no last call and I can drink outside."
-- Esteban Gil, New Orleans
"I grew up in LA and figured commutes were a part of life. Used to do Redondo to Sherman Oaks -- 405/Sepulveda every day. Horrible. Moved halfway around the world to a small city where my commute is 10-15 minutes, mainly because the speed limit is 30 mph... I gained a life when I gave up a commute. I have hobbies and walk my dog everyday. It is revolutionary. Don't commute!"
-- Kelli Koykka, Dunedin, New Zealand
"I was a bike commuter in LA and I got a job offer in Minneapolis. I moved, in part, because I was more willing to deal with the winters in Minnesota than the lack of safe bike infrastructure in LA."
-- Nathan Lucero, St. Paul, Minn.
WALKING AND BIKING IN L.A.
"I was commuting from the Westside to the Eastside. My commute was 1-1/2 hours each way. Now I walk to work. It changed my life. Everyone should do it if they can. I make less money and it was still one of the best decisions I've ever made. No job is worth wasting away in a car or destroying the environment."
-- Jose Lizarraga
I WILL (TRY TO) TAKE PUBLIC TRANSIT
"Los Angeles is difficult. Public transportation seems to not be a part of the vocabulary. With an effort it can work."
-- RJ, South Pasadena
"Life's too short to deal with a long commute. Having options is important too. My current job is just 3 miles from home, or 3 Metro stations away, a 20-minute bike ride, or a one-hour walk. I rarely ever drive to the office."
-- Elson Trinidad, East Hollywood
"I eliminated driving from my life six years ago when I started taking the bus to work. A year in, I got rid of my car entirely and moved to the part of town where my job is based. As I am job searching, I am not applying to jobs where I can't take public transportation for less than 45 minutes."
-- Brenda Gonzales, Los Angeles
"I don't drive. I won't apply for jobs in west LA (or west of La Brea for that matter) or south of USC or East of East LA. Why? Because the commute via public transportation is unreliable, unpredictable and inefficient."
-- Victoria Kraus, Los Angeles
"I moved because of a commute. I got a job in Burbank when I lived in Canoga Park. After about a month of that, I gave up my solo apartment to move in with a roommate in NoHo, to cut my commute."
-- Erin Gerton, Van Nuys
"My commute at one time took between 1-½ to four hours a day round trip. I relocated my home and then my business. Today my commute is only five minutes."
-- Carlos Morales, Azusa
"For the past couple of years I was commuting into the city and it was taking me sometimes upwards of 2-1/2 hours from Sherman Oaks to Downtown. After I left that position, I was really just not wanting to spend so much time on the road and that's really what encouraged me to start looking for employment here in the Valley...It's given me a lot more time with my family, a lot more leisure time to be able to recharge my batteries. It's been nothing but positives for me."
-- Alex Ramirez, Sherman Oaks
I guess it comes down to priorities. I used to live in a 3000+ sq ft house with a pool in the Santa Clarita Valley. The commute got worse over the years to the point where I could no longer stand it. Sold the house, bought a townhome in Woodland Hills. I am exponentially happier.— Mabelette Bermack (@MabeletteB) September 26, 2019
"I turned down an offer to work in West LA. It would have been a new view to Hell."
-- Robyn Myers, Tujunga
"I'm freelance living in Altadena and turn down every job offer on the Westside.
-- Austin Scott, Altadena
"I live in NELA and never look for jobs on the Westside. The commute would kill me."
"I live in East Hollywood and the thought of trying to get to Santa Monica or Playa Vista every day for a job literally makes my skin crawl. Definitely avoid companies based over there!"
-- Troy Hoffman, East Hollywood
"I worked in downtown LA and live in Pedro, and the 110 commute was one of the reasons I quit that job. Also occasionally work in Santa Monica and never could do that commute five days week, two hours each way. F that and the 405."
-- Monica, San Pedro
"I have definitely passed on opportunities on the Westside due to the traffic getting there. I wouldn't even consider the South Bay."
-- Aryn Kennedy, Sherman Oaks
"I live by Pasadena and no longer consider jobs on the Westside. I quit a job in Manhattan Beach because the commute was just too much (75+ minutes even with the Fast Lane pass).
-- Denise Yuan, Altadena
Used to take me 50 minutes from los feliz to venice or santa monica. Now 1 1/2 hours min. Good thing I rarely work there anymore.— Ban Luxury Housing (@lazo_jenn) September 25, 2019
IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR
"Since having kids I have restricted all my jobs to a 20-minute drive from home because it was too difficult to get them to school and then work if the commute was any longer."
-- Michelle Wolf, Los Angeles
"Didn't apply for a job that would take me 1-1/2 hours to get to. I have a child and wanted to be there for dinner."
-- Valerie Kameya, Burbank
"When looking for my current job, I had a cap of which cities I would look into. I have a young family and didn't want to have to commute 4-5 hours every day."
-- Esther Siordia, East LA
"I turned down a job offer that was in Westwood. I live in Pasadena. Once I did the math on how long it would take me there and back I realized I would never see my kids awake."
-- Keara Stein, Pasadena
"I do not apply for a job because of the time it would take to get to work. I am a single mom who already relies on - and blessed to have - my mom to get my child to and from school. It would make it more difficult for both my child and my mother if I had to extend our mornings and evenings to accommodate a long commute. More so, I want the comfort to know that I am able to get to my child as quickly as possible for any reason."
-- Bernadette M, San Gabriel
"I had a good job in Santa Monica, then got engaged and moved to Highland Park. Commuting over an hour a day - more than two hours on Thursday nights - nearly scuppered the relationship before we tied the knot. Had to find a new job."
-- Amy Ludwig, Los Angeles
"I'm a single mom with two children so where I work affects them greatly. Because of the commute time growing each year, I wasn't getting home before they would go to sleep. Would only spend quality time in the morning and weekend."
-- Michelle Hammond, South Pasadena
"We have an online hot sauce company so I work from home now. I went from having to spend 2 to 3 hours a day on the 101 to just waking up, going to my office and starting my day."
-- Allen Prom, Reseda
"Years ago ... I had to drive from Tarzana to Santa Monica. The second year, I drove from Tarzana to downtown. After that year, where every day the commute was terrible--both directions--I vowed never to take a job that involved a drive like that. I started my own home-based business."
-- Leslye Borden, Rancho Palos Verdes
I'M VIRTUALLY THERE
"I accepted a job that gave me a long commute but only because I'm allowed to telework a couple of days per week. If that option was revoked, I'd have to find something else closer to home."
-- Lisa, Thousand Oaks
"Found a great job where I work from home. Worth the switch and hunting for it."
-- Michele, Los Angeles
"When I left my first job, I told myself it was for a variety of reasons, but mostly to enrich and diversify my professional experience elsewhere. But when my next steps turned out to be two jobs where I was working mostly from home, I realized that the 3.5 hr daily commute (round trip) in my first job probably had more influence on my decision to quit than I had originally thought."
-- Lindsey Kunisaki, Alhambra
"I'm actually re-directing my efforts to telecommuting and remote/virtual positions. Since my career (instructional designer) lends itself to computer-based work, I'm thinking that 80-100% virtual positions are the way to go."
-- Joanne Lazzaro, Pasadena
"At my current employee position ... I have pushed to work remotely as much as possible and now do so about 90% of the time, along with most of my other team members. When I do go into the office I take buses."
-- Cooper Zale, Northridge
Yes. Was spending an avg of 20 hours a week in the car on top of a 40-50 hour work week. Quit, took pay cut to work for a company that allowed me to work from home.— V1P3R (@V1P3R50) September 26, 2019
TIME IS MONEY
"Throughout the years, my traffic tolerance has risen by a few more minutes on the road, with my average commute now being 45 minutes to an hour. Before my current job, I filtered job availability on Indeed by mile radius to my home. If a job, no matter how amazing, was beyond what I wanted to travel, I moved on. Salary didn't even matter as long as my commute wasn't insane. Basically, money isn't worth it if we're sacrificing our work-life balance."
-- Jenni Arzate, Maywood
"I don't do commutes. I'd rather be paid less than deal with the overpopulation and congestion. I will not apply for a job that is more than 15 minutes away."
-- Kristina Rose, Los Angeles
It was one of the top three factors in my most recent job search. Unless the job was paying ridiculous money or offered me some personal benefit, I wouldn't even apply for it, if it was a commute over an 45 minutes.— Erin Knell (@PR_Mama_) September 26, 2019
There's this tip from Matthias Kennedy in Thousand Oaks:
"Motorcycle!!!!! I go from Thousand Oaks to Downtown LA in 50 minutes during rush hour. With a car, that would be 1 to 2 hours. If people would just look out a little better for us, that would be nice."