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Gas Prices Breaking Your Budget? Try Telecommuting!

Unless you live under a rock, you know gas prices are insanely high and they're just continuing to climb. Everyone's complaining about it, newscasters call attention to it, and even for those of us who don't have to fill up often, the next trip to the gas station is a nightmare. But what about those of you with uber-long commutes who fill up every week - or worse yet - every few days? You're the ones feeling the pinch the most.

If gas prices have got you down and public transportation isn't an option, your only two choices are to pick up the pump or put down the keys. With that in mind, one of the best solutions for saving is telecommuting, so here's a list of pros and cons to see if you're cut out for it:

(NOTE: If you're an air traffic controller, a truck driver, a retail cashier, a house painter, a neurosurgeon, or anyone else who can't possibly do their job from home, please ignore this post and check out the many fine articles in our new Learning Center!)

PROs

1. Nix the commute and save money on gas. (Duh!)
2. Set your own dress code. You can work in your PJs, in your usual business casual attire, or even in your birthday suit (not recommended for web-cam users).
3. Choose your own work hours (depending on the agreement and nature of the work).
4. Forget the tiny cube. You can work at the kitchen table, on the couch, in a quaint café, or in a home office that reflects your own style.
5. Compensate for office overtime by working from home and spending more time with your family and/or pets.

CONs

1. Getting up on time, showering, and eating during normal hours become things of the past when you don't have to leave the house.
2. Balancing work life with home life becomes more difficult since there's no locational change to trigger a change in thinking.
3. Your home is filled with distractions - such as laundry, TV, and a fully-stocked kitchen - so actually doing work could prove difficult.
4. Out of sight, out of mind. Not being physically visible at the office could exclude you from important meetings, getting to know the new person in your department, or simply being kept in the loop on activities that everyone else seems to be talking about.
5. On that note, the lack of interaction with coworkers could leave you feeling lonely and isolated. Even without the fluorescent lights, your house can start to feel more and more like a giant cube that's closing in on you.

Give these points some thought. In the long run, will saving money on gas be worth the issues that might arise when you work from home?

And, keep in mind that while the best time to work telecommuting into your schedule is during job offer negotiations, you also have leverage if you've proven to be a loyal employee. So if you're looking for a little slack at the pump, it certainly wouldn't hurt to request a schedule change that includes keeping the car off the road.

Have you ever worked from home? What kinds of pros and cons did you experience?

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