I have one of the sweetest work gigs I can imagine. I am a staff manager of five, I get to play with computers all day, and I like the company I’m working for. Plus, I get to work from home. I’ve been working full-time from home for over six years. It takes discipline, both to stay focused during work intervals and to not engage in work stuff too much in the non-traditional work hours.
When I go for my morning walk I am always aware of folks rushing out of their homes into the darkened Chicago morning. They’re making their way to the nearest ‘L’ stop or to their car parked nearby. As my morning walk usually takes an hour or so, there’s a lot more vehicular traffic in the latter half of my walk versus the first half. I think about these folks driving to their work. I then start delving in philosophical territory.
I wonder what it is about American culture that compels us to live in such reliance on our cars. Folks in our neighborhood have plenty of public transportation options: the ‘L’ has plenty of stops nearby, METRA (the commuter train) passes through from southern Wisconsin to downtown Chicago, and CTA buses are everywhere. We live in a very commuter connected part of the city, it’s one of the reasons we chose this neighborhood. Yet, many folks opt to drive their car to The Loop to work in one of the skyscrapers, or they drive to a work location in another part of the city, one that may well be accessible by public transportation.
Driving a vehicle reinforces one’s sense of independence. I get that, I know that feeling, and I drive for fun more often than I probably should in this era of Climate Change and the like. And it’s Climate Change that weighs on my mind when I’m thinking about this. Does working from home really help reduce my carbon footprint? Am I burning more energy in my home than I would using public transportation to get to an office building?
I might have to do some reading up on this so I have a better grasp of the numbers. Knowledge fires up passion when I’m intrigued. And learning is better than flipping through Twitter or something.
I still wondering how these folks can drive their cars to work everyday. I really don’t enjoy driving in the city. I find it incredibly annoying. Everyone is forced to the lowest common denominator of driver ability and my patience wears thin.
I shall now embark on my commute from the living room to my home office.