Friday, April 1, 2016

wherein i shake my life up

I've hinted over the past month that a potential lifestyle change is coming down the pike. I've also noted that I've been feeling more stress and anxiety lately. It's all related. And all for a good cause. Honestly.

Change is scary, sure. But change can be really positive. Today is my last day at my current job. And Monday, I start with a new company!

business hard. HARDER

I'm still in the same industry, but made the (not insignificant) switch from the non-profit sector to a private firm. A really wonderful firm, actually. I've known my new boss and some of my new colleagues for a few years and have so much respect for the work they do. Joining the team is beyond thrilling. 

It's a change I've thought long and hard over - particularly as it relates to my riding habit. Which is all that really matters anyway, amiright?

The most obvious horsey advantage to this new position is that private company pay > non-profit pay. So. Ya know. Every little bit helps haha. 

There are sacrifices too, of course: it'll require better time- and calendar-management skills. My office is a ~2hr train ride away, which sounds daunting. Except I can work (or blog lol) on the train, and expect to eventually only go in ~twice weekly.

The rest of the time is spent either working remotely or on-site with clients. With the expectation that 7-9 days/month are spent on-site with clients. 

It sounds like a lot, but not insurmountable. This week will be my first taste for getting the horse ridden on top of the work commute. Folks like L Williams and Megan give me hope! The travel schedule should be fairly doable too - esp as I will ultimately be master of my calendar (once I'm fully trained). 

So while change is scary and I'm obviously nervous to leave the safety of my long-held and comfortable position, this is really truly a very exciting opportunity and investment in my future (esp as it relates to building up my buzz word vocab lol). 

My questions for you, dear readers, are: Have you had to balance long commutes or lots of travel with your riding schedule? How do you make it work? Any tips or tricks? Helpful hints?

44 comments:

  1. OMG!!!! So excited for you. Good luck!! Now to your actual questions... I don't have the long commute but I do work a shit ton of hours. I regularly am gone from my house for 14+ hours. It is really based on what you make a priority because something has to give. Work and riding are mine, while laundry is at the bottom of the list and it means I'm constantly digging at the back of my closet for something to wear. I typically have a running schedule in my head and lists. So many lists because when I get tired I get stupid and I try to idiot proof my life so I don't drop the ball on something important. Also I have to intentionally make time to recharge don't forget about yourself when you want to do all things. :)
    PS I hope all this jumbled word vomit makes sense.

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  2. Congrats on the new job!! I will be making a major life change/move myself in a little over a year, I get nervous thinking about it (creature of habit right here). You'll get everything figured out soon enough. And I'm looking forward to seeing the new pony items you pick up with the pay increase!! Best of luck in your transition :)

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  3. Huge props to you for tackling this new challenge! I have zero helpful information because I work a mile from home and the thought of a two hour commute one way is unfashionable to me. Good luck and I hope you love it!!

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    1. Unfathomable, is apparently a made up word. But that's what I meant, not unfashionable ;)

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  4. Congrats on the new job!

    I actually don't have any advice on dealing with a long commute, because I drive myself to work, which is about 20 mins each way. However, I did change barns last year because my commute was at least an hour each way, and I'm not about that life. Hopefully you can figure your work/commute/riding schedule out!

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  5. SO MUCH BUSINESSING!!! Congrats again - you'll figure out how to get everything done!

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  6. Congratulations! That is exciting news :)

    I have a less than 10 minute commute to work, but either from my house or the office the barn is an hour away. I think that the biggest key is not to stress yourself out. If you have weeks where you can only make it to ride a couple times or only on the weekends, don't let it panic you. And if it's a fitness question, maybe schedule a training ride for the weeks where you need Izzy to be out and ridden. But for me not panicking and allowing myself to be ok with 1 ride weeks is a must. Otherwise, I'd freak out and make my stress worse.

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  7. Congrats on the new job! I used to do a 1.5+ hour commute, but it was paired with a 5 min drive to the barn, so take that as you will... now from doorstep to desk I guess I'm at 1-1.25 hours? And I pair that with a 40min drive to the barn... wow, life sucks. I make it work by driving direct to the barn from my bus stop- it's already 15 min in the right direction. I change at the barn, saddle up, and ride! Working from home is incredible. Much less wear and tear on me when I don't have to get dressed and trek downtown (working remotely in PJs for the win!). A lifesaver really as the days get shorter- I start on my journey to the barn 45 min sooner. An indoor really helped me relax in the winter months. It took a lot of the 'OMG I HAVE TO RIDE NOW BECAUSE THE SUN IS OUT' out of my life. Good luck figuring out your schedule!

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  8. Congratulations! I did something similar, and I just accept that I can either have barely enough money to do horse stuff and tons of time (old job), or no time and adequate money (new job). I just feel a little less guilty when I spend money on him - if I'm working this hard, I can spend my money the way I want, dammit!

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  9. Congratulations! I don't have a super long commute but I can relate to long days between the real job, university and being a landlord to high-maintenance tenants. My best advice for you is to remember to take care of you. If you run so hard you burn yourself out, you are doing no one (including Isabel) any good.

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  10. Congratulations on your new job!! That's so exciting!!

    I used to commute to DC on the train. It was about an hour and a half. I would usually read, or sleep. I became really good at falling into a dead sleep and waking up right at my stop.
    But I don't have any advice because I hated it and I would never want to do it again. I had to leave home super early, and I wouldn't get home until super late. Zero time for horses. I was very happy when I changed to a job where I could drive in, that was way better.
    I think you'll be fine though if you're not doing it everyday. It'll just take getting used to.

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  11. Yay congrats!! I'm looking at a ridiculous work to barn commute this summer so the big things for me are to make sure I have my riding stuff (and I'm planning on keeping extra breeches/etc at the barn just in case) since going home in between will add at least 30 minutes, as well as making sure I have enough food so I don't have to stop since that can get pricey and add to the amount of time I'm gone from home.

    The more productive you can be on the train, the better you'll feel, since a lot of people think long commutes are a waste of time and think of all the things they may be doing- when really a lot of us just sit on the couch lol. I always try to tell myself that if I wasn't sitting in the car, I'd be sitting at home doing the same thing. Obviously I can't watch tv or hang out with my cat in the car, but audiobooks and podcasts make it a lot easier. Plus I make all my phone calls in the car too, chatting with friends is an easy way to eat up an hour or two. But man if I were you, I'd load up on whatever you do at home (movies/tv shows/internet pages/etc) and try to make the train as much like your down time at home as possible.

    Knowing that going in every day is temporary is big too. I'm moving in October closer to the barn and in line with my commute and then hopefully within the next year will find a job in the same town as where I'll be living. So the crazy commute is only for the next year at the most.

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  12. I used to have that DC commute, only I was lucky and just had to take the metro in. I couldn't read or work because I get really motion sick, so I'd just sort of doze. Not productive, but it worked for me.

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  13. Congrats! Very exciting! I only have a short bus ride in the mornings, but I use it to go through my emails and at least sort into 'delete, save, needs reply, needs action' type folders so that when I get to a place to do it later, they're already ready to go.

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  14. Honestly, the 1 hour commute to the barn I did IEA at was all about getting work done (of course I slept on the way back, but I was a growing child then). I think you've got the right mindset. 2 hours is enough time to get a number of things done. I'd also advise setting up a blocked out schedule each week. If you can, get a regular lesson slot that way you won't have to worry about missing time with trainers and such. Major thumbs up to you for getting the job! I hope it's an awesome adventure :D

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  15. Congratulations on the new position. Growth and change is always a little scary! Balancing work and riding is always a challenge, however more money = more horsey opportunities. I used to have an hour commute, which is not bad. It was/is a struggle sometimes to ride at night when you are tired from a long day, energy levels are low. I learned not to beat myself up. If I don't have enough to bring to the table that day, I just groom or graze and enjoy my horse.

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  16. Change is always scary, but many times it can be the best thing. I'm so excited for you!

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  17. I have an hour drive to work and do 12.5hour shifts but generally only work 3 or 4 days a week so I have plenty of time on the other days for playing ponies. The days I'm working are a bit of a pain for the horses (particularly in winter when by the time I get home it's dark so I can't even look at them lol) but it works out on balance. Good luck!

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  18. Best of luck with the new job, it sounds like a good move for you with lots of positives :) I'm 10 minutes from work but I'm a good 45-50 minutes from my horse which did reduce the amount of time I could ride during the week. It'll be a bit more challenging to schedule in the same amount of riding with your new commute though seems like the job is willing to let you work remotely so that is a huge plus.

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  19. My commute to work in negligible (as in, I can walk or ride my bike or take the El) -- but my commute to the farm in between 40 mins and 1:15 depending on the day/time). It's justified by the fact that there are no real places to board near the city proper, and that my costs are greatly offset by having a bit of a longer commute. I could technically board slightly closer, but the drive would be nightmarish (less time + more traffic) and the board would be $$$$. I think I've boarded around a hour away for so long it doesn't even cross my mind that it's far away. I just factor that into my "farm time". That said, it means that realistically, riding 4 times a week is about the most I can do to keep my life in balance! Good luck with the new position, I hope it opens many doors for you!

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  20. Exciting! Congrats!!

    Long commutes to work are basically the story of my life! Door to door (drive to train - train to city - subway to work) is ~2hrs for me. I think taking the train is totally the way to go - I get much of my writing/ blogging done on the train and I wouldn't be able to do that if I were behind the wheel of a car! So definitely take advantage of that time. That's really really great that you'll be able to do some work remotely too!

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  21. Congrats! It will be hard at first, but once you adjust to your new schedule (and longer days, I assume), you'll get in a groove!

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  22. Congratulations!

    I did a long commute to my last barn - 1.5 to 2 hours in traffic. It was awful, but I did it for four years. For two of those years, I had a 1.25 hour train commute. I got a ton of reading done. If I could have worked on the train it would have made it a lot better.

    For me, investing in things that made the commute more organized was key. Books. A really good bag. Snacks. The right pens and notepads always to hand. The right headphones. It was all about creating a space that could be restful and/or productive as necessary.

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  23. Congratulations! Exciting!!

    I have a 1-1.5 hour drive to work. Yes, I'm in the same area as L and Megan, why do you ask? Thankfully, right now I live five minutes from the barn.

    I ride four days a week: weekends and my two shorter-workdays. My week is scheduled with three really long days (10-12 hours at work plus commute time), one half-day, and one sometimes-paperwork day. I run errands on my lunch breaks on my long days. On my half-days, I stash all my riding gear in the car and go straight to the barn.

    Organization is key. Google Keep is on my phone and computers for a running to-do list: what do I need to pick up where? What has to get ordered? Who do I need to call and when can I make those phone calls? The more you can get done on your commute (in my case, over my lunch break or spare morning time), the more time I have to ride the rest of the week.

    Oh! And setting a routine at the barn, too. What *has* to get done that day? I knew that yesterday I needed to refill Fetti's bale bag, a trail ride with friends was planned, and daylight permitting I would work on her hooves. The first two happened, the third got shifted to Saturday. My current Saturday list, in rough priority-order: unbraid & bathe Fetti, one ride, rebraid, rasp/nipper hooves, second ride, fit boots. It may not all happen, but I know what I have coming up and what my approximate time constraints are on any given week.

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  24. No helpful hints here, as my job is 2 miles away from my house, but good luck and congratulations!

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  25. You know how I make it work: Zero sleep and only 10 minutes allowed for crying my stress tears into my evening gruel. Gotta get them goalz.


    I kid... I don't like gruel, dinner is popcorn.

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  26. Exciting times ahead!
    Congratulations girl ☺☺☺☺☺

    Afraid I've no useful advice on balancing work/commute/hobbies. I don't have a long commute, in fact if i drove to work rather than using public transport I'd significantly reduce my travel time but free travel vs diesel costs etc mean I'll be sticking with the public transport for another while. Sorry off topic!
    I haven't been doing to great on the balancing act of late with regard to my own saddle time so I really cannot offer anything remotely resembling advice.
    Congrats again and I've no doubt you'll figure it all out and I can take tips from your awesome balancing skills :-)

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  27. Oooo you sound so extra fancy! I have no wise words for you. Only high fives.

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  28. I had a one hour commute (each way) for two years before moving to my new job. I was driving, so it's a bit different than you (in fact, it's a lot different). I often times wished I was on public transit so I could be focusing on something besides being annoyed with other drivers (blogging, learning French (my constant homework), etc.). I think your taking public transit will make the commute much more pleasant. Besides the obvious work from home, and do as much as possible while on your commute - the thing that made my commute doable and oftentimes enjoyable was audiobooks. It made me look forward to the drive. :) Good luck at your new job, I'm sure you'll kill it and find a good work/horse balance.

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  29. Congrats on the new job. I used to have a long commute and it sucked the soul out of me. I did not find it possible to combine the commute with riding and eventually found a different job without the commute. I know a lot of people manage both though. God luck!

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  30. Keep snacks with you. I always get less stabby if I'm not hungry.
    So much luck and congrats on the new job!

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  31. Congratulations!

    I'm a lawyer so my work life is insane. I have lots of nights when I'm going to ride and end up changing into my breeches and then sitting at my desk another two hours because a client calls at 6 and needs something for tomorrow. Tucker is a very forgiving ammie-friendly horse who doesn't mind having days off. I shoot for riding 4-5 days a week. Some week nights I don't get to the barn until 7:30-8, and on those nights I throw tack on and ride for half an hour and it's better than nothing (my barn closes at 9). My advice is to take advantages of whatever time you can find and don't tell yourself you don't have time to ride even if it's late when you're done with work/commuting. An hour at the barn, believe it or not, is actually plenty of time to sneak in a productive ride, even though the pony won't be impeccably groomed and you won't get to have much playtime with him (her! in your case!).

    I'm really happy for you, sounds like a good career move. Balancing a demanding career and a training program for an athletic, competitive pony is sort of my forte, so commiserate with me anytime!

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  32. Whoa, exciting changes! Congrats!!! Sounds like a smart decision. I have been trying to teach myself to organize my time better (I have a little paper schedule for each day in my purse now...seems to be helping). I'm sure after you have a few weeks at the new job you'll get your schedule/routine all sorted out :)

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  33. Congrats!! I work 2 miles from home so can't offer much advice. But great that you can commute via train and get lots done!!!

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  34. Last year I did the bus/train thing (about 1.5 hours each way). What worked for me was having my office hours flexible to match train schedules, working on the train in the am, and I shamelessly took Wednesday afternoons off to go to the barn :) During my evening commutes I read, blogged, watched Netflix, and treated it like my down time rather than "still not home from work" time. Pack snacks and water, it's way easier to go to the barn if you're not tired and hungry! Anndd...if you're anything like me - DO NOT set foot in the house for any reason or you'll never come back out. Drive directly to the barn and go riding, even if it means packing your riding clothes with you everywhere :)

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  35. Congratulations! Long commutes can really suck, but I found them to be a blessing in disguise - the forced down time became 'my time' and cherished the slow coffee/bagel and a great book or whatever. Best next thing to meditating! Or, move closer to work? I really hope you still get your riding time!!

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  36. Congratulations on the new job! I second what T said above...if you go home, it's WAY harder to leave again. Gotta keep pushing!

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  37. Can I be creepy and ask what you do?

    And congratulations on the new job - so exciting :)

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  38. OMG NO DON"T DO IT! Actually the fact that you are riding a train and can work on the train makes it absolutely a lot more doable (also not going in much). Driving is absolutely the pits because it is wasted time, just absolutely almost 16-20 hours of my life wasted a week.

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  39. Congrats on the new job! Career changes are scary, but almost always worth it in the end :)

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  40. Congrats! I def freaked out when you said 2 hour train ride! But only going in twice a week won't be too awful. I think you will enjoy the freedom of not working 8-5 once you get a schedule going!

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  41. Congratulations and best of luck! I have no advice, as you know my situation. I work 4 minutes from my house, but my horse is 2+ hours away, so I ride on the weekends when I can. Maybe with weather change I can sneak in a mid-week ride when things calm down here at work a bit.

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  42. Congrats and I'm with you in your commuting pain. I drive 80 miles per day (LA traffic) and dream about taking a train. . .

    The up side to a commute is time to think, read, and catch up with loved ones on the phone. My parents are 2K miles away. I call them about every other day. We talk about big and small things and I know it makes them happy (and me too). I don't feel guilty on the days I can't make it to the barn (trainer will ride or turn out) due to extra meetings or whatever. I know I'm doing the best I can. It I didn't have the job, I probably wouldn't have the horse. It can be done. :)

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