Lessons Learned From Sitting in Traffic

"How did I get myself into this situation yet again" I thought to myself as my car inched its way through traffic. I called my wife "I think I'll be home around 11... I know... I left two hours ago, the traffic is insane... yes I know Friday evenings are like this... okay just go to bed, I'll try not to wake you".

For me that was the occasional Friday evening, I used to go to a public speaking club in the city. The club was great and I enjoyed being a member, however whenever I had to go home I felt like I'd rather check into a hotel than face the traffic home.

Jakarta is like many other megalopolises today. I have always worked in satellite cities surrounding the Big Durian so I never had to experience the full brunt of Jakarta traffic everyday. Even so, the traffic on the outskirts of the city, on the many ring and sub-ring roads, was enough for me to question the sanity of it all.

How can people working in the city put up with it. To reach the office at 9am they have to leave around at least 7am, then they will face two hours in traffic. If they leave before 6am, they may get to their office in under an hour, but then they are two hours early. Some offices have combated this problem by allowing an "early clock in" program, where if you clock into work two hours early, you are also allowed to leave two hours early. Unfortunately though they are in the minority. Additionally those "early clock in" programs are often thwarted by workload and meetings.

So what is the solution? Some have mentioned that offices could make a "work from home" arrangement a few days a week. Essentially this makes sense as those 4-5 hours a day some workers are spending on the road are not productive hours. Or as the state of Utah did with government workers in June 2008 the working week could be changed to four 10 hours days instead of five 8 hour days. It was stated that the Working4Utah program resulted in "reductions in absenteeism and overtime [which] saved the state £4.1 million dollars". This shows that rethinking the way we work not only makes for happier workers and less traffic but also reductions in business operating expenses.

Another solution is that from an individual level. A typical white collar salary in Jakarta today is approximately $280 USD per month (Feb 2018). When the monetary financial crisis hit Jakarta in 1997 my barber lost his office job in the city. He knew that looking for a "job" at that time would be pretty hopeless so he started to self-teach himself how to cut hair. Now he charges a very reasonable fee of S1 USD for a haircut and a shoulder and head massage. This is an affordable price for everybody that lives in his neighborhood. He walks to work and serves an average of 20-30 customers a day. 20 USD times by 20 days a week means he is grossing around 400 USD per month. He has to pay around $70 USD a month for rent and perhaps another $10 USD for electricity. So let's put his running costs at $90 USD a month. You can see now why it wouldn't make sense for him to apply for jobs in the city, bare the commute and travel expenses, only to earn less. Additionally, he is his own boss, there is nobody telling him how to serve his customers.

I have been told that in China today more and more young Chinese find it hard to accept work over starting their own businesses. The average salary for white collar workers in China has now overtaken Indonesia and even the Philippines, yet companies still find it hard to recruit dynamic young people. This is because the cost of getting started in business is becoming less and less everyday and the lure of future success has become too tempting to ignore.

One of my favourite quotes is: "When nothing is for certain, anything can happen." Indeed when hours of sitting in traffic everyday become a certainty, perhaps anything is better.

What's your take? How is it in your country? Are people turning to business, freelancing and the gig economy instead of traditional jobs? How bad is the commute to your CBD? I look forward to the discussion!
August 26, 2019
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$30.00
USD/h

Hugh Elliott

5.0
$30.00
USD/h
Flag
English
globe
Australia
time
335
Speaks:
English
Native
,
Indonesian
B2
,
Spanish
A2
,
German
A1
,
Sundanese
A1
,
Arabic
,
Mandarin
I specialise in teaching Business English, IELTS Prep, Fluency Coaching and Intercultural Communication, however, I am also available for Kids Classes. Additionally, I have given a lot of public speaking training, so I can help you with that too. Do you want to be guided by somebody who is invested in your success? Do you like your lessons to be fun, friendly and interesting? Would you like to walk away from every session feeling you have improved? If so we may be the perfect match. Don't hesitate to book a trial lesson with me soon or send me a message! ***Want to get started in under 24 hours? I sometimes have last-minute cancellations, message me and see if we can match up our time!*** A little about myself: Hi there, my name is Hugh (休老师). I am an Australian English Teacher who has been teaching in Asia for more than 12 years. I am certified as a Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) as well as in Adult Training and Assessment (TAE). Additionally, I studied English Literature and Linguistics (the science of language, including language acquisition) at the University of New England. I began my career teaching working for English First in Indonesia🌋. After that, I went on to become the English Coordinator at several schools and also an Educational Consultant for language programs👨‍🏫. I have also worked in Translation 🤖(Ind.En En.Ind), as a TV host 📺🎥, as a MC/Public Speaker 🗣🎙, as an Event Organiser (concerts and festivals 🎶), Personal Trainer and in many other positions. So I can usually relate to the many lifestyles and career choices of my students. I have been teaching online 💻 in addition to my regular duties for almost 5 years now. My teaching style is described by my students as friendly, fun and interesting 😎. My interests include reading 📖, especially but not limited to the classics, business, psychology, education, history and sociology. I also love fitness, nature🐧🌴, motorcycling and cycling 🚲. I have many students who have been studying with me for years, I love working together with people and developing new friendships 👥 as I help them with their English. Please get in touch with me 📬 if you'd like to experience learning with me.
Flag
English
globe
Australia
time
335
Speaks:
English
Native
,
Indonesian
B2
,
Spanish
A2
,
German
A1
,
Sundanese
A1
,
Arabic
,
Mandarin
I specialise in teaching Business English, IELTS Prep, Fluency Coaching and Intercultural Communication, however, I am also available for Kids Classes. Additionally, I have given a lot of public speaking training, so I can help you with that too. Do you want to be guided by somebody who is invested in your success? Do you like your lessons to be fun, friendly and interesting? Would you like to walk away from every session feeling you have improved? If so we may be the perfect match. Don't hesitate to book a trial lesson with me soon or send me a message! ***Want to get started in under 24 hours? I sometimes have last-minute cancellations, message me and see if we can match up our time!*** A little about myself: Hi there, my name is Hugh (休老师). I am an Australian English Teacher who has been teaching in Asia for more than 12 years. I am certified as a Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) as well as in Adult Training and Assessment (TAE). Additionally, I studied English Literature and Linguistics (the science of language, including language acquisition) at the University of New England. I began my career teaching working for English First in Indonesia🌋. After that, I went on to become the English Coordinator at several schools and also an Educational Consultant for language programs👨‍🏫. I have also worked in Translation 🤖(Ind.En En.Ind), as a TV host 📺🎥, as a MC/Public Speaker 🗣🎙, as an Event Organiser (concerts and festivals 🎶), Personal Trainer and in many other positions. So I can usually relate to the many lifestyles and career choices of my students. I have been teaching online 💻 in addition to my regular duties for almost 5 years now. My teaching style is described by my students as friendly, fun and interesting 😎. My interests include reading 📖, especially but not limited to the classics, business, psychology, education, history and sociology. I also love fitness, nature🐧🌴, motorcycling and cycling 🚲. I have many students who have been studying with me for years, I love working together with people and developing new friendships 👥 as I help them with their English. Please get in touch with me 📬 if you'd like to experience learning with me.