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  1. #1
    wannabe commuter Prime Directive's Avatar
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    Jobs for the car-free cyclist

    Now that I'm looking for my first job, I'd be very interested to read about your related experiences....

    • What jobs have you held both past and present?

    • Which of those were most compatible with a car-free lifestyle?

    • Has not owning a car ever affected a hiring decision (to your knowledge) or your continued employment?

    • Where have you "parked" your bike at your various job sites?


    The job I'm hoping to get right now is perfect for the beginning commuter because it is walkable in emergencies and has a couple of low-traffic or employee-only rooms that could probably be used for bike storage. Location and parking are, thus, major factors in my job search right now. Too bad you can't let the potential employers know that!

  2. #2
    1. e4 Nf6 Alekhine's Avatar
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    Telecommuting is easiest by far if you can find a job that is compatible with it. It means you don't have to "go" to work at all.

    Just wake up and sit down at the computer and start working. There are many jobs like this, the toughest being any attempt to make it as an artist or writer, and probably the most industry-like being anything IT-related or medical transcription, the latter of which requires minimal training - but that employment ends up being piecework, like garment seamstresses at the turn of the 20th century: Pay per production, not flat hourly rate, and you'd better know how to compose a sentence and hear through the awful accents and speed-talkers.

    On the plus side with any telecommuting job, you don't have to do it at home or at the same place ever. If you are in a city with good wifi, you can get a laptop, stow it in a pannier, go to the local cafe and start working, or just work in your jammies at home. Often these jobs allow you to set your own hours too.

    What I do is similar, but very specialized. I work as a telecommuting medical editor on the one hand, and as a pretty in-demand local jazz piano teacher on the other (which means I can charge my students very high hourly fees compared to the traditional "old lady down the street" piano teacher). Combined, I do extremely well for myself money-wise, and it fits in very well with car-free because I never have to leave the house for any work I do and never have to deal with a boss hanging over my head ever, which I must say is the sweetest perk of all.
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  3. #3
    Dare to be weird!
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    I had software engineering jobs of different flavors
    starting in 1972. Very little public or customer contact, just me and the code. I was able to bike commute quite a bit, depending mostly on family responsibilities and the exact location of the job. I was always able to find something to chain a bike to, even if only a light pole.

  4. #4
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    Anything that involves being a techno-geek is good. The whole cycling thing that makes you 'different' in the workplace is actually a bonus. The non-technical people don't understand the technology, they also don't understand your choice of transport, they naturally tend to assume that you're so geeky that you must be an absolute guru with the technology.
    There are 10 types of people in the world - the ones that can count in base 2, the ones that can't count in base 2, and the ones that didn't expect this to be in base 3.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    All jobs are compatible with a car free lifestyle. It's only a way to get to work.

    I usually have left my cycle locked up outside work, or inside if work provided bicycle parking or offered me a place to stash my bike.

  6. #6
    Striving for Fredness deputyjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas
    All jobs are compatible with a car free lifestyle. It's only a way to get to work.

    I usually have left my cycle locked up outside work, or inside if work provided bicycle parking or offered me a place to stash my bike.
    My thoughts exactly. The only thing I can think of would be jobs that required you to travel using your own vehicle which are few. Heck, I drive a hundred miles a night and I still commute by bike.
    Monsignor: We must always fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil that we must fear the most, and that is the indifference of good men.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I have a had whole range of jobs that were commutable. I worked in a hospital in the pharmacy storeroom, then in their maintenance department. I worked as a bartender. I worked for a smaller construction company where we always met at the office every morning. All of those jobs were commutable by bicycle. My current job is not But I hope to change that. Any job that is based in a fixed location has the potential.

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  8. #8
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas
    All jobs are compatible with a car free lifestyle. It's only a way to get to work.
    Really? Know many salesmen who call on their customers in numerous locations; maybe even beyond the city limits?

    Know any independent contractors who have to get to various job sites, maybe even beyond the city limits?

    Believe it or don't, not every one works every day at the same location by the public transit stop, or close to home.

  9. #9
    Live Deliberately. davidmcowan's Avatar
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    I was just thinking about this on my ride home last night. I do in-home social work and my agency requires me to drive around all day in one of their vehicles. I ride in and then oftentimes drive one of their cars for most of the day. I want to change that.

    I was going to post my own separate question but why not coattail this one? What jobs out there do you all think are obtainable, in the helping profession, that would be a stay in one spot all day type of job?

  10. #10
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcowan
    I was just thinking about this on my ride home last night. I do in-home social work and my agency requires me to drive around all day in one of their vehicles. I ride in and then oftentimes drive one of their cars for most of the day. I want to change that.

    I was going to post my own separate question but why not coattail this one? What jobs out there do you all think are obtainable, in the helping profession, that would be a stay in one spot all day type of job?
    Anything clinic based, where the people come to you. I have been looking back to the medical support field as a "retirement" job.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
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    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  11. #11
    gwd
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc
    Anything clinic based, where the people come to you. I have been looking back to the medical support field as a "retirement" job.

    Aaron
    I know someone who gives special services to students and training to teachers all over the city by bike. This is an irregular schedule that varies week to week. I've helped load the bike trailer with training materials on occasion. So, its a false statement that you need a fixed location where clients come to you in order to deliver social services and be car free.

  12. #12
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwd
    I know someone who gives special services to students and training to teachers all over the city by bike. This is an irregular schedule that varies week to week. I've helped load the bike trailer with training materials on occasion. So, its a false statement that you need a fixed location where clients come to you in order to deliver social services and be car free.
    I did not say he HAD to be clinic based, it was just a suggestion. But when you work FOR someone else they quite often seem to think you need to meet their standards, and if they expect you to visit X number of people in a given day and they are scattered all over town a bicycle is probably not going to suffice, however there are always exceptions.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
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    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  13. #13
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    I'm an IT Manager - heading towards car-free, not there yet.

    - Noone cares how I get to work, as long as I get here
    - I have access to all kinds of restricted areas so storing the bike is easy. I used to keep it in the server room, but have since changed to the UPS (power) room on the first floor because I can also change there.

    Most computer jobs would be fine with bikes. Exceptions would be consulting positions and fast-response on-call jobs.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    Really? Know many salesmen who call on their customers in numerous locations; maybe even beyond the city limits?

    Know any independent contractors who have to get to various job sites, maybe even beyond the city limits?

    Believe it or don't, not every one works every day at the same location by the public transit stop, or close to home.
    Go find someone else to have your petty internet arguments with.

  15. #15
    One speed: FAST ! fordfasterr's Avatar
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    here is a kicker, I work in IS and for a hospital !!!

    Best of both worlds ! HAHAHA
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  16. #16
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcowan
    I was just thinking about this on my ride home last night. I do in-home social work and my agency requires me to drive around all day in one of their vehicles. I ride in and then oftentimes drive one of their cars for most of the day. I want to change that.

    I was going to post my own separate question but why not coattail this one? What jobs out there do you all think are obtainable, in the helping profession, that would be a stay in one spot all day type of job
    ?
    I work in an inpatient psychiatric unit and I ride my bike to work.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  17. #17
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas
    All jobs are compatible with a car free lifestyle. It's only a way to get to work.

    I usually have left my cycle locked up outside work, or inside if work provided bicycle parking or offered me a place to stash my bike
    .
    I agree with you. Except for a few exceptions (which ILTB was kind enough to mention), your commuting style has no bearing on the job. Bikes are, if anything, more reliable than cars when it comes to getting to work on time. Bikes break down less, most cyclists have a backup bike or a Plan B, and we don't have to worry much about traffic jams.

    Ziemas--welcome back. I haven't seen you posting much lately. Hope all is well with you.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  18. #18
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas
    Go find someone else to have your petty internet arguments with.
    That'sa right, make any silly unsupported statement you like and don't put up wit no stinkin' backtalk! You said it, you believe it and that settles it, eh? You be da Simple Life Man!

  19. #19
    Instigator at best kjohnnytarr's Avatar
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    What about seaonal work at national parks, where the lodging is provided? That would be fun, and some people could make the money from the summer last the rest of the year.
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  20. #20
    1. e4 Nf6 Alekhine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas
    Go find someone else to have your petty internet arguments with.
    About the best response possible. Succinct, to the point, pulls no punches about what he's here for, and wastes virtually no time on him.

    for Ziemas.

    Anyway...back to our regular scheduled programming and a little caveat to what I wrote earlier about telecommuting:

    The telecommunicating thing is ideal not just for car-free, but for anyone. It occurred to me that it could be taken that I was implying in my post that it's good especially for car-free folk, but it's equally good for anyone as far as taking out part of the pain in the arse of the job - namely all the time you waste getting ready for being in public and all the time spent getting there, which for a cyclist may be the best part of the day, but I think it's generally better to save that time for later and ride where you want instead of to the same static spot (especially your job) and back every day.

    In my work, except for weekends when I teach, I spend no time getting myself "ready" for work, I am usually up and working at 4:00 a.m., and I'm done by noon or 1:00 p.m. instead of doing a 9:00 to 5:00 or an all-nighter, which gives me the best part of the day (when the sun is shining!) to ride wherever I like at the end of my workday. I can think of no more ideal work schedule for a cycling fanatic. Speaking of which...
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  21. #21
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alekhine
    About the best response possible. Succinct, to the point, pulls no punches about what he's here for, and wastes virtually no time on him.

    for Ziemas.

    Anyway...back to our regular scheduled programming and a little caveat to what I wrote earlier about telecommuting:

    The telecommunicating thing is ideal not just for car-free, but for anyone..
    Regularly scheduled BS'ing ya mean don’t cha?

    Not nearly everyone as some Simple Folk contend/daydream. Occasionally people who work in the real world may have to get from one place to another, even places off the beaten path and not on the regional rail line. Not everyone is living like yourself and Ziemas in a "regularly scheduled program" of cyber-space generalizing.

    Not to worry, though. If you don't like reality; ignore it.

  22. #22
    1. e4 Nf6 Alekhine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    Not nearly everyone as some Simple Folk contend/daydream.

    Occasionally people who work in the real world may have to get from one place to another, even places off the beaten path and not on the regional rail line. Not everyone is living like yourself and Ziemas in a "regularly scheduled program" of cyber-space generalizing.


    Nice logical leaps, Einstein, but I never said anything like "nobody has to drive," nor did I agree with what Ziemas originally said along those lines (though I definitely agree with what he said to you), so you're barking up the wrong tree.

    To say that I feel something is an 'ideal job for anyone' isn't to say that I think that the world should be made up totally of people telecommuting or even that it is possible for that to happen or to suggest that nobody needs to drive in this world. Weak inferences, but nice try at logic with that simpleton brain of yours.

    And learn the difference between 'anyone' and 'everyone' before you start transmuting one to the other, especially if you're going to go through the trouble of bolding it to make a point.

    If you don't like reality; ignore it.
    Yeah, reality - like making up syllogisms about a person's opinions with things they never said or implied.

    By the way, this isn't making fun of you, but I would advise you to learn how to use a semicolon properly if you're going to use one at all.
    Last edited by Alekhine; 03-13-07 at 06:22 PM.
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  23. #23
    practically invincible.
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    Everyone's situation is different. Myself, I have been turned down for *many* jobs because they required a car, even jobs that I was otherwise qualified (or overqualified) for. It's at the point where the main thing I worry about in an interview is whether they'll ask if I have a reliable vehicle. I'm not in a profession where you can telecommute, and although we have decent public transportation in my area, it doesn't go everywhere.

    IMO, you can certainly use a bike to commute to any job--but it's not always practically feasible. I think for a lot of people your choices are

    a) restrict your job search to a relatively small geographic area
    b) accept that it may take you 1-3 hours to get to work (one-way) through a combination of public transit and bike
    c) move to an urban area.

    But this, of course, depends entirely on where you live and what you do.

  24. #24
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alekhine
    The telecommunicating thing is ideal not just for car-free, but for anyone.
    I too work in IT and while I readily acknowledge the attractive benefits you mentioned I feel compelled to point of some of its drawbacks:
    1) Social Isolation - for a lot of people work relationships are just as important as family ones.
    2) Communication Difficulties - a lot of communication is non-verbal. How do you read body language or facial expressions via e-mail?
    3) No clear boundary between work and home. When does the work day end?
    4) The job you can telecommute to from 10 miles away at present pay is also the job your employer can outsource 6000 miles away for 1/10 of your present pay.

    I believe that telecommuting will become more and more common as businesses strive to combat the ill effects of congested highways. But I'm also reminded to be careful for what you wish ... there may be an unexpected cost.

  25. #25
    1. e4 Nf6 Alekhine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slow Train
    I too work in IT and while I readily acknowledge the attractive benefits you mentioned I feel compelled to point of some of its drawbacks:
    1) Social Isolation - for a lot of people work relationships are just as important as family ones.
    2) Communication Difficulties - a lot of communication is non-verbal. How do you read body language or facial expressions via e-mail?
    3) No clear boundary between work and home. When does the work day end?
    4) The job you can telecommute to from 10 miles away at present pay is also the job your employer can outsource 6000 miles away for 1/10 of your present pay.

    I believe that telecommuting will become more and more common as businesses strive to combat the ill effects of congested highways. But I'm also reminded to be careful for what you wish ... there may be an unexpected cost.
    Thoughtful reply.

    Agreed on all points, or at least half-agreed. I can only put it all in context to my own empirical experience:

    1. Social isolation is definitely tough if you value social interaction at work. I have two jobs at home, the latter of which fulfills that (piano teaching), and I have a wonderful girlfriend and other pals, so that's not so bad in my case. I can see where it could be terrible in another person's situation, particularly if they are socially isolated outside of work too. There are some who crave this, however - monk mentality or whatever you want to call it - so it could be a perk as much as a bane. A further point is that it's actually good for the at-home mother of a toddler, which is why the medical transcription field is primarily women. Other off-sets are the ability to work with whatever music you want in the background (unless you're doing transcription, where you need to listen through headphones) and being able to have a beer or eat at the job or being able to shout profanity as you see fit, fart unabashedly, work in the nude, etcetera...

    2. I don't particularly have problems with the communication issue. Though this isn't a catch-all for all telecommuting jobs, my primary editors are all excellent at expressing themselves (otherwise they wouldn't be editors - specialists in the English language), so there's almost never a loss of understanding between us. In a way, I value the loss of expression and emotion in a business relationship - it strips it down to business only and I think that's generally a plus (in my job at any rate).

    3. As for the work day ending - again, personally speaking - I have that worked out as a system with my employers and try to adhere to it, and frankly I always meet my deadlines without difficulty. As for the boundary from work and home, this is something that is either plus or minus (or actually neither: I consider the two fused when I am actually at work), and I'm depending on technology to carry me through the minus part to turn it into a huge plus. I originally took my job with the knowledge that my thinking was ahead of current technology: I wanted (still do) to do bicycle touring with a microlaptop and a solar panel on the back of my bike while I ride through the sun to re-charge tomorrow's set of batteries, and work remotely while I did this in a tent or at some mountaintop, thus fusing work and my greatest pleasure together. Really remote connectivity is not here yet though (except with satellite dishes, which are huge, expensive, unreliable, and not bike-friendly), but I think it will eventually be what I want and envision. I really think the home/work aspect to remote work is by far its greatest benefit.

    4. Off-shoring: Yep. Bad stuff, and true with many jobs in today's open business climate. I am lucky in that my job is very specialized: I am a specialist in both English language editing (grammar, lexicon, syntax, and construction) and in having a detailed medical knowledge - both of which are hard to off-shore without difficulties - but I couldn't claim the same for just any telecommuter. At the moment though, lots of things like this are up in the air, and at the moment I pronounce it as "ideal" still. Like all ideals, this is of course subjective opinion. One benefit for the employer is the lack of overhead in providing facilities to the telecommuter, so in certain fields it is a bit of a wash as to where it will go. India has a number of IT and transcription jobs already taking over, but their grasp of the English language tends to be less than pristine, so it's not all off-shored yet and frequently adds jobs in the QA/QC departments. EDIT: I am also lucky in that my 'second' job simply cannot be off-shored, since it's not technically telecommunicating and relies on my physical presence in the room, and also lucky because it is by far my biggest source of income at $50/hour.

    I will add another bad thing:

    5. If you are given total flexibility to work when you want and have a tendency to procrastinate, this can be very bad, as you find yourself scrambling at the end of the day to complete work or make a deadline.
    Last edited by Alekhine; 03-13-07 at 09:48 PM.
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