Working in Boston has taught me a couple lessons about what it is like to commute to and work in a large city. Because I live about 45 minutes outside of the city, and the Massachusetts State House is deep within Boston, the commute to work each day has required a decent amount of planning. For those of you that are not so familiar with cities that are reading this and might be considering an internship in a city, Ive created this list of tips and suggestions that I can make for you after working in Boston this summer. Im not sure if these tips will apply to every city, but I hope that reading them might give some suggestions for how to save as bit of money and time and make working a bit more manageable.
1- Transportation: Unless you are the luckiest person on earth, commuter traffic is something you will inevitably encounter if you drive into a city for work, and unless you are the most tempered person on earth, sitting in bumper to bumper traffic for two hours before you even sit down at your desk at work is going to ruffle your feathers a bit. My first day of work, I thought it would be good to drive in- I left at 7am and hardly made it in time to get to the office at 9:30am. Its a 30 mile drive- What a waste of time! Super stressful, too. Not to mention, you will end up spending a bunch of money driving in to work. between tolls and gas, that will probably amount to $10 a day, and in Boston, parking will cost at least another $15-30 dollars. If you plan on working in a city with a functional public transportation system, use it! Not only do you not have to worry about traffic, these trains and busses are usually spot on with their arrival and departure times. I take the commuter rail into Boston now- it gets me near the State House on time each day, and instead of sitting in a sea of crawling cars on the Mass Pike, I can read a book, listen to music or catch up on email on the way to work. Also, public transportation is better for the environment! Better in every way.
2- Food: It is always better to make the time to buy food in advance and prepare it and bring it in to work with you than to buy food from nearby restaurants while on your lunch break. The sooner you realize this, the more money you will keep in your pocket and the better off you’ll be. Prepared food in cities is a lot more expensive than I am used to, and I have been saving $10-15 dollars a day since I stopped buying food at restaurants in Boston while on my lunch break. Plus, if you put a little bit of creativity and effort in the night before, your lunch you bring from home can be a lot tastier and healthier too. I like making berry scones and then bringing them in for a snack, and then I usually make rotisserie chicken sandwiches for lunch with lots of spinach, red peppers and hot sauce. Cheap, easy and really good. I always make sure to throw a cliff bar and an apple in my lunch bag too, to cover all my food bases. Making sure you are not hungry at work makes an 8 hour work day much more tolerable.
3.- Coffee: Bring you’re own with you. I know just as well as anyone else that a sugar filled iced coffee from dunkin’ donuts is so easy and can be extremely tempting, especially early in the morning when you may not have had that great sleep the night before, but you can make your own for a fraction of the price. You can have fun with it too- Iced coffee is great for the summer, so just brew a big pot at the start of each week and throw it in the fridge. I like to put honey and a bit of almond milk in mine, but the possibilities are endless. It only takes a bit more effort to do this, but it will be worth it when you have a couple hundred dollars extra in your wallet.
4: Dress- If there is a walk that is part of your summer commute to work, chances are you’re going to get sick of showing up to work soaked in sweat and having to run immediately to the bathroom to feverishly wipe yourself off with paper towels. It’s gonna be hot in the summer, so to prevent myself from being too uncomfortable on my way to work, I usually leave the house in my shirt, pants, and a pair of comfortable tennis shoes. I put my tie, jacket and dress shoes in my backpack and right before I walk into the State House, I make a quick stop at a bench, tuck my shirt in, change my shoes, tie my tie and throw on my jacket. Casual to business professional in a matter of seconds. Makes the commute a little bit more tolerable on those hot, humid days.
I hope these experiences I’ve shared here are helpful when you are trying to save a bit of money and stay sane while working in a city! I don’t really have a related picture to post, so instead I will attach a selfie I took in the governors own bathroom last week.
Until next time!!!