Whether you’re a business owner or an employee a few things about working life are pretty consistent. Unless you’re one of the small percentage of soloprenuers who work from home with no human interaction. For the remainder of us we all have to deal with coworkers. But first we have to manage our commute. In many areas of the country the getting to work isn’t a big deal. However, if you happen to live in a major US city, it can simply suck sometime.
In 2016 there were still over 75 percent of Americans who drove to work solo every day. I say interestingly because I truly thought the number had decreased some in the 21st century. The length of the commute to work has gotten 20 percent longer over the past 20 years with the average worker taking 26 minutes to get to work. But for many people in big cities with the worst traffic, like Washington, DC, New York or LA, a 26 minute commute would be sweet.
I have a dynamic job, so I may be in the office one day, working at a partner company site on a deal or presenting at a customer meeting in here in DC or anywhere in the 48 contiguous states. I travel on local buses, subway and in my car. I’m on a plane (preferably Southwest!) and then an Uber, Lyft or a taxi. In every mode of travel, I’ve seen my share of micro aggression, rudeness and clueless behavior.
This past Monday I was thinking about the fact that it seems to be happening more and more. In ways big and small. Aggressive driving ending in physical altercations. Or people getting assaulted on the subway or bus. All this came to mind because I was on the Metro in DC Monday morning on a crowded train that was SRO near a guy seated next to his backpack on the adjoining seat so no one could sit there. Whoever wanted the seat would have to ask him to move it. I knew I’d blog about it, so I took a pic.
You can see the lady in the white pants standing near me. She and I had a non-verbal black woman conversation for a minute or two. She looked at the backpack and then looked at me. Yup, she did it a couple of times to see if I was willing to say anything. I was riding 3 stops and figured I didn’t want to deal with any negative energy if I didn’t have to on a Monday morning. Sometimes you mess with people and crazy comes out. I wasn’t in the mood for that possibility. In my effort to be more mindful about how I approach every interaction of my day, I decided to let it pass.
And then later in the day I heard about the latest viral video. By now, I’m I sure you’ve seen the video of the Asian doctor trying to get back home on a United airlines flight who was dragged off the plane. This is your worst nightmare. Paid for your seat. Minding your business. Trying to get back home to go to work tomorrow. Instead you’re singled out and dragged off the plane because you were randomly picked in an overbooking situation gone that was straight crazy.
I’ve been involuntary bumped before when traveling and I know it’s a really irritating experience. You feel angry and helpless because you have no control. But I would have never thought an airline would call the cops on you because you didn’t want to take a bump. He was assaulted and ended up in the hospital. Then he’s unfairly ripped in the media about his past, as they do for all people of color who happen by no fault of their own to get into the headlines. He’s got a lawyer. I hope he sues and gets paid bigly.
It just reinforced the fact that commuting today can be hazardous to your health. Be mindful as you head to work today. Sometimes even if you’re right, it’s just not worth it.