Josh Wickham
Mar 5, 2018 · 4 min read

I am insane.

At least, this is something people commonly tell me. You see, I live in San Jose, like really far south in San Jose, I work in San Francisco, and I commute to the office four days a week. People’s eyes go wide when I tell them the commute is about 2 hours door-to-door, and that’s if everything is running on time. Delays aren’t common, but they’re not rare, and they can stretch up to 90 minutes sometimes. So, if you do the math, I commute an average of a bit more than 16 hours a week.

Can’t you tell I love it?

Yes, I’ve read the studies on commuting and bad health, stress, etc.

No, I don’t like commuting.

Yes, I’d like to reclaim or reuse that time.

But, I feel it’s worth it. Lemme explain.

First, I feel that I do my job better when I’m in the office. I’ve had a lot of practice working from home (indeed, we have work from home Fridays at Life360) and am effective at doing so. However, as a manager, it’s far easier and impactful if I’m present, having conversations with people face to face. A significant portion of my job is communication and coordination, and being at home with all the latest video conferencing tech, Slack, email, etc. just isn’t the same as running into someone in the kitchen and remembering that thing you needed to ask. Since I feel I do my job better while at work, and since I want to do my job well overall, there is incentive to being at work.

Second, the commute gives me much needed keyboard/screen time. Sure, every once in a while, I just veg and watch a movie or listen to an audiobook (currently enjoying The Nix by Nathan Hill), but most of the time I’m writing docs, working through my email, sorting and prioritizing JIRA, and following up with the meetings which usually keep me away from my desk more than 75% of the day [Editor’s Note: Josh only has that many meetings since he’s a manager, and it’s really more like 60%. C’mon, Josh]. Commuting lets me make up some of that time.

Third, commuting gives me this buffer between work and home which allows me to shift gears mentally. When I get home, I normally don’t have to “unwind”; I’m ready to put my stuff down and do family stuff, which is good because my 6-year-old is on me the moment I walk in the door. Conversely, when I get to work, I’m ready to get some stuff done, which is good because my first meeting is less than 10 minutes after I get in the office (if the train’s on time).

Fourth, there’s no way I’m moving closer to San Francisco. I’ve got a nice house in a nice neighborhood with great neighbors, we’re two blocks from my daughter’s school and from two parks. It’s not the nicest place in San Jose by any stretch, but it’s great for what my wife and I can afford. We’ve looked at places up the peninsula, but it’s all either too expensive, not the same bang for the buck, or (usually) both. We’ve got a nice place; I don’t want to change that.

Finally, most importantly, I love my job. Yes, that sounds cheesy, but stay with me. In order to change my commute, I’d have to switch jobs or move. I covered moving above; that means switching jobs. I won’t do that; Life360 is not only an excellent place to work, it’s just about perfect for me. There’s an incredible amount of challenge and variety in what we at Life360 are doing that it never gets boring. On top of that, it’s not “all hard all the time, sink or swim”; we have an extremely supportive environment, meaning there’s help when things get too challenging. Also the team is chock full of talented people so the help is actually help, not just “oh I’ll help”. Finally, we have the autonomy to approach meeting these challenges our own way, giving us each ownership of our own domain and the ability to grow into others.

So, while I’m stuck at the Hillsdale station, waiting for the trains to start moving, like I am today, these are the things I think about. Well, that and the Hyperloop. And flying cars. Helicopters. Transporter beams. Jetpacks. You know, the usual.

But would the Hyperloop look as nice?

If you live close, don’t mind the commute, or have your own jetpack, we’re hiring in all of our departments, ranging from infrastructure engineering to mobile engineering. Check out our open positions at https://www.life360.com/jobs.

Life360 Engineering

Musings of Life360's talented engineers

Josh Wickham

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Life360 Engineering

Musings of Life360's talented engineers

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