Why do some people work far away from where they live, even if their same job is located closer to their hometown?

I don’t mean to sound rude by asking this, but why do some people drive out of their way when they can work at the same store or restaurant closer to where they live?

This question only applies for temporary jobs, such as retail & food service. Higher level jobs usually require some sort of sacrifice.

On an extra note, the only excuse, IMO, would involve living far away from the nearest town or city.

The closer location isn’t hiring.

Not really “far away”, but my daughter lives 2 suburbs away from me, but works in a library in my town (only 20-min commute). I have suggested that she look for opportunities in her town’s library. She says she has discussed it w/ cow-orkers at the library and friends who are teachers. She says there is some benefit to NOT working for a government entity in your own town, as neighbors can (intentionally or not) be critical of your employer, look to you to explain aspects of the local government bodies, etc. I think it has some merit.

Some people might prefer not running into neighbors, friends, acquaintances at work. When I worked as a judge in a smallish community, I always was aware of running into someone who appeared before me as I ran my errands.

The closest location has a bad reputation.
The closest location doesn’t hire you.
The closest location has a lousy manager.

I don’t know what you mean. Instead, I’d say professional jobs may be fewer and more dispersed.

It’s cheaper to live far away.

The company pays you more to go to another branch. I had a friend who worked the service desk at Costco in a very good neighborhood just 10 minutes from where she lived. She was great at her job they offered her a position in a “problem” store 35 minutes away and she was happy to take it.

You know what you have, and not what you’ll get. Coworkers and bosses matter.

I’m guessing no one would take a job at the Costco an hour away if they could get the same job at the Costco 15 minutes away. So if someone is working at the one an hour away, my assumption is that there is a reason

  1. the one 15 minutes away wasn’t hiring for that particular position when the person was job searching - if I’m looking for a job as the front-end manager, it doesn’t do me any good if the nearby Costco is hiring cashiers
  2. The person was hired at the nearby location and was promoted to a better/higher paying job at the further location.
  3. One of the first two reasons caused the person to take the job at the further location , and when an equivalent position opened up at the closer location , the person didn’t think the travel time saved was worth getting used to a new boss, new co-workers etc

Wanting your kids in a good school district is still a reason for a lot of people. It doesn’t matter the level of job. In fact, renting can give you the opportunity to get your kids in a good school district vs. buying what you can afford in the “bad” part of town.

I’m guessing it usually boils down to what place is hiring at any given time. If the grocery store down the street from you isn’t hiring but the grocery store ten miles down the road is, then guess where you will be working?

The appeal of the neighborhood. If you’re a gay man, working at the Boystown Starbucks is going to be more appealing than one in the burbs.

. . . because packing and moving sucks (sayeth ‘Me’, the guy that did that 9 times over the course of sixteen years).

Theraputic reasons: a commute might be the only ‘self care’ time someone gets in their busy schedule. They might want to appreciate some solitude/catch up on podcasts/listen to their own voices in their head/etc. on their commute.

Everyone needs a little “me time” for themselves.

I had a friend who worked at Jewels Foods and according to him they had a policy of never having employees working at their “local” store. Supposedly this had something to do with preventing employees from having contact with their neighbors on the job.

For this:

read “colluding with friends to shoplift.”

If you own a home, and like it, you may not want to move. Also, housing in the distant location may be more expensive.

When I worked in a retail job, I applied to the corporation. I was assigned to a location where there was an open slot, which was a significant commute from my house. There were a number of locations closer to where I lived, but that’s not where the corporate office assigned me.

The OP specified that “This question only applies for temporary jobs, such as retail & food service.” So the question is not "Why don’t people live closer to where they work?’ but “Why don’t people work closer to where they live,” particularly when there is a closer location of the same chain?

From this thread, I gather that the most common answers are

  1. The farther location was the one that was hiring, and
  2. They like the working conditions (e.g. the people they’re working with) at the farther location.

I’ve worked as a barista, where my normal commute was between 30 minutes drive and an hour, depending on the traffic. It was a big chain, and that branch was unusual in the area for not getting a huge Christmas rush (it was at a smallish airport) so on my first Christmas there I got offered the opportunity to go to another branch that was actually walking distance to my house.

I was there two weeks, and it was the sort of two weeks where I kinda hoped a car would swerve into me on the walk in so I didn’t have to go in. The manager was clueless, the previous manager had just been fired for fraud and the new guy was barely trained and utterly out of his depth, in fact half the staff were untrained- they had someone who’d been there for 6 months and couldn’t make any of the drinks, because no-one had ever had time to teach her. The branch was in a clothing store so full of frustrated angry shoppers taking a break, I had to deal with more screaming obnoxious customers there than in the two years at the airport branch and the work was just flat out, all the time, even when there weren’t that many customers, because everything was so disorganised.

Just because on paper it was the same job didn’t make it the same working environment. My usual branch wasn’t exactly perfect, but it was definitely worth the commute for sheer sanity reasons.

This is very common in the DC area; I used to work with a guy who commuted from Calvert County in Maryland.

Implicit in the OP’s phrasing is that those are “McJobs” everyone only does temporarily. Not so. There are plenty of people for whom those sorts of jobs are their lifelong career.

Now turnover rate from job to job within a retail or food service career may be higher than turnover rate between jobs in a corporate career. But maybe not. Certainly all the various crafts in the IT industry are used to their life being a series of 6-18 month gigs for different employers.

So were you able to successfully return to the airport branch, or did you end up having to change employers to get away from the branch from hell?