As a case manager at Daily Work, transportation is often a barrier I see many job seekers encounter when trying to gain and maintain employment. Employers can often be reluctant to hire someone who uses public transit as their primary mode of transportation, concerned about reliability. Frequently, I have worked with job seekers who had the right skills and background for a well-paying job, but had to turn down good opportunities due to excessively long bus rides, often 60 minutes or more, each way. In reality, while relying on public transit can present a challenge, job seekers using public transit demonstrate a myriad of in-demand job skills, just by going to work.
I have some personal experience navigating public transit as a job seeker. As someone with a disability, I frequently use public transit or rely on friends and family for rides. I often have to wait long hours, coordinate schedules, and find alternative ways of getting where I need to be just to get to my job or do the grocery shopping. In this process, I and job seekers like me, use many skills employers are searching for.
Here are just 3 examples:
1.Job Seekers who use alternative transportation are COMMITTED.
Job seekers often wait hours before and after an interview and before and after work hours, just to get to and from their jobs. That extra effort represents a high degree of commitment, grit, and work ethic. Job seekers persevere to get where they need to go, often working with a public transit system that is challenging. This demonstrated commitment, and willingness to go the extra mile to get the job done, would be attractive to most any employer.
2.Job Seekers who use alternative transportation are ORGANIZED and GREAT TIME MANAGERS
Bus schedules and routes can often be confusing and ever-changing, sometimes requiring interchanges and last-minute changes. Bus riders have to manage their time well to account for delays or unexpected challenges. One has to be organized to make the various routes, stops, and bus lines work for them and their employment needs. This organization and time management translates to on the job needs such as meeting deadlines or multi-tasking.
3.Job Seeker who use alternative transportation are PROBLEM-SOLVERS
Using public transit often requires people to be creative, solve unexpected problems, and have multiple back-up plans. Negotiating timing and back-up rides with partners, family, and friends also requires interpersonal skills. Sometimes transportation issues arise suddenly and require a quick and effective solution under pressure. The ability to remain calm and solution-focused in high stress situations is an in-demand skill for employees in numerous industries. Bus-riders regularly demonstrate these skills.
I would encourage employers (or anyone else) to consider these strengths and resiliencies when encountering job-seekers. Job seekers who use alternative transportation are often determined, resilient problem-solvers that make excellent employees. Daily Work is here to support job-seekers as they demonstrate this value to employers, working one-to-one with job seekers as they navigate the employment system. Because indeed, your perfect employee could be riding the bus - they only need the opportunity to demonstrate what valuable and dynamic team members they can be.