When I got a job offer from EPIC, my biggest concern was our agency’s location. One of the main reasons I wanted to move in the first place was that I could be back in Milwaukee – so considering a 45 minute drive to West Bend wasn’t necessarily the most intriguing part about an otherwise superb opportunity.
I mean, a quick Google Maps sketch makes that clear:
“You drive to West Bend every day?!” is a question I hear on a very frequent basis. I always have a good response. But before I get into what it is, let me give you some background information about EPIC that may surprise you.
I took a minute to go over our employee phone and address list today and counted all of the people on there that live in Milwaukee and neighboring communities. The total? 17!
That doesn’t count the people that live even further than that. Cities like Kenosha, St. Francis, and Greenfield make the list, too.
I’ve learned since starting at EPIC nearly eight months ago (has it really been that long?) is that distance has always been one of the very few deterring factors for new applicants. But it shouldn’t be, and here’s why:
- It’s Ideal “Me” Time
I live with a roommate, and while I love the kid, it truly limits the amount I have truly to myself. My drive changes that. I have a combined 90 minutes a day where I can cruise up I-43, listen to music nobody can judge me for and relax. Agency life can be stressful, and in reality the job lasts far beyond 8-5 — so having time for reflection is not only healthy, but also useful. I’ve come up with some of my best ideas while driving (and while in the shower, of course).
- Listen To Podcasts
Long commutes are ideal for listening to podcasts. Download your favorite ones over the weekend and you’ll have a smorgasbord of options. There are plenty of up-and-coming ones to choose from, like Not Bad Dad (Shameless plug for my boss Fuzz, by the way).
- Run Errands
When I lived in Madison and only had a 10-minute commute, the only thing I wanted to do after work was to jump in the car and go straight home. What I’ve found, though, is that my longer commute forces me to do errands I normally wouldn’t get done. Grocery shopping? I go by a Target every day. Cash or deposit a check? I zoom past a US Bank branch in Grafton. Hit up the Apple store? I drive past Bayshore Mall on I-43. Trust me, it truly does make everything easier.
- Be Awake
Unlike people who have relatively short commutes, I’ve been up for over an hour by the time I get into work. That means I’m more awake, focused and ready for my first cup of coffee (thanks to our wonderful array of Keurig machines).
- Take Advantage Of A Smaller City
Let’s be real: Milwaukee is a nice place, but heck, it can be EXPENSIVE and CROWDED. Thankfully, small city perks are plentiful:
- Gas prices are an average of 10 cents cheaper.
- West Bend has a DMV that, believe it or not, I was in-and-out of in less than 15 minutes when I needed new license plates.
- The Aurora medical system has a clinic here, which is why I schedule all of my doctor’s appointments locally. I’ve never had to wait longer than a few days for an appointment.
- There are chain fitness clubs that have branches in both West Bend and Milwaukee, meaning a membership will give you the ability to work out both close to work and home.
- Walmart, Pick N’ Save, Aldi, Starbucks, Subway, Cousins, Kohl’s, Marshalls, Sprint, Verizon, Qdoba, Panera, Noodles & Co., etc. are all only a few minutes away. (And hey, EPIC will give you up to an hour for lunch).
- Embrace The EPIC Culture
As the “about us” section on our website says:
“EPIC Creative is not your typical ad agency. Judging by the quality of our work, you would assume we reside in Milwaukee’s Third Ward and commute in Porsche Panameras. But in fact, looking out the front windows of our main office, you’re more likely to see a John Deere tractor than a German-made sports sedan.”
There’s a reason we’re in West Bend and a reason we haven’t left. Our clients are just as unique as our location, and it serves us well.
- Car Pool
If you’re worried about gas being too big of an expense, you can always car pool. A ton of people at EPIC do it, and while it might take away from the “me time” mentioned earlier, it gives you the opportunity to bond with (truly) EPIC people even outside of work. Plus, it’s environmentally friendly.
- Get Work Done & Catch Up
Safety always comes first. BUT if you live in a state where talking (not texting) on the phone while driving is legal, like in Wisconsin, it is absolutely possible to get work done. Conference calls? Client calls? Do them on your drive to and from work. Plus, if it’s billable time, you’re killing two birds with one stone. Take the time to make personal calls, too.
- Enjoy No Traffic
Commuter traffic in and around Milwaukee can be a pain, but it’s important to remember which way you’re heading. While the majority of the people in the mornings are going into the city, you’ll be one of the few heading out – and vice versa. I rarely hit traffic, and if I do, it’s only for the last five minutes of my drive.
Long story short: a commute to West Bend really shouldn’t deter anyone from joining the EPIC family. And I say family because, well… that’s what we are. So, what are you waiting for?