By JASON CAMPBELL
Bryanne Brown doesn’t get to see much daylight during the week.
A San Jose commuter, the Manteca mother of two says that she’s up before the sun comes up on most days and doesn’t actually get home until it has already set – the downside of the two-hour commute each way and an 8-hour workday.
But after 15 years living the same routine, there isn’t anything that she wouldn’t change about it.
“A lot of people that I know couldn’t do this – and they say that they wouldn’t want to do this,” Brown said. “And that’s fine. It’s not for everybody. But I started doing this because it was where I was able to find the job that I have today and I’ve got a good position with the company and I’ve been able to give my family a better life in the Central Valley than I would in the Bay Area.
“I think that any mother would like to spend more time with their children, but I have a husband that works close to home and what we have works for us.”
Brown, who started working in Silicon Valley several tech bubbles ago, said that even if she wanted to now, there’s no way that she’d be able to afford to live there today.
And there are a whole lot of other people who are looking to start the same routine that has become second nature to her.
With home and rental prices surging in all San Francisco Bay Area markets, those who are drawn to the job heavy market often have to choose behind the daunting daily grind of driving back and forth and paying insane rates to live closer to their job.
Social media has spawned some viral posts such as a crawl space in a Pacific Heights mansion that was being rented for $500-a-month – literally nothing more than the three-foot clearance beneath one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in one of the most expensive cities in the country. The space, the ad boasted, would be perfect for somebody who just needed a place to sleep and “code” in between hours in the office.
Then there was the young professional who bought a box truck and lived in the parking lot of his job – running an extension cord to power his laptop and keeping his few positions on a single closet bar and in a modest dresser that was setup near the bed. The amount of money he saved on housing, he opined in a story that gained traction on the internet, more than made up for the meager arrangements which made sense since his employer offered things like meals and showers and laundry and he didn’t really need any place to prepare for those amenities.
But while Brown misses a good portion of the weekday thanks to the commute – she has carpooled, driven alone and taken the ACE Train during her career – she says the time that she does get to spend with her family on the weekends is better spent in a small, suburban community like Manteca which caters to families and offers plenty of amenities that help keep that familial bond strong.
“I’m fortunate enough to have a job where I get quite a bit of paid time off so I’m able to compensate for that,” she said. “And there are wonderful opportunities here that a lot of my friends that live near work actually envy. After a while you just get used to it and know that you’re doing what makes sense for you and your family – that’s the most important thing at the end of the day.”
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.