American Morning

Tune in at 6am Eastern for all the news you need to start your day.
March 9th, 2010
06:00 AM ET

Would you move 1000 miles for your job?

By Bob Ruff, CNN

(CNN) – What would you do if your company closed its doors, but offered you the same job 1000 miles away?

In December 2008, in the depths of the recession, GM worker Steve Kerl faced that same question. Just 8 years from retirement, his GM assembly plant in Janesville, Wisconsin was shut down. 1,933 workers were out of work.

“What are we going to do?” was Kerl’s first reaction. “Are we going to have our health care? How are we going to come out? We didn’t even know if you were going to have a job.”

Most of the Janesville plant workers took buyouts. But 545 of them were fortunate enough to be offered jobs at other GM plants. The catch? The plants are hundreds of miles from Wisconsin.

What would you do?

Kerl took a job putting fenders on GM SUV’s in Arlington, Texas. It’s hard work. At the end of his 10-hour shifts he goes back to bunk with two other GM workers in a three-bedroom apartment near the plant. Home is 1000 miles away.

Kerl’s wife and two teenage kids remain behind in Janesville. The Kerls didn’t want to take the kids out of school. And they couldn’t face the prospect of selling their house anyway with real estate prices plummeting.

The Kerl family, along with many others who worked at GM in Janesville, is yet another side of the recession. Families physically separated by economic circumstances beyond their control. The sacrifice is palpable.

“In the last couple of months, “ he told us, “I missed all of my daughter’s gymnastics meets. I missed her birthday…I missed my boy’s birthday. So [these] are things you’re never going to get back. You know, that’s gone.”

The sacrifice is spread evenly throughout the family.

“Steve will talk to me on the phone,” his wife, Kristy, told us, “and, you know, get me through it. Hang in there. And then there’s the days that calls come in that he’s like, you know what, I’m not doing this anymore. You know, I want to come home. And I’m like, no! Hang in there!”

Jenessa, their teenage daughter, says it’s “really hard…I mean, what other 16-year-old doesn’t want their Dad around? He’s always been the one that’s at the meets, and always there for support. “

Jeramie Kerl, 19, is their son: “When Dad left I kind of had to assume most of the responsibilities that he did, the outside work…mowing the grass, which he took care of.”

In the midst of all of this, the Kerls have literally opened their Janesville home to the 16-year-old daughter of another former Janesville plant worker and his wife, both of whom have moved to work at an Indiana GM plant. Steve introduced us to Grace, who is Jenessa’s friend. Everyone wanted Grace to be able to finish her sophomore year before moving to Indiana.

“We like to have her here,” says Steve.

As we finished the interview with the Kerls, Steve told us the separation has been too much. They’re moving to Texas. The house just sold, at a loss, and they hope to be together near Arlington before the end of the summer.

As we watched Steve pack for the long trip back to Texas, we saw him trying to figure out a way to squeeze a hunk of Wisconsin cheese into his packed suitcase.

“This will always be our home,” he said.

“You’ll never take Wisconsin out of us,” added Kristy. “We’ll return some day.”

Filed under: Economy
soundoff (384 Responses)
  1. Connie

    Was laid off last March and have been doing a 140 mile
    round trip commute since then. My husband could shortly
    be going to Chicago for work. 500 miles away. I have
    read the above comments and am proud to be in the company
    of Americans who still believe in "doing what it takes". There might be some hope to this country after all.

    March 22, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  2. marjorie m. gera

    Absolutely! i have gone back to school for a new career due to the fact that we are one of the 35 areas of above 15% unemployment. I donot intend to be on unemployment for longer than I have to. I am 56, if I can do it at my age no one should be afraid. P.S. I'm a nurse.

    March 22, 2010 at 9:31 am |
  3. Shawn

    I graduated from a Maritime Academy. We go to sea for 2-6 months at a time without seeing our family. I live in Maine and I have to meet the ship in San Diego. I know how it feels to miss out on your kids life.

    March 10, 2010 at 2:00 am |
  4. Sarah

    I know this family. They are a hard working middle class family trying to make it in an economy that's working against them. They are good people. GM closing up shop here has been hard. Every way you look at it, families are struggling: if they try to find another job here, if they transfer to another GM, if they take the buy-out and retire-there are stories of families breaking up....Kristy and Steve are admirable, they are making the best out of their situation. It's not easy but they are doing their best 🙂

    March 9, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  5. man

    they are awesome! and that jenessa is cute.
    she should be a model!
    but they seem nice and will get through this

    March 9, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  6. Ralph

    As a government subcontractor I go where the opportunity is. To reduce my commute of 85 miles each way, that usually takes about two plus hours each direction, I have chosen to live within 5 miles of my work location. It costs me out of pocket $700 month to rent a room with a private bathroom in a townhome. Seven hundred is a cheap price for the Northern Virginia area but it is still a big additional monthly expense considering that it is after tax money and not deductable. Not having to commute daily does allow me to keep my sanity after a 9-10 hour work day. Being away from home all week is expensive and very lonely. I work with several others who do the same thing including an individual who commutes from Indiana weekly. My brother lives in Chicago and works in northeastern PA while my son lives in Oregon and commutes some weeks over 140 miles to his office near Portland. So living in one place and working in another is pervasive and seems to be an increasing trend with little reward other than a job and the associated salary, but it beats the alternatives of no job or low paying wages.

    March 9, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  7. Matt Wilson

    I just want to say moving is the right decision as It keeps your family together – I commuted every weekend from seattle to Bristol in England for 3 months because I had work – finally found work in the US again – we had to leave seattle for 2 years (went to Wichita in Tornado Alley – interesting !) but have been able to return home to Seattle and settle again. Do what you need to do to keep your family together – things turn around.
    All the best – the Wilson Family

    March 9, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  8. Christine Friedrich

    My husband has worked in NYC for 4 years while I live in our house in MN. Selling the house and joining him in NY has never been an option because the housing market has been flat here since the fall of 2005 when Northwest Airlines began cutting salaries and laying off employees. We see no end in sight to our current situation.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  9. Terry

    I currently commute from the East Coast to Portland Oregon for work. This is a short term solution until I can sell my house and move my family. It's life deal with it and move on there is no since in complaining. I'm happy to have a job and work for a company that offered me options other then laying me off when my position was eliminated.

    The guys should just move his family Texas is a pretty cheap place to live.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  10. hutdoy

    Yep, all moving to Maryland to the plant that Joe Bin Biden made them open.

    Notice how they don't mention that.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
  11. Ar

    This is not uncommon. Military families have also been going through this for many years.

    March 9, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
  12. ssr

    I,m sorry but this is not by definition a 'commute'. It is called 'working away from home'. This is nothing but a blatant headline to steer people to this article.

    Going by this inane logic, an immigrant say from China commutes 15000 miles to work.

    March 9, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
  13. George

    Good to see that some people, well I guess fellow servicemembers who are also commenting are shedding light on the 98% of the country who have never served there country, or the 75% who are unqualified to serve there country.
    Sad story yes. But I am sure someone with a education and a good work ethic could find a job. Sometimes we have to get outside of our box and work to keep the family going, not work a job we want.

    March 9, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
  14. Joe

    How many trucks do you pass each day on the hiway, do you think those men are home every night????

    March 9, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
  15. R

    Since September 2005, I have been "commuting" from Western Kentucky 600 miles (one way) to New Orleans, LA for work.

    I had an extremely good job, own a home, and spent time with my children that have not grown up and moved out on their own. Family has become more important to me as time goes by, intensified by the fact that I had not only a teenage daughter and young adult son, but a six-year old daughter at the time. Although my wife and I had divorced, we have always tried to keep our "family" strong for the children, and have very similar values where raising the children are concerned. My oldest son lives away, but my youngest son lives at home, has married, and I am now blessed with a very handsome grandson in addition to everyone else.

    I had considered many times working at a fast food restaurant or hardware store to stay in Kentucky, but I would only be able to cover my mortgage with very little to share with them.

    My company covered limited travel costs home for me for some time, as I was part of the emergency response effort for Hurricane Katrina, but during the time there, the job market changed, and when the disaster effort was over, I had no job to return to.

    After looking close to home with no success for a comparable job for more than five months, I began looking in the New Orleans job market, which I was familiar with. I found work with a FEMA contractor, and eventually hired on with an Engineering firm with (thankfully) steady work and who saw me for what I was capable of doing, rather than simply what I had done in the past.

    During this time, I have maintained my Kentucky home, and lived in a number of places, garage apartments, with friends, renting rooms in stranger's homes, all in the effort to keep a good job and provide for my children.

    I am fortunate that my job schedule allows this: Every other weekend, I "commute" the 600 miles on Friday, pick up my daughter that evening, and spend the time with her, my eldest daughter (when she is home from university), and with my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson. Sunday morning I drive the 600 miles again, and arrive at about 10 o'clock P.M., in time to rest and begin the cycle again.

    I have, from time to time, looked into the job situation at home, out of curiosity, really with little hope of finding anything worthwhile. I can foresee no change in my situation in the near future. I do this so that they will have what I did not have. Even after the sadness of divorce, a "family" with two loving parents, involved in their lives, that love them very much.

    From time to time, I may remark in passing that I am going out of town, and people inquire for the details out of curiosity. When I tell them the nature of the travel, they find it amazing that I do what I do. I cannot imagine what life would be like without the ability to see my children, enjoy time with my son and his wife, my ten-year old daughter, play with my grandson.

    Would my children be okay if I took a weekend or two for myself? If I made a trip "every now and then"? It might just be okay. I am the one that cannot live without them. I want them to know that they are important, and worth the sacrifice.

    I know that I am fortunate, very blessed, to be sure.

    My prayers go out to every family in this situation.

    March 9, 2010 at 2:08 pm |

    I feel for these people, in fact all of the people that are driving themselves nuts trying to get by. I, by choice was going to a communuity college, but I
    kept on watching the big rigs that the cc hada class for. I quit myarts ans sciences classes and put my but in a crummy old tractor-trailer. i ended up coming out of my class #1. I was driving an average of 3,600 miles a week, and when I wasn't driving I was wrenching on my ride. I know this is not for everybody, but I learned and saw more than I ever would have ever encountered if I would have had at a nine to five job.This was back when the speed limit was 55, which meant I earned many high speed awards, but being a bit of an outlaw I ran 3 log books and two radar detectors, plus a cb radio that was hopped up enough to talk to astronauts on the moon. I worked my way up to first class equipment and designated routes, unless I wanted to do some thing different. I did this for 30 years and I miss it like your first love, but an accident that occured while I was sitting still ended all that. I'd do it again if the trucks on the road today were not more of an appliance than a large car. My truck had about 800 hp and I used most of it most of the time, I know there are some big riggers that recall 3408 cats, 15 speed with 3:55 gear. I really enjoyed the life style and all that went with it. Now I'm disabled because an embankmend I war using as a haul road collapsed and we fell 75 feet and landed upside down. The weird part, is that if it wan't for that ride I'd be broke and fretting about income. These people that take the ball and run with it deserve a big ol' atta boy,in spite of the hardship, it's just gonna make ya tougher. I think that the creeps in politics and living large outta be put out to pasture with out all the swell benefits they will recieve on our dime. I'd sure like to think that the general attitude of the populace let a little air out the wind bag and either do something right or get the hell outta the way.It's going to continue like it is now, unless all the people that have a story to tell fell the same way.Thats how I see it, IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE GUT'S TO TELL THESE PEOPLE THAT THEY"REPRESENT" US AND RAISE SOME HELL IT WILL ONLY CONTINUE AS IT IS, OR GET WORSE" my attitude is getting more radical and a tick more than angry.If you are complacent you are more than likely compliant. That is a sorry assed way to be when we face a situation such as now. If you ain't mad you ain't right.It is going the wrong direction, and there are some people that have some explaining to do, if you don't know who I an referring to it's already too late for you dude. When I was in the Navy durin the Viet Nam war,there was an unpopular way to enforce discipline calledCaptains Mast
    It' is way past time for that. Lets start with thhe fat cats that are the dim bulbs that lead the soon to be non existent republicans and democrats and let the heads roll from there.
    Saddle Tramps the handle, freedom and prosperity is the goal. I pray to the great God of the ribbons of blacktop that I'm not alone.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
  17. John

    Kind People,

    I, and many others realize that these are very tough times in this great country. There are people that are literally dying to come to the U.S. to make their dreams come true. But at the same time, let us not turn a blind eye to other opportunities.
    I was a "road warrior" engineer for ten years. Have been in pharmaceutical engineering for nearly twenty-five years. Last year, it was determined that I was epileptic after having two grand mal seizures over the course of a one year span. Talk about a life changing occurance!!!
    One of the primary factors in seizure induction is stress. The pharma. industry in this day and age is rife with stress. I decided that I had to reinvent my life and do something completely different. I am planning on moving to Belize to set up shop and live a much more relaxed, affordable life.
    Please forgive me for being so long-winded but the point that I must make clear is that there are options for those of us that are willing to break away from the mainstream and take a chance. After all, the only failure is in not trying. Good luck to all!!!

    March 9, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
  18. James

    I don't get it. If it's so bad to miss the games, birthdays, etc... Don't miss them. Quit your job and move into a smaller, less expensive place. Sell your nice car and buy a 15 yo used beater. Or better yet, go out and network and meet people and find a place to work locally which pays the same. All I hear about is how nobody can find work. Yet, my wife and at least four of my friends have gotten new jobs with better or equal pay in the past 7 months. This is in Tampa. Florida has some of the worst employment figures this side of Michigan. It can be done. You just have to do it.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
  19. Prisca

    Oh give me a break! This man is'nt doing anything new. Immigrants left families behind to work in America, slaves left the south for the north in order to work and people DRIVE daily hundreds of miles so their familes can eat. As far as missing sporting events, as a divorced single mom my child can't participate in sports due to my 9-6 work schedule. So, please get over your self people. And , the guy (Andy)who wrote his wife cheated when he was away working . He felt it never would have happened if he was at home. Get a clue Andy! Your wife cheated, because you had problems in your marriage BEFORE you left for work. It was just convient, because you were away. FYI CNN: THIS IS NOT NEWSWORTHY!

    March 9, 2010 at 1:49 pm |
  20. Dancer Reece

    I think most people are missing the point completely. Yes, he was lucky he had a job to go, I wish I had that, a viable that would help me pay my bills and not have to live paycheck to paycheck. He is talking about family, raising your kids and being around your significant other. Yes, he and others make this work everyday, but it shouldn't have to be this hard. We let this get out of hand by not supporting the American worker, and we are and will pay for it until we decide what's important, i.e. jobs, health care, and ecology. When we do this people can struggle because they want to not because they have to.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
  21. Daniel Paul Mills Jr

    And i should care why?All i know is my taxes went to bail Gm out so he could have a happy pension.Whos helping with my pension?Oh i forgot i dont get one.No sorrow felt hear.Its life be happy you have a job and pension.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
  22. Al V

    I just spent my first year in Ga. after leaving our home form Mass. It was move 1100 miles to save your job, or lose it for a 6 mo buy out.
    My wife has had back sugurey and health insurence is a must. Cobra
    on unemplyment ya right. A man must do what he as to do for the ones he loves.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
  23. Jonah

    Seriously...To hear people belittling others who feel family friends and community are important; to me is ridiculous. You are right though it is a choice. Keep up with the Jones or just be friends with the Joneses. I would love to be wealthy. Me and my wife left well paying jobs in Charlotte NC. To move back to my hometown in PA. My father is ill and my mother is getting old, plus I have young children. My children's quality of life is more important than the BMW right now. But it doesn't mean me or my wife is freaking lazy! We have crap cars. Sacrifice everyday just to be close to family. You don't need the 500,000 dollar house or the c class in your drive way. Simply choose family and community or money. These days we have to choose. It sucks but we do have to choose. I wish I could make the same wage and live just as comfortable up here in PA. But again living in a small town and my parents watching their grand children grow is worth the sacrifice. I guess I am just an ignorant redneck though!

    March 9, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
  24. James

    This is not a good situation, but CNN acts like this is caused by the recession and one of the horrible situations arising from the recession. Is CNN ignorant to the fact this has been happening for decades? Manufacturing has been shipping jobs overseas for years due to lower labor costs, higher medical costs at home, and unfortunately extreme bonus incentives to CEOs to do it. I have been away from home contracting for 4 years with a split home. Frequent loss of lob, no benefits and 100% on the road. Its not easy, and unfortunately, more and more people are having to do this. I do know more tax breaks to the rich, companies and bigger bonuses to CEOs will not fix this 3 decade problem.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
  25. Scott

    I am paticular about my house well maintained and many labor intensive refinements and costly have been made that please me and make it better suited to my life style.
    Things get broken, lost and stolen when moving some are not replacable. Movers are too lazy to move machine tools and antique vehicles. Each location has nusiance quirks that must be learnt e.g. new driving licence, personal property taxes, vehicle inspections ant etc.
    Yea right pull up stakes and move. Then the booger eaters change plans and want me to commute/move to something else because we changed plans....
    The grass is brown everywhere. All jobs suck but need money to live. I am glad that I am 63 and can retire soon. I knew I had stepped in it with in weeks of starting a job right out of college. It has been a long 40 years. I am financally secure but the juice is not worth the squeeze. Engineering a challenging and rewarding carrer? BULL!

    March 9, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
  26. Daniel Paul Mills Jr

    Just another example of how great things are.As citizens we bring on alot of this pain are self by electing the same old same old to office.Keep electing them and they will keep sending all are jobs over seas while there poctets get lined Who wants to commute to india?

    March 9, 2010 at 1:28 pm |
  27. Santini's Son

    As a former Army brat, I can agree with many of the other military family members. The military branches have been doing this for years. My father was absent (completely) for three years. He probably spent another two or three years "in the field" on maneuvers.

    I'm thrilled that he survived all of that, including a landmine that gave him a Purple Heart and a disability check. But it is all time that we'll never see again.Military families and those that serve are a special breed. Salute!

    March 9, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  28. Traci

    The cynicism of some folks is unreal! I feel for any family that has to miss each other at these extremes. Everyone has to make choices. I respect ALL of them!
    I think an underyling issue has to be GM's responsibility. It sooo aggravates me to see the story about THIS worker for THIS company. I work for Ford and have for 8 years. I decribe my tenure as "Crisus Status since Day ONE . I was fortunate to land there after my own small business failed at the same time. Until recently, I was a Credit Analyst for the Chicago/Minneapolis territory from 4/07-11/09. I characterize this time akin to "Storming the Beach at Normandy". The most trying time in our country's history! The most historic time as well- an AA President?! What?! Ford came out on its own feet! I worked so hard as did my colleagues at FMCC and the Motor Company. No matter WHAT the criticism, Ford demonstrates good American worker traits. I'm proud of my company and will always drive a Ford. What did Chrysler and GM hand their workers? A lot of nothing! Uncertainty, bad decisions, a bail out & still ineffective! They left many of their people, retirees and dealers out to dry! It doesn't matter the competition, there is no glee in watching the demise of an American company. Ever. There we watch the demise of OURSELVES, OUR America. Shame on GM that these are the choices they offer their workers. Lest I appear biased, I may be one of the 1000 who may lose their jobs at FMCC come the end of this month. 110 of those at the facility where I work. I am a single parent to two teenage daughters (whew!), I don't have my hand out. Insurance switched from $20 copays to 80/20%, 3600 deductible, nickel & dime this and that as of 6/1/09. I was diagnosed w/MS on 5/29/09- you do the math.. Needless to say, things are a little dicey right now but its still better than what it could be. Make the story the story- stop pointing fingers when THAT story has already been told and the truth revealed. I NEVER comment on a major site. I hardly read the news but good gravy, is anyone listening?

    March 9, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  29. Mano

    There are several factors which matter while thinking about the impacts of commuting/traveling jobs. Each individual has a unique situation, not exactly matching with other. That includes the psychological/emotional situations as well. So, what may work well for one does not necessarily need to work for the other. It can even devastate a family or a person but another can adopt it readily. As long as we sympthasize with someones's pains, even though that's not how we would probably manage our lives in similar situation, we can easily connect with the suffering family.

    By the by, I am currently having the similar life as the family in the story went through.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:26 pm |
  30. Greg

    Some amazing stories. In 35 years of working I have never had a commute longer than 45 minutes, outside of a short consulting stint of 5 months where I was out of town from Monday to Thursday ( a 3 hour drive). Something I took for granted, however, now realize how incredibly lucky I have been.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
  31. Archie5275

    I commute from Delaware to NYC (148 miles each way) for work 5 days a week. Cant find anything in DE so i do what i have to support the family. Its hard but someone has to do it.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  32. Sally

    You have to move to where the job is. Gone are the days of working for the same company until retirement.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
  33. Brian

    I hope the Kerl parents finds some solace in that their children are learning the meaning of self sacrifice in the name of others from the example being set by Mr. and Mrs. Kerl, most importantly and in this case the sacrifice one makes for a family. Too often people think of themselves at the expense of the ones closest.

    As for military supporters, lets not take away from this family and what they are doing. All should be recognized for sacrifices made on all levels.

    Finally, non-competitive jobs are being outsourced, in some cases overseas and others to different states. The larger problem lies with replacing lost jobs with competitive employment that our highly skilled workforce is capable of performing. Who is responsible for such an investment climate? The local, state, or federal government? Business? Union and Labor Organizations? Or everybody?

    March 9, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
  34. Clarence

    Why don't you stop having kids? That's got to relieve alot of the financial distress. Doesn't anyone think about that?

    March 9, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
  35. KT

    I agree with the military comments. This happens everyday and the situations are alot worse most of the time. I just graduated college and I had to move over 1000 miles for a job. I know it doesn't compare to having kids and a family but I have a family and friends that I never get to see also. Life comes with tough choices. Moving to sunny Texas, could instead be moving to Alaska, which is what one of my good friends had to do. Count your blessings ppl

    March 9, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
  36. Cindy

    People are resilient for the most part and do what needs to be done, especially when it comes to holding the family together. You will love it in Texas. As a Native Texan, there isn't any other state I will ever live in. The weather is great, cost of living is lower, and the people here are friendly. Welcome, ya'll!

    March 9, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
  37. Guest

    How is this news? People have been doing this for years!!! And I wouldn't say that this guy is "commuting" to work. He works in a different city than where his family is. A "commute" would be driving back and forth from work every day. I know some people with actual commutes of 3 hours (DC to Philly, or Philly to NYC) who do it DAILY. I understand that some people are now doing this because companies shut plants down, etc, but COME ON have to go where the jobs are. This isn't anything new

    March 9, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
  38. Inez

    I don't understand why these people are complaining? They are the lucky ones with jobs!. So what if they missed schools activities or birthdays. Many services men/ women do the same thing day after day and I don't see their story in the front page of CNN.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
  39. JT

    I am an electrician and have been traveling for work since I have obtained my state licence. Ive been form Washinton to W. V. and in between. It sucks to leave all of your loved ones behind but when you come home you remember why your doing what your doing....

    March 9, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
  40. craig

    Unfortunately for all of us, this is how it is going to be from now on. Moving families to follow jobs IS VERY DIFFICULT and the only thing to do is to commute.

    Sad isn't it!

    March 9, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
  41. AMR

    This kind of thing is not really that uncommon. Until I read into the article I thought he actually "commuted" 1,000 miles to work each day.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
  42. N2

    I relocated to New Jersey, from California, for work. I drove across the country during winter to accept a project offer here. I am now moving to Md for a new project. I don't see what's so special about this situation. They are still better off than so many people out there.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
  43. Sarah

    My husband had to accept a civilian contractor position in Afghanistan because the oil and gas industry he worked in tanked. He is 6 months into a year contract. We have a 3.5 year old daughter who he has not seen in six months. I understand the difficulty but give me a break, at least your husband is not getting shot at or bombed on a regular basis. He does not have to take his life in his own hands when he goes to take a shower, goes to the bathroom or when he lays down to sleep at night. Trust me, it could be worse. You can't go visit your husband when he works in a war zone.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
  44. Sarah

    I'm in Janesville right now. He's not missing much.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
  45. Andrew

    I have no pity for a family that say they don't want to pull their kids from a school and selling the house is a big deal. Boohoo. You make your own bed. I commuted 4 hours for 9 years (including 1.25 years going through chemotherapy) and I can tell you it was a choice. No one made me climb that train, the housing market wasn't always favorable and the kids' school wasn't THAT good. Cry me a river. The guy has a job doesn't he? What about the rest of his buddies who didn't get one??? Do you think they are looking at this dude with sympathy? What about the working single mom in America, where's their story?

    March 9, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
  46. Simon

    I agree with Sheri below. I am in the military and have moved to 8 different places in the last 10 years; not counting the 6 month deployments every 2 years or so to combat areas… The folks in the article are blessed-job that puts food on the table. The title of this article is misleading. This man is a geographic bachelor, not a 1000 mile commuter. When his family is ready they will move to the new location... I wish everyone in America was as ‘unlucky’ as this man…

    March 9, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
  47. Chris

    I love how people like to one-up these stories. You sound like grumpy old men comparing scars. "You think THAT's bad, well, let me tell you..."

    Get over it. Things are tough all over. The lesson here is that this guy is doing what he has to do and that's a lesson many people need to learn.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
  48. Amanda

    While everyone is either for or against what this GM worker is doing, we need to look at the bigger picture. Yes, people are out of work. Yes, the times are hard for most of the nation. Where are some of the jobs that could employ people out of work? They are out of the country. For example, have you ever tried getting a customer service rep that you can understand? Why are these jobs overseas when we have so many people here suffering for lack of work? We need to focus on bringing jobs back to America to the people here that use the services, products, ect.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
  49. AMR

    My cousin does the same thing now- lives in southern Illinois and works in Kentucky. He stays at an extended-stay motel during the week and drives home to his wife & 2 kids each weekend. Unlike the man in the article he is nowhere near retirement- he's only 26 years old.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
  50. P

    Got laid off a year ago. For 6 months, I have been commuting 100 miles each way, every day. The pay is good and I like the job. However, this is my last week as I have found a job in my hometown and will actually have a home office. Everything works out in the end.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
  51. Jeff

    Ok, pardon my opinion here but, this is pitiful. People think they 'need' high paying jobs, big houses, stuff and such to make a life. There have been 'poor' people who made a happy life in areas with depressed income for decades upon decades. The issue is that people put work over life. Kids need to learn that the earth can and will provide for us creatures. This does not require a brainwashing into some company that builds your identity and then leaves you broken when they move. Pitiful! You people call yourselves survivors and you 'go where the work is', that is an excuse for fear! Sorry excuses for human beings. Anyone that sacrifices time spent with family for money is a loser!

    March 9, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
  52. Jeff

    The headline is misleading. He isn't commuting if he rents an apartment.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  53. jenn wang

    I like to know how many people who can find a less paying job like me . 55% less in a state I really don't have any business be in it.Sad to say I have been here over 3 and 1/2 years. my (old )very good paying job in NYC got phase out to the depression, you never know how hard to move away from your comfort zone till you do. never mind the area I am in . The FOOD and PEOPLE are so different. I was a regular salt water fisherman. now the nearest coast is 600 miles .

    March 9, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  54. James Shoemaker

    I know how these folks feel. I am an Ironworker. I grew up in San Antonio, Texas. I went through the apprentice program and when I finished the worked slowed down. I worked at the STNP in Palacios Tx. for 4 years. We started with a rolling 4's , four ten hour days and four off. The last year we workded 5 eight hour days. In 1997 I worked in Houston Texas comuting fron San Antonio each weak. I finally found a home outside of Houston and moved my family. A year later I had a mild stroke and had to retire from Ironworking. They worry about your family and taking care of them puts stress on the body. I would rather be doing the thing I enjoyed, building Ameica. When I showed my doctor a picture of me sitting on a six inch wide bean fourty floors in the air, he told me I could not do that any more. I really enjoyed my work because every where I look in parts of Texas I left my mark in the buildings I helped build. I worked as an apprentice on the Tower of the Americas in Downtown San Antonio in 1967. I will always miss the work I enjoyed.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  55. TheSim

    You know, just because some of you have it worse doesn't mean this family doesn't also have it pretty bad. There's a lot of ego being thrown around here today. It's not a competition about who has it the worst. And if you're in the military and you're complaining about all the travel... I hate to be the one to say it but, that's literally the job you signed up for. When you go into a recruiter's office and join the armed forces, that means when wars happen, you get sent to war. This family in Wisconsin didn't sign up for a job that would eventually get moved to Texas, that's just what happened.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
  56. Brandy

    My family and I live in Virginia. My dad's company no longer has work here, but offered my dad a job in california. So for the past 5 months he has been working in california, and was only able to come home for christmas. He was suppose to come home last month, but there is still no work here. I'm support my dad, and everything he has done for us. BUT, it still sucks he isn't around.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
  57. ron

    This has not happened to me yet but can happen anytime. My field (medicinal chemistry) is full of H1 / exchange visitor visa holders. The drug / biotech industry prefers to hire these people because they are cheap while US citizens like me are laid off. Currently I travel 2h each way to work and making considerably less than at my previous job. This is the only country in the world where it is perfectly legal to hire aliens while US citizens are available for the same jobs. I would like to see them hire Chinese and Indians on H1 visa for CEO jobs,

    March 9, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
  58. Lockandload

    Wife's that won't move because it's "the kids" give me a break. After a while he should send no money home–none, that would get her off her fat arse.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
  59. HW

    My fulltime job is 560 mi away from home, and I only get to be home every 2 weeks and stay for 4 days to be with my wife and toddlers. Yes, I'm paying all the travel expenses out of pocket.

    The government should allow W2 to deduct this kind of travel expenses.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
  60. PaulN

    I commute 1,800 miles weekly. You go where the work is. This has always been the case. IN yuears past men would leave for months at a time to go to where the work was. The real question is, "Why is this considered news?" What's the agenda here?

    March 9, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
  61. Broke2010

    I commuted for nearly 4 years from Philadelphia to Wisconsin. I know many people are doing this and have been doing this for years. Companies are sending jobs overseas to make profit and this will continue. Our government is helping them to send jobs overseas.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
  62. JC

    I do this every week.

    I live in Dallas and work in Minneapolis. I leave my truck in Minneapolis and fly back and forth every week. The hotel sucks but the expenses are on me. Buy plane tickets a month out and they are reasonable. Yeah the initial 14 hour drive straight through about killed me.

    Our economy is shot. Make sacrifices and do what you must to survive and pay off everything or hoard cash.

    Probably going to stuck with another 4 years of Obama, Pelosi and Clinton...

    March 9, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
  63. dave

    I travel from CA to Miami every other week. So much time on the flights I know half the people on the plane cause they do the same thing. I have been doing it for a year and will continue to until July this year so my son can graduate from his high school with his friends; well worth the travel. Plus I am glad and blessed to have a job; where you have a house is not that important; the people in the house is what makes it a home.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
  64. HQ

    I do not think this is a big story from any aspect. Just look at the migrating workers in China in the number of hundreds of millions who can only go home during lunar new year holidays for two weeks. Life is still quite easy here in America for now.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  65. C Kerr

    Our 25-year old son moved to London for work from his home in Texas. Needless to say, he only comes home once a year. He would like to move back home, but there are no jobs to come home to.

    My husband is retired army and we support our troups and their families. They are the ones who really make a sacrifice each and every day.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  66. Betty

    You have got to be kidding – my husband worked for GMAC and our family was tranferred every two or so years until he was sent to Chile (more than 5000 miles and an 18-hour flight from home) while my son was in high school and my daughter just beginning college thus requiring me to commute between countries, working part-time jobs in the US to help support my family and maintaining a several homes for my family to reside. Several years later he was sent to Spain but when he returned to the U.S. he was eventually demoted in order to be able to come home to be with his family. Not long thereafter, he passed away 7 months prior to his 30 year retirement due to humiliation and stress being placed on him to quit short of his retirement. My children and I sacrificed for this company yet I was not afforded the retirement I feel we earned as a family and because of the bankruptcy am losing benefits that I was guaranteed for life. My whole family sacrified for GM and moved at the drop of a hat for them but my husband needed a job to support our family so he went where he had a job,

    March 9, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  67. the sunshine state

    average day in the life of a

    March 9, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  68. ChrisinSilverdale

    Although this story is sad, it is what we in the military have to do day in and day out. Our President gives us a 1.4% pay raise while those on welfare get a bigger pay raise. We have to take urinalysis drug tests on a regular basis, but those on welfare do not. Yes, there is a little hostility in that!! Over the last 6 months I have missed the following times with my family: thanksgiving, my daughters b-day, my birthday, christmas, new years, wifes b-day, daughters b-day and all of kids sporting events. At least he got to talk to his family on a daily basis, i am on a submarine and cut off from the world. My kids have enrolled in over 7 schools in 9 years but I believe they are better people for that. They have learned sacrifice and seperation on a almost daily basis. Like I said, sad story, but not alot of sympathy from this household.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  69. Tom

    Airline employees have been doing this for years..... about time others have to also.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  70. Forrest

    How do they come up with story titles, this is not a commute, people just stay away from the family for short periods of time

    consultants, immigrants do it all the time. I feel bad for the situation, but I know people who stay 8000 miles away from the family because of their career/jobs. some of my friends live in airplanes – get a life cnn, find better stories – this is common place

    March 9, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  71. buckwheat

    I am beginning to understand why my comments always await moderation after reading the attitudes of people responding to this story. If it had been tiltled "Worker decides to sit on his rump and draw unemployment" it would have been more acceptable to this reading audience.That is why I tell my friends to look at these comments to understand why we have a president we do and a country we are rapidly becoming. Our government is now controlled by nuts.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  72. George

    Ok, so how about everyone just realizes that they have to move on. What about the millions of people serving in the military who move every 3 years, deploy for a YEAR at a time, leaving their loved ones, but they cant call, take a flight home for a birthday, or see them. They are risking their lives so you can post comments about news stories. True American heroes do this every day and dont look back and complain. They get spit on by protesters, make a minimal salary, and protect YOUR FREEDOM. And they like it and dont complain.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
  73. Matt

    he doesnt commute 1000 miles...guess when i was in Iraq, i commuted 3000 miles, huh?

    I commute 88 miles in a day, he "lives" a block a way...

    you title of the story...lets just say its BS, which makes us both a DA.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
  74. Sue

    A scarifice for sure to uproot your family. We did it too only it was 30 years ago. It took a long time to adjust going from a small town to the big city, it was forth it.
    Hang tough, hang on to the job, jump at the opportunity to relocate. It is a life changing experience but it beats the heck out of being unemployed!

    March 9, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
  75. Adam Stark

    A lot of people have to sell their homes at a loss if they choose to live in a one-employer town and the company goes bust. That's one of the many downsides of living in rural america and why people with good job prospects always live in an urban area. (Which has downsides also like housing costs) I lived in a rural area once and the Job situation was awful. Who wants to work for Walmart? Some of my close neightbors were meth addicts and many drove loud disel trucks which woke you up at night. I had to ask... what the hell was I doing out here in teh middle of nowhereif I can't even have any peace and quiet. May as well live in a city where they have more Law enforcment and services to stem the drug problems that are becomming so rampent in back water towns and suburban schools..

    The other side of the argument is telecommuting and job outsourcing that play into this and may yet change the equation. Who knows.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
  76. He's Not "Commuting"

    This man is not commuting – he relocated to where his job moved. Okay so you had to move – grow up – it's life. Moving is not going to kill you, but it will make you stronger and realize that you don't judge people by "their Stature or Looks". When you move to a new community you realize how to accept people for who they really are. I am now 43 years old and I lived in Texas, Illinois and Wisconsin due to my fathers job when I was younger. I have so many friends from those experiences. On top of that – my father traveled being that he worked for a company based out of Canada. This was life – and when he was home he was my best cheerleader posssible. I couldn't love my parents more for giving us a good stable life. So why is this a story??? How about the people that don't actually have a job and can't find one unless you work for the government?
    I wish people would be happy for what they have instead of always grumbling that they don't have. I am now a divorced mother of 4 who is struggeling myself, but I will donate my time and a dollar or two in a christmas kettle... why ... because there are alot of people out in this world far better off than me. I feel blessed everyday that I have 4 healthy children whom I love dearly!

    March 9, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
  77. Dave

    I have been travelling for work for over 30+ years in construction, so what is the big deal there are lots of mena nd women that do this to support there familys- nothing new about travelling for work!

    March 9, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  78. Chris

    How much is your salary? How much are you paying for that house? How much are those gymnastic lessons? I bet each one of his teenagers drives a decent car. Not that I don't feel for this guy, but that 1000 mile commute must be worth it.

    Maybe CNN should do more articles about the kind of sacrifice a military family makes.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  79. runswithbeer

    I remind Americans that Thousands of American Soldiers are thousands of miles away from their families and in harms way. What gets me is that this guy is taking a job a Texan could be doing. That plant in his home town needs to be reopened.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
  80. Shorty

    I walk to work, my job is about a city block away. I live with my boss for free and in exchange I'm on call 24/7. Did I mention my job is awesome?

    March 9, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
  81. Steven C

    Not to underscore what this family is going for, but this pales in comparison to the sacrifices that the families of those in the armed forces have to make. My father had the same job my entire childhood and he was gone 6 months at a time, every year until I was in high school. Come on, CNN, if you want to pull on heart strings, there are better options.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
1 2 3 4