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Jeni Meade gives a personal perspective on why it may be worth your while to drop by the Meade Careers evening next Tuesday, 5th July in Monasterboice Inn, County Louth (A92 A59E) from 5:00 to 7:30pm to see what opportunities are on offer...

With the jury still out on to what extent we should be working from home, one thing is certain, moving to a job close to home can benefit children, bank balances and wellness ...

For a long time I commuted 1.5 hours to Dublin from my Meath base, then I went cold turkey and worked entirely from home. Having experienced both ends of the spectrum, I can categorically say that neither suited me.

The half hour drive to Drogheda train station, followed by the half hour packed like a lemming on the morning express to Connolly station, ending with a high-octane power walk to my office had me feeling stressed before I even turned on my computer. I tried doing the commuter bus to Dublin but I would fall into such a deep slumber on the bus that overcoming the grogginess of waking up for the second time that day was torture.

Working from home as a consultant should have theoretically been bliss after the fraught world of commuting. Theoretically. It wasn't. It was a bit of a battle keeping toddlers and children from escaping from the babysitter to raid my corner of the house. And when I did manage to fortify myself in my home office, I felt oddly detached from the rest of the world. I found myself going shopping on weekends and being overly chatty with any salespeople who had the misfortune of waiting on me. I was dying to interact with real people besides my family again, I craved face to face realness.

When I started working at Meade Farm, I hit upon the perfect combination. Gone was the life-draining commute to Dublin that zapped all my energy and gone was the empitness of of no real human interaction. (And just to be clear, I am not a family member of the 'spud' Meades as they are known, I married into an unrelated family known as the 'jobber' Meades who are beef and sheep farmers. I applied to work here on the chance that there might be a suitable role - just because it was located down the road from me.)

My commute consisted of seven minutes of beautiful fields and Boyne Valley drumlins: parking provided, gorgeous offices overlooking more beautiful fields and hills - with a wind turbine thrown in for good measure. It meant when I rocked home at 5:30pm I had loads of energy for playing with the kids or going for walk, as well as the time to cook a healthy non-fast food dinner. As the kids grew up, I had the energy to support them - to check on their studies, to take them to swimming, rugby, horseriding, whatever, to just be there... Do not underestimate how much a long commute drains your energy and don't underestimate how important it is to be available to your children.

I no longer have to accost poor salespeople for some chat because I work with a big team of diverse, interesting and smart people at Meade Farm. Growing, packing and distributing fresh produce is truly a worthwhile job, and figuring out ways to do it more sustainably is even more rewarding. What could be better than trying to get people to eat healthy, delicious fresh produce?

In addition to allowing me to be a better parent, and to saving my sanity, working locally has saved the world a bit of carbon and saved me a lot of fuel money - and that is not even factoring in today's ridiculous diesel prices. Transport charges, toll charges and diesel money can now go into saving up to put my children through college. I'm no longer spending a Klondike every lunchtime eating out in Dublin. Instead I get to have wholesome, delicious, home-cooked meals at our on-site subsidised restaurant. At the same restaurant where I can look out the panoramic windows onto the beautiful fields and hills while having a chat with my colleagues - who have also turned their backs on the misery of long Dublin commutes. Happy days for us all.

If you live near Navan, Drogheda, Dundalk, Ardee, Kells, Kingscourt or Carrickmacross and are looking to work locally, drop by Monasterboice Inn in County Louth A92 A59E next Tuesday, 5th July from 5:00 to 7:30pm. Team members will be there to chat about their experiences, career development pathways and why a move to Meade Farm might be the right one for you!


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