亲爱的R.W.：您没有提到具体位置，但愿您不是在洛杉矶。德州农工大学（Texas A&M University）本周早些时候公布的一项研究显示，全美国最拥堵的七条道路有六条位于洛杉矶市内或周边。
当然，大多数通勤路线的状况并不会这么糟糕。美国人口普查局（the Census Bureau）的最新数字显示，美国人平均通勤时间为单程25分钟。还有13%的幸运儿不到十分钟就可以抵达工作地点，只有2%的人要花90分钟或更长时间。
Dear Annie: For the past several years, I've been commuting almost two hours each way, from my home in a small-ish town to my office in a major city. When I took this job, I didn't realize it would take so long to get to work -- and it wouldn't, if the traffic weren't so horrendous. I like my job, but the hours I spend on the road every day are taking a toll (headaches, backache, insomnia). Moving closer to the city isn't an option, since I bought my house at the peak of the real estate boom and now owe more on it than it's worth in this market.
I'd like to start looking for a job near where I live, but two problems: First, this might sound crazy, but I really don't know anyone in the area, since I spend nearly all my waking hours in the car or at the office (or the gym) in the city. And second, there are no big employers nearby, so no obvious places to start searching. Any suggestions? — Road Weary
Dear R.W.: You don't say where you live, but for your sake, I hope it isn't in L.A. A study released earlier this week by researchers at Texas A&M University says that six of the seven most congested roads in the U.S. are in or around Los Angeles.
The absolute worst, the report notes, is "a 3-mile stretch of northbound Highway 110 near Dodger Stadium," where commuters spend an annual total of over 1.4 million hours stuck in traffic, burning up 2.1 million gallons of gas.
Of course, most commutes aren't that bad. The average commuter logs about 25 minutes each way, according to the Census Bureau's latest figures. A lucky 13% travel less than ten minutes in each direction. Only 2% commute for 90 minutes or longer.
Since you belong to that tiny minority, it isn't surprising that you're suffering from signs of stress. A Gallup study last year found that the longer a person's daily trek to work, the more likely it is that the commuter will experience health problems, including painful neck or back trouble. The study also found that the highest incidence of psychological stress, notably chronic worry (40%), occurred among people whose commute takes 90 minutes or longer.
So how do you look for a job in your own backyard? As with any other job search, the most effective approach is through in-person networking. In your case, since you don't know any locals (yet), staffers at ExecuNet, a nationwide career network for senior managers, recommend starting with these five steps: