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Excerpt from Newsday (New York, NY) April 18, 1999, Sunday, ALL EDITIONS




By Elizabeth Sanger. STAFF WRITER

EVERY DAY some 278,000 people trudge from their homes on Long Island to New York City to pamper clients, devise strategies, trade stocks, file papers, design dresses, edit books or do what else is required during their 9-to-5 workday.

Over the past several years, a growing number of employees have shortened the commute, discovering the benefits of toiling closer to home on Long Island. Today, thanks to a booming economy, tight labor market, higher salaries and new businesses moving in, it's easier to find a rewarding job with a healthy paycheck east of the city's lines. ....DELETED.....

Even if the take-home pay on the Island isn't quite on par with what city workers have been used to, many are willing to give up part of a paycheck - even a possible financial bonanza - for other kinds of compensation, like an improved quality of life.

Imran Anwar traded stock options from his former employer that potentially could have been worth a bundle, for a job with Computer Associates International that lets him spend starry evenings cruising on his 23-foot boat.

Computer Associates ran ads at Long Island train stations, urging riders to spend time on their career, not their commute. The campaign generated hundreds of resumes, said Deborah Coughlin, the company's senior vice president of human resources. For those who do a reverse commute and want to remain in the boroughs, CA offers a subsidized shuttle bus that takes workers from Queens to Islandia and back. Up to 100 of its staffers use the service monthly, she said.


FOUR YEARS AGO, Imran Anwar, then a consultant, reluctantly moved from a beautiful Manhattan high-rise to a three-bedroom house in East Patchogue on the water with a private beach and boat slip. He didn't do it to smell the fresh air; he did it for his checkbook. The monthly payment on the new digs was only slightly more than rent on the Upper East Side one-bedroom with sweeping views of the city. He adjusted to the suburban lifestyle and all was well until he took a job back in Manhattan working as project director for Silicon Valley Internet Partners, now known as Viant. Suddenly his life took a sharp turn for the worse. "The commute was killing me," he said, often requiring five hours a day behind the steering wheel of his Mercedes-Benz, sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. "Thank God it's a comfortable car. I spent more time there than in my living room."

Six months later, when he was recommended to an executive at Computer Associates and an opportunity came along, it took him 3 1/2 minutes to think it through and accept.

"I loved the company," he says of the Internet firm. "It was a wonderful place. But sometimes love just ain't enough. The commute didn't make it worth it anymore." Anwar, who is 36 and calls himself "happily single," joined CA in June, 1997, and is a product marketing manager, his second position there.

He got a significant jump in pay with CA, but that won't equal what could have been a major financial gain. When he made a hasty exit from the Manhattan technology company, he had to leave his stock options behind. If the company goes public, as most Internet start-ups do, he will have missed a potentially huge windfall. The way he sees it, he traded stock options for his sanity.

A fast driver, his commute takes him 18 minutes. He spends many more hours on his SeaRay Sundancer, which he pilots on the Great South Bay. If he leaves work at 6 p.m., he's aboard by 6:30 p.m., watches the sun set, and "depending on how beautiful the stars are" sometimes sleeps on the boat with the waves lapping around him.

Cover Photo by Thomas A. Ferrara

Caption: Imran Anwar, who traded stock options from his former employer for a job with Islandia-based Computer Associates, now has more time for leisure.


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