New Job Gift For Ambivalent New Hire
August 11, 2016 7:06 PM   Subscribe

A close friend of mine is taking a new job after a long stretch of searching. It's a great job, but it will require her traveling a lot, commuting by car at a significant distance every week and being apart from her husband/friends/family for many days each week. She's both relieved/excited about the opportunity and dreading the rest. I'm looking for a not-too-elaborate congratulations gift that addresses both sides of the coin. Ideas?

If it helps, I'm in the US--the South, in particular--and my friend is too.
posted by thivaia to Work & Money (7 answers total)
A subscription to, perhaps?
posted by tybstar at 7:08 PM on August 11, 2016 [10 favorites]

The coolest thing I was given when I started my long commute was a Tylt Ribbon charger (also for iPhone). It's a fine-looking charger, but that's not why I love it. It's a 4.8 amp charger. What does that mean? It means it charges ten times faster than a generic charger from the corner store. It charges five times faster than the one that came with my smart phone. It charges 2.5x faster than the fancy ones sold for tablets. What this means practically is that you can get into the car with a completely dead phone, plug it in, fire it right up and use GPS, Spotify, etc, right away and still charge up maybe 35-50% battery in an hour. It's amazing.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:19 PM on August 11, 2016 [10 favorites]

One of those gizmos that is a car-battery-jumper-offer and tire-inflatimizer...
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:58 PM on August 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

Maybe something that makes driving more comfortable, like a small pillow for her back,
a really good thermos or travel mug, or a bento box so she can easily take healthy meals
with her.

Or something that makes it more interesting. I drive a lot in my job, and I just wish someone
more technologically capable would show me how to play podcasts in the car. I'm too embarrassed to ask.
So if she's like me, that would be a winner.
posted by Puddle Jumper at 11:12 PM on August 11, 2016

Best answer: August in the Southern U.S. can be brutal, particularly for long-distance travel. Maybe something that prevents freckles / sunburn / skin cancer on the driver's left arm and shoulder, face and neck? I've used infant car screens and a long-sleeve shirt with UV protection. Also, see-through visors for the front window can be extremely helpful when turning a corner in traffic and getting temporarily blinded by the afternoon sun. Sometimes you just have to take a break until the sun goes down.
I've been stuck behind a car wreck on the highway. An emergency kit such as a small plastic ice chest of bottled water, snacks, and a bandana that gets cold when wet are a few summertime ideas.
Of course, anything that makes the driver's seat and steering wheel cool to the touch is appreciated, especially if the vehicle sits out in heat all day.
posted by TrishaU at 3:18 AM on August 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

In reference to the bright light/glare, does she have good polarized sunglasses for driving?
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 8:31 AM on August 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's unclear from your question whether your friend is going to be living part-time in the city where she works, or whether she'll have a long commute every day.

If it's the former, some kind of organizer for items that aren't easily duplicated might be a help in keep track of essentials while traveling back and forth. Perhaps a small electronics organizer, like this one, or a nice laundry bag for separating dirty clothes from clean in her luggage?

If it's the latter, I like tybstar's suggestion of an Audible subscription. On a more practical note, if she'll be taking toll roads that allow "fast-pass" with electronic transponders, and she doesn't have one yet, that would be a great time-saving gift.

Does she have a roadside emergency kit? Or a AAA membership?
posted by Owlcat at 7:35 PM on August 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

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