The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A day like any other...

Well, it's TGIF time. The problem I have with that is that I no longer work so Fridays don't mean as much to me. Actually, they rarely meant much to me in terms of the work week. This is because most of my working life was spent in jobs that required working on weekends at least once a month. In the Navy, of course, there was no weekend at sea. Sunday was observed, of course, but only as a day of lighter duty. Saturday was just another workday. Only in port did weekends matter much. Saturday became a light duty day for those who had the weekend "duty" and Sunday you were free to do as you pleased... except leave the ship for more than a very limited time.

After the Navy, I briefly worked in a conventional job where I had each weekend off. A few months there and, therefore, not long enough to acclimate to it. Besides, I was young and pretty much partied every night I could afford it.

The phone company* demanded we cover the switching offices (where I worked) 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. This meant that I would work at least one weekend a month depending on size of office crew and shift I was assigned. When on Day or Evening shift, I it was once a month. On Night shift, it was every other week for quite some time. That meant, I worked 10 days straight with 4 days off between stretches. My "Friday" in that period was every other Thursday. But it got worse for awhile. I began working an extra two days for overtime because I needed the money. That meant 12 days straight with 2 days off.

While it wasn't physically demanding work, it was a strain to have to be there and think in telephone that many days in a row. And then I had only two days to decompress during which I had to shift back to normalcy.

What do I mean by "shift back to normalcy?" Well, during the 12 days (or 10, depending) I was on the Night shift, which was a midnight to 8 AM "workday", I slept during the day while the rest of the world was up and making noise and doing things. They were normal and I was not. So, on my last day of work, I would not go to sleep until late at night in order to reset my "clock." Then on the day preceding my return to work, I would take a nap in the evening to rest before staying up all night.

I aged quickly doing that, I think. Studies I read about during my work years all showed that it was the shifting back and forth between a daytime oriented life and a nighttime oriented life that took its toll physically and mentally on the worker. That the best way to function was to adapt your life to the shift you were on and remain on that schedule even on days off. That is, work nights and sleep days during the workweek and stay up nights and sleep days on the off days.

That is fine... in theory. But it is another matter in practice. Especially when you have a wife and child (or children), extended family, and friends who work normal hours.

I lost track of time of day and days of the week. I felt, after awhile, like I was sleepwalking through life.

I became fascinated by vampires and vampire stories.

I actually preferred working the night shift. There were rarely any supervisors or bosses around at night which meant I could structure my time at work as I saw fit. There were less people around, fewer co-workers than Day or even Evening shifts. Which meant less socializing at work. I could work without being interfered with by phone calls or requests for assistance by co-workers.

It is the perfect shift for a loner. And I was definitely a loner.

But I am now retired. And I sleep nights and am up and about during the day. But I still have no feel for days of the week.

So, if you work and this is the last day of your work week then "Happy TGIF!"

I'm going to go play golf.

* Ma Bell had a diverse and dysfunctional family, it was really a number of regional phone companies all owned and loosely controlled by the parent corporation, AT&T. I worked for three of the entities over the 34 years.

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