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.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Night Shiftin'

I saw an article in my local (ha! Tampa is not really local to me) paper asking for people to relate their stories about how they cope with the Graveyard Shift so one of their reporters could do a story on it. They seemed to want to hear from those currently working that shift. I'm retired so I figured I did not qualify.

Most of the years that I worked for was employed by... a huge communications company (which shrank a bit and then was swallowed up by a company that had been spun off some years ago), I worked what we called the Night Shift and most people call the graveyard shift; midnight to 8 AM.

There are pros and cons to working that shift. Let's go over them:

  • You have all day off.
A co-worker once described it as having every day off... but you're sick all the time. Still, it was great for Christmas shopping and hitting the gym or going to the beach.

  • There are fewer supervisors around.
Actually, there were no supervisors around most of the time. My first year at an old step office in North Miami, there were two but they left me alone. The only time I saw supervisors, usually, was as I was leaving or I had to stay late for a meeting.

  • The atmosphere is more laid back.
It's hard to imagine a more laid back job than telecom work but this shift qualified. The Evening shift (4PM-Midnight) was even more laid back since they watched TV for 3 hours and played cards the rest of the time.

  • You get higher pay (I got 10% above Day Shift).
I had a union rep on Day Shift complain once that off-shifts (both Evening and Night shifts got the 10% premium) got too much compensation. I shut him up by asking You want to swap shifts with me? He said No way! To which I replied Then we aren't paid too much yet. He never complained again (in front of me).

  • The rest of the world is not on the Night Shift.
This becomes readily apparent pretty much immediately. You learn some tricks; locked gates at the street, "no soliciting" signs, disconnected doorbells, ringers turned off on telephones, and ear plugs. I had to leave the telephone ringer on (turned down low) because I had a young son in school and leaving it on occasionally caused a problem.

Supervisors simply assumed it was okay to call you with some trivial question that he (or she) thought important. I got a call one Tuesday afternoon about 2 from John, my supervisor, asking me if I wanted to work on Friday (my day off that week). I asked him if he needed my answer immediately, he said "No, just let him know in the morning." So I did. I called him at 4 AM and told him "No thanks, I don't want to work it." He got the point after I explained it to him when he showed up at the office 45 minutes later to chew me out. It seemed I had to train each supervisor separately, though.

  • Sleeping during the daylight hours is difficult.
Especially on weekends. Do you realize just how loud a lawnmower is? Ear plugs only help a little. Having a very large rural lot with no neighbor closer than 200 feet helps a lot.

I learned quickly that my best sleeping time was between noon and 6 PM. Going to sleep right after I got home didn't work well, I was falling asleep the last two hours of my shift.

  • Your family thinks you hibernate every day.

And they are right. The master bedroom was referred to as "The Cave" and the admonition was to never awaken the sleeping bear.

Still, I enjoyed that shift and volunteered for it at every opportunity. Which ought to give you an idea just how sick I am.


Zeus said...

I spent a lot of my life working late shifts and other "weird" hours. I got so used to them that I prefer to work on a late schedule. For one thing, I don't have to deal with some of the rush hour traffic.

Douglas said...

Zeus, that is one of the greatest benefits. All the traffic is in the opposite direction or simply non-existent.

Douglas said...

Zeus, that is one of the greatest benefits. All the traffic is in the opposite direction or simply non-existent.