What People Don’t Know About Us Weird Shifters
I hope this will be a bit of an interactive blog. Those of us who work hours other than the regular 9-5 are under different pressures from most. A lot of it is bad, but some of it is good. Check out my list and add if you can.
First off, I’ve worked every shift. I even worked a close to normal 7a to 3p or 4p (my work ours vary due to the fact that so much happens outside of the radio station). The things I have here reflect the fact that I’ve worked 7P-12M, overnights and my current morning shift 5a-1a (or thereabouts).
1. You never get used to working non-conventional hours. It never just becomes “your thing”, it never is or seems natural. This could sum up the entire blog, but I’ll elaborate because this leads me to number two.
2. You stay tired. You’re always tired. I can almost go to sleep anytime, anywhere. Most days I get up at 4:03 a.m., take a 30 minute nap around 2:30, then try to go back to bed (quite often unsuccessfully) at 9:00 p.m. Now, notice that last sentence. The only time I ever have any problem sleeping at all, is WHEN I’M SUPPOSED TO SLEEP.
3. You eat at weird times. This seems so obvious. but this is the one that tends to get me more guff from people I know than anything else. I have breakfast at around 4:15, lunch around 9 or 9:30, then I force myself to wait for dinner at 5 (actually, “dinnertime” at my house is 5:10…you should come by and eat sometimes). I get lost of jokes about old people early bird specials and whatnot. In addition, I have to ditch the caffeine after 5 so it won’t keep me up.
4. The regular world becomes a strange place. I don’t see “rush-hour” in Lubbock. I don’t see traffic, or kids waiting for school buses. I see lonely taxis in the middle of the night or long haul truckers in the middle of the night. There are businesses that I’ve only seen when they are closed.
5. You become stingy with your time. I have to try to keep a schedule. Anything that disrupts it can make me tired for two days. Please, no jokes about being an old guy. It was the same when I was 30 and doing mornings. My friends know that I can’t pick them up at the airport at 3 and will either make special arrangements far in advance, or actually change their flight times to reflect my schedule (strangely enough, I have to pick someone up at 3 today, but they gave me 10 days notice).
6. Your brain shifts slightly, but not enough. I said before you don’t get used to the hours, and by that I meant completely. You do shift towards your crazy hours, you just don’t do it 100%. Around 2 in the afternoon, I am brain dead. After a little nap, I get it back, but by that time I don’t feel sharp and sometimes I actually have a hard time thinking. For most people, they’ve just switched from coffee to coke at that time and they are rockin’.
7. Weekends wreck you every single time. You can’t help but try to live a somewhat normal life when you’re not working. It’s a mistake and it’s almost unavoidable. You want to go to the movies? You’re off schedule. You want to get with friends? You’re off schedule and so on and so forth. You’re either yawning when it hits 9 or 10 or too awake when Sunday night rolls around and you really should be getting to bed.
So, that’s my “seven deadly sins” of weird work hours. What about you guys? Are there any challenges you “weird-shifters” face that I didn’t mention? I know we have a billion hospital and other third shift workers plugging away out there. Let’s hear your thoughts.