I’ve worked every shift there is–days, swing (an evening shift) and graveyard (night shift). One of my first jobs was a graveyard shift (11 pm to 7 am). Back in those days, when I was young and spry, it didn’t bother me. I’d get off work, go home, jump into bed and be out like a light in thirty seconds. The job lasted about two years.
About ten years ago I was forced into a graveyard shift in order to keep my job. I hated every minute of the three years I had to do it. I’d get off work, come home, crawl into bed just to be woke up a few minutes later by some kid yelling, or some idiot revving the pistons out of his car, or someone hammering away. “Hey, Mac, hand me that 100,000 watt drill so I can make lots of noise.”
Okay, nobody yelled that, but they might as well have. Winter wasn’t as bad. Have you ever heard snow falling? Yes, if you listen closely you can hear it. That didn’t wake me and a nice blanket of snow muffled most sounds. But there was always someone who tried to ram as much fuel through his carburetor in thirty second as possible. Snow did very little to squash that racket–especially if his vehicle had “pipes” (essentially no mufflers).
When I went somewhere with friends on weekend nights and it got late, all my friend were ready to go home and I’d bounce around, wound up like I was high on something. Come on, people. The night isn’t over yet. But they didn’t agree. There eyelids were as heavy as lead while mine were as light as a feather. On the other hand if I were invited to lunch around noontime, I would almost always find myself pulling my face out of the mashed potatoes and gravy. Yeah, the whole thing was ugly.
Dayshift is all right. I just don’t like getting up at the ringing of an alarm when I’m still trying to sleep. I’ve always had this maddening desire to take my alarm clock outside, put it on a cement block, take a sledgehammer and smash the hell out of it. That would be so much freakin’ fun. Bits and pieces flying everywhere. Take that for waking me up!
Aaaah, swing shift. What are the advantages? You don’t have to get up when the moon is still shining and pry your eyelids open. Most people are wide awake come one in the afternoon. That’s probably why most swing shift workers gets more work done than day shifters. They don’t have to spend half the day trying to wake up.
Swing shifters can do things on weekday morning when many people are at work. Less crowds, less annoyances. And swing shifters can get to bed when it’s still dark and while everyone else is lifeless and get a good night’s sleep.
The disadvantages? Really? Are there any? Well, the evenings are shot. But then again, if you have to get up bright and early, before the rooster crows, you have to go to bed early. So where is your evenings now, Smarty Pants? And if you work graveyard, you’re still stumbling around the house trying to wake up from your day of no sleep. And sitting on the couch to watch a bit of TV is out, just like you will be if you have a notion to do such a thing. Then you might wake up to the ringing phone and your boss asking, “Why the hell aren’t you at work?”
Yes, swing shift beats them all. A good night’s sleep, not getting up so early your eyelids have to be lifted with a crane and just an all around joy because you’re not always pissed off from having to get up so early. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention most places pay more if you work swing instead of days. Yes, they pay more for graveyard, too, but you can keep that money–I’d rather get my sleep.
So there you have it–the joys of working swing shift.