Saturday, January 3, 2009

Making Night Shifts Suck More to Suck Less

I can't imagine what a pain in the ass it must be to make a living working the night shift. I had a friend who worked nights at the post office, unloading and sorting all the mail that came in on the trucks through the night, and he hated it. He said that even on his days off, he still couldn't feel like a normal person, because everyone he knew was operating on a completely different schedule.

So, Rush University Medical Center looked into night shift workers. They're trying to make sure that night shift employees are efficient. I guess that they're workin' for the Man, trying to squeeze every last drop of productivity out of the workers, but whatever.

The medical center is now claiming that people can offset some of the difficulties of adapting to night shift work, as long as you are strict about monitoring when you sleep and make sure to wear wicked dark sunglasses when outside in the daytime. It sounds like a hassle, but I guess that the trade off is that you're less likely to hate your job as much. Or, you still hate it as much but manage to work more efficiently.

The good news is that they're calling it a "compromise" adaptation, in that people aren't sleeping entirely through the daytime, they're just reducing the hours that they spend awake during the day. It still sounds like it kind of sucks, though. How high would the pay have to be before you considered a night shift job?

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Da Old Man said...

I used to work overnights at a social service agency. Fortunately, we were allowed to nap a little, so it wasn't too terrible. But I was in my 20's. I doubt I could do that today.

Paul Baines said...

Many years ago - at a time of severe desperation- I found myself working night shifts at a bakery - well when I say bakery I mean a vast factory that happened to make bread products. We worked 12 hour shifts and many of us ended up working 7 day weeks as the overtime pay increased the longer you worked. Anyway I soon realised that everyone who worked the night shift was insane, they'd for the most part lost their command of the English language, hand eye co-ordination skills, and for the most part were deeply depressed. I think that stint of gruelling nocturnal labour ruined my sleep patterns for life, even now a decade or so later I find myself spinning around the clock, in fact the calendar. Ah well I will rest when I finally pop my clogs, there's too much to do to fit it all in to a paltry 12/24/36 hour day ;) Oh and weekends seem to have disappeared for me too...

Stanley! said...

Hi, Old Man!

Social service, like answering 911 calls, or what? All the government agencies in my neck of the woods are pretty fastidious about shutting exactly at 4:30 (or earlier, depending on their department's hours), so I'm having a tough time picturing what you would be doing. Did you take the job because you wanted to Make A Difference, or because you needed a paycheck?
Having a job where you can nap on the clock sounds like a bit of a plus.

Hi, Paul!

My friend Matt told me that the bakery he worked at would have him show up at 4:00 A.M., but it sounds like the place you worked was a lot bigger. It's crazy how modern food production has been given over to megabusinesses that churn out tons of edibles, but I guess that our population needs that kind of thing to sustain itself.
I know what you mean about not having enough time. I'm still working on a cloning project to get some help around the house, but the results so far are more likely to bring torch-wielding villagers than extra free time.

Thanks for stopping by!

Kathy said...

I worked a night shift once and I hated it. I was glad it was only a 6-week stint. A pharmacy was renovating and they needed people to clean shelves, move displays and reorganize merchandise when the place wasn't open. I hated being asleep during the prime hours of the day. Never do it again unless it was my only choice for employment.

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