Gut Rumbles

April 11, 2005


How many of you people have ever done shiftwork? I did, for a total of about 15 years. It's rough on the body, it's rough on the mind and I am quite certain that it does not contribute to longevity.

Why do people bitch about smoking and obesity when they DON'T bitch about shiftwork? In my first ten years at the plant where I worked, I missed a total of four days of work. Two were when Samantha was born and the other two was when I came down with a severe case of strep throat.

Four days in ten years.

Show me some tree-hugging, organic-food-eating, non-smoking, "cost-conscious" asshole who can lay his record right next to mine. YOU work shifts and pull 750 hours overtime in one year that you don't get paid for. Show me a better attendance record. Once you can show me THAT EVIDENCE, come preach in my face about how much money MY bad habits have cost you over the years.

Otherwise, go fuck yourself.

(UPDATE: In 2001, I missed 65 days of work. I was in the nut-house for a while, and then I had prostate cancer surgery. Even with all of that crap, I missed about two months of work. If you think that was easy, you can kiss my Cracker ass again. And come back and lecture me about economic costs when I probably paid more in taxes this year than you EARNED. Otherwise, go fuck yourself. AGAIN.)

I am sick and tired of these preachers who want to justify controlling your life because of health care costs or whatever other reason the goddam fascists can invent. In 24 years at that plant, I missed a grand total of 88 days at work. EVERY YEAR, I was the high man on overtime worked. You show me some tofu-eating whiner who lays out of work when he has a snotty nose, then wants government to lecture ME about lifestyle issues, and I'll be happy to unclog his nose with my fist.


Yep did some swing shift work in a factory when I was a young lad, damn near killed me.
Third shift people are just plain strange.

Posted by: James Old Guy on April 11, 2005 02:04 PM

There were an often lot of time where I had to work 2 jobs and walk several miles each way to both of them. (Often in the winter with insufficient clothing) There was no point in whining; it had to be done.

I got into a fight with a girl I worked with one time because she was dragging her ass. She considered her second job an excuse not to do either job adequately. I told her life is tough and 2 jobs didn't mean you gave only 50% to each one.

You've got to support yourself and you need x dollars to do it, you get a second job. work overtime, or work a tough job that pays well. And sometimes you live on Ramen noodles or the crappy mac and cheese.

What you can't afford to do is cry over it and tell everyone how unfair it is that you have to do all of this.

Posted by: "Nicolette" on April 11, 2005 03:32 PM

Did it for a year and a half in the military and 5 years in industry. Most was done 6 or 7 days at a time and then change to another shift, but I did a year of working all three shifts in a 7 day period followed by 2 days off. That one nearly got me. Lost 20 pounds and couldn't have told you much of what was going on in the world at that time. Now in retrospect, all of it was invaluable because of my experiences of working with people but that doesn't mean I would want to do it again. All of the industry shiftt work was done as a first line supervisor, the best experience for anyone--bar none.

Posted by: Deliverance on April 11, 2005 03:32 PM

I do shift work, pulled in some overtime this week cause no one would work the split shifts. Leaves me pretty brain, I've got nothin' more to say, except, "What is a troll on these weblogs?" I hear being brain dead is one of the qualifying factors.

Posted by: Bonita on April 11, 2005 03:55 PM

I once worked in a small factory as a front line manager. Becasue of business levels they hired a shift to only work weekends (two 12 hour shifts). They did not have managers and supervisors for this so I would work my normal 10- 12 hours on Friday, go home and come back to work midnight to noon Saturday and Sunday. I was expected back at 6 am on Monday for my regular shift. I worked 241 days out of 243 possible averaging more than 80 hours a week. They were shocked when I quit for another job. I learned more about managing people, manufacturing and production in that time than in the years since.

Posted by: hoosierboy on April 11, 2005 03:55 PM

Twelve and three for five years: four swings, four mids, four days and three days off. Air Force; no overtime, of course, since they own you 24/7/365.

Posted by: Juliette on April 11, 2005 03:59 PM

I've worked shiftwork. 1 summer at the steel mill. and 1 summer at Wal-mart. 2nd 'n 3rd or swinging shift. Anyone that could do that year long is my hero. It killed me.

Posted by: Alli on April 11, 2005 04:30 PM

Alli - I've done shift work for 16 years now. It can be done when the work you are doing makes a positive impact on other people's lives. Otherwise, the sacrifices in my life would not be worth it.

Posted by: Bonita on April 11, 2005 04:57 PM

Yeah. I guess. My dad worked at the steel mill for 35 years. Swing shift for more than half of that. Without it we wouldn't have been able to live, so I respect it. Its just that I know its not for me. You rock Bonita! :)

Posted by: Alli on April 11, 2005 05:17 PM

I only work one shift, these days, and it's before sunup to after sundown. When i was taking my machinist's apprenticeship, I worked a week of days, a week of midnights, and a week of afternoons, and it rotated constantly. It was unadulterated hell. I kind of miss it.

Posted by: og on April 11, 2005 05:32 PM

I worked my way through college working at the hospital EMT and an orderly. 3-11 shift or the 11-7 shift usually the 11-7 shift.

Tough on a person, but the rest of the world sure was glad we were working those lousy shifts.

Posted by: Scott on April 11, 2005 06:00 PM

Start at three pm, sleep over (if I'm lucky) from 11-7 - work until 3.30pm but rarely get finished before 4. I've been doing shifts pretty much since I graduated in 1992. I worked regular hours for 9 months and hated it.

Posted by: Nelly on April 11, 2005 06:55 PM

Swing shift is pure hell. I think it was designed to make people to quit.

Posted by: DaneBramage on April 11, 2005 06:59 PM

Danebramage: All the positions are structured to foster short-term employment, that is, work them to death, burn them out, and move on to the next crew. That way, they can keep wages down. When I outlasted the first year, management kept increasing the workload, year to year. A few of us just got better and more savy to "staying power" , until management had to relocate us to positions we didn't want, in order to make us quit. Well, we just learned them, and got better and then, well, ahem, the company went bankrupt. We all knew why, and sure learned a lot. I have to laugh now...that's what I did to help pay the "Parent's portion" of my daughter's student loans in college. I sure got a good education.

Posted by: Bonita on April 11, 2005 07:22 PM

I must be one tough son of a bitch, I worked 30 years of all shift work, plus pulled about 800 hours of overtime. In 30 years I missed a total of 14 days. Am I tough or just crazy? Cat.

Posted by: catfish on April 11, 2005 07:53 PM

Cat: Good goin'! Amazing what a man is capable of when he puts his mind to it!

Posted by: Bonita on April 11, 2005 08:38 PM

That's why I'm going to tell Rightisright ro kiss my ass again. Take away that 65 days I missed in 2001 and I have a record similar to Catfish.

That was all on the "Southen Swing," too--- the worst shift rotation you can possibly work.

I did it.. Catfish did it. I don't accept anybody who HASN'T DONE IT as qualified to lecture me about doing it.

Go fuck yourself.

Posted by: Acidman on April 11, 2005 08:53 PM

Acidman, a person you and I both know has been doing the swing for 15 years come October, since right out of high school, and I can count on 1 hand the days he has missed. (And 2 of those the nurse made him come home because he had walking pneumonia). He has told me before that if I die he sure hopes my funeral falls on an off day. My point is: I understand personally the commitment shiftwork takes, and I applaud those of you who have done it faithfully.

Posted by: Renee on April 11, 2005 10:00 PM

I worked swing-shift for about 5 years - and I loved it. Sleep 'till 10AM, do your bank/grocery/whatever, go to work at about 3PM, knock off at midnight, sleep from 2AM to 10AM - all very civilized.

On Fridays, party from midnight to whenever.

Great when you don't have dependents.

Graveyard is called "Graveyard" for a reason - it damn near killed me. I was one tired boy for three months - and the lack of sleep made me very.... strange.

I'm surprised the cops let me live...

Posted by: Ward Gerlach on April 11, 2005 10:24 PM

Working 2nd and 3rd shift as a temp in a plastic injection molding plant is part of what convinced me to go back to college to finish an engineering degree.

But I really enjoyed the summer I spent as a night watchman at a resort in Montana. I slept when everyone else worked. I worked while they slept. And in the evenings I was able to socialize. Their supper was my breakfast and vice versa. Doing that, I realized that 4 AM is the quietest time in the world.

Posted by: Desert Cat on April 11, 2005 11:36 PM

Still doing shift work. Some's not too bad, but 0100-0900 just about does me in after a few days.

Posted by: Mark on April 12, 2005 02:57 AM

Being a dumb Okie, don't really know what a "swing shift" is. I worked midnite to 8, there is no daytime, no free time, work or sleep. No party time, can't get drunk, cause ya can't go to work drunk. SHEET!, After a long while, I decided I liked having fun over being frozen food manager.
Well you can go to work when the owner buys the drinks.

Posted by: murry on April 12, 2005 03:13 AM

I hear ya, Rob. I cannot tell you how many emails my supervisor has to send out to get people to work their shifts (in fact I just got one this morning). I (we) work at home; so, it's a little harder to "control" the employees, but still..where's the integrity, responsibility and all that jazz gone?

I haven't missed a day in a year and a half. In fact, I didn't go to a funeral yesterday because no one bothered to respond to my request for the time off, but guess what? My J.O.B. comes first.

As far as swing shifts go, I used to work in a mental hospital for adolescents in college. I would pull two 16 hour shifts 3-11 p.m. and 11-7a.m. on each weekend day and sometimes more during the week, if needed. It was a bitch. Unisom was my friend, that and nighttime tea coupled with a little jazz or classical music.

Posted by: Surfie on April 12, 2005 07:52 AM

I worked in food service. While it isn't technically shift work(I only worked until 5 a.m. or later 3-4 times/year), it is some grueling ass work. Go in at 8 a.m.. Leave most nights at 10 p.m., or after midnight. And I was a cook, so I sttod on my feet for 12-14 hours straight.

Off on Monday, when you're too tired to do anything to enjoy your time off. Instead, you're stuck running errands that you haven't been able to do while working all the frigging time.

This was my life for 13 years. I took 2 sick days off during that time. Add in the next 8 years of work after leaving the kitchen and I took off two more days for food poisoning and a kidney stone.

You're right, though. Shift work blows chunks. I don't know how you people hang in there; I'd be a walking corpse.

Posted by: physics geek on April 14, 2005 04:32 PM
Post a comment

*Note: If you are commenting on an older entry, your
comment will not appear until it has been approved.
Do not resubmit it.