Gut Rumbles

April 30, 2012

shift work

Originally published October 16, 2003

I did a lot of shift work during my career, and most of it was the seven-day Southern Swing rotation. That probably is the worst schedule in the world to work because your internal time-clock stays fucked up no matter what shift you are on.

Start with a 3-11 shift on Wednesday and work that for seven days. Get off at 11:00 Tuesday night and be back at work at 11:00 Thursday night for seven days of 11-7 shifts. Get off the following Thursday morning at 7:00 and be back at work at 7:00 on Saturday morning for seven days of 7-3. Try that shit for several years of your life. It will make you old before your time.

I worked that schedule for a long time and became as accustomed to it as I could, although it always sucked. I had a wife and child to care for, and bills to pay. We needed the paycheck to keep the family unit afloat. I did what I had to do.

When I was promoted to a straight daylight job, the transition to regular hours fucked me up worse than shiftwork did. I had to learn to sleep on schedule and get up early every morning. That shit almost killed me.

Shift work is difficult to handle, but getting OFF shift work after you've done it for a long time is even worse. That's a severe readjustment to endure. I spent a year getting used to it.

I don't believe that I will do shift-work again. I could work the hours. That's no problem. I just don't want to do it. I don't have a wife and children to care for anymore. I have only ME to worry about now. I don't have a whole lot of obligation hanging over my head today.

That makes it easy to say "no" to things you don't want to do.

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