So, tonight is my last night shift and it’s on to bigger and better things. I found that working overnights did not suck and was easier to get used to than I would have thought. (However, I am a night owl, so it may have been easier for me than others.)
Some of the upsides: No rush hour traffic. (Though it was astounding how cars there were on the beltway at 8PM.) The illusion of sleeping in. Not waking up in the dark. Afternoons free.
Some of the downsides: Days tend to run together because you stop experiencing night. Saying “see you tonight” when you leave the office is weird. A Tuesday-Saturday shift is nice for having a weekday off, but my weekend breakfast ritual went out the window. I had to really think about what I was eating so I wouldn’t go into a food coma mid shift and fall asleep.
I learned that day shift bias is real. (I knew it somewhere in the back of my head, but it’s not the type of thing you really think about.) Even IN the company I was working for. A day coworker asked if I just “hung out all day.” No, I do the same stuff everyone else does – run errands, avoid housework, get 6-8 hours of sleep. Trying to convince people that you are NOT available before noon has been harder than I would have imagined. If you say “I woke up at 2PM,” you’re a degenerate, but if you say, “I got 8 hours of sleep” you’re healthy! If something is broken and doesn’t affect the day shift, good luck getting it fixed.
And there is this weird idea that if you work overnights, there is something wrong with you. Even got a bit of it from the department head. “Can you not work during the day?” with a raised eyebrow. Um, no, but you need people on the night shift and I can do the job, so…
I spent my nights calling (and sometimes waking up) customers and telling them something was broken/open/squawking/possibly on fire. Now, if you’re on the receiving end of one of these calls, there are a couple reasons why it’s you:
— You’re on site at the facility and you should be awake anyway.
— It’s a legit part of your job to be on the call list. I don’t like waking you up, but suck it up, buttercup.
— You have greatly angered the office manager of your company – to the point where they convinced the higher ups that you MUST be on the call list, preferably near the top. If this is you, it’s well past time to make amends my friend.
To every client I woke up who was kind enough to say, “It’s OK. It’s your job. Thank you.” – you more than made up for the “Why are you calling ME?” and “What do you expect me to do?” crankypants.
Now a week of trying to flip my sleep schedule with a couple days of stomping around Williamsburg and onwards and upwards.