Back Shift

gathermewool

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Anyone work the back shift?

Since being promoted a few years ago I’ve been 100% 1st shift. Unfortunately, we’re hemorrhaging people and I volunteered to fill in on 3rd for the rest of the week.

Normally I take a nap for a few hours the night before and the either stay up all morning playing video games to prep me for the next day’s 3rd shift start or I go in and get paid, though it sucks to go in tired and sleepy, and is sometimes dangerous for me driving home. I‘ll admit that driving home dead tired is likely just as bad as driving drunk. I’ve taken naps in my car for an hour or so before driving home on numerous occasions. I started doing that after I once (probably more than once, IIRC) didn’t even remember driving home. Scary. I’m usually back to normal after a few days on third.

We should be rolling out of shift work my Saturday 3rd shift (Friday night for Saturday). I’m not sure if it’s the same everywhere, but 3rd shift is considered the first shift of the day —> 3rd, 1st, then 2nd.

When I was younger I used to love 2nd. I never felt tired I got so much sleep. I rarely went out after shift, but usually could for a couple of hours before the bar closed. I usually just hung out and had a drink at home while watching a movie or playing video games for a couple of hrs before bed. I liked the benefit of being able to run errands late at night or in the AM with minimal people out and about and no lines.

Since having a family, 3rd shift is now my favorite. The first couple of days are rough, but there are benefits. I usually sleep as soon as I get home at 0900 or so, get up after 5-7 hrs of sleep (sometimes longer after a particularly bad shift), spend time with my family after being fully refreshed, then go to work and start the cycle over again. I like that I can still run errands before I go home to bed. I wake up at the same time as people are getting off 1st shift, so no benefit there.

Anyway, my short stint now and longer previous periods of work on the back shift got me wondering how other people transition between shifts, how it affects their health, family, etc. What are your shift work experiences?
 
Joined
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ROCHESTER, NY
Of my 42 years of work before retiring, I worked the 2nd shift(3pm-11pm) for the last 35 years straight. I'm a "B" shifter. My overtime was either 11am-11pm or 3pm-3am. I did the 3am thing because I like my mornings at home. I got so much stuff done around the house/yard everyday before going into work. Yup, I'd work before going to work. :D
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2003
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Hopewell, Virginia, USA
In state corrections I worked evening shift, then after several years asked for night shift. I loved night shift, but I'm a night owl anyway.

Almost everybody else really wanted days, but working days had serious drawbacks including more activity, inmates all awake, and administration being on site watching everything.

To go with that, lots of people complained about having to work weekends and having days off during the week instead. I used to say, bars are open seven days a week. What's the problem? :D
 
Joined
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Athens, GA
In state corrections I worked evening shift, then after several years asked for night shift. I loved night shift, but I'm a night owl anyway.

Almost everybody else really wanted days, but working days had serious drawbacks including more activity, inmates all awake, and administration being on site watching everything.

To go with that, lots of people complained about having to work weekends and having days off during the week instead. I used to say, bars are open seven days a week. What's the problem? :D

Part of the reason I've stayed on nights for 6 years, don't have admin breathing down my neck. As long as people aren't getting hurt or dying they pretty much leave me alone.

That said. We work 12 hour shifts (7-7), and if you are not working overtime the schedule isn't too bad. Every other weekend is a 3 day, and otherwise, you are on 2 off 2. I tend to work one OT day a week (by choice) and on my one day off I will pretty much stick to my normal schedule which is asleep by 0830 and up at 1600. Sometimes I'll cut the sleep short and wake up early if I have stuff I need to get done. Thankfully, since I'm the LT, I get to choose when I do OT. It's one of the few 'perks' I take as being a supervisor, I don't work OT on my 3-day weekends.

My long weekends are a different story. I will usually sleep for about 2 hours on Friday and then force myself to get up and be active. It sucks, but I can function mostly, although I'll make sure I don't plan anything much more than general house chores (mowing grass, cleaning, etc). I'll usually try and stay up until at least 2200 or a little later. My circadian rhythm is completely confused of course and I'll sleep until about 0400. I have a choice at that point, get up and be up, or stay up until about 0800 and fall back asleep until noon-ish. Either work usually, it all depends on what I've got to do that day. So Saturday is usually 'normal-ish' Lately, since the wife has been working, I'll hop in the car and go for a little (400 mile) drive up to the mountains and back by about 1300.

Saturday night I will usually be up till midnight, and if nothing pressing is on the schedule Sunday I'll try and sleep until about 1100 in preparation to be up until about 0400 the next morning to get ready for another 2 weeks of no sunlight.

Melatonin helps, and I have a Modafinil prescription that I will take sometimes to help normalize the day if I have a weekend where it is non-stop go. At 46 I think I've got a few more years before I'll be looking for an out and back to a M-F position.

There is an agency around here that works 8 hour shifts and you rotate through them every 30 days. No $%^$% thanks. We used to flip days/nights every 3 months and that wasn't bad at all. I'd kinda like to go back to that. Would kill some of the complaining I get from my people about how dayshift does things, when they see that days are jam-packed with crap to do.
 
Joined
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I’m definitely a night owl and a firm believer that nothing good happens before 10am.

Our shop runs 2 shifts, day shift works 6am-4:30pm, night shift works 4:15pm-4am. Day shift is based on 5 8 hour days, night shift is 4 10 hour days. Friday for night shift is 100% overtime pay, otherwise we just get the day off. We very rarely work 40 hours a week though, since 2014 I have averaged 9-10 hours of overtime a week. We also don’t rotate shifts or anything like that, day shift is always day shift and the only real way to get on to days is wait for your day shift guy to retire if you want to stay on your machine or transfer to another machine or department entirely

I don’t switch my schedule on my days off, I generally get up between 12pm and 3pm depending on how I feel, and I go to bed around 6-8am, sometimes later (like 9 or 10) if my wife or one of the kids isn’t feeling good or having a rough morning.

My wife wishes for me to go to days, and I kind of want to since I don’t really get to see my kids now that 2 are in school. But I get more days off being on nights because of the whole Friday thing. For example, they canceled the company picnic because of COVID, and they felt bad so they are giving day shift Friday off and they’re giving night shift Thursday off (and paying us including the overtime we are currently scheduled to work, however we on 2nd shift won’t be paid for Friday), in addition to Labor Day being a fully paid holiday. I get a 5 day weekend vs day shifts 4 day weekend.

It’s definitely harder being on nights, you can manage but it requires communication with your significant other and family. When we first got together I was on nights and it took my wife awhile to realize that waking me up at 10am-11am was like waking her up at 2am-3am.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2014
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NJ
Never heard it called back shift before. Night shift or graveyard I've heard before. I worked it once at the factory as summer college help. I was up in the attic and about once an hour an alarm would go off and I'd have 5 minutes to dump a 50 lb bag of some chemical into a hopper. Then I went back to sleep. I hated it. Could see why the full-timers didn't want to do it.
 
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York, Pa
Night shift SUCKS! you have no life. After working days for 40 years I just can't do what I want to do when my 10-hour shift ends,
 
Joined
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ROCHESTER, NY
I knew/know people who only work the graveyard shift and have been doing so for over 30 years.
I've done it when I was a kid and didn't like it.

Well, It was hmmm:cautious:, OK when I was ~18-20 yrs old and could sleep the day away. However, I still felt like:poop: and when 11pm came around, I was ready to go to bed, not go into work.o_O

Every morning, right around 4:30-5:00 am, I felt like I got hit with a ton of bricks and I wanted to crawl into a hole and fall asleep. All of the coffee:coffee: in the world didn't make me feel awake, it only made my heart race but my head was still crying for a pillow to rest on.
 

gathermewool

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I knew/know people who only work the graveyard shift and have been doing so for over 30 years.
I've done it when I was a kid and didn't like it.

Well, It was hmmm:cautious:, OK when I was ~18-20 yrs old and could sleep the day away. However, I still felt like:poop: and when 11pm came around, I was ready to go to bed, not go into work.o_O

Every morning, right around 4:30-5:00 am, I felt like I got hit with a ton of bricks and I wanted to crawl into a hole and fall asleep. All of the coffee:coffee: in the world didn't make me feel awake, it only made my heart race but my head was still crying for a pillow to rest on.

I usually get hit pretty hard on the second or third night. It’s not so bad after that.

I’m also nose deep in up to a dozen procedures at times and I’m no genius, so the moderate amount of good anxiety helps a lot.
 
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I did a few years on the graveyard shift before going to swing shift. It’s not for everyone. I enjoyed swing much more.

After I left the company decided to go to rotating shifts. That is something I don’t think I could do.
 
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Back in my early to mid 20’s I worked 2nd and 3rd a lot. I was actually a 3rd shifter for several years. Staying on it you get used to it. But at the time it was just my wife and me so it worked out. I was at work while she slept, I came home to sleep while she worked. Both home all evening. I felt like it was a good fit over 2nd obviously. Plus 3rd paid a higher wage.
today though I couldn’t do it. Tried it a few summers ago for an 8 week job for this new company. I struggled big time to find a balance. My body just wouldn’t adjust. I was worn out and tired all the time. Not getting anything done at home, not working out like usual. Pretty much just felt miserable. Just couldn’t get decent sleep during the day. Then as soon as a day off, I’d go right back to sleeping all night. It had been too long and my body just wouldn’t change my sleep habits. I was so glad when it was over. I’m sure my wife and kids felt the same. I was like an irritable zombie.
 
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I’ve been on it off and on since I started as an A&P in 2012. It’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll have to put in some time on night shift in this business…at least, in the airline and heavy MX world.

Currently I work 1545-0230, Sun-Wed.

Can go in for OT if it’s available.

Ive been on night shift since Nov. 2019 on this stretch. Hoping to get back to day shift pretty soon.
 
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I’ve been on it off and on since I started as an A&P in 2012. It’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll have to put in some time on night shift in this business…at least, in the airline and heavy MX world.

Currently I work 1545-0230, Sun-Wed.

Can go in for OT if it’s available.

Ive been on night shift since Nov. 2019 on this stretch. Hoping to get back to day shift pretty soon.

Sounds similar to my dad when he was an A&P with Pan Am.
 

gathermewool

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Ive been back on mids for the past week now and I’m still not used to it this time. I ended up getting to bed at around 10 this morning and sleeping ‘til 1900. I usually feel fine after 6 hours of sleep but haven’t felt rested recently, even after eight hours in bed for the past couple of nights.

I do take sleeping pills and eating something before bed helps. I don‘t drink on 3rd, which also helps sleep, or so I read. I have a nice and dark face mask, so light isn’t an issue. Not really sure what the issue is this time.

Things are broke right now so we’re coming out of shift work for a bit. The good news is I’ll get the weekend off. The bad news is I’ll be out OT, the shift work period will take longer, we‘ll lose the momentum we built up over the past week, AND I‘ll have to transition back to 1st and then, soon enough, back to 3rd.

1st world problems, I know. :sneaky:
 
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Worked it at the tv station, 1500-0100 4x nights a week. Great programming, less oversight.

Then when we automated, I got in at 0450 and got to be the first to triage snafus that happened overnight when we were unmanned which was also cool. Got out at 1250 and got to run errands before dealing with the kids getting out of school. Saved a bunch on daycare with that job.
 
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