Shift Work

Shupe

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Hi all,

I've made a career change which will see me move into shift work - something I've never done before.

Any of you fellow GD'ers shift workers and have tips and tricks to make the transition?
How much does it fu** up your social life?
How does it affect home life?
What about exercise?
What are your sleep patterns like?

I'm all ears at the moment and would appreciate anyone with any experience to share their $0.02.

Thanks!
 

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Power Raid

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Get in, make your money and get out

It depends on the details of the work but it does effect your health. So go in with a clear plan, a tolerance level and a self review plan before you start.
 

Scotland

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I have two friends that do 2-2-4. Two day shifts, two night shifts, four days off. Both locally based so they go home to their own bed each night/day. One loves it and after a spell of doing office work M-F 9-5 couldn't wait to get back. Other hates it as the work is intense and he can't maintain a good sleeping pattern. I think a big part of any day/night shift work is what the actual job entails. I've also got friends that work in hospitals and most of their night shifts involve sleeping and being woken up when they need to take an X-ray or whatever. That's very different to driving a truck or monitoring computer screens for 12 hours solid.

Only 'shift' work I've done is multiple weeks of 7 x 12 hour days. That grinds you down but at least you are in a routine of going to bed at the same time each night. No idea how people do 3/4 weeks on, 1 off long term and get any satisfaction out of it. At least if you do an 8/6 type FIFO roster (not my cup of tea) you get most of every second week off to do your own stuff.
 

edgie

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Forget about exercise. Even if you have a home gym or membership to a 24/7 one, you won't feel motivated and it's hard to manage the physical side with the changing shifts and sleep. Not saying you'll pack it on and get unhealthy, but if you have high standards it will be hard.

Try to stay active at work instead.




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ioppolo

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Just quit, it's not worth it. My statement also mirrors that of every other poster here.
 

Shupe

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Get in, make your money and get out
I go into this with the intention to make it a career, so it's certainly not about making money. In fact, I will be taking a reasonable pay cut to pursue this (at least in the first several years).

Forget about exercise. Even if you have a home gym or membership to a 24/7 one, you won't feel motivated and it's hard to manage the physical side with the changing shifts and sleep. Not saying you'll pack it on and get unhealthy, but if you have high standards it will be hard.
See, I've heard this before and really struggle with this concept. Which is why it intrigues me. Exercise is almost at the top of my priority list each day, to the point it's bordering on selfish. I struggle to see a day in which I wouldn't be able to motivate myself. That said, I haven't done shift work before, so I don't know what it's like. Is there anything that has helped you maintain a decent balance in terms of exercise/work/rest?

Just quit, it's not worth it. My statement also mirrors that of every other poster here.
Hard to quit when I haven't started yet ;)
 

Scotland

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The standard 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday thing is really about 1800 hours over 220 days over the course of a year taking into consideration 4 weeks annual leave, 10 public holidays and some sick leave.

So that's about 60% of the days of the year spent at work and 20% of the total hours in the year. That's not unreasonable and you can create a healthy work/life balance around that.

If you are working a 3/1 roster doing 12 hour shifts and a 20 day swing then you are working 240 hours every 4 weeks. Even if you are home every 4th week and take your 4 weeks off per year that's 2,880 hours spent working and 230 odd nights spent away from home. Is it worth it?
 

Bomberboyokay

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Any of you fellow GD'ers shift workers
Did it for over 2 years.

have tips and tricks to make the transition?
Treat the start time of your shift like you would a normal job and sleep around it. Waking up in the morning knowing you'll be working at 11pm etc is s**t and you'll be tired at work.

How much does it **** up your social life?
Ruins it. Miss events and your friends probably aren't going to hang out with you at 7am on a Friday or 3pm on a Wednesday etc.

How does it affect home life?
Lived alone so no affect. Had a bag of disposal earplugs next to the bed if it got noisy.

What about exercise?
Didn't notice a change. But I didn't exercise often before I had the job.

What are your sleep patterns like?
There was no pattern, that's why it's called shiftwork. You'll probably feel tired or/and s**t most of the time. No advice or tips will stop your circadian rhythm being ruined.

I'm all ears at the moment and would appreciate anyone with any experience to share their $0.02.
Unless the bank's coming for your house get a normal time jerb.
 

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ioppolo

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I don't agree with Bomberboy often but I'm 100% with him on this one. The most mundane of every week tasks has to planned and organised to the hour. It's no way to live
 

Scotland

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There's stuff you can't do if you work business hours, too. If you need to go into a bank you pretty much have to do it 9-4 Monday to Friday which is a pain in the arse if you are stuck somewhere 8.30-5. If you work say 12-10pm evening shifts or something like that then you have the morning available. If you work 6pm-6am night shifts then you have all of business hours available.
 

Shupe

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If you are working a 3/1 roster doing 12 hour shifts and a 20 day swing then you are working 240 hours every 4 weeks. Even if you are home every 4th week and take your 4 weeks off per year that's 2,880 hours spent working and 230 odd nights spent away from home. Is it worth it?
Sorry Scotland, I probably should've responded to your earlier post. It's not FIFO work.

4 days on, 3 days off for me. Work patterns will be alternating (not sure of specifics yet).

I actually quite like the idea of shift work and believe there are definitely some benefits, as stated in your post above.

I don't agree with Bomberboy often but I'm 100% with him on this one. The most mundane of every week tasks has to planned and organised to the hour. It's no way to live
Have you done shift work and can shed some light on your experiences rather than just blanket statements? I'd be curious to understand your stance.
 

Bomberboyokay

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There's stuff you can't do if you work business hours, too. If you need to go into a bank you pretty much have to do it 9-4 Monday to Friday which is a pain in the arse if you are stuck somewhere 8.30-5. If you work say 12-10pm evening shifts or something like that then you have the morning available. If you work 6pm-6am night shifts then you have all of business hours available.
Do you want to go the bank 3 hours before/after work?
 

Scotland

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Sorry Scotland, I probably should've responded to your earlier post. It's not FIFO work.

4 days on, 3 days off for me. Work patterns will be alternating (not sure of specifics yet).

I actually quite like the idea of shift work and believe there are definitely some benefits, as stated in your post above.
That doesn't sound so bad depending on the hours and days. I also know a few people that just work 8/9 hour days but with alternate Saturdays or alternate weekends. Not ideal but people who go into certain lines of work then are surprised that they aren't working Monday to Friday 9-5 do baffle me a bit. 'I'm a chef and I have to work nights.' 'Err, yep. That's generally when people eat dinner'.

There are benefits and drawbacks to every roster. I've worked huge hours before and earned more out of it and it's not really worth it long term.
 

edgie

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See, I've heard this before and really struggle with this concept. Which is why it intrigues me. Exercise is almost at the top of my priority list each day, to the point it's bordering on selfish. I struggle to see a day in which I wouldn't be able to motivate myself. That said, I haven't done shift work before, so I don't know what it's like. Is there anything that has helped you maintain a decent balance in terms of exercise/work/rest?
If it is that important to you then you'll fit it in. To me, it wasn't as high a recreational priority as say, XBOX or surfing the net. I keep fit enough through umpiring footy, one day training is enough to get me a game on Saturday, and regularly keeping house and yard tidy. Carrying around wipper snippers and leaf blowers and hedge trimmers for an hour is enough for my spaghetti arms.

You can maintain the exercise/work/rest balance if you blend a few together, like I said. Otherwise something else from you time off will have to make way.




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revo333

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4 days on, 3 days off for me. Work patterns will be alternating (not sure of specifics yet).

I actually quite like the idea of shift work and believe there are definitely some benefits, as stated in your post above.
It's not for everyone that's for sure, Having the 3 days off will make it easier to deal with.

I did 2-3 years of 5 shifts a week and that was really good for my bank account but all i did was work and sleep. I wouldn't recommend anyone doing 5 shifts a week for more than 2-3 years.

Your social life will struggle, some might people might understand and will make an effort to socialise at times that suit you while others won't and your friendship may suffer, be prepared for it.

If you play sport your performance might suffer and become very inconsistent, Don't fall into the trap of eating junk or relying on energy drinks to get through your shifts.

I think you are the first person I know who is doing it where money is not a motivation, It might take your body 3 months to get use to the change and you might have some very hard weeks dealing with it early on but it will get better the longer you do it.
 

Shupe

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Thanks for the response revo.

I'm sacrificing a lot but it's something I've wanted to do since I was a teenager. FWIW, I'm 29 now. I just feel like the time is right. Maybe it's a monumental disaster, maybe I flourish. I will always try new things!
 

revo333

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Thanks for the response revo.

I'm sacrificing a lot but it's something I've wanted to do since I was a teenager. FWIW, I'm 29 now. I just feel like the time is right. Maybe it's a monumental disaster, maybe I flourish. I will always try new things!
A lot of people talk it down without having done it at all, like any job you will have pros and cons. As you go along you will work out your own ways to deal with it as best as you can. Summer can be a great time to do night shift and if you don't have to work too many weekends that's a bonus.

Hopefully your family and friends will understand the struggles you may face. A lot of mine didn't which was dissapointing but if you need to sleep instead of socialising to get through your next shift then that should be your priority.
 

Shupe

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I do shift work. I work 4 days a week and work either 7 to 330 or 1 to 930. You just make it work. I don’t mind it.
That would be great! There will definitely be overnight shifts involved for me. I currently work 6-2 Monday-Friday and a few hours on a Saturday morning.
A lot of people talk it down without having done it at all, like any job you will have pros and cons. As you go along you will work out your own ways to deal with it as best as you can. Summer can be a great time to do night shift and if you don't have to work too many weekends that's a bonus.

Hopefully your family and friends will understand the struggles you may face. A lot of mine didn't which was dissapointing but if you need to sleep instead of socialising to get through your next shift then that should be your priority.
The bolded is why I'm really asking about experiences rather than opinions. Summer sounds fantastic, I could definitely get used to having naps on the beach!

At my age I really only have a couple of really good mates rather than a large group. I can see why sacrifices would have to be made if you're trying to maintain several different groups of friends. I don't even have time for that now! Luckily no children yet, just one very supportive fiance. Even the wedding has been pushed back 6 months!

Did you work around the clock? I've read that some people really utilise 'short sleeps' when coming off night shifts - basically only sleeping for a few hours, powering through the rest of the day and then sleep at night to reset the body clock (as much as possible).
 

ioppolo

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Sorry Scotland, I probably should've responded to your earlier post. It's not FIFO work.

4 days on, 3 days off for me. Work patterns will be alternating (not sure of specifics yet).

I actually quite like the idea of shift work and believe there are definitely some benefits, as stated in your post above.


Have you done shift work and can shed some light on your experiences rather than just blanket statements? I'd be curious to understand your stance.
Limited personal experience but I've lived with three people who have including my girlfriend who did it for ages. I've seen it do the same thing to all of them along the way.

My first post was a bit of a pisstake but I am deadset against shift work myself
 
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