Shift workers… it aint that bad is it?

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  • Shift workers… it aint that bad is it?
  • BillMC
    Member

    I worked permanent nights at Smith’s Crisps when I was a student. I felt like I never got a proper ‘night’s’ sleep and have never bought a packet of crisps since. So some good came out of it.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Shift work is great I’ve done 12 hours shift for over 20 years now. You soon get use to the sleep patterns and being off when everyone else is at work means you have quiet trails, places to visit with you 3 year old will be very quiet and shops not jammed.

    You also get use to the headaches, stomach problems, insomnia, irregular meals and lack of daylight in winter after about 40 years.

    piemonster
    Member

    I have no useful contribution to make.

    But I’m going to anyway, I used to do 4 on 4 off. 9.45am to 9pm.

    It was absolutely brilliant, a long weekend every 4 days is genius. And I started late enough to have a blast on the bike before work. And finished early enough to go for a pint.

    But, no wife or kids. And a different shift pattern. Kinda makes this post worthless.

    _tom_
    Member

    I can’t stand it, hate never having the same time off as my mates. Sometimes they work in your favour but most of the time they’re a massive pain in the arse. The only good thing is that you get days off in the week which is good for riding if you don’t like it busy. I prefer spending my weekends with friends/family though. After a year and a half of it, I’m bored of it and longing for a normal 9-5.

    samuri
    Member

    So the shifts will increment an hour every week? never heard of that before, and at least the 3 on 3 off stops the transitions being a problem.

    I reckon the 3 off stuff will make it easy to manage, you can easily go three days flat out and then take it easy. Shifts always worked really well for me, it gave me plenty of time to get house jobs done, you no longer need to take time out to go to the dentist and stuff and you get loads of riding time.

    The difficult bit is when you’re on nights trying to sleep in the day and everyone else is active, you end up getting far less sleep in the end partly because of the noise but also because you want to be involved.

    i’ll be at a loose end and will freak out..

    Getting out on that bike is the only solution here…

    Premier Icon MSP
    Subscriber

    I used to do 2 early, 2 late, 2 nights then 3-4 days off, it absolutely killed me, hated it, did it for about 12 months then jacked the job, I think if I had kept that up it would have knocked at least 10 years of my life.

    Premier Icon sandal100
    Subscriber

    I work continentals and think its great! 3 on 5 off though so slightly different. Bike riding, gym, dog walking are all good for passing the time. If you have any friends who work in shops etc you may find they have the odd mid week day off

    Premier Icon smogmonster
    Subscriber

    Shifts are great – you never get stck in rush hour traffic, you get more days off if youre doing 12 hour shifts. You get far more riding time (IMHO). yeah it sometimes sucks when youre mates are out and you arent, but do what i did, look for others who work shifts and you find you often end up with new riding mates. Some of my best mates were found this way, fellow shift workers.

    birky
    Member

    I did 8-4 and 2-10 week about for 20+ years. I liked it, especially during winter cos I could get out cycling in the mornings in daylight.

    restless
    Member

    I work 7-7 , 3 on 3 off and have 3 children too!

    It is a killer with sleep, or lack of it , especially on school days when I drop youngest off at 9am and then have to pick him up at 12.

    Getting used to being absolutely knackered is the main thing to get used to. But if you have a partner who will help with the kids then that is good. I don’t , so have to juggle it all, but you will find your own routines.

    Also, there is never any free time to get bored if you have a house , gardens , kids etc to look after!!

    amplebrew
    Member

    I do 6 days on, 4 days off in my job and have worked shifts for the last 10 years.

    My 6 days consist of 2 am’s (7.30 – 16.30), 2 pm’s (15.00 – 00.00 or 16.00 – 02.00) and then 2 nights (23.00 – 08.00 or 20.00 – 08.00.)

    The am shifts are great, especially in the summer as a 16.30 finish means that I’ve got plenty of hours left to do stuff.

    The pm shifts can be a bit of a pain as I find that because I know I need to be in work until 02.00; I’m less inclined to do too much in the morning.

    I find the night shifts to be great, however I think I’m just lucky as I don’t need much sleep. I often go out on the bike straight after nights with no issues. I do know others though that really suffer on nights and it really knocks them out for days.

    Shifts and nights in particularly can give you a fuzzy head, a general feeling of tiredness and for some IBS.

    I always eat the right meals at the right time, so would always eat a proper tea when getting up after nights and a normal breakfast when coming in from nights. I also try not to eat during a night shift as I find it makes me feel ill.

    From experience, there is a massive variation in how folks cope with shifts and the only way you’ll really know is by giving them a go.

    Shifts can be great for getting out and about in the peace and quiet, but you can also miss out on lots of social activities and events from either being in work or in bed.

    I can guarantee that there will be numerous events and activities I’ll miss every year due to shift work.

    Shifts are however great for giving you more opportunity to get general bits and bobs done. If you’re in a Monday to Friday job you’ve only really got the Saturday to get jobs and errands done such as getting car serviced, going to bank, getting a tradesman around the house etc etc.

    I generally enjoy working shifts and would rather have my current hours than a Mon to Fri 9-5 job. The downside for me personally is not the hours, bur missing out on events and activities.

    monkey_boy
    Member

    Morning all,

    Through to the last stage of a new job application, the job will be 12 hour shifts, 3 on 3 off…

    from what i can gather the shifts are all over the shop but when starting off and when training is done its going to be something like 06.00 > 6, 07.00 > 7, 08.00 > 8 etc etc

    I have never done shift work before but always had a bizarre hankering to give it a go.

    I am 39 with a 3 year old and the wife…

    I can imagine if I get the job there will be two things that will initially mess me up..

    1 – when to actually go to sleep after a shift is finished if i get home at stupid o’clock.

    2 – when everyone is in work and im on my tod and the cleaning shoppings been done i’ll be at a loose end and will freak out…

    any words of wisdom or share your experiences, haven’t got it yet but no harm in asking/dreaming…

    cheers

    29erKeith
    Member

    the majority of guys here work shift 12hrs 4 on (2 days, 2 nights), 4 off. 7 ’till 7.
    The guys love it generally the few that come off shift for a while for other duties normally can’t wait to get back on shift. They get their shifts for the while year, bar a set 2 weeks where they have to phone in each day, two/three times a year they get a 2-3 week block off.

    total hours they actually work less than me on a 9-5:30 and that’s with out taking into account the shift the get let off early, sometimes after only a few hours. I’m not jealous honestly

    They all love the empty (and cheaper) golf courses\shops\trails etc

    imo it’s a long way from all bad, but there a -ve’s
    health a life expectancy are not great apparently. tbh I’m not 100% convinced that that’s the shift work on it’s own. Here I’d say it’s more to do with the environment, the work itself, the culture and the canteen. I work in the docks btw, not exactly the healthiest looking workforce in general

    monkey_boy
    Member

    Cheers all for the replies,

    If I do get offered the job it is a no brainer as im going nowhere here and it is time to move on, we have a good family support network and they have all said they will chip in.

    The irony is there is so many options once I get my foot in the door to move about into different roles and may end up back on 9-5 after a few years.

    I guess staying healthy and eating the correct food is the key.

    What and see I guess!

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    You wont be able to do stuff with your kid during the days off for long, cos they’ll start school. So you’ll end up not being able to share every weekend with them either.

    29erKeith
    Member

    the majority of guys here work shift 12hrs 4 on (2 days, 2 nights), 4 off. 7 ’till 7.
    The guys love it generally the few that come off shift for a while for other duties normally can’t wait to get back on shift. They get their shifts for the while year, bar a set 2 weeks where they have to phone in each day, two/three times a year they get a 2-3 week block off.

    total hours they actually work less than me on a 9-5:30 and that’s without taking into account the shifts the get let off early, sometimes after only a few hours. I’m not jealous honestly

    They all love the empty (and cheaper) golf courses\shops\trails etc

    imo it’s a long way from all bad, but there a -ve’s
    health a life expectancy are not great apparently. tbh I’m not 100% convinced that that’s the shift work on it’s own. Here I’d say it’s more to do with the environment, the work itself, the culture and the canteen. I work in the docks btw, not exactly the healthiest looking workforce in general

    _tom_
    Member

    I did 8-4 and 2-10 week about for 20+ years. I liked it, especially during winter cos I could get out cycling in the mornings in daylight.

    These are basically my shifts with a few 7:30-7:30 and other 12-13 hour shifts every month or so. Definitely not as bad as “proper” shift work with nights, but still a pain for a social life. It is great being able to get out on your bike in the mornings before work though. I have a couple of mates who do shifts so that helps with social stuff, if I didn’t I think I’d get pretty lonely and bored of my days off. Reckon I probably wouldn’t mind it as much if I was older but at 24 I just want to spend my days off and weekends doing stuff rather than working or sleeping!

    ScottChegg
    Member

    I did a good few years as Shift QA.

    From a time to yourself point of view it’s tremendous; you would not believe how much you can get done in all the spare time you have.

    I used to finish night turn at 7, and be in bed by 7.l5. Never drink coffee after midnight, or eat after 3am. Get up at around 2pm and enjoy yourself.

    As a short term thing, it’s great. But a 35 years service shift worker left here due to chronic high blood pressure. 3 months living a ‘normal’ life and he’s off his medication. Make of that what you will.

    i’ll be at a loose end and will freak out…

    It’s called free time. You have a bike, don’t you…?

    Premier Icon FuzzyWuzzy
    Subscriber

    I didn’t realise so many places have you doing different shift times in the same week, doesn’t it kill you switching from am to pm to night shifts in a short period?

    grim168
    Member

    I do 3 12 hour shifts. Wed thurs fri days for for 4 weeks then sun mon tues for 4 weeks. Week off then same on nights. 7.30 to 7.30. Nights are hard work as you dont have time to get into the change. Done ’em for 25 years. They don’t get easier as you get older.

    tonyd
    Member

    I did shifts when I was younger and living in Leeds. Being single at the time and working with mostly like-minded and similarly aged people meant I had a great time. There was always someone to go for a pint with after work. I also had time on night shifts to learn a lot, something I still struggle to do through the normal working day due to the additional distractions.

    I’m 41 and have a young family, not sure I’d have the energy to do it now and weekends are valuable family time so the disruption there would be unwelcome. You can always make things work though so if the upsides outweigh the downs there’s no reason it shouldn’t be fine.

    Good luck either way!

    amplebrew
    Member

    FuzzyWuzzy – Member
    I didn’t realise so many places have you doing different shift times in the same week, doesn’t it kill you switching from am to pm to night shifts in a short period?

    I initially found my shift pattern hard work with the quick change between shifts over the 6 days, but you soon get used to it.

    It hasn’t become easier, I have just got used to dealing and coping with the effects.

    I actually think the variation sometimes helps and I really wouldn’t want to work 6 nights in a row.

    I haven’t got any children and my wife also works shifts, so the different hours suit me. If my wife did Mon to Fri 9-5 and/or we had children; I would not want to be working pm’s and nights as I think they can have a huge affect on family life.

    higthepig
    Member

    Just about to leave my job after spending the last 3 years working a 7-day 12 hour shift, 7-days on, 7-days off with the changeover at 8.30am/8.30pm.
    The good thing I found was that it was always easy to plan well in advance and map out your year, although that also became a little depressing when you found clashes of dates (school holidays etc).
    Found the night shifts quite hard,, especially towards the end of the week when I was getting really tired. Sleeping in the daytime was not that great, especially in the summer when it is hot outside and the children are trying to kill each other in the garden! Time off when the trails are quiet is good, I seemed to be more motivated to ride in all weathers as I knew I would be stuck at work the following week. Generally it seemed that when I was off work the weather was crap, when in work it would invariably be glorious. I think 3-days is not too bad at all as you should not get that tired and then have chance to recover, with a 7-day cycle the first couple of days off were always very slow as I was playing catch-up. The first day after finishing my night shift cycle I would make myself busy, gardening, washing the car etc rather then having a quick sleep, so that I could go to bed at normal time at night and try to get back to a more traditional sleep pattern. The other thing I found hard when on nights, was when to eat, in the end I had a normal large meal in the evening before work and took a load of fruit into work to stop the temptation of getting the ‘midnight munchies’ and porking out on chocolate/crap. Its strange but at 3-4am I got quite hungry!
    Good luck.

    slparsons
    Member

    I’d say it depends on your role and how much you need to sleep.

    I’m in busy production management role where we work 4 on 4 off, this being 2 days and then 2 nights. Managers work a minimum of 13 hour shifts with handovers at both ends of the shift and can be lucky to get more than one break in a shift on occasion.

    Be disciplined with your routines and try to get as much sleep as you need.

    I struggle with quality sleep and also find myself eating at all hours. This combines to pile on a few pounds and before you know it you’re less fit than you’ve ever been!

    Some guys that work in my team love it, they run their machines, get their breaks, come in and go home on time, sleep all day/night and repeat, then have 4 quality days off.

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