Feb 1, 2008

Shiftworkers share what it's really like to work shiftwork

The experts have a lot to say that can be helpful to shiftworkers and 24/7 managers -- advice on sleep and napping, shift scheduling, fatigue countermeasures, caffeine, shiftworker lifestyle training, etc. But, a central goal of the National Shiftwork Information Center is to provide a place where shiftworkers of all types can exchange ideas -- shiftworker to shiftworker.

So, here are some additional quotes, from conversations with the shiftworkers in the U.S. National Weather Service. The question posed was, "tell us what shifwork is really like for you?" Here's what three shiftworkers had to say:

"Shiftwork is definitely not for everyone...it is hard on your body and you never seem to get enough rest. However, meteorologists are but a few of the career fields that rotate shifts, and the rewards of a job which is always different and presents new challenges cannot be overestimated. "

Another person said ...

"I would rather work an evening shift or a mid than days. It is so hard to get up early and I love having weekdays off sometimes. Also, we get enough weekends off to satisfy "weekend trips" that I need to take sometimes. Also, working 9 to 5 all of the time can get monotonous. "

Finally, we heard this ...

"Due to the fact that weather does not work a 9 to 5 schedule, having to staff National Weather Service (NWS) field offices around the clock is necessary. I don't know if there is a better solution at this time than rotating shifts. The few studies that I've read and agree with suggest that if you must work rotating shifts, then work a week or longer of the same shift and then rotate to the next shift. Our office rotates this way, as do many others in the NWS. After 3 years of shift work, I don't think I would WANT to go back to working straight day shifts from 8 to 5. I enjoy having weekdays off to get things done such as going to the post office, banking and the like. Sure, I may miss out on some social gatherings, but I would even if I worked straight day shifts. Shiftwork in the summer is great, in that you can often enjoy most of the daylight hours with the kids or other family before going in to work. "

As you can see, there are drawbacks and challenges but also many reasons people like shiftwork.

What is shifwork really like for you? Post your comment below.


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