what i know of the night shift

I was reading the latest post on A Big Life and felt inspired to write my own “What I Know About [Something]”, so here are some of the things I know about the Night Shift…

  1. Your social life is over.
  2. Or rather, you think it is, based on the folks up and about in their glad rags, regardless of the fact it’s not even Wednesday.
  3. Sleep replaces the weather in general small-talk.  You’ll talk about sleep and how little you’ve had since the last time you said so.
  4. If someone has had the same sleep, it’s perfectly fine to cackle and cheer like you’ve both saved the world from an asteroid impact.
  5. And if someone has slept far too well, you won’t hate them, no.  They’ll end up doing more work without really meaning to!
  6. But if someone hasn’t slept at all, treat them like a time-bomb or take the piss out of them constantly to help them stay awake.
  7. Staying awake is a feat that should never go unnoticed.
  8. You can handle more than one timezone and refer to no less than four clocks at a time.
  9. Woe betide those who leave their day shit on your desk.  Biscuits will be eaten and pens will be robbed – something you’ll deny when they ask you in the morning.
  10. Should the company ‘forget’ to restock coffee, tea or any caffeinated drinks, you’ll rant with the kind of rage only witnessed in a traffic jam.
  11. You’ll also do the same when there isn’t any milk.
  12. Whatever happens on the Night Shift, stays on the Night Shift.  It’s meant to be a mystery that the Day Shift cannot solve.
  13. Sometimes the Day Shift has to suffer so you act extra cheerful as you’re leaving the office, throwing them a wave or loudly declaring the weekend before they’ve had the chance to log on.
  14. Strangely, this can have the opposite effect.
  15. Socials from the Day Shift are considered with reluctance: you think they haven’t a clue what it’s like to work on the Night Shift.
  16. In fact, you don’t think anyone does!
  17. On the Night Shift you break many vows: no more microwave meals, exercise more at the gym, sleep when you get home, etc.
  18. Laughing at random is totally normal.
  19. “Smart casual” on the Night Shift means you’re attending an interview straight after work, low on morale or playing “fancy dress”.
  20. Should you store any food in the company fridge, you expect it to be there the following night (or else).
  21. You know an early house within walking distance of the office.
  22. The Day Shift complains they’re always broke while the Night Shift complains they can’t spend their money.
  23. Watching a film at the cinema isn’t weird in the morning, though you wonder why single middle-aged men always seem to be doing it?
  24. If a customer demands to speak to your manager, you solemnly tell them there isn’t anyone here…  
  25. Really, there isn’t!
  26. You’re stuck with daytime TV, and the sad thing is, you’re actually employed.
  27. Meeting up for lunch is sincerely a generous offer.  More so mid-week.
  28. Unlike the Day Shift, people argue less when they’re working on the Night Shift.  They’re just too sleepy…
  29. Without a sense of humour, you may cease to exist.
  30. Because the Day Shift don’t understand why people would even do the Night Shift, they treat you with respect that borders on thinly veiled fear.
  31. A meeting “first thing” is greeted with hostility.  To someone on the Night Shift, it means just before they’re due to go home!
  32. Wearing a coat on a damp, chilly evening will only result in a hot, sunny dawn and vice-versa.
  33. In the morning, the Day Shift squints from lack of sleep; the Night Shift does the same because it’s too bright.
  34. That promise you made last year is still a promise you made last year.
  35. And your main source of news is Google or Metro.
  36. If you don’t have panda eyes, you’re somehow cheating.
  37. You start online shopping and rarely visit a shop, which doesn’t count if you’re buying lunch before work at a convenience store or takeaway.
  38. When you get on public transport, you realise for the first time what miserable bastards the Day Shift actually are.
  39. If someone starts a fight or even thinks to argue with you straight after the Night Shift, you’re sure to take ’em on!  After all, they’ve only woken up while you’ve been conscious all day!!
  40. On the Night Shift, errands get done in one go or they never get done full stop.
  41. You soon lose track of what day it is in what timezone and can’t remember how you used to achieve this when calling overseas friends on Skype.
  42. Night Shift wages are better but you sometimes wonder if obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are all worth it.
  43. On the Night Shift, sleep deprivation is treated the same as a full-on hangover.
  44. What you eat says a lot about what you can buy before you reach the office.  How you eat it?  Not so much.
  45. You like telling customers what time it is where you’re working.
  46. Nights out with the Night Shift never seem to happen.  It’s either an early house or buffet breakfast and you’ve already done both.
  47. Being on the Night Shift is like being a superhero.
  48. The temptation to bring in a blanket, pillow and/or sleeping bag is occasionally strong.
  49. Management like to think you’re doing a great job on the Night Shift, if only to avoid having to do it themselves or even pay you a visit.
  50. It’s okay to diss the Night Shift but not in front of the Day Shift.
  51. And if the Day Shift asks how you manage to work those ‘crazy’ hours, you tap the side of your nose, as if it’s a secret.
  52. Booking annual leave is a regular maths problem.
  53. You find that people on the Night Shift are ‘special’ and more accepting than those on the Day Shift.
  54. You sort of don’t like the Day Shift.
  55. The Day Shift often leave the canteen in a mess when you’re expected to keep it clean.
  56. After working most of the night without the Day Shift around, their sudden appearance at 7.30am makes you uneasy.
  57. And quite offended when they switch off your music without even asking!
  58. As a writer in my spare time, I find having Writer’s Block is preferable to actually writing on the Night Shift.  You’re either too tired to write or you keep reading what you’ve written over and over.
  59. When you bring a playlist in for the Night Shift, you feel incredibly nervous, afraid that no one will like it.
  60. You’re not a doctor on the Night Shift and you’re thankful, though it doesn’t hurt to wish you could do CSI.
  61. And how do you know when you’re over the “culture shock” of living on the Night Shift?
  62. …when you’re still bloody on it!

4 responses to “what i know of the night shift

  • Liv

    Ha, excellent work, especially love the last point!

  • Blue Aventurine

    Number 7… very true.
    I worked 3rd shift (9pm to 3am) for a few years and had a day job on Saturdays. There was one time where I had no idea of what was going on (similar to #41) even though that was several years ago, I can still recall that sense of confusion and how the “normal” could not fathom how messed up my internal clock was.

    I do miss the peace of working when the general public was asleep along with the early morning sounds.

    • grimdreamer

      You had a day job in addition to the night job? That’s amazing… I can’t even contemplate that! It’s nice working when nobody else is around in the office, though they need to work on a 24/7 convenience store – I’d make them a fortune 😉

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