Living with Shift work

Working the second or third shift, is an irregular work schedule that creates conflict.  Trying to live a productive, satisfying and meaningful life outside of the traditional 9 to 5 is difficult.  This nontraditional lifestyle takes a personal, social and intellectual toll exacerbated by the demands of personal relationships, healthy choices and/or parenting demands.  How can we provide for ourselves, our world and the common good while we are tired, lonely and need a drink?  The image of a meal where a family sits together, shares conversation and spends quality time is replaced by Edward Hopper’ Nighthawks to shift workers.

Outside of police, fire and hospitals, shift work jobs were once considered moonlighting that supplemented a persons income.  Perhaps they were saving for an engagement ring, a wedding or a house.  Today, our on demand world dictates second and third shifters be found in almost every possible profession.  Full-time staff positions, part-time and freelance positions can be found in the shift work.  Shift work professionals provide an economic impact with taxable revenue and generate spending.  Shift workers also provide off-hour support jobs.  Those support jobs keep the shift worker going just like the dayshift worker who grabs coffee before work, lunches at sandwich shop and can enjoy an afterwork cocktail with friends or co-workers.  Shift workers are not as free to enjoy such liberties afforded to the traditional daytime professional.

When solitude is your friend, shift work can give you many benefits like uncrowded beaches, libraries, or laundromats.  More benefits include tasks like shopping, waiting for repairmen, and using a less crowded gym.  As productive members of the economy, shift workers pay a heavy personal price to live outside the norm.  So the next time you see someone dozing at a school function, or someone with a cocktail at an off-hour, don’t be so quick to judge, they could just be trying to fit into your world.

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