Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Shift work and the "Night Shifter Culture"

This is kind of a shout out to all those working the night shift.  It doesn't matter what profession you're in, Medicine, Nursing, Transportation, Emergency Services, Retail Services, or Food Service, or any other job that has a night shift, we night shifters are a special breed.

I happen to work in The medical field, as an RN.  I've worked the night shift for the better part of the last 10 years, and I can't imagine ever going back to the day shift permanently.  The culture of the night shift is markedly different from that of day shifters.  And it goes beyond the gerneralization of "sleep during the day, and awake while its dark".  The personalities and behavior of night shifters everywhere is different than peole who work days.  Over the years I've found that the "Night" people are more team oriented and cooperative.  I believe they're more "Us" and "team" oriented, whereas "Day" people are more "Me, myself and I".  This has been pervasive across several facilities in 2 states.  Two states that are 1100 miles apart.  I don't believe this is a fluke.  I'm sure someone has done research on this that I could Google. 

I think that the night shift is just more laid back, easy going and fun.  Granted, that may be because there is limited management looking over our shoulder, and there are just less people to give us a hassle in the middle of the night.  I also think that because there are less people to interact with on the night shift, that introverts are a drawn to it.  I (being a bit of an introvert myself) prefer the night shift because I feel less micromanaged, I enjoy my independence, and I have a severe lack of tolerance for stupidity.  I think the night shift is neater, and overall more thourough.  Perhaps that is because us introverts tend to be a bit on the OCD side as well? 

Sometimes being a night shifter is awkward.  We drink wine at 8am, and are still in our jammies at 2 pm on a good day, maybe till 5pm on a bad one.  Day people tend to judge us on these two traits.  And they call us in the middle of the afternoon, during our prime sleep time.  Really?  How'd you like it if I called you at 3am for something completely bullshit?  People leave for work and let their dogs out.  Because they're at work they don't hear them bark.  All. Day. Long..... Every. Single. Day.
If an entire neighborhood of dogs barked incessantly all night long, I'm pretty sure a lot of somebody's would have a problem with that. But because it happens during the day "it's not a big deal".  Any official business you need to partake in, like a doctors appointment, an auto repair appointment, picking up a prescription, taking your dog to the vet, calling your lawyer, going to the bank, etc.., need to be done during the day.  Very inconvenient for those of us who keep the world functioning by going to work at night.  But on the plus side, if you have a 24 hr grocery store, there's never a line at 3am!

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