Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Graveyard Shift

I've been working the "Graveyard Shift" for quite a number of years. The origin of the phrase "Graveyard Shift" comes from the 19th century problem of accidentally burying people who were still alive. To prevent this from happening, the story goes, caskets were equipped with a bell-ringing device enabling a waking "corpse" to notify the world that they were no longer dead. The graveyard attendants who remained vigilant throughout the day and night worked the graveyard shift.

Working the night shift is a very silent and sometimes creepy experience, much like a graveyard would be. Of course it doesn't help when you work in a converted church! I think the main reason I like it is that it's quiet. It's a good time to relax. I am not rushed; I have 8 hours to do 1 hour worth of work! I have time to have a good conversation with a guest, read a book, or even do a bit of writing.

I remember a guest who we had here at Daffodil Place a while back, that was just fascinated with the fact that I enjoyed the night shift. He thought I was crazy. He, himself worked the overnight many times throughout his life and truly hated it. He said that when he finally went home he was going to tell all his friends about me because they would not believe him. I told him to tell them to give me a call and I'll set them straight.

Honestly I really don't find it much different than working during the day. Sure I do have times when get really sleepy at night. But for the most part, if you can keep your mind occupied with something interesting, you can usually stay alert.

I basically have switched my day and night. People are always asking me how I sleep. My shift is from 12 am to 8 am, Monday to Friday. During the week I get off work at 8 and I am usually home by 8:30; if I don't stick around to have a chat with the day shift. With no traffic, it usually takes me 20 minutes to drive to and from work. Most mornings I go home and get my daughter, Madison out of bed (unless she is in school that morning), get her dressed and breakfast. I usually try to watch a little news and try to get to bed between 9:30 and 10. My room is very cold (no heat on in winter, fan in summer) and I wear ear plugs, which allows me to get pretty good sleep. I wake up between 5 and 6; that is unless my wife wakes me up for something stupid. Like the day she woke me at 12 noon to tell me I have to get up early at 3pm!

On the weekend I get off at 8 am on Friday and I will usually stay up all day and then have a great sleep (like a normal person) that night. I will stay up late on Saturday night and get up early on Sunday. Then I will go to bed around 3-4 pm on Sunday and get up again around 9pm to be at work for 12.

This is basically the routine I have used, even when I was working in Jasper and Banff, Alberta. I really don't understand why everyone don't want this position, due to the many benefits; off during the day so if you need any errands run you can do them. You never see the bosses, so you are basically your own boss. You can usually get out of those boring staff meetings, just for the fact that you are sleeping! But the number one reason is that you usually get paid 10 - 15% more than your counter parts on the day shift!

I will admit though that I love the fact that when I am driving home, there are hundreds of cars driving the opposite way, who I am sure wish they were in my position; they are just starting work for the day and I am going home to climb into bed! You gotta love it!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Carl for your comment on my blog about the historic house and its potential demise. I learned this morning that rumor has it that because there has been so much concern about the house, the owner is going to renovate it instead. I hope that is true.