Swing Shift vs 8-5

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BradJ
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Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by BradJ » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:25 am

I am looking for anyone's testimonial on handling a growing family while working swing shift. I am in the power industry, and the shifts are 12 hours, switch from day to night, holidays and weekends, but you get a generous amount of time off during the schedule. I worked it for 6 years when I was not married or had children. I now work 8-5, married with kids, and find the 8-5 life soul sucking. My wife says I only remember the good, and not the bad, of working swing shift (I tend to agree). I have been daydreaming a lot lately about going back, but still on the fence. Any testimonials or thoughts?

Teague
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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by Teague » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:36 am

Been there, done that.

A few thoughts:

-With a growing family they will be trying to keep quiet while you are getting some sleep. That's stressful on everyone.
-If your day off comes after working late hours, you may simply be too tired to do anything that day, and maybe the next day too.
-It will be difficult to keep a social schedule since everybody else is awake when you are sleeping and vice versa. This can be isolating.
-Constantly shifting work hours can cause a variety of negative health effects, and you can look that up if you want.

The good news is you can shop at Costco when only the retired folks are there, and avoid the crowds.
Semper Augustus

BradJ
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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by BradJ » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:37 am

Teague wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:36 am
Been there, done that.

A few thoughts:

-With a growing family they will be trying to keep quiet while you are getting some sleep. That's stressful on everyone.
-If your day off comes after working late hours, you may simply be too tired to do anything that day, and maybe the next day too.
-It will be difficult to keep a social schedule since everybody else is awake when you are sleeping and vice versa. This can be isolating.
-Constantly shifting work hours can cause a variety of negative health effects, and you can look that up if you want.

The good news is you can shop at Costco when only the retired folks are there, and avoid the crowds.
Great thoughts, especially the "isolating" comment.

dbltrbl
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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by dbltrbl » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:42 am

What are the chances you can request back 8-5 if needed. My brother has quit jobs on 8-5 so he can work second shift. You need to be happy. As for other stuff like noise and so, most times your body tunes it out.

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by nisiprius » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:49 am

I once worked for a company that was in the business of consulting on shiftwork design--there was also some technology involved that didn't pan out too well--and picked up some things while I was there. Basically, shiftwork is brutal, and rotating shiftwork is even worse than a fixed night shift. It's been known for about a century--the first research was that old--that shiftworkers never actually adapt to their schedule, which is why so many accidents (Exxon Valdez, Bhopal, etc.) happen in the wee hours. The social isolation is a problem. And, unless you are willing to get quite serious about modifying your house (blackout curtains, sound deadening, etc) you are not likely to actually be taking the advice that shiftworkers are given.

Also, this may be third-hand propaganda, but shiftwork schedules are typically designed for the convenience of supervisors and accounting, and are rarely designed scientifically to take advantage of what is known about human circadian rhythms.

An inlaw of mine worked a rotating shift at a chemical factory and what seemed OK when he was young and single was miserable when he was married and had a kid. He struggled for years to get switched to a regular day shift and the whole family celebrated when he managed it.
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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by wanderer » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:53 am

Yep, 8-5 is slavery after the relative freedom of shift work, especially the DuPont schedule, but family comes first. The daily rthym of 8-5, if organized well, can give you free time, regular sleep cycles, and participate in family/kids activities.

Shifts worked well in a community (Port Arthur, TX in 70's) where the majority of folks worked shifts. You can't be at everything, but at least they tried. Kids/schools are the hardest. My guess from your post is that you are in a community that never even thinks about folks working shifts (I wish more did).

I think your wife is wise.

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by BradJ » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:58 am

Thank you to everyone for their great advice. As far as shift being better for accounting, I could argue that it's the opposite. Shift work is a way of covering 365 days, required job so that everyone is provided a necessity (medical, utilities, security, etc). One way of attracting candidates, is to let me see the potential of having +10 weeks of vacation time a year, something no one else gets. I think it comes down to the fact that shift is better for ME, and 8-5 is better for my family. I do have a friend that swears shift work has changed his home life for the better, getting large amounts of quality time with his children during the summer.

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by carolinaman » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:06 pm

I worked swing shifts, 8 to 4, 4 to 12 and 12 to 8 on a four week cycle when I was young. I was married the last year but did not have kids until I began working day shift. My biological clock was always screwed up. Sleep and meal times are a challenge. I never could adjust to any one of the shifts because of the constant change.

I honestly do not think it is healthy for people to work that for really long periods of time. Now that you have kids and all the responsibilities that go with them, my guess is it will be much harder to handle.

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by akblizzard » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:13 pm

I worked what sounds like a similar schedule for 10 years. I can only speak from my experience.

Soon after I got off the rotating 12 hr shifts, out of the blue my oldest kid (who was 6) said “I think you must really like your new job”.

I answered that yes, I did. After a moment I thought to ask “Why do you think that”?

“Because you’re hardly ever grumpy anymore”.

That was about 30 years ago and I’ve never once considered shift work again.

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:02 pm

BradJ wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:58 am
Thank you to everyone for their great advice. As far as shift being better for accounting, I could argue that it's the opposite. Shift work is a way of covering 365 days, required job so that everyone is provided a necessity (medical, utilities, security, etc). One way of attracting candidates, is to let me see the potential of having +10 weeks of vacation time a year, something no one else gets. I think it comes down to the fact that shift is better for ME, and 8-5 is better for my family. I do have a friend that swears shift work has changed his home life for the better, getting large amounts of quality time with his children during the summer.
Shift work was terrible for me since it isolated me from friends and family.

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by darrvao777 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:19 pm

I work in a different field and specifically picked my career based on the ability to work 8-5

It has been as awesome as advertised and I would not even consider a field where swing shift work was the norm

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by hale2 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:32 pm

I agree with all of the comments about how tough swings are compared to 8-5. It definitely takes a toll. People should keep this in mind when a law enforcement or military guy posts about wanting to leave as soon as he is retirement eligible (or even before) despite a much bigger payout if he stays a few more years. Often people say staying a few more years isn't that bad and is worth it. It might be for most 8-5 jobs, but not all jobs.

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by rob » Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:38 pm

I suspect your remembering the good parts :shock: I worked constant 2nd shift for a while and loved it... would do that again in a heart-beat but that is far from a 2 week or whatever rotation of times.
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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by harmony » Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:46 pm

Testimonial? I had a very dear brother, single, in his fifties. He worked night shift at a plant most of his career. He had an opportunity to work the day shift, but another worker with less seniority beat him to it. He was frustrated. I encouraged him to think of the parenting presence that the other worker could have in the lives of his school-age children because of his sacrifice. Then the call came in the middle of the night. My brother had fallen at work and had sustained life-threatening injuries. Surgery was attempted but he died on the operating table before noon. The greatest loss of my life. Talk about sucking the life out.

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by HopHunter » Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:03 pm

ER Doctor here.

I work a varying mix of shifts (0800- 1700, 1600-0100, 0000-0900). All shifts have there advantages but I would say the evening shift is the toughest on family time (crawl into bed at 2 am, wife gets up at 5 and that’s our only interaction if I’m on a stretch of evenings). I think it’s only going to get harder when the kids come.

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by Luke Duke » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:55 am

The only way that a rotating shift schedule would have any chance of working for me is if my wife were a stay at home mother. If she had a job outside the house, even a part-time one, it would never work.

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by BradJ » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:34 am

Luke Duke wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:55 am
The only way that a rotating shift schedule would have any chance of working for me is if my wife were a stay at home mother. If she had a job outside the house, even a part-time one, it would never work.
Great point. I know several working families on shift and I truly have no clue how they do it. We are moving to a one income family, the shift would allow us large amounts of time together, but it would also isolate us at times also.

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:31 am

Prior to being in management, I worked 4PM-12Midnight, and also Midnight to 8AM. By far the most difficult was Midnight to 8AM. Especially the weekends. My shift would end at 8AM Friday, and I would try to stay awake so I could have a "normal" weekend before working next at 12 Midnight Sunday night. But I was young, and also received shift differential, 50 cents an hour!

After a bit I had enough seniority to pick which of the two shifts I wanted, still no day shift though.

I thought my shift work was over when I was promoted into management. Surprise, I was promoted to be the night supervisor! :shock: However, fate smiled upon me, a new manager took over, and he didn't believe in his management working other than days! I agreed wholeheartedly with this wise man. :D

My wife became a stay-at-home-mother for 9-10 years when our children started arriving. So she was able to get everybody around to where they were supposed to be. Myself, well, I was aware there were some short people in the house. Shift work means when the rest of the family is sleeping, you are working, and when you are sleeping, the rest of the family is up and about.

One nice thing about off-hour tours, I was able to work on my college degree as the later shifts were mostly for handling equipment when it broke, which was virtually never.

When our oldest was about three years old, I was finished with shift work for good. I missed some things in the early years, but all in all it worked out OK.

I believe I read somewhere about health issues for some on shifts outside normal hours, but I don't think I have suffered any issues.

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by LiterallyIronic » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:37 am

BradJ wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:25 am
I now work 8-5, married with kids, and find the 8-5 life soul sucking.
Can you start earlier and shorten (or drop) the one hour lunch break? Working 7:30 - 3:30 would probably be just the ticket.

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by harmony » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:28 am

Absent management during off-shifts and the difficulty of calling other contracted help during those off-hours helped to create the conditions that led to the hazard that precipitated my brother’s death: That, and the fact that darkness did not allow him to see the hazard. Google "high blood pressure" and "shift workers". Autopsies are required for work-related deaths. Much data is available.

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by Alex Frakt » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:20 pm

BradJ wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:34 am
Luke Duke wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:55 am
The only way that a rotating shift schedule would have any chance of working for me is if my wife were a stay at home mother. If she had a job outside the house, even a part-time one, it would never work.
Great point. I know several working families on shift and I truly have no clue how they do it. We are moving to a one income family, the shift would allow us large amounts of time together, but it would also isolate us at times also.
My wife is a lawyer and often works long hours. I manage her law firm and we've set it up so I can work 20-30 hours per week on a very flexible schedule to take care of our kids. I have to say that being able to do things with them during the day is wonderful. There's lots of opportunities to do fun stuff without worrying about lines or traffic. Of course, I live in a big city so this may not be an issue for you. My natural sleep cycle is also awful for 8 or 9 to 5. I've seen a sleep therapist and learned the tricks to manage it, but it's far from ideal. I'm always somewhat fatigued when I have to consistently get up early.

So I'm going to buck the trend here. As long as you actually use a lot of that flex time to spend with your kids or otherwise helping out - the comment above about shopping at Costco with the senior citizens is spot on - I say go for it. Your wife will be happy in the long run and so will your kids. After all, during the week when working 8-5, how much interaction do you actually have with them? Sure, you may miss some of your kids scheduled events, but regular one on one time with them is a lot more important and rewarding anyway. IMO, the whole, "OMG, you can't make it to the recital. What kind of mother/father are you?" shtick mostly comes from TV and movies where it serves as a easy plot device. In my experience, if you and your wife don't make a big deal of it, the kids certainly won't.

This is all assuming you haven't had nagging or serious sleep or health issues when previously working these shifts.

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by BradJ » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:00 pm

Alex Frakt wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:20 pm
BradJ wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:34 am
Luke Duke wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:55 am
The only way that a rotating shift schedule would have any chance of working for me is if my wife were a stay at home mother. If she had a job outside the house, even a part-time one, it would never work.
Great point. I know several working families on shift and I truly have no clue how they do it. We are moving to a one income family, the shift would allow us large amounts of time together, but it would also isolate us at times also.
My wife is a lawyer and often works long hours. I manage her law firm and we've set it up so I can work 20-30 hours per week on a very flexible schedule to take care of our kids. I have to say that being able to do things with them during the day is wonderful. There's lots of opportunities to do fun stuff without worrying about lines or traffic. Of course, I live in a big city so this may not be an issue for you. My natural sleep cycle is also awful for 8 or 9 to 5. I've seen a sleep therapist and learned the tricks to manage it, but it's far from ideal. I'm always somewhat fatigued when I have to consistently get up early.

So I'm going to buck the trend here. As long as you actually use a lot of that flex time to spend with your kids or otherwise helping out - the comment above about shopping at Costco with the senior citizens is spot on - I say go for it. Your wife will be happy in the long run and so will your kids. After all, during the week when working 8-5, how much interaction do you actually have with them? Sure, you may miss some of your kids scheduled events, but regular one on one time with them is a lot more important and rewarding anyway. IMO, the whole, "OMG, you can't make it to the recital. What kind of mother/father are you?" shtick mostly comes from TV and movies where it serves as a easy plot device. In my experience, if you and your wife don't make a big deal of it, the kids certainly won't.

This is all assuming you haven't had nagging or serious sleep or health issues when previously working these shifts.
I can not agree with you enough on the "how much interaction do you actually have with them" comment. Yes, your family has a schedule and a routine, which is great......but in my personal opinon, quality time in the 8-5 world is nill. This coming from a small city where traffic is light.

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dm200
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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by dm200 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:26 pm

Working, sleeping and being awake with vastly shifting hours by days or weeks, etc. can be harmful to your health (in many ways).

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by fulltilt » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:35 pm

BradJ wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:25 am
I am looking for anyone's testimonial on handling a growing family while working swing shift. I am in the power industry, and the shifts are 12 hours, switch from day to night, holidays and weekends, but you get a generous amount of time off during the schedule. I worked it for 6 years when I was not married or had children. I now work 8-5, married with kids, and find the 8-5 life soul sucking. My wife says I only remember the good, and not the bad, of working swing shift (I tend to agree). I have been daydreaming a lot lately about going back, but still on the fence. Any testimonials or thoughts?
I detect a hint of nostalgia and an attempt to recapture "the good old days". Yes, 8-5 life might be soul sucking, but if you and your spouse are on the same shift, then at least you get to suffer together as a team. If one of you is working shift, then your shared experience will start to become much different and the result will be score-keeping about who is doing more, what is fair, etc which can lead down a dark path.

Shift work might make your life less soul sucking, but it will be at the expense of your spouse and family.

Don't do it.

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dm200
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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by dm200 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:58 pm

fulltilt wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:35 pm
BradJ wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:25 am
I am looking for anyone's testimonial on handling a growing family while working swing shift. I am in the power industry, and the shifts are 12 hours, switch from day to night, holidays and weekends, but you get a generous amount of time off during the schedule. I worked it for 6 years when I was not married or had children. I now work 8-5, married with kids, and find the 8-5 life soul sucking. My wife says I only remember the good, and not the bad, of working swing shift (I tend to agree). I have been daydreaming a lot lately about going back, but still on the fence. Any testimonials or thoughts?
I detect a hint of nostalgia and an attempt to recapture "the good old days". Yes, 8-5 life might be soul sucking, but if you and your spouse are on the same shift, then at least you get to suffer together as a team. If one of you is working shift, then your shared experience will start to become much different and the result will be score-keeping about who is doing more, what is fair, etc which can lead down a dark path.

Shift work might make your life less soul sucking, but it will be at the expense of your spouse and family.

Don't do it.
How many shifts a week would you work?

If you switch to this, can you easily switch back?

Keep in mind that our bodies can change with time -- and what you once did may not be the same now.

Decades ago, in the computer business - when we had to work all night from time to time for "machine time", I could work 15-20 ours solid, go to the bar with coworkers and drink for 2 hours -- and get up and do it again. As I got older (and smarter), I could no longer do it.

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by Epsilon Delta » Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:33 pm

dm200 wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:58 pm
Decades ago, in the computer business - when we had to work all night from time to time for "machine time", I could work 15-20 ours solid, go to the bar with coworkers and drink for 2 hours -- and get up and do it again. As I got older (and smarter), I could no longer do it.
That explains some of the code I've seen. :twisted:

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by dm200 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:33 am

Epsilon Delta wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:33 pm
dm200 wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:58 pm
Decades ago, in the computer business - when we had to work all night from time to time for "machine time", I could work 15-20 ours solid, go to the bar with coworkers and drink for 2 hours -- and get up and do it again. As I got older (and smarter), I could no longer do it.
That explains some of the code I've seen. :twisted:
The "good old days" ...

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by jabberwockOG » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:38 am

My limited experience with shift style hours on some extreme projects decades ago was that breaking/disregarding natural circadian rhythms, at least for me, felt very bad for my physical and mental health.

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by goblue59 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:10 am

There is a good amount of medical literature on the negative health effects of shiftwork - increases in diabetes, heart disease, even lung cancer. Not to mention the biggest violation in your situation - "happy wife - happy life" :)

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by BradJ » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:06 am

goblue59 wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:10 am
There is a good amount of medical literature on the negative health effects of shiftwork - increases in diabetes, heart disease, even lung cancer. Not to mention the biggest violation in your situation - "happy wife - happy life" :)
Happy Wife Happy Life......all other advice is rendered void after that comment.....it's all I need to say No to going back!

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by BC_Doc » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:15 am

Another ER doc here.
I love my big chunks of time off.
I hate the impact of the variable shifts on my circadian rhythm— much of my life, I walk around feeling like I have jet lag.
I exercise regularly (running plus other sports), keep to a vegetarian diet, play/travel frequently to try to limit some of the biological and mental/mood impact of the shift work.
At this point, I couldn’t work a job with bankers’ hours (M-F, 9-5).
I’m in my early 50s. The physiological impact of shift work is one of the reasons I will likely early retire.
Much of my time off is spent undoing/recovering from the impact of my shifts.

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by BradJ » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:58 pm

BC_Doc wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:15 am
Another ER doc here.
I love my big chunks of time off.
I hate the impact of the variable shifts on my circadian rhythm— much of my life, I walk around feeling like I have jet lag.
I exercise regularly (running plus other sports), keep to a vegetarian diet, play/travel frequently to try to limit some of the biological and mental/mood impact of the shift work.
At this point, I couldn’t work a job with bankers’ hours (M-F, 9-5).
I’m in my early 50s. The physiological impact of shift work is one of the reasons I will likely early retire.
Much of my time off is spent undoing/recovering from the impact of my shifts.
I want to make a point on health and shift. Yes, it is bad but I had more time to lift weights and run while on shift. It's sort of a sink or swim mentality, or a get fat or stay slim in this case.

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by czeckers » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:23 pm

With school age children, a fixed night shift could work out as well. You sleep while kids are at school and are home in the morning before they go to school and can have dinner with the family before going to work.

Probably not a good idea with younger children unless you can find some isolated space to sleep where you won't be disturbed.
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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by BradJ » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:26 pm

OP here,

The swing shift in my industry is quite unique, it’s called the Du Pont schedule and swings 12 hour day and nights. I would get a full week off every 3 weeks, and could take an extra 2 weeks on top of that if I had time built up. Would this sweeten the pot for anyone, or would you still not touch swing shift with a 10 foot pole?

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by Sasquatch » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:45 pm

I’ve worked some wacky shifts over the 30ish years with the same employer. 9-11 hr shifts (management)starting 2am,4,5,6,8,9,11am,1pm. Yup, wacky. My favorite was the 9am. Worked best with my sleep schedule and I could be home in time to spend a couple of hours with my family.

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by ralph124cf » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:23 am

In my 44 year working life, I very seldom, and only at random times, worked 9 to 5. And when I did, the starting times could as well be PM as AM.

A 5 to 9 shift was actually more common (yes, 16 hours). But a 5 to 9 of 4 hours was also possible. And might be followed by a 7 to 7 the same day.

My most frequent schedule for the five years prior to retirement had me working five 19 hour shifts and five 6 hour shifts per month.

Now that am retired, I find that my body is very appreciative of a regular schedule.

Ralph

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Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

Post by motorcyclesarecool » Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:24 pm

I worked 12 hour nights only shifts, 3 on 4 off; 4 on 3 off. Not the DuPont schedule but I loved having so many consecutive days off.

I was single at the time. I found that as a rule, the married people working that shift remained married when they both worked the same shift. People whose lives are like ships passing in the night are going to spend lots of effort fighting entropy. Lots of divorces. I resolved to find work on days prior to getting married.

When I went back to a strictly diurnal schedule, after about a month I realized that a cognitive fog had lifted. I know I can go back if absolutely necessary, however, I see it as a last resort.

How has it worked out when you went against your spouse’s advice in the past?
Understand that choosing an HDHP is very much a "red pill" approach. Most would rather pay higher premiums for a $20 copay per visit. They will think you weird for choosing an HSA.

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