The ON/OFF switch of shift work


There’s a good and bad side to shift work. The supposed (unspoken, but very well known) ON/OFF switch.

I’ve been a shift worker for most of my adult life. My first round of college (yes I said first round) I worked shifts. I was a steady PM shift worker. Ahh, the good ole’ days. As a college student it was the ideal shift. Classes all day, work from 3-11p and then ‘party-time’.

My post-collegiate pre-nurse life involved some weird combination of shifts. Although at one point I think I was working 6 days a week. (The life of an Athletic Trainer was not ‘ideal’ to say the least)

Then came my life as a nurse. Shift work and more shift work. In fact I only DIDN’T  work shifts as a nurse for a short 5 months when I worked in an office (which was dreadful I might add).

The beauty of working shift work is that most of the time you get this parallax-view of having more time off. While you may work less days in the week, you have a tendency to work odd days. And most of us shift workers like to string our shifts together to get a longer chunk of time ‘off’ and away from work.

The side-effect of stringing shifts together is having the life sucked out of you. After that last shift, you rejoice in your time off. But if you’re like me, that first day off is nothing but a recovery day. I spend most of that first day sleeping and sharpening my ‘couch potato’ skills. I literally do nothing. It’s a chore just to breathe… LOL.

The dreaded ON/OFF switch.

I just finished up a 7-day stretch of shifts.

Today the switch was in the OFF position.

I have intentions of turning the switch ON tomorrow, but until then, it’s time for more sleep.

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