For nearly all of the period between November 1985 and March 2006, I held second or third shift jobs. There were certain advantages: limiting the expense of bar hopping and other (ahem) entertainment. Another was that I could arrange any appointments, do any needed shopping or play golf! during the day hours, completely missing the day crowd after-work rush. I also appreciated not sitting in traffic heading to or leaving from work.
One former coworker joked that we were all vampires and had to race home after a late night to avoid getting dissolved by the sunlight hitting our skin.
I was the quintessential night owl; staying up very late and sleeping late in the morning. I loved it.
There were drawbacks…like missing most Monday Night Football games, missing a whole generation of prime-time shows, and missing beautiful summer and fall sunsets.
Now, I work a job that requires me to arrive at 6am. So I still get to avoid the morning traffic.
I’ve found there are simple pleasures in a daytime shift that are far better than the constant working nights.
First, while I was on nights I noticed that regular workplace employees in general look on second-shift workers as second class: less skilled, more mistake-prone, and generally lazy. That isn’t necessarily true, but often, the perception is the reality to some people.
When I switched to days at some of these jobs, it seemed that I suddenly became smarter, harder working, and more dependable, even though I hadn’t changed inwardly or outwardly not one iota.
So being on days in my current job has been a boon to me among my coworkers.
Second, I can now see what I’ve been missing in televised broadcast media. Unfortunately, except for the NFL, most broadcast media seems to have collapsed on itself in mediocrity and worse. So now my time is devoted to reading, writing and running a small home business (the latter unthinkable during my time on nights.)
Third, I appreciate the silence. When I worked nights, sometimes my sleeping hours were ruined by construction workers, stomping feet pounding my apartment’s ceiling and blasting stereos. Now that I work days, my sleeping hours peace and serenity are enforced by city noise ordinances.
Best of all with the silence, I can fully take in the ambiance of the morning. Cool air lightly scented with fresh blooming lilacs, gently swaying the leaf-growing branches of the trees. The smell of fresh coffee brewing and breakfast sandwiches at the corner convenience stoe a block from my apartment. The nearly-clear freeways as I drive in, which I can now enjoy more because I am energized to get to work, not burned out at the end of another trying shift.
Then there’s fourth, which may be the last in this list, but first in my pleasures of working days. I can spend more time with my wife!
When I was working nights, there were days, even a whole week when I didn’t see her. I may as well have simply had a roommate during that time, we saw each other so rarely. Now I get to see her every evening when I return home, sharing the day’s events with each other in sweet converse. The dearness of having her next to me while I sleep.
The lack of sleeping at the same time in the same bed adversely affected Sweetheart also…there were many nights that she had trouble getting to sleep because I was not there with her, or at least home. Now she gets more rest, and is more energized to face the new day now that I’m home at night.
I can say that for all the years I worked nights, I did love my life as a night owl.
I’ve found that days as an early bird are even better.