Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Steaming Pile of Shift

As anyone who has ever worked during hours other than those considered daytime can tell you, shift work sucks. Sure, you can take advantage of being off during the day and get a lot of errands done, but you feel ostracized. Anytime your friends or family are planning something, they come up with a good date and then look at you with a pathetic mix of sympathy and annoyance as they say, “Oh, but you work nights. When is a good time for you?” You are suddenly shouldered with the responsibility of somehow making everybody happy while trying to fit things into your schedule which is about as impossible as pleasing a room full of people by choosing the correct pizza toppings.

When you have children, shift work sucks even harder. Often, you rarely get to see them. This may actually be a bonus for some of you. If this is the case, it may be time for you to stop reading this blog. Also, please allow me to remind you of the words of Harry Chapin in his prophetic hit, Cat’s in the Cradle or, if you prefer, the newer version by Ugly Kid Joe (which is another indicator that it may be time for you to stop reading this blog). Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

If you work evenings, you may see them for a few minutes after school and if you work midnights you might sleep while they are in school, but the little sleep you’re getting is not the same during the day. You end up a shadow of the parent they know. You either wander around in a half-sleep state responding, “Uuuhhh,” to every question (warning: older kids may use to their advantage) or you are extremely crabby and shout at them for having torn open the Cheerios bag in an unsatisfactory manner. And depending on your kids’ ages, you are either missing activities and sports or wishing they would just go play independently instead of feeling the need to use your prone position on the bed like a bouncy house.

The reason I write about this is because my job involves the possibility of shift work. For the last several years, I have avoided it and lived my life in the sunlight like a normal human being. Recently the possibility of working nights has reared its ugly head and taken a chunk of flesh from my backside. And it blows.

My frustration leaves me wanting to type words that I try to avoid writing here. Sure, I drop the occasional crude remark and very often resort to toilet humor, but I haven’t gotten too vulgar for the most part. So, in an effort to allow you, my loyal reader to either express your own frustration regarding shift work or to express my frustration for me, I have created the following Mad Lib style fill-in-the-blank document for your enjoyment:

Working the (evening/midnight) shift sucks donkey-(body part of a donkey). It makes you feel as if you never get to see your (kids/spouse/significant other/favorite television show). You also feel like you never get enough (sleep/food/booze) for your body to function properly. Shift work should receive a big punch in the (sensitive metaphorical body part, preferably connected to the genitalia). Like people really need to work such (vulgar adjective) hours. The (customers/patients/zoo animals) would be fine overnight without anyone having to wipe their (body part that needs wiping from time to time) for them. If I ever have to do shift work again, I’m going to tell them to go (vulgar verb) themselves and then cut off their (important but not vital body part, preferably connected to the genitalia).

Thank you for your assistance in this matter. I feel better already. Having spent my day writing this blog, I’m going to go get a few errands done before hitting the 24-hour Wal-Mart tonight, unless those lazy jerks have decided to close early.

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