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  1. #1

    Working alternating shifts

    I saw lynnifer mention this in another thread and wanted to follow up. Do those that work all 3 shifts, alternating, suffer health problems?

    I think yes. My husband did this for years, and he's paying. Turned diabetic and couldn't control the blood sugar while on shiftwork. Very little research brought up a lot of data. The diabetes foundations say that circadian rhythm is a big factor in sugar metabolism.

    He eventually had to leave a good job he'd had for over 25 years.

    Lynnifer, did you heal faster when you were off work?

  2. #2

    Working shifts ...

    When I got hired at NASA it was written into my job description to work shifts. That was to give you experience how research differs on each shift. I was hired as a engineering technician console operator where I recreated atmospheric conditions for jet engine research.

    The shifts were 8-4, 4-midnight, midnight to 8. Wait? That's 8 hours only? Where's the lunch break? Well also written into the job description was paid lunch. You got it. Paid to eat lunch, breakfast or dinner.

    For an employee with a disability I found it difficult to be at work exactly at 8:00 a.m. Some mornings were slow, some mornings were fast. Some mornings I didn't know how I made to work! The 8-4 shift is where most of the research took place but any test that needed a lot of electricity to run was tested during the midnight hours when electricity was less expensive to use and NASA could use more of it to run the research.

    I found the 4-midnight shift better for the simple fact you were able to go to appointments or shopping during normal business hours. You also didn't have to rush to get into work. I was already shower and dressed for the day.

    The midnight shift to 8:00 a.m. I found to be the best shift for some unknown reason? When I got home I was able to sleep very well.

    Shift rotation shifted every six to eights weeks. Some co-workers preferred the 8-4 shift for family reasons. We all worked together swapping shifts if someone needed a certain shift to work.

    Health wise no problems. Actually I was in better health if any because I had the time open during the morning hours to see a doctor if needed. Traffic patterns were always different.

    Today the US Department of Labor Office of Disability Policy encourages customized employment to meet the needs of employees with disabilities. Given that more people with disabilities finding going back to work has its benefits.

    I exercised the option to go on a detail, another job assignment, which I found worked better with my lifestyle. I was immediately transferred into that branch. Today I have earned the option of telework. Giving me the opportuntity to work at home when my work load is heavy. I also have a flexible work schedule where I don't have to be in at an exact time so driving into work I can take my time. Once my first 40 hours are complete I am done with my work week.

    The times have changed for people with disabilities to return back to work. Believe me there's millions of dollars out there that are not spent each year to go back to college and earn a degree to get back into the working world. Plus if you need job modifications at your work site there is also millions of dollars out there to pay for these modifications.

    Today we are the new pool of employees who make up the face of employment.


    titanium4motion

  3. #3
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    There's no doubt that it has a detrimental effect, but I'll betcha my thyroid has more of an effect (probably because of the shift work - and 'round and 'round we go!)

    The money and benefits are too great and there's too many things I still want to do that require a good income before I'm done.

    I do have an out if need be, that is disability through work at 75% of what I earn now, plus the Canada Pension Plan as a disabled person who can no longer work. I'm not ready to be there yet, physically, mentally or emotionally. I'll work until the bitter end.

    My employer is great and has offered an alternative of straight shifts with a doctor's note - either temporarily or permanently - should I require it. I'm stubborn and want to be 'one of the rest'.

    ETA: I'm paid for my lunch break as well - 1.5hrs in ten as I'm not physically able to leave the dispatch centre until that break at all once. I've mentioned about having steady shifts - all of us - before to management but the people with seniority don't like that idea. We're split down the middle on that idea so it's status quo until then.
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  4. #4
    There are tons of studies showing that those who rotate shifts (vs. working full time nights or evenings) have more depression, physical illness, and shorter life expectancy. Much of this research has been done with nurses (in addition to factory workers). You might want to look at some of the nursing administration literature for these studies.

    At the very least a more humane way of rotating should be allowed. Our staff have to rotate to nights periodically, but rarely more than a week at a time, never on-call, and they generally can pick which week they want from those we need covered. This helps some.

    (KLD)

  5. #5
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
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    Once in a great while I'll pull a swing shift if I'm greedy and the opportunity is there, but man, those are brutal. I'd hate to see what regularly rotating shifts would be like. Somehow I'm conditioned to day=work, night=sleep.

  6. #6
    On the ambulance our shifts were 24 on 48 off. On a bad night the 24 sucked. NO sleep at all. But then I had the entire next day to sleep (depending on kids) I miss that so much. 2 whole days off. Only worked 10 days a month. Ocassionally we'd get a really good night and get paid to sleep. EMS earn money sleeping.

    I don't think I could handle the rotating shifts as well now as then. My body is always tired. I can't decide if it is still recovering or if it is baclofen or what. But I can't do half of what I used to and it sucks.
    If you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.


    Sometimes it is easier to widen doors than it is to open minds.

  7. #7
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    The smartest person I went to Business School with was a Manager in a Nuclear Power Plant and he and his crew worked rotating shifts. They changed shifts each and every week. 7 - 3, 3 - 11 and 11 - 7. That seemed crazy especially in a Nuclear Power Plant. He did not seem to mind it but completely changing your schedule from one week to the next all the time must be difficult.

  8. #8
    I worked shift work for about three years up until the day I was injured. In fact, I was going home to get ready for the midnight shift when I was confronted by my attacker.

    Its one thing to work the same shift all the time. I was a newbie dispatcher at KU so I got the sucky hours. There was one time they scheduled a meeting right in the middle of my sleeping time. It was find for everyone else...you could say that was one of the last straws. I quit and found another job which I knew I could get specific hours...the evening shift.

    The night shift definitely wore on me. I got sicker, more easily. I came down with shingles once...got a nice little vacation out of that one at least. But what really did me in was after a while I could not get more than just four hours of sleep a day. I worked a ten hour shift and a round trip commute of almost 2 hours...it wasn't worth it to continue doing that to myself.

    I worked midnight to 10am at KU as a dispatcher...ssometimes 10p-8 or 4am-2pm or whenever they felt like making me come in. That is truly a cruel shift. Mainly because you have these fresh faced well rested people come in at 8am and all you want to do is go home and sleep...but you have to put up with themfor two more hours.

    Even if I wanted to go back to shift work, right now it wouldn't be possible to do that with my bladder issues..i.e., needing to lay down to cath. I know two of my former employers would be willing to hire me back...but I left dispatching for a reason. Anyway, thats a whole other topic.

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