I've spent the last year working overnights. 11pm-7am. It was a test run, essentially: trying to find a way to spend a bit more time at home and with MrsZ. Previously, I had been working evenings (3p-11p) and almost never saw my wife.
It's been a long year. Sleep became a precious commodity, snatched in fits and bursts when the opportunity arouse. Instead of my preferred 7-9 hours daily, I've been getting about 6 on a good day. Evening social events were again out, unless it was something absolutely critical or on one of my nights off.
I've gained fifteen or so pounds, my blood pressure has gone up, and my stress level has gone through the roof.
I walked out the door at 7:04 this morning and closed that chapter on my career. Beginning next week, I'll be on day shift. I finally came up with the seniority to get there. (Six years in March, although I could be bumped back to evenings in the next shift bid.) MrsZ and I get to commute together at least three days each week. I can be active in my fire department in the evenings. I get to sleep at night. I can do social activities; go out for a beer, enjoy a poker game, invite the neighbors for a BBQ, all that crazy stuff. I'm looking forward to it.
That said... there is a small piece of me that will miss the solitude and freedom of nights. With no upper management and no visitors floating around, it was usually just those of us working with an occasional visit from a deputy bringing coffee. The workload was generally quite tolerable - occasionally even slow - and the calls tended to the dramatic.
On top of that, the group I worked with were some of the best people I've worked with. Certainly there were personality differences, and arguments, but when things had to get done, we did them. We made a pretty good team, playing on each other's strengths and picking up the slack when needed. I'm going to miss working with most of them.
... but not enough to give up my sleep. :-)
2 weeks ago