As I write this post, somewhere in the world right now it’s the middle of the night and even though most are sound asleep and tucked into bed, there will be someone, somewhere – working.
In fact there are literally millions of people on the planet who work in some kind of job involving shift work.
There are also many who work in roles that are not technically classified as shift work, but due to the extra hours placed on employees to get a job done, many employers expect their employees to stay back and work after hours – many of whom are unpaid.
The sad reality is we are becoming a society that never stops.
24/7 is becoming the new 9 to 5.
So if you’re new to shift work or about to begin a shift working job, have you thought deeply about what you’re about to embark on? That is, whether you’re really cut out for working irregular hours.
Because shift work is hard, and it’s certainly not for everyone.
I remember my first shift working job interview (at the tender age of 21) was for a Passenger Service Agent position working at the international airport. The 3 person panel interviewers did not mention anything to me about how working irregular hours was going to impact on my personal health and well-being.
And it does. Enormously.
Of course it’s not all doom and gloom. It’s about being prepared.
Here’s a few ideas to help get you started.
1. Be very organised. Plan your meals in advance and buy your groceries accordingly. So many shift workers experience ill health and weight gain soon after starting shift work because they feel too tired to eat properly. Always remember that the fastest and most convenient way to acquire food is not usually the healthiest.
2. Keep your friends and family informed. Let them know when you’re working irregular hours because unexpected visitors and phone calls don’t help an already disrupted sleeping regime.
3. Keep your body moving. In many cases, exercise is the first thing to be given the flick when starting a new shift working job as your energy levels tend to flounder. The key thing to remember is that exercise will provide you with more energy, whereas no exercise will only escalate your fatigue.
So if you’re new to shift work and unsure whether it’s going to be right for you, give yourself a fighting chance by taking extra good care of your health. Make it your number one priority so that your transition from non-shift worker to shift worker is a much more enjoyable and easier one.