N is for Night Shift.


Even before the 24/7 world we live in now, there was the night shift.

It used to be the domain of the emergency services, lorry drivers, and a few others.

Now it is much more widespread, with at least 12% of the workforce regularly working nights.

That is about three and a half million out of a total of thirty two million employed people, Unemployed or otherwise economically inactive accounts for a further ten and a bit million.

So at any given time, some 3% of the population are trying to sleep during the day.

When the other 97% are not.

This is a personal issue for the other 3,499,999 people, who like me, find that night shifts account for about a 1/3rd of my paid hours.

As a regular night worker, I am able to share the benefits, of a much shorter life expectancy, feelings of total exhaustion on a regular basis, and a totally non existent sleep pattern.

Do you really need your Supermarket open all hours?

As part of the Emergency Services, and thus publically funded, there is an EXPECTATION that the work will be done, the crises will be averted, and the majority of the other sixty odd million people will be able to carry on with their lives, blissfully unaware.

I stress it is my choice to be on that front line. Commitment, duty, and vocation are not words widely used, out of this industry.

Speaking of stress, those who manage avoid working night shifts will never experience the thrill of being expected to make critical, and potentially life changing / ending  decisions, when totally exhausted.

It’s a lot more common than you’d think.

But you only get to hear about it when we get it wrong.

This is the fun bit, the other 10,000 correct decisions are irrelevant. In the eyes of management, and often the media, it’s the mistake that defines you. We quite rightly expect value for money for services we pay for. Emergency services workers are not miracle workers, but they do perform unseen miracles everyday.  

You would miss them more than you could possibly imagine.

Really short today, last couple of Night shifts have been insanely busy. If I told you what I’ve been doing you wouldn’t believe it, and you’d probably have trouble sleeping.



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