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4 Things You Should Know About Shift Work

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4 Things You Should Know About Shift Work

With summer nearly at a close, many 20-something’s will find themselves either returning to class or will be watching their post-graduation festivities come to an end. In either case, a large portion of them will find themselves starting or searching for employment. With the unprecedentedly cluttered job market, many will find themselves accepting employment as shift-workers.

For full-time employees, these jobs, typically span eight hour periods, five days a week. Though some are lucky enough to land standard working hours (9 a.m.-5 p.m.), some others will be forced to compromise for much less convenient blocks of time. For those who must weather the storm of shift work, here are 4 things that may help you to mentally prepare for the life adjustment.

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1. Your sleep cycle will be erratic.

Unfortunately, with the way that many of these shift jobs are set-up, there’s never any actual guarantee that your schedule will remain the same. Sure, there are ways to attempt to enforce a set schedule, however in the interest of making as much capital as possible – you’d be doing yourself a disservice by limiting your availability. In these types of jobs, many employers are looking for people who can work whenever needed. Open availability ensures that you will, for the most part, receive the maximum amount of hours each week. Because these jobs are primarily “paid by the hour,” open availability will be the most beneficial for your check.

Though you can maximize your profit by being the aforementioned, ideal candidate, this also means that your day-to-day schedule could change weekly. Some weeks will be a mixed bag while others may be more consistent. The point to remember here is that there is no guarantee of a set structure. Because of this, your free-time and your sleep period will be contingent on the requirements of the job, and will necessitate constant adjustments.

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2. Your social life will be directly affected.

The free-wheeling or otherwise spontaneous nature of your “hangouts” will be limited. Assuming that you hold a full-time position in a shift job, your social life may dramatically change. The truth of the matter is that nobody wants to work the weekends. If you’re starting at the bottom of the shift-worker totem-pole, the chances are that you will be stuck working a solid eight-hour shift on most Fridays and Saturdays.

Sure, it’s possible to avoid this by mandating those days off, but to reiterate, this can affect how much you make each week, and in more drastic cases it can prevent you from being hired at all. Accepting the terms that will most benefit your bank account means your social life will be strictly confined to your days off, or before and after the times that you are scheduled to work.

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3. It can be depressing.

If you were one of those fortunate enough to skate by on minimal income, being suddenly thrust into the real world where finances are now your own concern, can be a bit of a shock. Conforming to the sporadic work life of an hourly job can be a downer. However, it is imperative to maintain the mindset that you are working toward self-reliance. Rather than fall into the pit of depression and self-pity, build a weekly plan for yourself; one that works within the parameters of your work and life schedule.

By governing your week a bit more sternly, you’ll be able to make time each day for the things that truly matter to you. Not only is this important for your mental health, but it will stave off any disheartening emotions, as well as keep you productive, both in and out of the workplace. Remember, it’s important to make time for yourself, as well as your responsibilities.

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4. But, it’s a step in the right direction.

As long as you keep these key points in mind, surviving the disorderly experience of shift work will become easier to cope with. After some assimilation to the nature of this type of workplace, you’ll seamlessly regulate and learn to live a happy and fulfilling life alongside it.

Whether you plan on moving up in the company, or if this is simply a means to survive, rest easy in the fact that it’s a step in the right direction. In many places, stable employment is hard to come by, and a decent salary can be more difficult to find. Dream job or not, you’re a productive member of society, and that is nothing, if not an amazing thing. Stay positive and keep moving forward.

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Antwan Crump

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