Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Shifting Gears

One of the things that I did not really consider when I came to work at the shipyard is how much shift work there would be. Truth is, I was kind of looking forward to working mostly days, but I have probably spent the majority of my time on swings. The last few weeks, I have been working the graveyard shift.

Although I had been looking forward to working days, I found that shift work really hasn't been that bad. There are several factors that I had not considered that make shift work easier as a civilian than as a sailor.

Probably the biggest thing is that the shifts are truly 8 hour shifts for me. I don't have to come in early for a brief and stay late to clean or to talk to the day shift managers about the shift. Granted, this is only true because I am still a trainee. The qualified guys do have to come in a little early to do a pre-shift tour and stay a little late to conduct a proper turnover, but an important difference is that as a civilian, you get paid to work extra hours. Nice. Overtime helps a lot because you get to pick up a little extra pay and management has an incentive to keep you within your normal 8 hour day.

As a nub, I have only had to work overtime a few times, and while I certainly don't want to work weeks and weeks on end without a day off, a few hours of overtime here and there are nice. It is certainly less hours than I would put in while I was sealed in a submarine far underwater for weeks and weeks on end, and I get paid extra for it!

Another thing is shift differential. I get paid a little extra for each hour that I put in between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. This isn't a huge amount of money, but it gives me a little extra money in my pocket every few weeks.

All in all, shift work is a lot better as a civilian than as a sailor. Working graveyard shift while the weather is gloomy here in the Pacific Northwest isn't so bad either, since the nights have been only a little darker than the days for the last few weeks. Might not be so great in the summer.

I will be shifting gears again after I finish work in the morning and coming back on days. Just in time for Christmas.

I sincerely hope that everyone out there has a Merry Christmas and that the coming New Year is fantastic for all of you!!

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