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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

in which i tell you a secret

...and discuss how the decision I just made is probably gonna fuck up my health. C'est la vie!

Now, this is only a big secret in that I'm not supposed to tell anyone at work about it yet, but I figure the chances of anyone I work with finding this blog are about .3483 in one million.  I could be wrong about that. But it's my defense.

There's a new position being created in my department in the hospital and it was offered to me.  It's an overnight position, 40 hours, 6 pm-4:30 am, Monday through Thursday.  There are many reasons this appealed to me and made me express interest in the job and accept it when it was offered.  Shall we enumerate them? Oh, why not.

1.) Money! The shift differential amounts to an almost $7000/year raise. That's a lot--A LOT--of money for just changing your hours.

2.) I am not not NOT a morning person.  The hours of the job as it stands now, with the horrid commute, means I get up between 4:30-5 am four days a week and that is so far from what my body likes, it's not even funny.  It's been ten months since I started at this hospital and it's just now that I don't feel completely like death getting up at 4:30.  Plus, when I was recovering from surgery, then semi-unemployed/self-employed last year, and not on anyone else's schedule, I pretty much worked out that left to its own devices, my body would go to sleep around 1:30-2 am and wake around 8:30. I think adjusting to going to sleep at 8 in the morning is going to be a lot easier than adjusting to waking up at 4:30. I might be wrong. We'll see!

3.) The work itself.  My department has two divisions, which without going into too much boring detail basically are an inpatient unit and an outpatient unit. When I was first hired per diem, I was mostly in the inpatient, but as they offered me more hours and, eventually, a full time job, more and more of my work has been on the outpatient side. Which is fine, but it's also what I did for 25+ years at my old hospital job and, while I'm good at it, it's also very routine for me. The stuff they do on the inpatient unit, especially what the job involves overnight, is completely different, a new challenge, and just very interesting to me.

4.) The politics, etc.  It's a big department.  The number of people one has to deal with on day shift is exhausting to me as a mega introvert. And there's so much draaaaaaammmmmmaaaaaa.  Almost all the people I work with are perfectly nice individually, but get them together and there's always someone who's convinced they're working harder than everyone else or that they're getting the crap assignments or whatever. Or someone who takes offense to something someone else said. Or or or. It gets a little high school.  Plus--back to the mega introvert again--when we're not actually with a patient and we're at our computers doing work there, we're all in a big room and these people never shut the fuck up.  Ever. As a matter of fact, the other day two of us were in there (everyone else was with a patient at the moment) and we were both working away quietly when our supervisor comes in and asks why we're not talking and says it's too quiet. Kill me now.  Overnights right now is just one person (who are thus used to working by themselves quietly) and my new position will be to help them out during their busiest hours.  The woman who works Mon-Wed in particular is an absolutely delightful person and I know we will be able to work very well together collaberatively.

5.) Did I mention it's Monday-Thursday? Andrea will actually not be working any weekend days (aside from occasional coverage) for the first time in ten years. There are so many yoga classes and workshops that happen on Friday night or Saturday afternoon that I haven't been able to go to with my schedule as it is, so many things with friends on Saturday that I can't participate in...  Looking forward to being more in tune with other people's weekends!, mentioning that I'll be able to go to my favorite teacher's Friday yoga class again, plus attend some of her workshops, brings me to the on-topic part of this post. Not that you people aren't fascinated by the minutiae of my friggin' life, I'm sure. Ahem.  Anyway, one of my first thought was how all this was going to play into my fitness life. As it were.  One bad thing about the hours is that, if I take public transport, I can't actually get home at 4:30 am. However, there *is* a Y within convenient walking distance of the hospital that opens at 5 am. My thought is that it will work out perfectly for me to end my shift at 4:30, change at the hospital, grab a snack/breakfast , and then hit up that Y when they open. I'd be able to get my workout in and still be home before 7:30 and ready to collapse into bed by 8.

I was wondering, though, if there was any information on the web about how working overnights effects muscle growth or fitness, so I tried to do a little research last night. I couldn't find anything about that with a cursory search, but I did find out a whole lot of scary shit about how working overnights is gonna give me a heart attack or cancer.  The cancer thing especially worries me because apparently, melatonin is a natural cancer preventative, and people who sleep during the day and are in artificial lighting at night just do not produce the normal amount of melatonin in their bodies. And supplementing with melatonin is not the same as the stuff your body produces on its own.

It's kinda scary. But not scary enough for me to pass up what feels like a really positive career opportunity.

This all happens in September, kids.  If anyone has any suggestions for adapting to night shifts, any links to info on how, if at all, working overnights effects your fitness, or articles debunking that my lack of melatonin production is gonna kill me, I'm all ears.



  1. Just get your sunshine before you go to work, instead of after, and on your long weekend, and you'll be fine. The going to the Y as soon as it opens thing sounds terrific. The years when I was working next door to a Y were the best I've had as far as strength training goes: I just left one building and walked into the next one and didn't go near my car until I was through. It all sounds like a major improvement and the extra money is just the whipped cream on top.
    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  2. I suspect that you will be going into it armed with so much more awareness of the circadian issues than most people, that you can counteract any negatives. (I also wonder if night shift correlates with shittier vending machine eating for some people, or working 2 jobs, or other factors that could make the picture seem gloomier re: cancer risk).

    I like Mary Anne's suggestion about getting sun earlier though might be tricky in winter when 4-6pm ain't all that sunny. But in summer it would be sort of like someone on day shift who gets out first thing in the morning but spends all day indoors--that's pretty normal right?

    Sounds like a WONDERFUL opportunity, and having less stress and annoyance has gotta be a health benefit that outweighs the other health stuff.

  3. Thanks for the reassurance/encouragement, guys. I am still pretty stoked about the prospects.

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