Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Considering a morning shift?

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not remotely a morning person. I'm not cheerful in the morning, not talkative, and truly am not in my body till about noon on a good day.

But as local stations expand their morning shows (many to the point of a ridiculous length) this is creating more opportunities on the vampire shift.

For those of you who are those cheery morning people, you need a keep a few things in mind before accepting one of these jobs. There's a big difference between getting up at seven in the morning and at two in the middle of the night.

I've turned down a few morning jobs in my day, but at one point I was stuck filling in for someone for about two months. It just about killed me. The worst problem, for me, wasn't getting up, it was getting to sleep. You lie there at seven or eight in the evening and tell yourself, "Okay, I need to fall asleep" and you just can't. You end up with a condition known as "sleep debt" in which you have to "catch up on your sleep" at a later date. In my case, I was so tired I would stumble horribly on air and my writing wasn't up to my usual standards.

The other problem is food. You get up at two, and by three you're hungry. Then you might be done with your newscast at seven, and it's time for breakfast. Again. Then a nap? Or do you force yourself to stay up so you'll be tired enough to go to sleep? Whatever the choice, for some reason you are hungry all the time and the pounds pile on unless you're careful.

Social life? Fuhgeddaboudit. Some people with kids like this shift, but if you're young and single it will make you... old and single. "Hi, wanna go to dinner? Pick you up at four." About the only advantage here is that you can eat with the seniors and get the early bird specials.

Now I know some people do very well with the vampire shift, but for those who have never experienced it you need to think long and hard about what it will do to you. And studies have shown that over the years this kind of unnatural shift will play havoc with your health.

Over the years I'd worked with many people who started with a great attitude on the morning shift only to find they hated it and for the remainder of their contract would bug management about getting off mornings.

If you're seriously thinking about it, fill in for someone for awhile and see what really goes into it before making any decision.


Pedeaux said...

I'm working the overnight assignment editor shift in New Orleans. I agree with everything here, you have no social life, but there are advantages that weren't mentioned here. While business is happening in the real world, you're off. If you need an oil change, or your hair cut you can schedule it in the morning as soon as you get off of work.
Also you're weekend is kind of three days long if you don't sleep through it. Friday at 8am you're off for the weekend, so you have all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday till you have to go to sleep (4pmish).

Miss Attitude said...

Been there done that. And yes it can make you a miserable person. But it's also a great shift to get ahead in your career. If it's where the station needs the help and you want to show you're a team player, go for it! Also, if you're new to the business it's often the starter position (especially for producers). But if you own it and get good ratings, you'll get promoted eventually. It's also a great shift to show your leadership skills since there usually aren't managers around that time of the morning.