The traditional 9 to 5 work shift has critics, but most people still choose to work the 1st shift. They often choose it because it is what everyone around them does. Although the 1st shift obviously has a few benefits.
For example, it is the best shift for people who love to socialize as they work. The first shift is also relatively safe when compared to the 2nd shift or the 3rd.
But not everyone likes the monotony of the first shift, and fortunately, there’s a way out of this monotony. One can choose to do shift work. Shift work is when you work the 2nd or 3rd shift. And guess what? A whopping 25 million people are doing shift work in the United States.
Earlier, one could only find blue-collar jobs in the late shift. But today, the shift working scenario has changed across the globe.
Now you can also find computer programmers and financial consultants working the late shifts.
So have you ever thought about changing your job shifts? Or switching your career to work a particular shift that you prefer over anything else?
It’s definitely a matter of cracking that interview you’ve been eyeing, but first, let’s dive deep into understanding these different shifts and their pros and cons. But first, let’s define right away what is the first shift.
What is The 1st Shift?
The first shift is also known as the “day shift” and normally goes from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. or 9 a.m. to 6 p.m during usual business hours. Generally, it starts in the morning and ends in the afternoon. And in general, the first shift has one hour for lunch.
That’s by far the most preferred shift due to the balance between work time and free time. It usually matches with most USA family's schedule, and it’s considered a regular schedule.
If you have to pick any cons regarding the first shift, it’s time to pay the regular compensation. No extras or overtime is included in the regular hours of a first shift.
What Are the 2nd and 3rd Shifts?
Before we move on to the pros and cons of shift work, let’s first understand them.
As we discussed above, the first shift is the traditional 9 to 5. And as you might know, its monotony has been the subject of several movies. But most people across the globe still work the standard 9 to 5.
Then comes the 2nd shift or the evening shift. As the name suggests, it is the second shift of the day.
What is the 2nd Shift?
The 2nd shift usually starts between 2 PM-5 PM and runs till 10 PM-Midnight. So if you work the second shift, you don’t have to wake up early for work. And that’s why it is suitable for night owls who go to bed late.
Where to Find 2nd Shift Jobs?
Nursing, hospitality, and security are some fields where you can find 2nd shift work. For example, you can work as a gas station attendant, correctional officer, nurse, etc.
There are 2nd shift opportunities in the police force as well. Firefighters also tend to work long shifts and end up working in the second shift hours.
The opportunities to work the second shift are limited, but still, we have seen a recent rise in 2nd shift job opportunities. A simple search will certainly get you a bunch of late shift job openings.
What is the 3rd Shift?
The 3rd shift is also called the graveyard shift. Not a cheerful name for your work shift, is it? And as you’d have guessed by now, it is the last shift of the day.
It usually begins anywhere around 9 PM to midnight and runs till 7 AM to 9 AM the next morning. As you can see, this shift is the exact opposite of the standard 9 to 5.
In other words, your clock runs opposite your friends and family who work the first shift, which is why many people are petrified of working the 3rd shift.
Where to Find 3rd Shift Jobs?
Most 3rd shift job opportunities are in hospitality and security and 24/7 convenience stores.
There are last-shift opportunities in the medical field as well. For example, you can get job opportunities in nursing and healthcare organizations if you prefer working the 3rd shift as many doctors work long shifts during the night.
So, there isn’t any shortage of work when it comes to the 3rd shift. All you need to do is find a night shift job that suits your skills and preferences.
Challenges of Working the 2nd or 3rd Shift
Shift jobs have their challenges, and before applying for a 2nd shift or 3rd shift job, you should be aware of them.
In addition, knowing these challenges can help you cope with them. So, let’s go through some of these challenges.
This is the biggest challenge you will face when working late shifts. Even if you are a night owl, disturbances in the sleep cycle can be frustrating.
According to a poll by National Sleep Foundation, those who work shifts are more likely to sleep less than six hours. And so little sleep, in the long run, can cause problems.
Also, less sleep means excessive sleepiness throughout the day. But, remember, not all shift workers suffer from such sleeping problems.
But the disturbed sleep cycle can take a toll on anyone. In fact, only 1 out of 10 shift workers suffer from such sleeping issues. And it’s a challenge you need to be aware of before taking up shift work.
Effects on Your Personal Life
Working late shifts can also cause social isolation, and it is more so the case when working the 3rd shift. After all, your entire day runs the exact opposite of everyone else’s day.
As a result, you don’t get to meet your friends and family as much as you’d like. And it can gradually create a distance between you and your loved ones.
Don’t worry; there are ways you can cope with it. For example, you can work on your time management to take time for things that matter. And if your friends and family understand, they can work as a support system you might need.
After all, it is tough when you start working the 2nd or 3rd shift. And you need all the support you can get from your loved ones.
Benefits of Working a 2nd or 3rd Shift Job
Almost everybody we come across works a 9 to 5 shift. Hence, opting for the night shift is going against the grain. And daring to be different always comes with benefits.
So, here are some benefits of working the 2nd or 3rd shift.
Do shift jobs pay more? Yes, in most industries, working a 2nd or 3rd shift means higher pay. After all, very few people are willing to take up these shifts.
Most People prefer working the traditional 9 to 5 shift. So, if anyone is ready to take a night shift, companies are glad to pay more.
Remember, this isn’t like a rule that companies have to follow. In some cases, you might not get better wages for working a late shift.
So, are you comfortable with working a night shift? Then it’s a golden opportunity for you to get higher pay.
Say you move to the 3rd shift in the same position. There is a chance that you will get better wages for doing the same amount of work.
There is a lot of competition in the traditional 9 to 5 shift. As a result, there is a massive pool of candidates in the queue for a job opportunity, and finding a job can be hard at times.
This is not the case with shift jobs. As we said, few people prefer to work the 2nd shift, let alone the graveyard shift. As a result, it’s easier for you to land a shift job.
So, shift jobs are easier to get, and you get higher pay as well? Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Also, there is little competition in promotions when working late shifts. There are few colleagues around, and it’s an excellent opportunity for you to stand out and impress your superiors.
So, if you want to catch the senior management’s eye, the late shifts can do wonders for you.
No Rush Hour Traffic
Combating rush hour traffic can be frustrating. And it is one of the many irritating aspects of a 9 to 5 job.
You go to work when everyone else is going. And you leave for home when everyone else is leaving. And you get stuck in traffic with everybody else. Not a pleasant thought, right?
But working late shifts can help you avoid rush hour traffic. Especially when working the 3rd shift, you don’t have to deal with traffic jams.
Instead, you can drive to work in peace and at your pace. Also, you don’t have to wait in line for coffee to kick-start your shift!
More Time During the Day
Working 9 to 5 doesn’t allow you much time during the day, and it can be tough for some people.
For example, working young couples with a baby don’t spend much time with their kids. They also have to pay for a daycare for their baby. The 2nd or 3rd shift can be helpful for such people.
Are you someone who wants more free time during the day? And are you okay with staying up late into the night? Then working late shifts can solve the problem for you.
You can use this time to spend quality time with your family. Or you can finally get that appointment at the dentist’s you couldn’t because of your 9 to 5.
The traditional 9 to 5 shift has its fair share of distractions. You have lots of coworkers around, and there’s much more commotion in general.
As a result, it can get hard to concentrate on your work, stopping you from reaching your full potential at work.
Conversely, when you work late shifts, there’s little to no distraction. There are fewer coworkers around, and the workplace has a serene feel to it.
You get to concentrate on completing your tasks to the best of your potential. As a result, you can stand out and impress the senior management.
As we said above, there is less competition for promotion in the 2nd and 3rd shifts. So if you can improve the quality of your work, you stand a good chance.
Tips for Working the 2nd and 3rd Shifts
It can be challenging when you first switch to the 2nd or 3rd shift. We often hear people working multiple shifts to pay the bills. Are you one such hard worker? Here are some tips for coping with working late shifts.
Less Caffeine, More Water
This is vital for those working the last shift. They can’t rely too much on coffee, and no matter how good a cup of coffee feels, too much isn’t good for you.
When working the 3rd shift, make sure to cut on caffeine. And remember to keep yourself hydrated all the time! “Less caffeine, more water” is the way to go.
Use Your Mornings Well
When you work the 2nd shift, make sure you use your mornings well. Take some time out to connect with your friends and family.
You can also enroll in events that you want to become a part of, or you can give time to your lifelong hobbies. In a nutshell, indulge yourself with things that make you feel good.
Take a Healthy Diet
The disruption of working late shifts can cause health issues, and that’s why you need to take a healthy diet. Don’t rely too much on the wending machine, making sure you carry high-protein snacks on your shifts. It will make you feel more energetic during and after your shift.
Get Some Exercise
When working the 3rd shift, people tend to get lazy. However, when they’re not working, they feel excessive sleepiness.
It would be best if you get some exercise to cope with the fatigue. So if you feel like it, don’t hesitate to exercise between nights or right after your shift.
Will Shift Work Suit You?
As we said, working late shifts has its challenges, but it also has quite a few benefits. For instance, does shift work pay more? Yes, you will stand a chance of getting better pay in the 2nd or 3rd shift.
So, do you think working a late shift will suit you? After all, only you can answer this question.
Regarding the challenges of working the 2nd shift or 3rd shift, you don’t need to get intimated. After all, there are challenges in any work you choose to do, and shift work is no different.
Opting for something different is not easy. So, ask yourself, are you willing to take the challenges of shift work head-on? Don’t think twice before applying for a late shift job near you if the answer is yes! It’s then just a matter of identifying, planning, and following your career choices accordingly!
Best of luck!