Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Confused from Huddersfield!

I am working some crazy stints at the pub this week..... I mean crazy!

Some days I'm opening up the pub, other days I'm closing up the pub..... and all the twiddly little bits that go inbetween.

A good number of years ago, I worked as a Mainframe Operator - the computer was so old and grey that it filled a whole, enormous, air-conditioned room.

The disk drives (whose capacity was tiny) needed two people to lift them, and the tape drives were like those that you might see in a mad scientist's laboratory in an episode of Thunderbirds.

I say "a good number of years ago" but it might surprise that this was still in operation around the time of the millennium switch-over, by which I mean the twentieth to twenty first centuries!

Well, that job was a split-shift pattern, and one week I would be working 6:30am to 2pm (including Saturday morning) while the following week I'd be working 2pm to 9pm (or until you'd achieved the workstream - sometimes early hours, others you might get a half hour earlier) and that week there'd be no weekend working.

I shared the shifts with a clever young chap called Sean and we did ok..... we actually ran things quite well.

The ONLY problem I had with those split shifts was that you sometimes get disoriented.......

It's wasn't uncommon for me to wake up at silly o' clock in a cold sweat thinking I'd forgotten to go to work, or that I'd missed a shift, or that I didn't know which way was up and what day of the year it was.

It's the only time in my life that I've had irregular working patterns and hours..... and it did strange things to me.


I'm sure the more astute readers have already guessed where this is heading.....

Day one of my hectic schedule and I'm already waking up in that familiar cold sweat!

Right now I'm typing so fast so that I can get this down..... get to the pub to open up..... go to the supermarket to get some food...... cook myself some food and head back to the pub for the evening shift (I need to make myself some decent food because once I'm in the pub tonight I will be there until closing time).

Roll out the barrel on next week!


  1. My dad used to work nights and buy his paper on the way home. But he didn't read it until he'd been to bed, got up, watched tv or listened to the radio so when he did he already knew the the news, like reading yesterdays paper. He never quite got to terms with that feeling!

    1. I can't say I've ever had to work a proper night shift although I've worked through many nights when required.... night shift folk are indeed a special breed!

      It's not so much the shifts that get me as the irregularity - it gives me tremendous paranoia that I'm asleep and perhaps I should be at work or if I forgot to go to work yesterday or something..... it's just the unpredictability that gets to me.....

  2. I used to find myself inventing shifts. I'd turn up for work at whatever time and wonder why people were staring at me. I quite liked night shifts. Working in Computahs (the big grey ones) was quite fun until it went the way of all industry and drowned in paperwork and management. The early days were great, when JFDI also translated as "whatever the cost"! Towards the end most days (including supposedly "non-working" days meant three or four call-outs as well as a working day.

    It got so bad that if I "accidentally" left my pager in the wrong room my mate's dog would fetch it to me whenever it went off ...

    When I handed it back as I resigned they asked me what the white scuff marks on the pager were (it was where it often hit the wall when thrown).

    1. I've never really had to do "on call" as much as living almost next-door to work which means you're always first port of call.

      As for inventing shifts..... the closest I ever came to that was when I promptly jumped up from my desk, jumped in my car and was heading into town for lunch..... when I realised it was 11 o clock and not 12..... I sauntered back into the office and ignored the bewildered look on the finance director's face..... I just made it look like I was testing my car's suspension or something.... and 11am ritual thereafter!!

  3. I don't think that my body clock could cope with that.