usual it's because they're all written around 2am for reasons that will
be shown below.
This job is strange. I think it is most similar to working in a network
operations center (NOC) only with things and people rather than data.
It's 95% visual, with maybe a couple of phonecalls per shift. It's also
95% transparent to the public. Nearly everything done on the job
(keyboard, mouse, etc) is published in near-real time. A minute or two
delay while servers sync up, maybe. If I write a sticky note and put it
on a co-worker's monitor that's about the only thing that's not directly
or indirectly visible, and there are times when you might see that, too.
Told you it was strange.
-= timeshift =-
First things first. This is a night job. I go to work in the evening
and come home the next morning and go to sleep. I've been doing it for
a few weeks now and my body is almost used to it.
Working nights is not hard, though it /is/ weird. Transitioning to
nights was brutal, however. The first week felt like impending death,
like a continual hangover without the headache.
commute is generally better
outdoor temps are generally lower; I can walk outside on my lunch
it is very quiet. For 80% of my workweek I am the only worker
time off is very productive (see below)
The timeshift takes some adaptation. I brew a pot of coffee and bring
it with me in a big, industrial 1960s Uno-Vac steel thermos. I think
you could beat a shark to death with it if you had to.
Days off for nightshift people can go one of two ways:
1. try to keep a normal-to-others schedule. This allows for fragments
of Normal Life at the cost of continual walking death fatigue.
Basically it's changing body clocks 2x/week. Uh, no.
2. keep your working schedule. This means stay up all night on your
days off and sleep during the day as "normal". This is the approach I
have taken. Being up all night when the world sleeps feels like
time-expansion. The night lasts forever. I can get more done in one
night than in a week of normal free time.
-= 4x10 =-
This is my first experience working 10hrs x 4 days. The main benefit
would appear to be three days off in a row, but IMO the benefit is in
the 20% reduction in commuting (time, direct expenses like gas, and
indirect expenses like wear-and-tear).
-= Offline =-
Many employers let you check your email from time to time. Not so at
this gig. Fair enough, I get it. But there's not even a standalone
machine where you can check it during lunch/breaks.
If I had excess cash I'd probably buy a data plan for my android phone
and be done with it. But I don't. Subbing clobbered my savings and
credit card balances so it will be a few more years of intentional
frugality to get the debt monster back under control with my
So I bring the Eee netbook for lunchtime email duties. I use
Thunderbird (mail client by Mozilla) for its robust offline abilities,
syncing the mail right before I leave for work and again when I get
home. It's not a total replacement for online email but most of it can
be read and deleted or replied to and synced later. Some of it contains
links or photos that need a net connection to see properly; I move
those to a Gmail folder called "offline" which I look at when I am online.
Theoretically HTML5 will get us offline gmail. Had that with Gears
until google took it offline (ha!) during the transition period.
I also figured out how to email blog entries like this one. The upside
is I can make blog posts for free during lunch. The downside is I don't
see a way to add labels, I can't see my past entries to remember WTH
I've rambled on about before, and I can't easily make links I don't have
memorized. But it works.
posted by offline email