People who have worked shifts other than the typical 9-5, M-F shift. What was it and what did you do

I agree that actual 9-5 is rare. It is more likely 8-5 nowadays that you aren’t paid for your lunch hour.

But in this thread people were discussing work shifts.

I’ve worked an 8-5 and didn’t like it as much as 10 hour days, 3-4 days a week. I had that shift working as a QC tech in a factory that operated 24/7. I think my favorite shift was 8am-6pm. I had time to sleep in, but still had daylight at the end of the day.

That factory used to have floor workers who worked a 2-2-3 schedule (M/Tu/F/Sa one week, then Su/W/Th the next week). 4 shifts total (shift A and B, plus a night shift and day shift for both A and B) meant the operation could go 24/7.

But in the QC lab our shifts didn’t have to overlap with the floor. I worked 12 hour shifts on a 2-2-3 and preferred the 10 hour days instead. A 12 hour day means your entire day is devoted to working (or prepping for work, or decompressing from work). A 10 hour day isn’t really much worse than a 9 hour day in an office, but you are only working 3-4 days a week. I made less money on 10 hour shifts, but I liked the work/life balance more.

So for people who have worked shifts other than the typical 9-5, or 8-5 M-F shift, what was your favorite shift and what did you do?

Or is an 8-5 or 9-5 your preferred shift?

I had two second shift supervisor positions.

  • One was in a plastic blow molding plant with the shift being 3-11pm; I had a shift change meeting 15 minutes prior and paperwork before leaving but was still hourly and got OT for the half hour or so extra. It took quite a bit to get the machines warmed up and running properly. They ran constantly until the job was done or we shut down them for the weekend.
  • I was mostly on second shift during a couple years where I was supervisor for a just in sequence logistics operation in support of GM. That plant had a gap between their two daily shifts and the shift was 5:30 pm to 2 am with paperwork and weekly inventory after the shift.

That 3-11pm shift is about my ideal. I am a night person. As a baby, I stayed awake late and slept in later than most of the world. 3-11 fits my nature well and lets me still interact with the freakish daywalkers.

I work 12 hour shifts in manufacturing. Long hours, but it means I get 3 and 4 day weekends.

I love it.

For more than fifteen years, I worked on a strange two-week rotation schedule. Shifts always started at 6:30AM and ran 12 hours to 6:30PM.

First week I would work MON and TUE, have WED and THU off, and work FRI, SAT and SUN.
Second week would reverse with MON and TUE off, work WED and THU, and have FRI, SAT and SUN off.

Eighty four hours every two weeks, easy peasy. Add in a bonus of a three day weekend every other week and I liked the schedule.

I’ve never worked 9-5. And I can’t imagine starting that late into the morning.


  • worked as a paraprofessional in a special needs preschool/kindergarten


  • worked for the unversity’s housing department between semesters of college
  • coordinated a children’s literacy program for America Reads
  • supervised folks scoring essays during my exciting career in standardized testing

8am-4:30pm (current job)

  • tech support for a university disabilities program


  • worked at Wal-Mart while in college (I didn’t dislike it, I moved and worked for housing after that)

When I was 19 to 20, I really digged working second shift. At the time I lived in a different state than the university was in, so it wasn’t as though I was missing out on seeing friends - I was too far away to see people often anyway.

Now, though, I wouldn’t want to work second shift. Not when it would mean getting home so late on winter nights.

I’m not a morning person, but I would like to try 7-3:30 instead of 8-4:30 because I’m not more of a morning person at 8 than 7, and I’d prefer more of the afternoon to myself. This is perhaps colored by having a nearly hour long commute.

I used to work 12 hour 6 pm to 6 am shifts that were supposed to be 3 days one week and 4 days the next, but they always tried to call you in your days off. We learned never to answer our phones. It was awful. Didn’t get a good nights sleep for four years.

It was a printing company and we made advertising circulars for grocery and department stores. I worked in the pre-press department. They call it graphic arts nowadays. All of that effort so folks could use them to line their birdcages.

Right now I work overnight in a warehouse. I consider it a “paying the bills” second job more than a career or anything, sort of like actors working at Trader Joes. I had not worked for anyone else from 2003-2017 and still maintain other business and artistic interests, but I took this job that everyone finds very acceptable to put down and shame because it offers a lot of good benefits and pays more than any similar hourly job in my area. I work four consecutive 10hour shifts, and have 3 “days off.” Right now I am off, preparing to return to work tomorrow night. I generally try to sleep around 6am-2pmish and spend 2-5 getting ready for work and doing things to take care of my health. On my “weekends” (4:30am Thurs -6pm Sun) I try to maintain a similar schedule but I usually get off it and end up sleeping and eating most of the time.

Actually, I have NEVER worked a 9-5. I worked a decade as a breakfast cook 6am-2pm, 7 days a week. I also did my time in other restaurant and retail jobs. At one point I worked the breakfast cook job and then worked 3-9pm selling consumer electronics on most nights of the week. I left the retail place (a well known company that went out of business about a decade ago) and was laid off from the restaurant when they sold out to developers. Even though I have college degrees and have run businesses, I’ve never had a typical schedule and feel sort of shut out from whatever “9-5 culture” is.

I like working the overnights (right now 6pm- 4:30am, Sun-Wed). I’m actually in my best health and look better than I ever have approaching 40. I like that I have some daylight to hang around, long weekends, and also the fact that I can work without being bothered or people not respecting my time, which was a huge problem when I was primarily self-employed and trying to work during the day.

I worked night maintenance for several months at one duty station in the Navy. It was a pretty good gig, as it was an on-call type of thing. So we basically watched TV until about 11, going out on any calls that might come in, then went to bed. If somebody had an emergency during the night, we’d go out, but that didn’t happen very often. It was two nights on, two nights off, so that meant you got all your days off, plus a few nights off every week. My wife worked during the day, so that kind of sucked, but I taught myself how to cook to keep from being bored.

Teaching although that was close to 9-5; call it 7:30-3:30

When I had my own sporting goods manufacturing/flyfishing business I worked basically midnight to 8 or 10am most of the time; few distractions.

Now I do warehouse work 5pm-11pm.

The worst was the summer in college I spent in a steel mill. We had four shifts which changed weekly; 3-11pm, 11pm-7am and 7am-3pm. Every fourth week was “knock-out shift” — 2 days of one, 2 days of another and the 5th day was the third. And trust me – it did knock your ass out.

Retail and restaurants. There’s no smiley to express the disgust I have for service industry jobs.

The futures markets are open from 5 PM Sunday until 5 PM Friday. 2nd and 3rd shift suck, you don’t know what is going to go wrong, but you know something always will.

Your schedule sounded similar to mine (at least the days worked).

I wonder if that kind of day rotation is common among operations open 24/7 Or do other places do things like Sunday/monday on, then tuesday/wednesday off, then thurs/fri/sat on, sun/mon off, etc.

Either way, it was a good shift.

I worked in a distribution center 1530 to 2400. I’d do stuff online until I turned in about 0400 and wake up about 1100.

When I was a LORAN tech we had 1 in 3 duty. And we were on Tropical Hours. Day 1 was a regular work day. Morning Quarters at 0700 to Afternoon Quarters at 1330. Day 2 was a Duty Day. I had to remain sober and on the station for 24 hours beginning (and ending) at 0600 as the Duty Electronics Technician. I also stood 2 Radio and LORAN Watches from 0600 to 1200 and from 1800 to 2400. Day 3 was a day of Liberty, from when I got off duty at 0600 to Morning Quarters 0700 the next day. Then it starts over again. If day 1 falls on a weekend, it was a Liberty day.

When I was driving, my life was controlled by DOT’s Hours of Service. 14 consecutive hours after I came on duty I HAD to go off duty for a minimum of 10 hours. During those 14 hours I could accumulate up to 11 hours driving. After 11 hours I had to park and begin a mandatory minimum 10 hour break. On-Duty time is the sum of Driving and On-Duty Not-Driving Time (vehicle inspections, fueling, loading, unloading, reloading, dropping or hooking trailers, scaling, and other assorted stuff). Waiting time doesn’t count as On-Duty Not-Driving but does count toward your 14 hours. Usually I’d log 9 hours or so On Duty a day, so I’d have a more than 10 hour break. And if I accumulated 70 hours On Duty in less than 7 days I had to park for 34 hours.

What hours I worked was sort of cyclic. There was a time and place I’d have to be to make a pickup. There was a time and place I’d have to be to deliver. There was time I’d have to use to get to the pickup and then to the delivery. As long as I could pick up and deliver on time, I could set my schedule. I liked when I could start my day at 0400 so I could finish at 1300 and get in a fair days work.

You’d be surprised at what you can get used to.

Hospital pharmacist, at a large hospital with 24-hour pharmacy coverage and a dedicated (in more ways than one) 3rd shift staff. We worked one evening a week and every 3rd weekend most of that time, although for a while, we were short-staffed and worked every other weekend. It sure was nice to have days off during the week, and if someone was scheduled to work an evening when they wanted to do something, we could ask someone and trade hours. Most of the time, that wasn’t a problem.

The one pharmacist there who was a single parent had an ex-husband who lived down the street and had an good relationship with the child.

While in college I loaded trucks for UPS — the long tractor trailers, not the small brown package cars. It was P/T from 11pm to 2am. It was hard work, moving and loading hundreds of pkgs an hour near downtown San Francisco, but it was a great workout (boxes could weigh up to 70lbs), and when you have a good crew of hard workers busting ass together, it is a great feeling. Plus it was a very good hourly wage, and I had benefits like a F/T job. I did that for about 3 years. One of the best jobs I’ve had. That was in the 1980s.

The worst shift I ever had was graveyard. F/T, from 11pm to 7am, 5 days a week. It’s weird taking a “lunch break” at 3am, and that’s what they called it, your lunch break. But the worst was on my two days off, trying to spend time with my young family who was basically up from 7am to 9 or 10pm. It threw off my inner clock. That was also in the 1980s.

There’s a whole group of people out there who work graveyards. And they eat their lunch at 3am. Not for me, no thank you.

I work China time zone hours (+15 hours). Or I should say, generally, I often have to be on concalls and responding to emails until around noon in China, which translates to 9:00 PM PST. The problem is I have to drop my kids off before 8:00 AM for school. And my customers are in the Seattle area. Even worse, I also have to get on calls with Europe (recently about once per week) and that’s usually at 7:00am my time. I generally have to spend a few hours of my Sunday late afternoon/evening working. And my company works on Saturday mornings in China, so that means I often have to do stuff on a Friday evening.

That said, I’m the senior person here in the Seattle office, and no one tracks or cares if I even show up in the office. So, I can and do take partial days off and have long learned to hit the gym or run errands during normal work hours. It makes for long days though and I usually nap on weekends to make up the time.

It was easier the last 2 years when my eldest child would drive the twins to school. I’d make 'em breakfast and often go back to sleep for a couple of hours and make it in to the office or a first meeting at 10 or 11 AM.

None of this includes business trips to Asia. My direct boss runs a $20B business, of which I am a small sliver. When at HQ, we’re in before the 7:30 am morning meeting, and the rule is we can leave if the boss man ain’t there at 8:00pm. If he’s in the office, then we usually stay until the door hits him in the ass on the way out the building.

Top that…

No thank you. I live in California and had a job where I’d occasionally have meetings with Sweden and Shanghai. At least it wasn’t a regular thing.

No thank you!

I worked in the public service and had flexitime. I’d start early, about 7 or 7.30 and finish at 3-ish. It was great, it felt like you had a life, you could go to the shops, or schedule a dentist appointment without having to ask to be “excused” from work, or go to the beach or somewhere after work. When I wanted to go overseas, I got a second job which I started after leaving my “real job” at about 3. Worked until about 9pm.
I also worked shifts at the telephone exchange. They rostered us all different times, but we could swap them with others. I liked afternoon shifts and mostly got them. 1-9, 2-10 or (the latest) 3-11. It was great because it seemed to fit with my natural “night-owl” tendencies. Ditto with being able to get stuff done during the day, we’d also get rostered days off during the week. I considered trying to get permanent night shift (you got decent shift loading), but didn’t end up applying. The afternoon shifts didn’t affect your “body clock” like doing the permanent night shift would.
I loved working other than 9-5.

For many years, while I was living in NYC, I worked nights as a typesetter, proofreader, graphic artist, supervisor, etc. I worked every shift from 4pm to midnight, 4pm to noon, and everything in between. The most difficult part was trying to sleep during the day, especially during Manhattan’s peak noise hours. It wasn’t unusual to get no sleep whatsoever.

The only cool part was walking home at 3am. I pretty much had the streets to myself.

oh, I also had another job that I worked 7am-3pm. It was great, I drove to work at 6.30am, there was no traffic, it took me about 10 minutes in a big city, and going home similarly was before the traffic started up so it was quick.