For, let me see now…21 months, since May 2011 I’ve been on nights. It’s a weird gig that has me leaving home each night at just before 7:00 pm, returning the next morning at around 8:00 am.
It’s a thirteen-hour working day. Most nights I can grab a nap (in a car) for forty minutes, a blessing if ever. That shut-eye can make a huge difference to the way I feel for the last half of the shift. Back-of-the-clock work always requires fighting against the body. No matter how long you’ve been on the schedule, at some point during the night, you’ll find a strong temptation to lie down and take a nap, unless you can pre-empt it.
As soon as I’m in the door, I have a routine to clean-up, set-up for the next night and get to bed. First, make sure Miss T-Tail is okay; fed and watered, cat-box cleaned. Then I organize my lunch stuff and thermos. After that I put some multigrain and flax cereal on to heat while I shower. I eat while I’m checking my email.
Sleep time is blissful, of course, although never long enough. And here’s where my conundrum lies: by the time I wake up and get set to go back to work, I have only two hours. That’s two hours I use exclusively to find a way out of this job. Two hours to call prospective customers. Two hours to (maybe) meet with prospective customers. It never, ever feels like enough time, and yet I’m constrained by the fact that I have to work.
So there is no choice but to make that two hours a day count.