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  • Rotating shifts?

    So basically I am in line for jobs with two different departments. One of the departments (the one I prefer) runs 12-hour shifts and they rotate working days and nights I think about every 6 weeks. I'd really like to work there but I'm kind of hesitant about having to switch my sleep schedule that often for that amount of time. I'd appreciate if anyone could give me some insight. Does it take you long to get used to the change, or does it get easier with time? Anything else you can tell me about it would be appreciated, too.

  • #2
    I used to rotate though all 3 shifts in a pay period that sucked bad. I basically used my two days off to adjust back to the start of rotation. Personally I prefer a set shift that lasts for a while. However, I've also worked at a dept. were I never had a set shift, was always on call, and worked easily 70+ hours a week.

    In your case, venturing you're not already a cop, say "yes" to the first dept that hires you.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by tut89 View Post
      So basically I am in line for jobs with two different departments. One of the departments (the one I prefer) runs 12-hour shifts and they rotate working days and nights I think about every 6 weeks. I'd really like to work there but I'm kind of hesitant about having to switch my sleep schedule that often for that amount of time. I'd appreciate if anyone could give me some insight. Does it take you long to get used to the change, or does it get easier with time? Anything else you can tell me about it would be appreciated, too.
      Hmmmppphhh,sniffle,ahgggghhhhhhhh,sorry couldn't hold it any longer,6 weeks????,gads I been working 12s and rotating every 2 weeks for 11 years now!!!Don't worry,you get used to it-----------at least that's what they tell me.
      Sleeping Giant. They're not fat and happy anymore. They are hungry and increasingly angry. That is not a good recipe for a "Puppies and Rainbows America".

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      • #4
        I work 12 hour shifts and rotate from days to nights every 8 weeks. I've had no problems adjusting to the schedule. For the most part, I don't hear many officers within my agency complain about their sleep schedule.

        Like it was posted earlier, in this career field I suggest you take any opportunity given!

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        • #5
          Occupational hazard young friend, and pretty much a staple in this profession. Want steady, 9-5 banker's hours? Pick another profession.

          There's no doubt that rotating shifts, especially over a period of years, can place considerable stress on your "system". Past that, I urge you to once more read the thoughts expressed by my colleagues.
          They represent reality, so consider them in any decision you make concerning entering this profession. That advice assumes you're successful in being hired. Best of luck.

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          • #6
            Thanks guys. I'm not so concerned about the hours itself. Just wondering more so if the continual changing of your sleep pattern has a negative effect on one's ability to do the job.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by tut89 View Post
              Thanks guys. I'm not so concerned about the hours itself. Just wondering more so if the continual changing of your sleep pattern has a negative effect on one's ability to do the job.





              It can, and sometimes does. That's why it's imperative that you set up and adopt a sleep and rest pattern which best suits your needs. There are no "one size fits all" fixes or routines. Some experimentation will probably be required until you arrive at one which works for you.

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              • #8
                While I was deployed to Afghanistan your shift was never the same and usually shifts lasted 14-18 hrs. The best thing you can do is plan properly for what is to come... get your report times and implement your rest plan accordingly. It will get easier with time. It is amazing what the human body is capable of handling.

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                • #9
                  I've worked 12 hour shifts for 4 years now, 7a-7p or 7p-7a. Unless it's a special circumstances, your switchovers from day shift to night shift will usually have your off days spaced between them. What I do when I switch from day to night is that I stay up all night on those two or three off days playing computer games and such, then crash out in the morning. I wake up in the early to mid afternoon and I'm fine. Night shift to day shift, I simply go to bed a bit earlier each night until I'm back on my day sleep cycle after my 2 or 3 days off are done.
                  SCFC Dispatch Manager

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                  • #10
                    I change 12 hour schedules every 2 weeks. The tip is to completely adjust to the same schedule during that time span. Granted, it's easier if you don't have a family to keep up with.

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                    • #11
                      I work 12 hour night shifts and have been on nights for most of my LE career. When I first went to nights, I went totally nocturnal and slept all day every day. It was good but I couldn't do anything with my family because I was a zombie during the daytime. Then I tried rotating my sleep schedule between my work days and my off days. This just works best for me. I stay up the night before I go back to work and then sleep the next day, get up and go to work. My first day off, I'll sleep for a few hours before getting up and spending the rest of the day with the family. Then I go to bed that night and sleep all night. It requires some planning ahead but it works for us. I just found out that I'm going to be our new K9 handler so I've been getting up early and going to spend time with my new partner. Eventually they want to move me to 1p-1a but the long term plan is they want me working full time interdiction and making my own schedule. There's no ONE perfect way to do it for everyone. You just have to play with it and figure out what works for you.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks to everyone who has responded! I appreciate it.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Krell View Post
                          I've worked 12 hour shifts for 4 years now, 7a-7p or 7p-7a. Unless it's a special circumstances, your switchovers from day shift to night shift will usually have your off days spaced between them. What I do when I switch from day to night is that I stay up all night on those two or three off days playing computer games and such, then crash out in the morning. I wake up in the early to mid afternoon and I'm fine. Night shift to day shift, I simply go to bed a bit earlier each night until I'm back on my day sleep cycle after my 2 or 3 days off are done.
                          I bet that works good.

                          Originally posted by ditchdoc24 View Post
                          There's no ONE perfect way to do it for everyone. You just have to play with it and figure out what works for you.
                          Exactly. I'm on straight nights working 12s. On my days off I usually get up at a decent time on my first day off. Depending on what I'm doing I will take some nyquill to help me go to sleep or I'll just stay awake messing around until the old lady gets up for work if I don't have anything going on.

                          Sometimes I'll just sleep for four hours at a time. I do all kinds of stuff. I enjoy this weird schedule. It seems like I have more energy than when I had a normal life. When I'm on a normal dayshift schedule I tend to get sleepy around 2 or 3pm. Working nights I'm wide awake all night. I don't know what it is.

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                          • #14
                            Yes:
                            - you SHOULD grab the:
                            - - first Agency that will take you;
                            - - Agency that you like best;
                            - working rotating shifts will:
                            - - knock the crap out of you;
                            - - wreak havoc on your non-working life;
                            - you can get used to all of the above.

                            For my first 1.5 years (1976 to 1977), I worked, on paper, rotating 8 hour shifts, but, in reality, I was working extended hours and on-call / stand-by 24 / 7 except when I actually got away on days-off or leave (not married, and girlfriend not near by). My scheduled shifts were MOSTLY nights.

                            For the next 3 years, I was on rotating 8 hour shifts: 7 x 16 to 24; 2 off; 6 x 08 to 16; 2 off; 7 x 00 to 08; 4 off; repeat. No on-call / stand-by. Eventually I got married - she an RN on similar length and rotating shifts, so life was good.

                            For 9 months I was back to odd-ball shifts, but little if any on-call.

                            The next 4 years I was back to odd-ball shifts, mostly nights and weekends, STEADILY on-call / stand-by.

                            The next 8 years I was on odd-ball 8 hour shifts, then straight week days, then odd-ball, with some on-call (up to now, NO compensation for on-call, other than overtime if I went AND the boss thought it worthy!)

                            The next 8 years I was on odd-ball 8 hour shifts with LOTS of on-call / stand-by and call-outs, but compensated (1-for-8 on-call and 3.0 x 1.5 for the OT).

                            My final 9 years I was on 10 hour shifts, either 07 to 15, 13 to 23, 18 to 04 or 20 to 06ish. No on-call / stand-by. LOTS of overtime, as long as I was taking drunk drivers, and their vehicles, off the road. The "ish" usually became 12 to 13 hours long, including 2+ hour drives home (with a stop for "victory" Timbits and an XL double-double!)

                            I worked a desk for 12 hour shifts, including nights, while dispatching for the City Police for a few months in my retirement, but it was too long to listen to people complaining about cats or arranging the paper clips by size, colour and alphabetically.

                            For a few months after that, I supervised for a security company for their contract at a steel plant - it was M to F 08 to 16, but either had a 1:21 commute one-way or stayed in for the week, neither of which was fun.

                            I have been working almost 1 year now M to F 07 to 16 in a retail store as a do-everything / know-not-much-about-anything sales clerk / shelf-stocker.

                            Bottom-line: rest as much as you can between shifts, and do NOT think about work between shifts, on days off nor while on holidays / leave.
                            #32936 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - 1975-10-27 / 2010-12-29
                            Proud Dad of #54266 - RCMP - 2007-02-12 to date
                            RCMP Veterans Association - Regina Division member
                            Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada - Associate (Retired) member
                            "Smile" - no!

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