Working third shift can be a monster. It can throw your life into confusion and disarray. It can leave you baffled and confused when it comes to dealing with dealing with the daywalkers (people who sleep at night and work and do things during the day). It can be many things, but in my experience of working third shift for many years, offset by periods of working second shift, there are a number of things you can do to make your life workable and even enjoyable.

I always recommend to people who work third shift that they avoid going to sleep when going home at the end of the shift. I promote the idea of "reversing the clock," which basically involves convincing your brain that AM is PM and PM is AM. I recommend sleeping a set period of time every day that works out to be the equivalent of what you would sleep if you worked a day job and slept at night. For example, I usually go to bed around one o'clock in the afternoon every day. When I am not working that night I might stay up as late as six o'clock in the evening. When I worked a day job I would usually go to bed around one o'clock in the morning and on weekends stay up later, so I am effectively doing the same thing with a reversed clock. The people I've seen burn out fastest working third shift are those who take periodic naps during the day, never getting more than four hours of sleep before work, and try to sleep the "normal" night hours on their days off. What happens is they don't adjust to the work hours and are constantly tired at work, spending most of the shift just trying to stay awake. Trying to stay awake and functional takes the majority of their effort and they are rarely able to be effective at doing the job, which contrary to the beliefs of many daywalkers usually involves more than just making yourself stay awake all night.

If you can effectively reverse the clock, getting up at night before work with just enough time to eat, shower and get dressed (or the same as what one usually does in the morning before going to a day job) will leave you with the equivalent of an evening that takes place in the morning. One of the advantages is that one can accomplish things in a third shifter's evening that a day shifter cannot, as the third shifter's evening is actually the morning and more things are open and available. One can schedule doctor's appointments, go to the post office, renew one's driver's license and so forth during the morning hours once you treat these hours like your evening. Confused yet?

The social aspects of being a third shifter can be devastating, especially to those trying to maintain relationships with people who work during the day. It is damned near impossible to date if one is single. I like to say dealing with daywalkers is difficult because we third shifters drink coffee at night and beer in the morning. Having worked the night shift in multiple locales I've found this leads to some very strange relationships developing between third shift co-workers. When the ability to socialize effectively is severely limited and one still needs friendships and affection from others, third shifters end up turning to each other. At one place I worked where there was a rather large staff on third shift there was a club that was basically a morning drinking and group sex party that went on regularly. It is hard to find a place to drink and pick up sex partners in the normal morning hours, so if one is into that sort of thing the choices are... limited.

As I have become a solitary type creature over the past few years, becoming a natural third shifter agreed with me and I now all but refuse to work any other shift. Even my limited desire for socialization causes confusion in third shifters who haven't gotten the hang of it when I mention the idea of them coming over to my place to watch movies and make-out at eight o'clock in the morning. It doesn't seem strange to me because eight o'clock in the morning is eight o'clock at night as far as I am concerned.

You can work third shift and live a healthy and reasonable life, get enough sleep, eat properly and do all the things you would normally do as a daywalker. Just tell yourself that you are a half-insane vampire, reverse the clock and do it right.