The “third shift” is a term that applies to almost any hours worked during the night, but most often, it means a shift that begins soon after midnight and ends at about eight in the morning. The third shift, or the graveyard shift, isn’t an evening; it’s a whole workday put in during the very dead of the night. Taking on this responsibility usually means reversing your circadian cycle so you’re sound asleep while everyone else is bustling through the day, and rising for breakfast at 10 or 11 pm. Not for you? That’s not a surprise. Most people are put off by the physical stress this lifestyle places on the body, not to mention the extreme inconvenience. (It’s hard to schedule personal appointments, talk to friends and family, or run errands when you’re only awake at night.)
But keep in mind, most employers recognize the unpopularity of the night shift, and they really need team members who can do this valuable work. Without night shift workers, some companies would quickly go out of business. Before you give this awkward schedule a hard pass, consider the benefits.
Night shifts come with higher pay per hour.
This can be called a shift bonus, a shift differential, or simply higher pay for doing the same work as the day-shifters, but doing it at night. Paying more for the night shift is standard business practice for 24-hour employers. (Don’t be bamboozled into thinking it’s a “perk” or a benefit. It’s expected. If a potential employer doesn’t provide this differential, walk away.) Over weeks, months or years, a few extra dollars per hour can really add up.
Night shifts are typically less stressful.
In almost every company, through no specific design, night shifts tend to be quieter. Even on a factory floor where the line moves at the same essential pace, the vibe is calmer, voices are quieter, and the overall level of demand tends to change. And most factory or warehouse environments do actually slow down lines and production speeds, for practical reasons; people tend to move slower at night and they often make more mistakes, so slowing down demand is good for business.
Some people don’t respond biologically the same way others do.
Most people experience a level of biological stress while working on a reverse circadian schedule. But just as some of us require eight hours of sleep and some require six or fewer, some suffer from the night shift and others don’t. For reasons that can’t really be explained, some people just aren’t negatively affected by working as night owls. You may be one of them. You’d have to try it for a while to find out.
If a quiet, calm atmosphere, a little darkness, and an introverted lifestyle seem like a match for you, and you don’t mind making more cheddar for doing the same job–just on an unpopular schedule—give the third shift a try. Employers usually scramble to staff these positions, and you might find out you’re the exact employee they’re looking for. Reach out to the team at PSU to learn more.