First, Second, or Third Shift? How to Choose What Works for You

Often, you end up building your life around your work schedule. This makes the shift you end up working crucial for figuring out the rest of your schedule. Your family life, your social life, and, maybe most importantly, your sleep patterns rely heavily on when you are slated to show up at work.  

Sometimes you don’t have a choice as to what shift you end up working. You have to take the opportunities that come available. However, as you gain seniority at your current job, or as you look for something better, you can target whether you want first, second, or third shift. 

But then the question becomes: how do you know what works best for you? 

Different people thrive in different environments. What might seem obvious for one person might prove unlivable for someone else? Knowing yourself, and knowing the benefits and drawbacks for each of the choices, will help you make the best decision. 

First, let’s define our terms: 

First Shift: This is the typical, vanilla day shift most people think about when they think of the workday. It’s the stereotypical 9-to-5 shift, though it doesn’t have to start at nine and end at five exactly. 

Second Shift: This is commonly known as the swing shift. It usually runs from the early evening until the middle of the night, roughly 4 pm until 12 am. 

Third Shift: The (sometimes) dreaded night shift. This schedule usually covers a late period, starting around midnight and running into the morning, ending somewhere around 8 AM. 

Here are some considerations to keep in mind: 

Your Personal Sleep Cycle 

The working world is generally designed with the idea that people will sleep somewhere between 11 PM to 7 AM. However, not everyone responds the same to that sleep schedule.  

There are early birds, and there are night owls. Many people have trouble adjusting to a night shift. They never get used to that unusual sleep schedule, and continuously fight exhaustion. However, you might not suffer from this setback.  

You might thrive in a different environment. Your natural body rhythms might fit a second or thirdshift situation. Keep your biology your mind as you contemplate your ideal work set up. 

Your Family Situation  

The first shift is usually the most popular. However, it isn’t a perfect fit for everyone’s schedule. Say you have kids and your significant other already work the first shift. To avoid having to pay for childcare, the second or third shift schedule might make sense for you.  

Many other situations could influence your shift decision. For instance, if you’re going to school, you may need to keep class availability in mind when choosing which shift works best for you. Or, if you are taking care of a sick relative, an evening or night schedule might make more sense. 

Other Factors  

Most people prefer to work a regular 9-to-5 schedule. As such, companies sometimes have trouble staffing different shifts. To even things out, they sometimes offer incentives for people willing the switch to swing or overnight. 

These incentives might be enough to change your preference. If you can get extra pay for working overnight, it might make it worthwhile, even if it isn’t exactly natural for you. 

Finding the ideal situation for your lifestyle is the key to maximizing your job satisfaction. Partnering with a reliable staffing firm, like SmartTalent, lets you locate your perfect position. 

Contact SmartTalent today to learn more. 



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