Thursday, March 4, 2010

Shifts, Stresses & Struggles


I am tired, extremely tired. The thing is that I am NOT sleepy or I’d rather say, not able to sleep.

I have a considerably stressful job…I work shifts. This has resulted in such a wide range of effects on both the mind and body. The internal clock mechanism goes haywire! Major factors affected would be sleep (the primary factor), eating habits (resulting in weight gain most of the time) as well as social, personal and family issues.

I always admire the people who work shifts and maintain a stable household while pursuing degrees and other academic endeavors. Honestly, I don’t think this is an easy task and I sometimes wonder if I would be able to accomplish such feats when I have a family of my own. I take family life very seriously and the thought of coming home to meet my family asleep, not at home, or leaving to go to school or work perturbs me.

One of colleagues recently had a new born baby. He also has a son in his teens. After having worked the night shift, he takes his son to school and then heads home to assume whatever domestic duties he can assist his loving wife with. He also has classes each Saturday. This compels him to either come in to work a little late or change shifts with anyone who is willing to do the same.

Another good friend of mine just “hits the bed” when he arrives home from a shift. At times he is simply too tired and needs to recharge as opposed to just diving head first into any routine. His wife, who is a stay-at-home mom assumes most of the responsibility when it comes to taking care of their little daughter and performing the household chores. They are also expecting their second child.

I have another colleague who is pursuing his degree and he works shifts as well. I imagine that to be quite a task too. He comes to work the “graveyard” shift (11-7) and then goes to the university where he has classes. He then goes home to do his assignments only to return to work the same shift again! Notice I did not mention the word “sleep” in any of those activities. How he functions always puzzles me.

Family life is affected in more ways than one. Working a regular “8 to 4” job with weekends off enables one to spend quality time with one’s family. Working shifts creates greater difficulty since the shift routine may not coincide with the routines of others in the household be it work, school etc.

The stresses created by working shifts can range from weight gain to high blood pressure, sleeplessness and depression.

One might think that the diet for living such a lifestyle would consist of all the energy drinks, various brands and types of coffee and supplements known to man. This is not entirely the case but some of the aforementioned are certainly involved.

As I write this, I too have to work tonight. What amazes me is that I am able to execute all my expected duties with minimal or no rest whatsoever. This is something that I am however unable to achieve when I am expected to work the daylight shift. The body somehow feels more drained and affected during this time of the day.

Working shifts also disrupts personal relationships, as I have observed. Some even refer to the shift job as the “Ultimate Cheating Job”, a term that is applied BOTH ways. One may have heard the “Yeah I gotta work tonight” or “I changed shift” routine when in fact it is not true. On the other side of this spectrum there is the cheating taking place when the person IS actually at work. At my place of employment I have encountered it all.

Relationships of many kinds are created when one works shift. Some co-workers have become intimately involved with others, married or otherwise because of the amount of time that they spend together at the job. Sometimes these relationships are not sought but somehow they develop over time.

It is said that the people at work become the “second family” and this is true. In some instances I believe that they become the first.

I closing, I believe that the support and understanding that one receives from one’s spouse, children, and family make all the difference in the overall effect of the shifts, stresses and struggles.

I still have 5 hours and 37 minutes before the completion of  my shift.

The Cigarette & Alcohol Hipocrisy Theory


Now, is it just me or is something definitely wrong with certain "laws" being implemented around here? I am under the impression that some persons are trying to increase their revenue by imposing not only new taxes but FINES to make up for previously frivolous spending!

My grandfather always said to tell me:

" have to apply logic! Apply logic and everything will be O.K!"

The aforementioned words have been heeded by me (as you can tell) since the first day I heard them.

With that said, how is it possible that I or any of my fellow smokers (yes I smoke and I know...bad habit...yadda yadda yadda...let's stick to the point at hand here) can go into a bar and have a few or more beers or whatever is the drink of preference but be unable to smoke (something any smoker and sometimes "non-smoker" will tell you go pretty good together)? I have to leave my drink...hmmm...better to take it with me...and proceed to the exit. No I am not leaving just yet, I've only had 5, but I have to now go outside to take a drag and then return when finished or be faced with a fine of $10000. I know of a person who was caught smoking Marijuana and pleaded guilty to the charge of possession. Would you like to guess the fine paid? $800. Yep $800! The funny thing is that there is no need to apply any Calculus or Nuclear Physics to realize what is going on here! Funny how if one is to go to a bar now, one would no longer see any cigarettes or advertisements for such. Cigarettes and any related paraphernalia have disappeared! It is now a "bar taboo"! I wonder...where are all the millions of ashtrays now?

We now have the breathalyzer, something which I am in favour of. When it comes to having fun at the expense of others, I definitely have a problem with that. Drinking and driving is a very grave issue. Now do not misconstrue, I care about the non-smokers but I also believe in the freedom of choice, one of the primary rights given to us ever since the beginning of time. If I choose to smoke in a bar and there is a non-smoker in the midst then he or she also has the right to choose whether to remain there or leave. I know of some non-smokers who complain about persons smoking yet they are seen in the casinos, clubs and parties. Somehow under those circumstances "smoke" is not a factor anymore. The thing is that people will continue to partake in what may be deemed as "undesirable" or "vices" by some. It does not matter if prices are raised or restrictions imposed.

Is one now to expect the "smokalyzer"? Then we are certainly going to encounter problems! I was surfing the net the other day and found some funny photos, one of which was the photo of a sign that read:
"Welcome to "name of place" where you cannot smoke a fag but you can marry one!"
For those of you who do not know, like my friend to whom I said this today, a fag is a cigarette. I understood his confusion because here in Trinidad, the word fag and cigarette are in no way synonymous!

My further analysis of the sign revealed the following:
Are the laws somehow being flipped, reversed or revised? To me it seems as though things which were once considered to be unlawful, undesirable or even abominations yesterday, are now lawful, desirable and acceptable today and vice versa!

Are the persons applying these "laws" attempting to convert the entire population into "health conscious" people or some kind of "Health Cult"? It looks more like force to me. It is said that the health care system has a lot to be desired. The hospitals have no beds, equipment, medicines or even capable staff in some instances. Ahhhhh I get it! They are attempting to keep us AWAY from the hospitals to begin with? Is it a way of "nipping the problem in the bud" without having to deal with a more critical issue?

I read something in a newspaper one day which confirmed a very painful truth. There really are a lot of absolutely stupid MOFO's in existence who have no idea of what their rights are! The following was said by a 42 year old man when asked if he advocated the new "laws" against smoking and drinking, and his response was:

"Yes I believe that the laws are good because if you do not live a healthy life then you can die!"

After my initial fit of laughter, I was overcome with anger because of the sheer stupidity of that answer. I was wondering if his healthy life would somehow lead to immortal stupidity!

Would education not be a better, longer lasting and more effective approach as opposed to direct force? Many people are beginning to feel bit by bit that their rights are being infringed upon and I agree! I believe that it is entirely my right to partake in things that may or may NOT be good for me!

Isn't a bar a "private place which is accessible to the public"? If I tell all my friends to come to my place to relax, eat, drink, smoke and have a good time, will I BE breaking the law?

I do not think that I will be returning to any bars anytime soon. Hey, I have an idea. Maybe if they design a bar where one is searched for cigarettes upon entering and if one wishes to smoke one has to do 50 push-ups, 50 abdominal crunches and run 1 mile? Sure one will be able to smoke...but also think of the "health benefits".

I got another idea. I SHOULD open a bar or a club which would be suitably dubbed "The Smoking Section". Anyone found NOT smoking SHOULD then be charged with breaking a law of some kind! What do you guys think about that? In the meantime, I could do with a cigarette and a cold beer, but where should I go?