La notte

After some nights and the weekend rounds I am finally in the safe harbour of my desk. Some translations must be done tomorrow, another job application must be written, the last before Christmas. The shift schedule is “done”, but the infight is on – I do not care too much, because “Stunden bringen’s Geld”, hours count and bring money. On 31st I’ll do a twelve hours shift and will start the new year with a premium prospect on the fireworks.
It’s difficult to change the rhythm, the body does not want to sleep when necessary. So the day off in between is mostly lost, sooner or later one crashes. Sometimes I am pretty grumpy and uncommunicative and find it hard to connect to people around me on daytime.
I developed a routine on the job and it works well. Dark or half lit rooms do not disturb me, mostly. Only when tired or stressed things can tend to slip a little sideways. One co-worker confessed to me that he always switches lights, he can’t stand walking into darkness. He’s an experienced man and really no coward. It’s simply the blackness.
When you are alone in a building in the middle of the night simple sounds do sound different. One must be in possession of one self and keep control over the imagination and know what to watch out for. At the labs in this time of the year most people are on vacancy, not too many experiments are going and few machines run through the night, so it has become significantly more quiet there. The bad-karma-place is well lit, but really everybody I was talking to and who has to deal with that complex, does not like it. It’s pure concrete stuffed with technical equipment, cables, pumplines, controlls, aircon, filters and these lovely heavy security doors, locks, and endless concrete corridors in greenish light – think “Half live”.
Here I learned to love keys. You have to enter and walk to a door that leads outside, which naturally has to be locked. It’s at the end of one of those corridors, no detour here, no rooms. When I did that for the first time alone I turned around and looked along this corridor onto another closed door, the one I entered. No card reader there and I did not check the lock before I entered. It’s subterranean and a thick concrete construction. The next available colleague sits in another building, but in this corridor is no phone, and even if there would be one I do not know the number. The key worked.
Since this moment of panic I always have a phone number with me, a working cell phone, and I always know how to get out, where my keys work. Security normally has a “General-Schlüssel”, but there are areas I can not enter, at least in the bad-karma-place. The cards are for the birds by the way – when you need them the card reader is broken, the function you need is not available – or there simply IS NO flucking card-reader.
This job slowly but steadily gets to my substance, I am too old for it. I can do this into spring, February maybe March. But the cost is too high. I have to struggle to keep my mind together, to think properly, read and write, keep in touch with the scientific community … I have not read a new book for months, forget attending conferences.
Anyway – I know and do not forget how money is earned. That puts a lot of things into perspective.


22 thoughts on “La notte

  1. yes, for the cash flow one has to do it.but you have to, you MUST feed the other part too, mister mago the magician, i dont know HOW you do it but you is just too short.and too important.

  2. I hear you. This is a Schicht-household too. Always has been. But they are steady and one can plan their life around them.Your ever-changing kind of shifts are a lot, a lot more difficult to live with.

  3. Life has put you into limbo. We all get it and eventually it passes and hopefully we learn from it. Sometimes there are things in the dark but they only have a hold on you if you give it to them.

  4. Nothing wrong with earning cash and this job will not be without its interesting experience and life lessons too. But I really hate to see your mind and intellect suffer neglect. I hope your job application leads you to greener pastures or at least away from places of bad karma.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Reading a lot of psychological complaints (and comfort to it from readers) about night shift here – and wonder why? There are millions of people doing shift work 40 hours the week their whole life long.What about all the workers in industrial production, hospitals, jails, hotels etc. all around the world, maybe under worst conditions? Is it easier for them, or don’t they have time to complain because of other responsibilities taking their time? Or don’t they mind it because they are born and destinated for jobs like these and don’t suffer from it – in opposite to mago, the intellectual scientist? Or, maybe, they only have to survive, too, and no other chances? And resignated? Or they take it for normal in the hope this struggling brings money for a better life one day? I do not know.On one side, I understand you, mago, on the other side, I think it is something normal and not sooo exceptional to make so much noise around it. Just a job. Even if it is not one of the best, it is just a job. Normalize it – then maybe you are able to change your view on it – and have more energies left to find a better job.I beg your pardon, I don’t want to be cruel. I’m just a realistic person (I hope) …anne-katherine

  6. AustereYes, I will. Actually there is no other chance.AmandaYes it would be nice if it would not change from week to week. But currently I jump in, Stunden klopfen.OutsiderIt will pass.I can not allow something to grab me. I want to come out of these places unharmed and I will.LGSThank you for your sympathy. It is much appreciated!First NationsNo, I did not intend that. It is simply a bad place, a place of death. I have to go through a large production site where a really huge machine is constantly working or in stand-by when I go besides it, it always reminds me of the “Mangler” or how it was called in a flic based on a Stephen King novel. But the place is not bad, it is a working space. You hear that machine “breath”, a steady buzz of electrical current is in the air, one can smell it. I have to go over galleries and above large air-intakes and compressors – if you stand beside such a construction and it starts automatically you feel the thick cement floors vibrating and the noise is deafening. It is in constant use except for some hours on Saturday. But after all it is a place where humans work, sweat and curse, have a coffee and a cig.The bad-karma-place is sterile, the human being is a strange particle there. It’s built in a way that anything that in an accident could be set free inside the complex is to be contained inside the building. That’s why I get very nervous in there if I see or hear an alarm and become very nasty when the responsible station I have to phone does not act or gives me some nonsense like “Oh I do not know what to do.” After all it is a genetic lab with potential bio-hazard and one of the highest security levels – they have to act.

  7. Anonymous Anne-KatherineIn my view I do not complain a lot: I do a job and describe it. Insinuating I’d see myself as something “better” then people that “are born and destinated for jobs like these and don’t suffer from it – in opposite to mago, the intellectual scientist” comes a little bold. I am sorry if my writing and the topics I choose is not to your taste. I write about me and my life, not about the suffering of the working-class around the world. Thank you for the good advice to “normalize it”, whatever that means. If you suggest to put my job and actual situation into relation to other jobs and situations – nice idea: To whom or what should I compare it? And what for? To stop my seemingly unbearable whimpering? To “change your view on it” – did I explain my view on this job here? I do not think so.

  8. Shift work is difficult! I have done it myself and I can relate. Some people can adapt to it better than others but shift work does make certain demands on a person such as turning night to day and day to night. It makes demands on your friends, family and social life. It’s part of the work. I admire those who can adapt to it but it is a difficult thing nonetheless. I am sure all of us can tough it out for awhile but not many can make it a career.For me it is like working in a coal mine. If I had to, I’d do it but it is a tough job and it is bad for the health. I wish no one had to do it. If I had a choice, I would rather spend the day in the sun than down in the pitch black of a coal mine breathing coal dust.Having said that, life is such that for many of us, there will be a time that we have to spend in the pits before we can move to higher ground but it would surely be foolish not to want to go to higher ground if we could.(This in part is a reply to Anne- Katherine)

  9. Good Grief. How people can not understand not every job makes us jump for joy. You have done many better things and wanting to do them again isn’t wrong. Hope your back to your other job soon.Its a good thing Anne-Katherine wasn’t around when I had a few bad times at my job. :o)

  10. Hello Mago dear!You know we’ve been like blog mates for over two years now! I feel like we should have a party of something, but I haven’t ever had the time to really figure out how to host a virtual party yet. And who would be the poor sucker that’s got to get up at some crazy hour to attend? People shouldn’t type when they are tired. They often say things they regret. You, me, Austere, LGS and some of the others, it’s been quite a long time. Although Portia joined later, I’d say she fit right in. This isn’t goodbye or anything. I just like reflecting on this curious relationship we all have. All made by data packets shooting through data cables from every end of the world/ It’s lovely and curious.Take Care!Prx

  11. Having done shift work for years, first being on day shift and then the graveyard shift – alternating back and forth……. I know that it is hard on those working that way. I did night shifts only for a few years because it was better for me to work while my kids were asleep and to be home when they were. However it was still very hard. I believe the majority of people have problems with shift work no matter where they work. SOme do okay if they stick to one specific shift all the time but not all.

  12. Shift work is hard for everyone, no matter what their background. Even those, who claim to have no trouble with it, eventually will if they do it long enough. I know several people who have spent their entire life doing it and I have great respect for them. Their company’s pension plans are the safest bet imaginable: it rarely has to make out a lot of payments. Assuming the workers live long enough to be pensioners…

  13. no matter what the type of work you do, it’s called w-o-r-k for a reason. people seem to think that what i do is a <>breeze<> because i don’t work regular hours or all the time. it appears to be an easy job, but the reality is anything but that. you’ve “heard” me rant about the <>darmdarkmorning<> hours i sometimes keep, but in context or rather, compared to your gig, it could seem as if i was whining, when in fact, i was just venting about my situation. all of this is to say, we each have our view of our jobs, our lives, our waistlines – but bottomline, we share our stories here and share our humanity, not to judge or advise, but to converse over a cuppa and a smoke (ok, not literally, but you KNOW what i mean). friends and kindred spirits, sugar, that’s how i see it! xoxox

  14. Anna-Katherine oughta try night shift work sometime. Of course you know I can completely relate to everything you’re saying. Night shift work totally screws up your body’s rhythms. I’ve been doing it for almost seven years this time. Did it several other times before that. Anyone who doesn’t believe that it screws you up can just take a look at all the studies out there that say otherwise. So, to those that would call us night shift workers whiny bags, do your research before you type. Or else I’ll wish a night shift job on you!

  15. Just in case anyone thinks all I do is complain (I happen to enjoy complaining, so I do it quite a bit) there are things that I like about working the night shift at my particular place of employment. The big one? NO FRICKIN’ ADMINISTRATORS!

  16. Anonymous says:

    I’m estonished to get so much attention.Lone Grey Squirrel, “… there will be a time that we have to spend in the pits …but it would surely be foolish not to want to go to higher ground if we could.” – I agree.Lily Strange, “… Or else I’ll wish a night shift job on you!” – I had it already and know what I’m talking about, thank you very much. And I can tell you that there are jobs “worster” than this one which I experienced, too.I understand savanna: “… but bottomline, we share our stories here and share our humanity, not to judge or advise, but to converse over a cuppa and a smoke …” – that’s why I excuse myself a lot having disturbed this little special community (which Proxima Blue is emphasizing). Maybe I’m not a true “blogger person”. Sorry. I only tried it.But I feel I’m not sensible enough for this kind of “tightrope walk” …I beg your pardon, mago. Maybe you should close this chapter and start a new topic?Best wishes to you allanne-katherine

  17. I worked night shifts, day shifts, mid shifts and what I called graveyard shifts all in the same job some times a day shift after a night shift. In a crap job any shift is a bad one.Constant nights are horrible and draining and being exhausted during a day off is a waste. Many people work night shifts and not out of choice. Mago you are an intellectual type and I salute you doing a survival job like this. You have the chance to learn from this and I hope you do.Blogs are like diaries and are an outlet. I ‘need’ mine right now as sometimes you can’t tell real life people the things on blogs or have told them already.

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