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Continental shifts - do you or your DP/DH work them? Are they good or a nightmare?

(17 Posts)
bintofbohemia Sat 30-Oct-10 11:23:07

DH has an interview for a job with continental shifts - 2 days on, 2 nights on, 4 days off.

The pay's not brilliant but it will hopefully get us moved to where we want to be, it will be a good career job for DH and most importantly it's a permanent contract which DH hasn't had for over a year (and with things looking a bit grim in the next few years a permanent job would be a huge bonus, we're a bit tired of flying by the seat of our pants!)

The only downer is that apart from it being an hours commute each way (on top of a 12 hour shift) - does working these patterns screw you up? If you switch between day and night shifts on a pattern like this does it not mess up your body clock? And does having four days off work well or is it all a bit annoying and random? There'll be a couple of days where DH won't see the DCs but I suppose there'll be other days where he can make up for it. It might limit my ability to work regular hours and manage childcare too.

Does it work for you? Any advice/thoughts please?

KatyMac Sat 30-Oct-10 11:26:53

As a childminder I have found this impossible to provide care for without you having to pay for sessions you don't really need.


KatyMac Sat 30-Oct-10 11:27:14

BTW - Good luck to him

bintofbohemia Sat 30-Oct-10 11:35:20

Hmmm. That's the thing, I'm a SAHM at the moment (not through choice but economic ncessity!) but I will need to find some sort of work to cover the shortfall (and preferably without paying for childcare or it defeats the object!)

God I really need to work for myself from home, that's the only way we can pull in extra cash and not pay for childcare. hmm

KatyMac Sat 30-Oct-10 11:48:29

How old are you children, could you childmind?

bintofbohemia Sat 30-Oct-10 11:58:04

They are two and four. I dunno if I'd be any good at chidminding, the two I have drive me barmy. wink

KatyMac Sat 30-Oct-10 12:01:02

OK What about bank work?

Either in shops/old peoples homes/nurseries/temping in offices?

That way they ask you to work & you can say yes/no depending on what DH is doing

bintofbohemia Sat 30-Oct-10 12:13:06

Yeah, I'm going to look into all available options (if he gets the job!) I wouldn't mind going back full or part time to be honest, not sure what the job market's like that way on but hopefully there'll be something! THanks for the tips. I could maybe do school pick ups and look after children for a few hours after school but I'm guessing I'd have to do loads of qualifications to get to that point?

brimfull Sat 30-Oct-10 12:18:14

The switching from nights to days every week would be terrible for me.
I would be a wreck on the 4days off .
I did 2 nights /week and i felt like shit as my body clock was so messed up.

bintofbohemia Sat 30-Oct-10 12:30:53

ggirl - that's what I thought. I don't think I woudl cope with that although DH is optimistic! I'm also a bit worried about how it would impact on our family time, being a SAHM I live for the weekend when we all get to spend time together and I worry we'll move somewhere new and DH'll end up working weekends and it'll be me and the kids on our own the whole time.

I think it'll probably be a quick fix to get us moved and he'll keep looking for other work or see if there's chance of moving into more regular shifts where he is. It's not ideal by any stretch but hopefully it'll be a means to an end.

estya Mon 01-Nov-10 10:35:52

These hours are common in my industry and people feel its the best combination of days/nights.
I also do 12 hours and travel an hour each way and, on top of a handover/normal messing around before & after shift, its a VERY long day - I get sooooo tired.
But your husband will only be doing 2 of these in a row.

Then 2 nights isn't long enough to get nocturnal so it doesn't effect your life too much (the other common pattern in 4days/4off/4nights/4off - after 4 nights you feel really rubbish and loose half of your days off - think how you feel for the first few days in australia - its exactly the same - Anyway, 2 nights isn't quite enough to upset your body clock in this way)

The downsides:
1. His days off will feel shrunk because he'll get home on his day off, and sleep for half of it.
2. Not seeing the kids - not sure what I'm going to do when i go back (now on mat leave) because I don't think i can do 14-15 hours/day out of the house & then be a mother.
3. Family life - I really don't like spending weekends/evenings etc at work.
4. I find the work less satisfying because there is much less contact with my collegues/boss/other departments. He may feel quite isolated compared to a days based role.

1. Money - tends to pay more than 9-5 type roles at the same level.
2. Considered the best of the shift rotas so if he has got to do it, this is the one to do.
3. Efficient - including travel time, getting ready for work, all the hours that are taken up by work without actually being there, he'll have more time off than people working 5 days/week.
4. Less childcare costs if you do go back to work (as he'll have mid-week days off - but you'll need to find quite flexible childcare)
5. Doing shifts is often a 'way in' to a company - its much easier for them to fill days based roles and they don't come up so often. Its likely to be easier for your husband to get a days role once he has 'proved himself' and shown to be flexible on shifts etc.

bintofbohemia Mon 01-Nov-10 14:05:59

estya - really useful post, thank you so much! Have just cut and pasted for DH.

If I could find work and a really flexible childminder I guess this could really work in our favour. DH is much more positive about the whole thing today as it's a good company and should do his career some good (if he gets it!) They're taking on two people for the same role so hopefully that'll up his odds too.

THanks again. smile

agedknees Wed 03-Nov-10 19:21:44

Have also done this type of shift work. I think your dh should be ok because he is only doing 2 nights and has the 4 days off afterwards.

Will keep my fingers crossed that he gets the job.

Lizcat Wed 03-Nov-10 19:28:50

I employ a mum whose husband works these shifts and we work her hours around his shifts so they have no childcare to pay. We are out there the employers who are not scared of this.

bintofbohemia Wed 03-Nov-10 22:23:43

Thank you. First interview tomorrow. Can't wait!

Lizcat - hope I can find an employer like you! What sort of business are you?

KathH Thu 04-Nov-10 21:54:45

Dh works these shifts. I hate it! But if its any help he loves it. The only time he has any trouble is when he does a day and then he's doing a night the following shift. He goes to bed as usual and has enough sleep but then he has to try to go back to bed to make sure he's not over tired for that night shift. Also its a bit of a nightmare as in school holidays etc no one dare breathe in case it wakes him up and I cant get on with any housework like hoovering. Also it means I have to do all the running around with football, clubs etc as when he's on days he's back to late and when he's on nights he's out too early. He likes the fact that when he has his days off in the week that he gets them to himself and can tiddle off playing golf etc whereas when I'm off my days off at the weekend consist of running round after the kids. He works 3 days, 4 nights and then 4 days off then 4 days, 3 nights and 3 days off. You can also guarantee if there's anything going on he's on the wrong shift. When he changed to this job we kept our childminder full time as it was easier then trying to work out on which days he would be at work or would need to go to bed etc

bintofbohemia Mon 08-Nov-10 11:17:17

Kath, that sounds a bit of a nightmare. DH did used to have a job that involved shift patterns and that used to drive me up the wall, and they were no way near as bad as the continental shifts!

He went for the interview last week and I think the commute decided it. We actually drove it and it's mental to drive two hours a day on top of 12 hours shifts. So that's out of the equation now! (Fortunately he's found something else on the doorstep with regular hours. The money's rubbish but you can't have it all I guess!)

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