I’ve been working as a police dispatcher for the past 11 years. During those 11 years, I’ve worked every shift from days, mids, swings and graves. I guess you could say I am good at rotating and being flexible with my schedule. It isn’t easy to uproot your schedule when it is time to change shifts but over time you just learn how to and adapt to your environment.
Last year sometime after I returned to ISP, the idea of a shift bid started floating around. For those that aren’t familiar with a shift bid it is basically a way of picking your “preferred shift” usually based on seniority within the agency. We had a shift bid when I worked at the prison and being a new employee, I was always one of the last ones to pick my shift so you sort of get to pick from whatever shift is left. Maybe that is a desirable shift to you and not to another or vice versa.
Once the topic of shift bid became known all the employees that have been here a while started to get excited. Most people said they wanted the same shift all year so they could plan their lives and events accordingly. I personally liked our current schedule rotation as we were guaranteed weekends off every six weeks. But, I was in the minority. The other excitement involved getting to pick shifts based on seniority to “reward” those employees who have been with the agency the longest by letting them pick their shift first. Well, since I left the agency for six months and returned before the shift bid was even a forethought. However, it was decided that I would not be getting my seniority back and instead I would be bidding based on my most recent hire date with ISP: January 11, 2016.
I went through all the stages of grief and finally came to acceptance. I was going to accept whatever fate the cards dealt and I’d work whatever shift was left. I figured there had to be a reason I went from number three in seniority to now the second from the bottom. My worst fate came true and the four graveyard shifts (one with Saturday, Sunday, Monday off and one with Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday off) is all that was left when it came time for the bottom four to pick their shifts. My fate was sealed: graveyard shift for an entire year.
2017 has just begun and I’ll tell ya, I’m depressed! It is common for me to feel SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) during the winter months when I work graveyard shift.
What is SAD? According to WEB MD: “Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that occurs during the same season each year. You may have SAD if you felt depressed during the last two winters but felt much better in spring and summer. Some people may have SAD during the summer months”
I do hope this depression will lift when the warmer months come. It isn’t easy being covered by all this snow and cold weather we have been dealing with either. Kenyon has just switched to graveyard so that helps. I don’t know really it just feels hard. I’ve been pretty depressed coming into work and one day last week had trouble keeping the tears at bay. I texted Kenyon and asked him why we can’t just live off our love.
I am so ready for retirement!
I’m trying to compact SAD and also trying to shift my mindset into having more positive thoughts about coming to work. It is hard to find the shining light in a gray world.