Bland Stuff · Gripes

Pros and Cons of Morning Shifts: a Discussion

I’m not a morning person. Like, not at all. It takes me four alarms and two coffees to get going, and even then I’m bleary-eyed and croaky-voiced. I had to turn down a ludicrously well-paid job as a breakfast waitress because I knew I wouldn’t be able to hack the early starts – there was no way I’d be turning up to that job appropriately bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Honestly, I also reject any kind of job which requires me to wear black and white, especially since the shoes I’d panic bought for the interview were a little too small and shredded my feet like a cheese grater.

Illustrative picture of breakfast

I just don’t flourish in those kinds of conditions.

Then again, I’m not too sore about it: there’s something I mistrust about people who can function normally at 5am, and if they start claiming it’s the best time of the day, I actively avoid them and their seditious lies. Let’s be honest: no one likes that one person who rocks up to a 9am lecture looking like bluebirds made their bed. Have some decency and look how we feel – like you left most of your brain on your pillow.

That said, I’m not really a night owl either. Come 9 o’clock, I’ll either be settling in to my knitting (on a particularly active day) or snuggling into my pillows (if I missed my traditional 2 o’clock nap). 

Maybe it comes from my constant compulsion to complain about everything, or maybe there really is something wrong with my circadian cycles, but I do seem to spend 80% of the hours I’m awake wishing I weren’t. I’m beginning to realise that I’m neither a night person nor a morning person; in fact, sometimes I doubt that I’m a person at all.

Illustrative workplace photo

The day before yesterday was a special day for me: it was my last shift at what I consider my first “proper” job – I was working as a receptionist in one of Prague’s largest hostels. The job was largely composed of telling people where the lift was, explaining that we use crowns not euros, and directing people to the nearest, largest seller of cheap Pilsner. (Hint: in Prague, the nearest, largest, cheapest pub is always very near, large, and cheap.)

After a childhood and adolescence full of carefree frolicking and pointless study, the realities of having to “get up” and “do things” hit me pretty hard. That said, despite what I consider a congenital allergy to productivity, I like to think I overcame my natural barriers and came to be a valued and useful receptionist. I don’t normally toot my own trumpet, preferring others to toot it for me, but I think that towards the end of my tenure I became a decent receptionist, particularly if the alternative was No Receptionist.

My last shift was also one of the first morning shifts I’d ever done, and it was quite a departure from my typical afternoon shift. My normal working day at Plus Prague Hotel & Hostel ran from three in the afternoon until eleven at night, although my general idiocy usually meant I was still trying to balance my till at midnight. You can imagine, then, the sheer pain I went through to get myself to work eight hours earlier than usual. It was an upsetting and deeply disorientating experience.

On the other hand, I will say this for morning shifts: you finish early. I was shocked and delighted to ride the tram home in the light. It was a revelation to get back to my neighbourhood before all the shops closed. Imagine – I could buy bread! I could get food that wasn’t from the 24 hour Mexican with its nightmarish mixture of coriander and gloopy salsa.

In order to collect my thoughts about the whole experience, I’ve decided to compile a +/- list.

Plus Prague Hotel and Hostel morning shift – plusesPlus Prague Hotel and Hostel morning shift – minuses
– Looking at the people on the tram at 6am
– Frost on the window of the tram
– Breakfast (free)
– Finished work at 3pm
– Relaxed shift, so managed to read a chapter of my book
– No need to call the police
– Got to speak Russian 
– Got to speak French
-Being reminded that mornings exist
– Tram was cold
-Breakfast (not that nice)
-Tired, so went to bed at 8pm
-Favourite character died
– Did have to reset the fire alarm
– Got addressed as ‘girl’, as in, “Tell me, girl, how do I get to the centre?”
– Spoke French very badly (namely, with regards to the subjunctive)

Overall, then, a mixed bag. Farewell Plus Prague Hotel and Hostel, I hardly knew ye – that’s why I always sent people to the wrong rooms.

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2 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Morning Shifts: a Discussion

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