Because our society demands services at all times, businesses find the need to keep operating around the clock. Many years ago, these types of businesses were mostly in manufacturing, security and transportation. Now we see these shift work jobs in office and clerical positions as well. For instance, there are help desk associates, telemarketers and collection personnel that work at night. If you stop into a large corporation, you will find someone monitoring computer systems. This aside, the majority of night workers are those in service, such as police, fire, EMT, waiters, cooks, cleaners, nurses, and security. There is also a large majority working as factory operators and laborers.
If you are an employee setting out to work at night, you may be a little confused about terminology. You need to understand what certain phrases mean because you want a job that fits your schedule. Here are some of the terms used by employers who hire for night shifts.
2nd Shift - Evening Shift - Swing Shift
Hours from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m.
3rd Shift - Graveyard Shift - Overnight Shift
Hours from 12 a.m. to 7 a.m.
Your schedule changes from overnights to 2nd shift to days.
Clockwise shift rotation
Your schedule moves from days to 2nd shift to 3rd shifts.
40 hours is worked in fewer than 5 days, often with 12 hour shifts.
A business operates 24 hours a day
Counterclockwise shift rotation
Shift schedules that rotate from overnights to 2nd shifts to daytime hours.
These are hours typically between 8 and 4 p.m.
Two back to back shifts worked within 24 hours.
This is also called a 2nd shift or afternoon shift. It is scheduled between 4 o’clock and midnight.
Extended duty hours
Extra-long shifts that don’t allow the worker to get proper rest.
Your shift hours don’t change or rotate.
The employer allows the employer to choose hours to work with a set amount of hours that must be worked. There may be certain hours when the employee has to be there.
Shifts rotate in a forward motion from days to afternoons to graveyard shifts.
A position that has you scheduled for 35 hours or more per week. This usually allows for company benefits.
There is not a predictable shift rotation. Shifts are assigned at random.
A person who works at more than one company.
A shift that has hours outside of the daytime hours of 9 to 4 or 5 p.m.
Nonstandard work schedule
Standard hours are morning to afternoon. Nonstandard hours are shifts worked after or before those hours.
This is also called graveyard shift and 3rd shift. These are hours worked from midnight to 7 in the morning.
Hours that are worked after 40 hours are worked. Overtime hours are usually paid with a premium unless the worker is salaried.
Employees are rotated to different shifts on a regular basis. This can happen over a few days or over weeks.
These are hours worked after 4 p.m. or before 8 a.m. Other names for shiftwork are 2nd shift, 3rd shift, night shift, split shift, rotating shift, afternoon shift, midnight shift and graveyard shift.
If you are searching online for an evening or overnight job, look for terms such as “shift”, “night”, “overnight”, “2nd shift”, “3rd shift”, “graveyard shift”, “swing shift” and “part time night jobs”. Also check for weekend jobs. Employers often hire people without much thought because these jobs are hard to fill. This is an advantage to you, especially if you just want to get your foot in the door to a good day job.