A Shift Change of a Different Kind

2008-12-04 16:12:45.000 – Mike Finnegan,  IT Observer


It is with a similar sentiment as Deb, one of the museum attendants this summer, wrote with after she left the mountain that I write this comment. As we spend eight days on the summit, followed by six days off, we end up spending more time on the mountain than we do at ‘home’. These means we spend a significant amount of time with our coworkers and slowly these fine folks transition from being merely coworkers to being close friends and indeed, family.

Normally the two shifts simply pass like ships in the night, meeting long enough only to relay information and get what needs to be done, done. It seems the winds of change have gusted this last week, enough to pick me up and land me on this shift’s ship. Looking around, my summit family is gone: to Hawaii, to a wedding, preparing for a Christmas party, and playing with a son. In their place are coworkers. Not to be misunderstood, these are great people, but I am not yet attuned to their lifestyle – what they have come to call home. The music listened to is different. The dinner table conversation follows different lines. The timing of daily events is different: the day to night shift changeover at 6PM, not 5PM and dinner at 7PM, not 5PM. And I am now working days instead of nights like I have the last 7 months (the fog is colored grey instead of black). In short, the overall atmosphere is not the same. Not that I expected it to be, but it will take some time to get used to – these things all take time. I can only imagine how intensely strange it must have been for Tatiana to come here from Russia speaking limited English and knowing that she was here for two straight weeks. Now that’s a change of atmosphere!

So as for now, I will be on the summit until Saturday, and then have a shift and a half off to put me on a regular schedule. Until then I will be looking to form the bonds that make this shift what it is, while contributing what I can (such as a countless number of sheep jokes. Email any good ones to sheepjoke@gmail.com. I need new material!). It is reassuring to know, as Deb can attest, I will not be losing my other summit family. I will simply be working to gain another.


Mike Finnegan,  IT Observer

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