Shift Swaps

2009-01-12 23:18:21.000 – Mike Carmon,  Observer

Pileus Cloud

A few weeks ago, Mike Finnegan wrote a comment about his thoughts on switching shifts. For better or for worse, members of a shift get to know each other well, develop a rapport with each other, and settle in to a comfortable routine. I spent four months on a shift with Brian Clark and Ryan Knapp as an intern, getting to know them and how they operate on the summit. Well, those ‘winds of change’ that Mike was talking about that landed him on Brian and Ryan’s shift have landed me on Mike’s former shift.

I was hired at the beginning of this year as the sixth full-time observer at the Observatory, which required me to switch shifts and switch to working nights. I was unsure of both switches. Obviously, switching to working nights is a significant physical adjustment-especially when your body has been operating on the opposite schedule for 22 years. Going to bed at 6 a.m., when most are just starting their day, has been an intriguing concept to grasp. Then there is the adjustment to doing observations at night rather than during the day. Most nights this week have been fairly peaceful, not too cold, and bright (thanks to the moon). However, the roar of 100 mph winds is a bit more ominous in the dark, and I’m sure I’ll experience more of these nights than of the former in the next two months. How is the adjustment going? Well, something that has helped is the fact that the night shift is very routine, which keeps me focused on the work and not on fatigue. I have gotten into the swing of things pretty quickly, and am very pleased so far with how my body is adjusting physically-although I wouldn’t mind sleeping past 1 p.m. occasionally!

Then, there is the shift swap-working with a completely new group of people, which is a different kind of adjustment. This one has gone even smoother. I have quickly settled in to life with Steve, Stacey, and Jordan, which has been quite interesting at times. I have done more physical activity (which you can find out more about if you catch this week’s Obscast) than I’ve ever done up here before, but I’ve also probably eaten more than I ever have. Any apprehension I had about switching shifts has evaporated (can you tell I’m a meteorologist?) and I’m looking forward to what’s ahead. Even though there isn’t nearly as much Rock Band played on this shift, and a few of the movie selections have been questionable, there are certainly more wall-sits to look forward to (or not), more dinners that last over a half hour (as opposed to about 15 minutes on the other shift), and of course, more cold, snowy, and windy nights to experience.


Mike Carmon,  Observer

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