Remember when you were young and you thought it was cool to stay up all night at slumber parties?
Well, I get to do that EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. (minus the slumber parties.)
Now that I’ve got you fuming with jealousy…let me explain a little bit about my job. I work as a producer on KSL’s morning news (watch it). The show starts at 5 a.m. and ends at 7. Which means my shift starts at 11pm the night before. Awesome, right?
Actually, I must say it’s been better than I expected. At first I dreaded the crazy schedule, but I’m managing the perpetual state of jet lag pretty well. On weekdays, I’m on the same sleep schedule as a person in Hong Kong…and on the weekends, I get back to a Utah schedule. Somehow, it works out. If you ever have questions on how to make it through a full-time graveyard shift, just ask. I’m pretty much a pro now.
I’m almost two months into my new position now…and I’ve started to notice a few things about myself, as a producer and as a person.
1. I’m getting really good at multitasking…probably too good at some points. During a typical show…it’s not uncommon for me to be checking traffic cameras, giving the weatherman time cues, talking to my reporter out in the field, writing scripts, and adding and removing stories from my show…simultaneously. Two months ago…that would have killed me. But as I’ve grown used to doing three to five things at once, I’ve realized that my interpersonal communication has become somewhat…fractured? I’ve caught myself on several occasions having a conversation with Brady, when suddenly I stand up to go wash the dishes or put away a pair of shoes. While this may seem like a rude or disinterested behavior…it feels quite normal to me. I’ve found in order to behave like a normal person in conversation, I have to consciously switch out of super-productive mode and into calm, focused mode.
2. Having an 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift is NOT the same as working 9 to 5. 9 to 5 people typically have a lunch break…and can run errands on their way to and from work. Not so with 11 to 7. The only things open on my way to and from work are the gas station and the grocery store.
3. My daily meals now consist of two breakfasts and two snacks. I get home from work at 8 a.m., which my brain knows as breakfast time. I drink a weight loss shake or eat a small bowl of cereal, then I go to bed for the day. But when I wake up in the late afternoon…my body thinks it’s breakfast time again. So I have another bowl of cereal, or other type of breakfast food (I go through a lot more cereal these days). The only problem with that is…the average person’s “dinner time” falls just two hours later. So Brady will eat a full meal, but I only eat a half serving, then I’m full. Not much more than a snack, really. Then I go to work and snack all night.
Another strange eating habit I’ve noticed…I often crave pizza or a burger and fries as I’m driving home in the morning. Unfortunately, (or perhaps fortunately) there are very few fast food or pizza places open at 8 a.m.
4. I use ellipses with unjustifiable frequency (observe the above content of this post…count the number of times, including the one I just typed). This likely stems from broadcast writing habits…when I want the anchor to pause, or add emphasis to a certain point, I use those three magic dots. But it’s trickled into all my forms of written communication…emails, blogposts, even hand-written notes. I fear I am rapidly losing my ability to punctuate correctly.
Broadcast media…it does things to you.
But, all things considered, I honestly love my job. Where else would I be so happy working in the middle of the night? I love what I do, and I love the challenge of putting together a fresh newscast every day.
Life is good.