After midnights

by Vicki, Office Manager at the Micah Center

When the entire St John’s team transitioned to an all-out effort to safely see our guests through the Covid-19 pandemic, many staff members shifted from their usual roles into sheltering roles. I was added as support to the team at St John’s on the morning shift. That word, ‘morning’ brings to mind images of sunrise and breakfast. These are definitely part of my new routine, but truth be told, my shift begins at midnight, so it has a lot more tip-toeing and trying not to wake anyone than enjoying fresh coffee and gobbling egg bake.

Getting into a good rhythm for the midnight shift has not been too difficult — but I just completed my first week. I thought I would share some of my discoveries.

Just like the tooth fairy, staff who start working at midnight can do delightful things. If you are task-oriented, then the possibilities are endless. This week the morning crew finished projects that were in progress for a long time in the upstairs staff area, we sorted and organized the staff office, and completed all the usual tasks that put the hubbub of days and nights back into readiness.

Unlike first or second shift, third shift requires strategic approaches to eating and sleeping. First, I tried eating at the end of my shift. Although a plate piled with eggs, potatoes and cheese is a wonderful reward, resting on a full stomach isn’t a good thing. I also tried not eating before sleeping, but the grumbling of an empty stomach and thoughts of all the foods I’d like to be eating, kept me awake. The ideal time to eat, as confirmed by my midnight mentors, is mid-shift, about 3:30 am. Eat whatever you want, and you’ll be ready to power through the shift and then rest.

I haven’t quite determined how to have a life while working multiple midnights in a row. I tend to find myself lying down all the time between 8:00 am and 11:00 pm. I don’t sleep soundly, I just nap constantly. I did give in to the pull of lethargy on the day before my fifth midnight. I did it on purpose so I would be able to have a ‘normal’ life for my two days off. We’ll see how it works out.

In these odd and frightening times, I am finding simple joys …bonding with brave colleagues, appreciating the talents of guests, and evolving new routines to meet new realities. Be safe. Be well. Pray for us.

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