Friday, January 16, 2009

Endurance

When I interview applicants for the nightshift, I tell them that it takes a very tough person to do the job. Anyone who dislikes being alone, is afraid of the dark and/or can’t withstand extremes in temperature is not a viable candidate. Nightshift is one person. Most of the lights in the building are off. The few that are still on are dimmed. The climate control is also off at night meaning that there is no air conditioning in the summer and no heat in the winter. The only exception is the room where the servers reside which is kept at a constant 68°F (20°C) for the well-being of sensitive equipment.

There is a joke in our office that the nightshift goes into the Data Center to cool off in the summer and to warm up in the winter. I tell interviewees that it is no joke. It is very true. One of the good things about the job is that there is no dress code for the nightshift, so we can dress appropriately. One man claims to strip down to his underwear on hot summer nights. I’ve worked chilly weekends in fleece pajamas.

The current cold snap is testing the endurance of the nightshift. I’m glad that I work second shift now and can leave at midnight, before the building has significantly cooled off. It’s not too awful during the week when there is some residual heat from the day. The real torture will come this weekend, especially Sunday night after two full days of no heat.

I remember those nights. Huddled in my parka at my desk. Typing with gloves on. Trying to answer the phone while wearing ear muffs. And when I couldn’t take it any longer, going into the Data Center to warm up. 68° felt balmy.

This is our last heatless winter. My employer has bought a building and plans to move in the spring. We will no longer be at the mercy of a landlord. The nightshift has been promised heat and air conditioning.

And lights. I guess I’ll have to come up with a new motto. We’ll no longer be able to claim:

"ACL NIGHTSHIFT – WE DO IT IN THE DARK"

2 comments:

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Sounds great! I grew up in a house where only the living room was heated and remember many an hour spend doing my homework in my very cold, not to say freezing room.

OldRoses said...

Kudoes to you, YE, I couldn't possibly have done that. My brain freezes in the cold.