Shifting into Third

I’m scared.

If any of you out there happen to be married to a UPS guy, you know that on a regular basis, your UPS guy gets to bid on a new job. UPS and the Teamsters have worked it out so that at each bid, the employees are all sorted by seniority (how long they’ve been in the union) and then they go in this order, top down, to choose what job they want. If they like the current delivery route they’re on, they bid that one and keep it. If there’s another route they would like better that someone with less seniority has, they can take it from them. They can also choose jobs inside the warehouse, like unloading and loading the trucks, or car wash. basically, if you’re a high-seniority guy, you get your pick of everything. If you’re a low-seniority guy, you probably won’t get what you want, you’re left with whatever everyone else didn’t choose.

For my UPS guy, he’s about mid-level in seniority and he’s been tying himself in knots these past few weeks, waiting to see what’s going to happen to him this year. He’s been driving a delivery truck for seven years now and he’s pretty frustrated and worn-out. He’s been hoping to get a job inside the warehouse, which would be nice for him. No more traffic or cold. No dragging a hand cart through a snow drifts. But it also means that he has to work third shift. This terrifies me and just typing “third shift”, my heart rate went up a little.

We found out yesterday that he got the third shift pre-load job, one of the two jobs he was hoping for. I want so badly to be happy for him. He works so hard and he’s been doing the same thing for seven years, wearing the same clothes day after day after day. Meanwhile, I’ve changed jobs three times and I get to put on something new and pretty every day. It doesn’t seem fair and I want him to be happy. But when will I see him? I don’t know.

We’re pretty much attached at the hip when we’re home. If I’m painting or making jewelry, he’s right beside me at the computer. If he’s working on his dirt bike, I’m helping him. We get firewood together, we do yard work together, we watch movies together. This third shift thing is going to change all that. I don’t sleep well when I’m alone in the house and he’s going to be gone the hours that I’ll be sleeping. How’s that going to work? Molly’s pretty psyched because she’s never going to be home alone now. I’ll leave for work and Luke will come home right after that. I’ll get home from work and a few hours later, Luke will leave for work.

When I spell it all out, it seems like it should be fine. As long as he comes home from work and goes to sleep, it should work out. Then he’ll be awake when I get home from work and we’ll be able to spend time together before he leaves and I go to bed. It just sounds so scary. I know there are millions of couples who have been doing this for years. I’ve just never had to think about it and t worries me. So I thought I’d tell you about it. Thanks for listening.



  1. That is scary. I didn’t have quite that experience, but for most of my high school years, my mom worked third shift. She’d leave work, pick me up, drop me off at school, go home and sleep, come get me at the library at 5, we’d have dinner, she’d go to work. Of course, this thrilled me, because I was a teenage girl who hated her mother. ๐Ÿ™‚

    When scary things happen, I just remind myself that everything happens for a reason, even if you can’t figure it out right away. It may be months after he starts, then something will happen, and you’ll say “Ah, now I understand why this had to happen.”

    Good luck to both of you! You and Molly are always welcome to crash on our air mattress if you get scared. ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Big cyber hugs from Massachusetts…You guys will make it work. Jason was in school for the first 5 years we were married and got home just in time to say goodnight. He spent weekends in his office doing his school work and even slept under his desk in a sleeping bag to avoid the sparse weekend train schedule. Somehow you work out quality over quantity and remind yourself that it doesn’t have to be forever.


  3. Honey – I know it’s scary but you’ll be fine. James used to work until 2, 3, 4 o’clock in the morning a few nights a week for years – you just get used to it. Be happy that he’s got something he’s finally excited about, and that he’ll be in better moods overall when he’s home.

    And, um…when are we drinking again?


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