Our Finest Hour

tick tick tick

One of the most common questions I get every March and November (besides why I have a shelf full of squirrels and unicorns) is just how do those of us who work overnights handle the biannual time change.  Unless you live in one of those parts of the country that doesn’t believe in mindfucking the populace twice a year, you hopefully remembered to set your clocks back an hour last night.  If you forgot…. well, you’re probably going to show up a little early for something before long…

Um.... Evil!  It's only 11:00!

Um…. Evil! It’s only 11:00!

Long ago, the powers that be decided that the hour we are going to “save” in March to be used in November is the 2:00 AM hour on Sunday morning.  This decision was obviously made to directly inconvenience as few people as possible… or at least not inconvenience them until they wake up with a sudden case of jet lag.  For us night laborers, however, we have to deal with this manmade quirk we throw into our calendar twice a year while we are still awake… sometimes in the form of having to work a longer or shorter shift, and in making damn sure we are getting paid for an imaginary hour that the timeclock will not recognize…

This would be the worst possible timeclock for my shift.

This would be the worst possible timeclock for my shift.

Since I began working the overnight shift at Mecca in May of 1998, I have been “on the clock” for 32 of the 33 instances where the clock has sprung forward or fallen back in that period… so I have plenty of experience in dealing with DST screwiness.

Before you ask, the lone exception was in April of 1999, when the time change coincided with the night we got off for Easter.

Before you ask, the lone exception was in April of 1999, when the time change coincided with the night we got off for Easter… a holiday we last got a day off for in 2005.

I can only speak for what we do at my Mecca, but generally we end up working our normal shift.  On fall back night, that’s pretty much standard now that we are not supposed to have overtime anymore.  Though there have been a few exceptions from past years where we had to work the extra hour…

Usually by jerkface managers.

Usually by jerkface managers.

The trick when DST ends, though, is making sure whoever’s overseeing the punch log credits all of us who worked that night with that extra ghost hour.  This is either done by adding an hour to the clock out time or simply adding one regular hour’s pay to your paycheck.  The latter solution is a cute way to cheat employees out of overtime if they’d worked it that week… not that Mecca would ever do that!

Live, from corporate Hell.

Live, from corporate Hell.

During spring forward (which of course, now, impossibly happens during the winter), the call on how we work is a little dicier.  Sometimes we are allowed to leave at our regular time, working only seven hours.  And sometimes, they make us work the whole eight and we lose an hour of our lives in the process.  Most of the questions I get concerning DST and graveyard concern whether or not we get paid in March for an hour that technically doesn’t exist.  Sadly, with the lone exception of one year where payroll wasn’t alert enough to subtract an hour from our times, the answer is no… we get paid for what we actually work… and I guess that’s fair.

Not even strippers can earn extra tips when the clocks go ahead.

Not even strippers can earn extra tips when the clocks go ahead.

And of course, there’s the question of exactly how does that extra hour benefit me?  Most of you all “gained” an hour of sleep last night (And lose an hour’s sleep in March).  What, exactly, did I gain by the time switch early this morning?


Don’t you just love philosophical questions about clock games?

Well, I didn’t really gain an hour of work since I was still allowed to leave at what would have been the normal time if our daylight savings plan had continued.  I guess if I can get to bed around the time I normally do on Sunday morning… I’ll technically be just like most people and gain an hour of sleep… just belatedly.  Then again, I’ve used much of my extra time I had this morning catching up on my blog reading I’d been behind on (again), and will probably continue to fall behind on in the coming weeks (Thanks NaNoMoJoPaBloMeGoGo).  And now I’m writing this post… and I rarely attempt both in the same morning, so the chances are, I’ll get just as much sleep today as I normally do on a Sunday.

Which means I'll be like this when that damn alarm goes off...

Which means I’ll be like this when that damn alarm goes off…

random rantAs for the whole concept of Daylight Savings Time itself…. well, I find it really cute that our lives are so tied to a clock that we invented, that we have to actually fudge the time twice a year to keep more of the sun in our lives.  Contrary to what some politicians may believe, DST does not cause there to be more sunlight… it just means Mickey’s short hand is going to be in a different place when the sun rises and sets each day than it otherwise would have been.  This could only matter to human beings who refuse to set their routines to the sun’s rays like animals have been for millions of years, and still do today.

Chicago was never more correct about knowing what time it is.

Chicago was never more correct about knowing what time it is.

So whether you’ve gained an hour of something today, or just lost five minutes of your life you’ll never get back reading this shitty blog post… take some of that time you borrowed from March  gained to ponder just why in the hell we go through this rigamarole every year anyway.  Just what are we saving by moving a late night winter hour to a dark November night?  Would it kill anyone to actually take advantage of the fullness of summer’s sunlight and just get up at 5:00 in the morning?

Are you fucking out of your mind!?!?

Are you fucking out of your mind!?!?

And why do we still call it “standard time” when we only get to experience it four months out of the year now thanks to the ever expanding reach of Daylight Time?

Someone fetch the address of my Congresscritter!

Someone fetch the address of my Congresscritter!

Hope you had fun falling back and gaining something other than a few pounds of belly fat.  And don’t forget that Daylight Savings Time is officially sponsored by those nagging people who want us to check our smoke detector batteries…

Don't make Fire Marshall Bill come by and check your batteries in person...

Don’t make Fire Marshall Bill come by and check your batteries in person…


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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31 Responses to Our Finest Hour

  1. markbialczak says:

    I know. Standard is hardly anymore, Bill. Big beef of mine, about the name and the creeping weeks of Daylight Savings on both end. Because, as you stated so well: Nobody’s saving any daylight, people, just changing when it is in the order of the day. Idjits.

  2. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Bad memories…timekeeping…24 hour operations…shift work…having to explain alternate schedules over and over….ARRRRGGH!

    *runs from post*

  3. Drives me a bit crazy too. Plus it’s not good for anyone who works on a farm or has small children or pets who don’t bother with things like the time anyway!!

  4. that’s a good point… why our whole life is tied to a clock?

  5. Gibber says:

    I freakin hate the time change. We did forget to change the clocks for the first time ever. Good thing we had nowhere to be.

  6. It always screws up my (ha ha ha) sleep (insomnia) cycle. And it’s stupid. Pick a time. Leave it be. It’s all made up anyway. There IS no time. Just clocks measuring something that doesn’t exist so we can sell calendars.

  7. Scott says:

    I watched the clock go from 1:59 to 1:00 this morning. It was weird.

  8. draliman says:

    I never thought how it would affect overnight workers.
    Our DST (British Summer Time) lasts for 6 months – we went back to GMT (UTC) last week. There are often calls to abolish it, but the main argument seems to be about the kids getting to school and back in the daylight as much as possible, to reduce road casualties. However, the north of Scotland always has a problem since they get a lot less daylight than those of us down south, so they’d rather stay permanently on either GMT or BST, I forget which. Since they voted against independence I guess that ain’t gonna happen.

    • That illustrates the problem of us being slaves to the clock. If lack of morning daylight is a problem, schedule school in the winter months an hour later. Why make everyone go through all the stress of time warping just to save a few lives?

  9. Fun article – I enjoyed reading it BUT I LOVE the drawing of the skunk and possum in bed. That is sooooooo firiggin CUTE.

    • Thanks! I originally drew that for my post I did questioning people’s love affair with the snooze button. Now that I’ve got that on my mind again, maybe we need a snooze button for the time change… that way we can each set our clocks forward or backward when it’s convenient for us!

  10. gentlestitches says:

    we end up with infinite time zones in one country! 😦

    • Infinite time zones… now there’s a concept!

      And for some reason, this reminded me of one of my favorite puzzles, which I’ll now present for you and Shane to attempt to solve… 🙂

      Wiki and Tiki are identical twins who were born 10 minutes apart. Today happens to be Wiki’s birthday. Two days later, his older brother Tiki will celebrate his birthday. How is this possible?

  11. merbear74 says:

    Dude, it totally screwed up my routine..I ended up going to bed last night at 6pm…and woke up today at 5:45 am. It’s all wonky and stupid.

    • Well, it looks like you gained several hours of sleep then!

      I crashed that long once after I’d stayed up for 31 hours… now I don’t think my back would even let me stay in bed that long!

  12. HappyApathy says:

    It doesn’t mean as much when you’re unemployed, but I hear ya.

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