Wednesday (or late Tuesday night) is National Third Shift Workers Day. It's observerd on the second Wednesday of May.

This day was created to honor all workers, who work hard through the night (night after night).  While sometimes the job keeps a manufacturer running 24 hours a day, other third shifts keep us safe through the night. Third shifts are certainly not new to hospital workers or emergency personnel.  Other third shift workers keep cities running without a hitch.

Regardless of their duties, the time of day they are performed can make life unusual and sometimes difficult.

Growing up, my dad spend several years working overnight, in a factory then for a newspaper. He scarified his sleep for the better pay for our family.

I worked overnight for may years as well, first at a radio station when I went back to college to finish my degree. That, by the way, was the only time I liked 8:00 AM classes. And when I has some evening classes I was the only one ever late because I overslept. I also, spent a little time doing overnights in big box stores.

Overnight people start their week on Sunday night and can keep the party going on Fridays. They are first in line at the bank and doing the family grocery shopping at midnight. Taking the kids to school is the last thing they have to do in a day. In the days of 'free nights and weekend' they were kings and queens of the cell phones. They take sweet revenge on the people that think they have to mow at the ungodly hour of 11:00 AM, by doing household chores and repairs at 5:00 AM. They never deal with traffic, and forget that during the day the stoplights have a different meaning. In the winter they may not see the sun for days at a time, but in the summer they get to miss out on the hottest part of the day. And they have a relationship with coffee that few can understand.

So, let me take this opportunity to send lots of love to all the third shift, night crews and overnighters out there. Thank you for what you do. You keep our 24 hour world functioning. You clean up after day shift and make sure everything is set for the next day. Police and healthcare people work all day and all night. Nurses, doctors, 911 operators, and all the other law enforcement and hospital support people.

Also, don't forget the crew that fix electrical line when they go out at night. All the snow plow drivers! Everybody monitoring power plants, water plants and where ever there's a need for a human to keep an eye on our computerized world. Shout out to all the folks on the lines, on the factory floors and running the machines. And love to the servers, bussers, cooks and delivery people that keep them all fed.

I can't forget about the cleaning crews. You know why that office you use all day isn't all stinky and gross? It's because of the hard work of the cleaning crews. Dumping trash, cleaning floors and taking care of that 'issue' you had in the bathroom and the mess it left.

I have a special place in my heart for all the overnight retail workers. They make sure that the stuff you need is on the shelf for you to buy. They are unloading the trucks, stocking and cleaning. I was one of you for a short time, and was always amazed at all the hard work that a crew does to unload, sort, organised and stock one huge retail store. It's a huge, complicated task.

Oh, and love to all the media people out there. There're cutting video, writing news stories and producing newscasts. The morning news my come on TV at 4:00 or 5:00 AM, but the work to make those shows starts well before that. And the newspaper people! Another group of people doing their part to get the day's paper from the printers to your house.

I know I've missed some folks, but to all the people that do what need to be done on the overnights, thank you.

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