Work/Life Balance……. which way does yours tip?

I finished nights on Saturday morning having done 6 days on, coming off nights at 7am.  Four days off.  Hurrah!

The only problem is that you sleep for the majority of the first one, and then there are three days off for you to get everything sorted.  Social/Love/Family life, housework, washing and resting.  Just how do people fit it all in?

I think the hardest thing is when all your friends and family work 9 – 5 Monday to Friday.  I mean, they look forward to their weekends off, and you feel like you are the party pooper, only having 2 weekends off every 10 weeks, and so when you do get time when you will see each other you look forward to it so much, when it doesn’t happen you feel like s**t.

There are a lot of times when you want to be sociable but you can’t because you are working or getting ready for work.  It’s difficult and I have spoken to officers who have difficulties in their marriage/relationships because they aren’t giving them the time and attention that the other person needs.  Its a very difficult place working in the emergency services, and it takes a special kind of person to realise how much you want to be there but that you can’t always do it.  How can a relationship be run with just texts in between shifts.  You need to have that face to face contact.

It takes a good partner to be flexible, willing to move things about at short notice, and be understanding – especially when you’ve had a rubbish week and you have been to some difficult jobs and all you want is for someone there to say ‘it’s okay’.  It’s when they aren’t that officers find it so difficult.  I do believe that there are officers who have relationships in the job because they understand, this can be at times when they are married or not.  It takes a special kind of person to be with someone working under such stressful conditions.

As a female officer I have had issues with colleagues partners/wives because I work with their men and they think that because I spend time with them that it automatically means that I ‘want’ them!  It can be amusing at times, however, it can be bloody annoying too, especially when you would do anything for your colleagues, but not that and it hadn’t even crossed your mind.  There are some officers who become more than colleagues of course and you will share personal information with, but generally I find the less that people know about your personal life the better.  It can be like working at a school playground and before you know it everyone is talking about the latest breakup, drunken night out or whatever they can think of!

I learnt very early on that work is work and when you are at home that is the time do the caring and sharing.  Many officers find this difficult and sometimes there are times when people can’t switch off and take it home whether they like it or not.  This can make things difficult especially if there are also children involved.  How do you explain to a child that Mummy or Daddy isn’t feeling great because he had to pull out a deceased body from a road accident or other incident which, even the best will in the world, they can’t get out of their minds?

It’s okay to talk to your colleagues about incidents we go to, in fact I encourage it.  I do think that you should talk to your partner too, at least once a day, and not just by text, but properly.  The thing we realise doing this job is that life is very short, and you have to make the most of every day, even those days when we are at work.

Lets get the balance right, and if you can’t then it’s time to take a look and see where you can tweak it.  Enjoy.


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