Shift Work Sacrifice


Sitting by my pager, I can’t help but feel pretty down today. It’s my favorite cousin’s bachelorette party, and as the pictures pop up on Facebook, it feels totally unnatural not to be in them. First world problems right? I have a career that I care about, a place to live with the love of my life, a car, a cat, food on the table…

But what’s the point in having a blog if you can’t whine a bit?

This is just the beginning of things I will miss…

My favorite uncle, who is like a grandfather to me, turns 90 this year. Realistically, I will miss one of his last birthday parties.

One of my best friends is getting married in the fall, which I not only had to decline being a bridesmaid in, but attending at all. I will also miss her bachelorette party. During a good cry I had said, “I’m so f*cking sad I’m going to miss your big day!” She said, “Me too, but I know you will be there for other ones. It’s a big day, but it’s just one day. Our friendship doesn’t end there.” She is one the most understanding people I know.

I won’t be going to the camp with my parents this summer.

Before leaving I had the “talk” with my aging Grandmother whom I love to death. She said things like, “I appreciate that you come to visit when I’m alive. I don’t want you coming home for my funeral and spending all your money when I’m not even around to enjoy you.”

I will miss the Bobcaygeon Fall Fair, again- which is typically the highlight of my year.

I don’t get to hug my Dad as often as I would like or go shopping with my Mum.

I have lost many, many friends due to distance. Thankfully, I’ve made many more.

Will and I had “the talk” about what kinds of emergencies we would be willing to fly home for- so the crisis will be less likely to overcome us.

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I will miss many dinners with Will. And baseball tournaments. And visiting friends. And sleeping in.

I will miss “girls weekends” and family dinners and bonding with Will’s niece.

I missed two of my own graduations.

I’ve missed my many of my brother’s milestones.


Over the years I’ve done a lot of travelling so my battles with homesickness have quieted down, but I don’t think you can ever escape them entirely. A lot of the reasons I will be missing out has to do with being provinces apart, a new grad with limited funds, and being on probation with no seniority- but it’s also a general complaint among people who do shift work. Before you embark on a career where you work various weekends, and nights, you need to think about what you will be sacrificing.


Sometimes it makes me feel (marginally) better to think of what I have traded those memories in for.

I may miss out on a lot, but doing what I do:

  • Helps other people’s grandfathers reach their 90th birthday
  • Helps other people say goodbye to loved ones. I’ve done it enough to have a pretty good grasp of how it feels.
  • I gain a whole new EMS family
  • I meet a lot of lonely people, especially elderly ones. I make them feel better for a while. This is important to me.
  • My real friends have been forcefully separated from the convenient ones, sad but not necessarily a bad thing
  • In exchange I have the unique opportunity to be an asset on other people’s big days (death, birth, suicide attempts, loss of a family member, etc.)
  • I’ve found friends that I have more in common with (outgoing, sick in the head, off side, etc.)
  • When you CAN make it to special occasions, you take the time to appreciate the moment
  • Despite the shift work, working EMS makes me happy on a daily basis- this is a blessing not to be taken lightly
  • I am constantly challenging myself mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and therefore growing as a person
  • Living apart challenges the people who love you the most to step outside their own comfort zones and to reciprocate visits. So come visit you b*stards! Haha.

Anyways, I’m off to eat ice cream and watch Bridesmaids.




2 thoughts on “Shift Work Sacrifice

  1. This post is so well-written. Sad, but soooo true on how hard it can be dealing with living away from home. I’m glad you’ve found reasons to make it all worth it! And think of all the amazing new memories you’re building over there that you wouldn’t be making if you were still sitting in Bobcaygeon!

    • Thanks Steph and you would know! Thanks for the pep talk 🙂 I called my cousin and my grandma, it helped. So does writing, it puts things in perspective. Count down is on to your new adventure!

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