Night Shift Employee Teaches Day Shift Manager A Tough Lesson In Patience. – ‘Then one morning she made a mistake.’
by Trisha Leigh
Different shifts can seem like they exist on different planets, and so perhaps it’s not so strange that sometimes people on the day shift don’t understand the night shift people and vice versa.
OP worked the night shift at a medical testing lab. They were usually busy because all of the specimens that were collected during the day would come in to be processed overnight.
I wish I had been the person practicing malicious compliance here, but it was one of my colleagues, Steven.
I worked night shift at the testing site for a major medical laboratory network. The shift was busy because patients’ specimens were collected at service centers during the day, and couriers would bring all these specimens to the testing site, starting in the evening and continuing well into the night.
My shift ended at 7 am, when the day staff would arrive and take over the analyzers.
After 6am, night shift was advised to leave new specimens for the day shift, because they would not have time to complete the whole process before they got off at 7.
So the night shift supervisor had told me that if any couriered shipments arrived after 6 am, I should leave them for the day shift to do (because at 6, I needed to do end-run quality control on the analyzers, clean them, and file my paperwork – no time to start running a late batch of specimens and we wouldn’t get overtime for staying late to do those).
Well, the day shift manager didn’t like this, but one day, she told the wrong night shift employee “he’d better” get to the specimens that were delivered at 6am.
But the day shift supervisor, Lily, didn’t like it when samples were left for her staff to process, and she told me that I should be more efficient and get them done (somehow).
Then one morning she made a mistake. Instead of me on the night shift, it was Steven. Lily came in at about half past six, at the same time that a large batch of late specimens was dropped off.
“Steven, you have to process those,” she said to him.
He started the process, but when it was his time to clock out, he left.
Steven didn’t argue. He loaded all the specimens on the analyzers. And then, at exactly 7 am, he quietly went home.
Confusion ensued, and even if the day shift manager never liked the guy after that, the point was made.
The day shift is typically busy at the start so no one noticed that he had gone at first. Then the analyzers started producing results, flagging problematic specimens and so on, and everyone was searching for him.
Had he gone to the washroom? Had he said anything to anyone? Where was the paperwork? What needed to be done now?
Everyone was confused, and the situation created far more work than if the day shift had simply taken over from the start.
Lily hated Steven after that. But she never again told him to process late specimens either.
Reddit is usually all about the little man making a point!
For this one, they think everyone should be like Steven.
This person thought he could have used a gentler tactic, though.
And this commenter agrees.
Nobody wants to work late on a regular basis.
Too many companies have unrealistic expectations.
I personally like how succinct this story is.
The lesson is the same way.