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  1. #1
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    Sleep deprivation

    To all the controllers out there, I wanted to get your opinion on sleep deprivation in this profession. I'm looking to start CTI school in the fall, but I've read a lot of stuff on the net that sleep deprivation is rampant amongst controllers. Any truth to this? Is fatigue a major factor for you guys/gals? I know shiftwork is a bummer, but it seems like a small price to pay for a great job, that is unless you guys are always sleep deprived. Anyways, I just wanted to get a little feedback. What kinds of effects do your counterclockwise shifts have on your daily routine?

    Thanks, and I apologize if this topic was covered somewhere else on here.

  2. #2
    atcguruaf's Avatar
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    Re: Sleep deprivation

    Tired, yes. Deprived? Hmmm... That may be an extreme term for the lack of sleep. All I know is, after work, I don't want to do anything but sleep, and my drive home easily puts me to sleep. Does that mean I'm tired? Absolutely. But if it's busy, I probably don't have time to be tired, as my adrenaline is kicking in. But that only lasts so long.

    Staying awake during the lulls is the difficult part, which is another reason people fall asleep on the mid shifts. If it was busy 24/7, most probably wouldn't have an issue with staying awake.

    Another problem is working tired. Yes, your adrenaline has kicked in and you're "awake", but probably not 100%. You're safe and somewhat efficient, but probably not moving planes as you would under normal situations (like when you're REALLY alert and not tired). It is definitely a problem, and makes it hard on family life.

    But I couldn't see myself doing anything else. So I manage.

  3. #3
    irishcarbomb's Avatar
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    Re: Sleep deprivation

    Have you seen the news?
    Commercial SEL, MEL, Instrument, CFI, CFII

  4. #4
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    Re: Sleep deprivation

    Yes, I've seen the news, but I only believe about 10% of what the news says on any topic. I would rather get feedback from actual controllers. I would imagine that the slow midshift could get quite brutal, but I'm just wondering how the scheduling affects the quality of life in general.

  5. #5
    atcguruaf's Avatar
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    Re: Sleep deprivation

    Quality of life is relative. I have my expensive booze and games to enjoy on my days off. I'm taking 3 vacations this year, Hawaii, CA, and CA. Staying at resorts. On my days off, I enjoy good beer with quality meats on the grill, or perhaps some seafood for dinner, or I may be lazy and just want some Hebrew National hot dogs (my favorite).

    I have a PS3, XBOX 360, and 2 Wii's. I also have DirecTV with just about every frickin channel they offer. I have a nice truck that I enjoy cleaning. My wife has expensive tastes when she shops. My kids each have their own room with their own toys, plus a playroom with a crap load more toys. We go out to dinner and movies as frequent as we like. I have a savings and extra money in my checking. All of my bills have a "negative balance" on them because I'm able to pay in advance. I have 5 credit cards with little or no balance on all. I have a Roth IRA and I just about max out my TSP contributions.

    My point to all of this? Although I may be tired, work rotating shifts, or whatever, my "quality of life" is still pretty high in my book. But I guess that depends on the individual. If you would rather work 9-5 every day, with little to no job satisfaction, then this probably isn't the field for you.

    My brother works 4 days a week, 0730-0400 but lives paycheck to paycheck and is only ever able to go "do something" if someone else takes care of the bill. But he has a steady schedule and steady days off...

  6. #6
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    Re: Sleep deprivation

    atcguruaf,

    So TRUE! I am not ATC yet, but I make a great living. I work 50 plus hours a week and only have Sunday as well as a random day off during the week. I have tons of friends with the 4 day work weeks who have all the time off in the world but no money to spend, I work all the time but can do whatever I want. It is all relevant if you work hard you get to play hard...plus ATC will be WAY better than my current sales job anyday... shift work compared to my hours looks like a luxury.
    Applied Pubnat 5 -07/2008
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  7. #7
    mikefsfr's Avatar
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    Re: Sleep deprivation

    Quote Originally Posted by jholw311 View Post
    atcguruaf,

    So TRUE! I am not ATC yet, but I make a great living. I work 50 plus hours a week and only have Sunday as well as a random day off during the week. I have tons of friends with the 4 day work weeks who have all the time off in the world but no money to spend, I work all the time but can do whatever I want. It is all relevant if you work hard you get to play hard...plus ATC will be WAY better than my current sales job anyday... shift work compared to my hours looks like a luxury.
    Not exactly true if you hAve 50 hours a week of shift work.

  8. #8
    jholw311's Avatar
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    Re: Sleep deprivation

    Not exactly true if you hAve 50 hours a week of shift work.
    Come work in the car biz buddy, you have no idea the hours I work! I was referring to the life style, I have made 100k plus every year since I was 25, so I relate to what he was referring to as a life style. I am sure shift work is very difficult but so is working 14 hour days.
    Applied Pubnat 5 -07/2008
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  9. #9
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    Re: Sleep deprivation

    I don't see the point in the rotating schedules that we work. They say it gives you a longer weekend which is technically true but you lose time with the family during the week. So when I come off a Friday Night and quick turn to a Saturday AM I am usually pretty tired saturday afternoon, and if I don't nap then I nap all day Sunday after working Sunday AM just so I can go back Sunday Night. Then I get off at 6am Monday but end up sleeping till noon, so I don't see how it benefits the controller, you don't really get much more time with the family.

    Plus I am sure the older you get the more it sucks

  10. #10
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    Re: Sleep deprivation

    Quote Originally Posted by jholw311 View Post
    Come work in the car biz buddy, you have no idea the hours I work! I was referring to the life style, I have made 100k plus every year since I was 25, so I relate to what he was referring to as a life style. I am sure shift work is very difficult but so is working 14 hour days.
    car biz does suck. I worked for GM right before the recession really hit. Oct 2008. Some days you would work 12+hours and make nothing, then there would be days you would work 2 or 3 hours and make $2,000 (10 pounder). I never made 100k. I always averaged around 66k -70k in HI. I hated it. As GM was working itself into the dirt grave it was making itself. Most employees worked 7 days straight 9-9.

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