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What Is the Swing or Afternoon Shift?

Updated on August 10, 2017
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David has over 10 years supervisory experience and has extensive knowledge in how to handle personnel issues across many areas.

The Swing Shift

The swing shift, which is sometimes known as the afternoon or second shift, are for those who will be starting their work day by the time everyone else is leaving the workplace. Most swing shift employees will be starting their shifts as early as 3 PM, but may not get off until sometime around midnight.

Various industries can work the afternoons shift, such as restaurants, grocery stores, law enforcement, and other places that deal with the public after what is considered normal business hours.

Author's Experience

One of my favorite shifts is the 3 PM to 11 PM shift. I spent many years in two different jobs working this kind shift, and at the time it was a great shift to work.

Have you ever worked the swing shift?

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The afternoon sunset.  Something most people working the swing shift may not see (or see daily, if working outside).
The afternoon sunset. Something most people working the swing shift may not see (or see daily, if working outside). | Source
One of the biggest advantages of the afternoon shift is being able to sleep in for as late as you want.
One of the biggest advantages of the afternoon shift is being able to sleep in for as late as you want. | Source

Pros of Working the Swing Shift

There are some major pros to working an afternoon shift:

  • Off during the day. Do you have a doctor's appointment? Groceries to buy? Shopping to do? Then working the afternoon shift is great for you. While most people are at work, you can get your errands done during the day and it won't be as busy as it normally is later in the afternoon.
  • Can stay up late and sleep in. One thing I love about the swing shift is that when I got home from work, I could stay up as late as I wanted. Then, I could sleep in as late as I wanted as well without the use of an alarm clock. This shift provided me with the most restful sleep I have had. I was always full of energy.
  • More pay. Some jobs pay you more for working a swing shift, so you can see some more money out of it. Those working for tips may find more money as well, as some business are busier in the afternoon hours.
  • Can get a second job. You can find yourself a part time job during the day to help supplement your income. Or for those who really want to, they can work another full time job. Just ensure you don't have a job where the work hours at both jobs clash.
  • Can go to school. A lot of people go to college during the day, and work in the afternoon. It can be very hard to keep up with a college workload and holding down a job, but it can be worth it in the long run.

Another sunset for those working the afternoon shift.
Another sunset for those working the afternoon shift. | Source

What is the biggest pro in working the afternoon shift?

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This is part of a public employee contract.  In this contract, employees earn 5% more when working the swing shift.  Nurses earn 7.5% on the afternoon shift.
This is part of a public employee contract. In this contract, employees earn 5% more when working the swing shift. Nurses earn 7.5% on the afternoon shift. | Source
If you work afternoon shift hours, typically you will handle a busier workload than those working during the day, depending on the business.
If you work afternoon shift hours, typically you will handle a busier workload than those working during the day, depending on the business. | Source

Cons of Working the Swing Shift

There are some major cons to consider before taking on a swing shift position.

  • Not seeing your family. For those who have children in school, or a partner who works normal day hours, the afternoon shift can be very difficult on your family. You will only see your kids when they are about to go to bed and before they go to school.
  • Little social life. A lot of people socialize after work, especially at night. If you are working, then you could find yourself missing out on social activities with your friends and family, except during your days off. If your days off are not on the weekend, then it will be that much harder.
  • Your free time is before work. If you find yourself sleeping in late, then you may find you have little time to do the things you want to do before work. If you try to get errands done before work, you have to plan ahead to ensure you have enough time.
  • Can be lonely. With your family at school or work, it can be lonely during the day when you are by yourself in your home. While some may enjoy that, those with a close family may not. Fortunately with the internet, it's possible to find other ways to socialize with others. I used to talk to people online, which helped.
  • Difficulty in getting time off. Most people won't want to cover an afternoon shift for you if they have plans or family of their own, so that is one of the hardest shifts to get covered if you want time off. For any time off, plan ahead of time and find people to cover your shift for you.

Don't like the idea of working a swing shift, but can't work the day shift? Then the graveyard shift may be the right fit for you!

Another sunset that coincides with the afternoon shift hours.
Another sunset that coincides with the afternoon shift hours. | Source

What is the biggest con in working the afternoon shift?

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© 2013 David Livermore

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      David Livermore 4 years ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      Perhaps. I find I can do more writing during the morning hours right when I wake up too. So the swing shift was good for that. To each his or her own! Thanks for the comment.

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      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      Useful information! I don't prefer working in the afternoon because I feel like my day disappears. I feel as though working in the early morning and getting out in the afternoon gives me more time to get things done (like writing, for instance). Voted up!