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Need Advice


I work night shift so that I can take care of my kids without desperately looking for childcare. My kids both have Autism and are very nocturnal. We all go to bed around the same time and sleep during the day. I am also currently homeschooling them due to the coronavirus but if the phone rings and wakes them up I have a horrible time getting them back to sleep.

My issue work calls and texts me from 8 am to 1 pm and then my manager complains I am weepy, overly emotional, and not easy to talk to. I also generally take 10 mg of Melatonin at 6 am along with my kids who then sleep until around 3 pm. I am at a loss as to what to do, aside from looking for a different job. None of my friends/family or else anyone I deal with for day to day do this except my work managers who all know I work night shift because they write the schedule.

How do I explain I need sleep? Is this normal with night shift? Should I get a doctor's note explaining I need between 6-9 hours of sleep? I also look like a zombie when I am awake during the day....

Simple. Turn the ringer of your phone off. If important, a message will be left. If really important, you can respond when you become aware, otherwise, all work-related issues will be addressed by you when you are at work.


Has 20 years experience.

Unless you are being paid to be on call or it is in your job description that you will immediately respond to phone communication you are under no obligation to have your phone on.

Given all that is going on in the world at the moment I wouldn't turn my phone to sleep. If you have an iphone. To stop the sound on the text messages go to the persons name, click on info and click the Turn Off notifications. The text messages will be received but will have no sound. For the phone calls Go into Settings, select Do not Disturb and turn it on before you go to sleep. You can select to have contacts on your Favorites list exempted from this, so if a family member calls for an emergency the phone will still ring. You can also set it for certain hours each day so you don't need to remember to turn it back on when you wake up.

Having worked for an employer that habitually called me in the middle of the night with no respect for the fact that I'm human and need to sleep I can tell you it didn't stop until I set very clear firm boundaries and enforced them. I wouldn't quit a job that otherwise suits me over this but I would start setting some boundaries.

BTW, In your situation I wouldn't bother asking them to stop, I'd move straight onto the boundaries. As you noted they know you do night shift and are aware that when they call you in the am you are upset, if that isn't enough to get them to stop calling I doubt explaining yourself calmly and asking to stop will be effective but I guess you could try as a one off.