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Night Shift

Viewing GuideCareers and Vocational Education ActivitiesHealth Activities
Mathematics ActivitiesResource LinksClassroom Resources


Before Viewing

(For information on ordering a video copy of the Livelyhood "Night Shift" contact The Working Group at 510-268-WORK or email info@theworkinggroup.org)

Use these tips to prepare your students to view the program thoughtfully:

1. Read the summary of the show to familiarize yourself with its contents.

2. Ask these questions to begin a discussion of the ways in which America’s twenty four hour economy is bringing changes and new stresses to the lives of night shift employees.:

• When you think of people who work at night, what kinds of jobs do you think of?

• What companies do you know of that are open twenty-four hours? What other kinds of companies do you think hire overnight employees?

• Why do you think someone would choose to work the night shift?

• Do you know anyone who works the night shift? What has their experience been like?

3.Inform students that as they view the program, they will meet a variety of people who have one thing in common—working during the night. You might suggest that students keep these questions in mind as they view the episode:

• What might be some of the advantages to working the night shift? some of the drawbacks?

• Why do you think the need for overnight employees is increasing?

• Do the experiences of these employees match your expectations of what working the night shift would be like?


While Viewing

"Night Shift " presents the following segments:


Will Durst travels under the cover of darkness to reveal the stories of a few of the twenty million Americans who work at night.

Segment 1

Atlanta, Georgia Viewers meet Carol Lin, an anchorwoman for the CNN morning news, who has to rise in the middle of the night to get to work in time to prepare for the broadcast. Carol says that although the television news world may seem glamorous, it comes with stress, hardships, and even possible health risks.

Segment 2

Las Vegas, Nevada Will visits the bustling city of Las Vegas, which caters to those with twenty-four-hour needs. Viewers will encounter all-night tanning salons, wedding chapels, and even “day” care centers, all open to meet the demands of a twenty-four-hour town.

Segment 3

Santa Clara, CA Viewers meet Robert Lynch, an employee of Globex, a high tech company located in Silicon Valley. Since ecommerce happens around the clock, employees like Robert must be available at any hour of the day or night to offer support services for websites and lines that crash.

Segment 4

San Francisco, CA At San Francisco General Hospital, Amy Petrarca is a trauma nurse who thrives on the energy of the night shift and the “organized chaos” of the emergency room. .

Segment 5

Interstate 95 Independent truckers Mike and Betty Casey love the freedom that comes from working overnight, including waking up in a different state every day. Mike says that the hardest part of the night shift is staying awake during the half hour before the sun comes up.

Segment 6

New York, NY Within the walls of a New York skyscraper, viewers meet several night shift employees. Building maintenance operator William Poole has worked nights since 1966, and declares that he would protest rather than switch to days. Corina Ochoa, an office cleaner, likes the night shift because it allows her to take care of her children. Joey Reynolds, a radio host, says that the night shift allows for more intimacy and quiet energy on his late-night talk show.

Segment 7

St. Cloud, MN Ramona and Jim Rosinger are hard-working dairy farmers in the heart of the Midwest. Ramona also works a second job to supplement their farming income, and because she enjoys the time she spends at work. Benefits such as health insurance make the overnight shift at an e-commerce warehouse attractive, even though Ramona often becomes exhausted by the demands of the two jobs.

Segment 8

Stanford, CA Dr. William Dement, Director of the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic, explains the serious health issues related to lack of sleep. He says that our twenty-four-hour work culture is causing a national sleep debt crisis; he is on a crusade to educate and alert people about the importance of sleep.

Segment 9
Will Brockton, MA Dorothy Stevens chose to work the night shift as a warehouse shopper for streamline.com, an on-line grocery store, so she could take care of her kids during the day. Although she has tried other options, the night shift seems to work best for her family.
Segment 10
Will Durst explains the problems that night shift employees face trying to sleep during the day. The most important things to avoid? Sunlight, caffeine, noise, and excitement.
Segment 11
Allentown, PA Theresa Phoenix is a single mom working almost nonstop to get ahead in the new economy. Theresa works the night shift as a chip inspector at Lucent, hoping to be promoted soon to another job within the company. She also attends the on-site university to get her MBA, leaving her little time for sleep.
Segment 12
Will Durst revisits Carol Lin and Amy Petrarca as they wrap up their shifts. They offer different views on what working the night shift is really like.



Pause once or twice while viewing to have students reflect on what they've seen. Ask:

• What attitudes do these workers have towards their jobs? How are they different from each other? What do they all have in common?

• What seems to make all these overnight jobs necessary?

• What do you think people mean when they talk about “the new economy”? How much of the change in night work would you say is the result of the development of this new economy?

Ask whether students are confused about anything they've seen. Offer them the opportunity to visit the Livelyhood Web site and skim the summary of "Night Shift" after watching the program.

Encourage students to list terms they’re unfamiliar with, and look them up in the Glossary for People Who Work, or Know Someone Who Does, located in Livelyhood’s Digital Tool Kit. Also view the "Night Shift" Glossary

After Viewing

A variety of resources are available for linking the content of the show to particular curriculum areas, and helping students apply the content to real-world situations relevant to their own lives.

1. Follow-up Questions. These encourage students to analyze and think critically about the situations and issues presented in the show.

You might begin by having students answer their own purpose-setting questions:

• What are some of the advantages to working the night shift? some of the drawbacks?

• Why is the need for overnight employees increasing?

• Did the experiences of these employees match your expectations of what working the night shift would be like?

Continue by asking questions that will lead students to relate what they've seen to their own lives:

• Which of these jobs most appealed to you? Why?

• Do you think you would ever choose to work the night shift? Why or why not?

• Do you think having services available twenty-four hours is worth the cost to workers?

To give students opportunities to explore these issues actively and creatively, assign one or more of the cross-curricular activities that follow.

2. Cross-Curricular Activities. These offer a variety of projects for individual students or small groups which extend concepts presented in “Night Shift.” Some of these activities utilize other features of the Livelyhood Website, such as the Lively Poll and the Posting Areas. All activities are appropriate for students in grades 9–12. Some are suitable for younger students as well; others are appropriate for adult students.