Guide to working Graveyard Shift



What and why?

When you work in the entertainment industry, jobs can be so few and far between (hence the term “Starving Artist”) so you’re gonna need what we like to call a “survival job”. It’s that day-job that people tell you not to quit if you suck! The thing is, most auditions and shoots happen either in the early morning hours or in the afternoon when most people are at work, so a regular 9-5 is not ideal.Unless your job is cool with you to leave on late notice for auditions, you’re probably gonna be screwed! So how the EFF are you supposed to make money for these expensive classes and headshots!?


My solution? Work at night! DUH!!!

There are a ton of places that are open 24 hours, so it would be absolutely perfect for those that are in the Entertainment industry or even if you just need another job. I personally LOVE the night shift! I’ve always been one to stay up til 5AM anyway playing video games, might as well get paid while I’m up right? I have the ENTIRE day to take classes, go to auditions, go on shoots, and now I never miss family events! My availability is wide open! You’ll have a better chance of getting the job if you request to specifically work the late night shift since that is the shift that people want the least.


Now, there are of course some pros and cons to working the night/late/graveyard shift, Let me just get those out the way before I actually attack how to survive working the shift.


Pros :  

  • You won’t miss family events!
  • No traffic when you’re driving to work at night.
  • Usually slower than daytime hours, so not a whole lot of customer interaction.
  • Your day is 100% open.
  • 0 crowds at stores like Walmart or supermarkets when you get off in morning.
  • Supervisors and even the employees tend to be a lot more chill.
  • Some companies pay employees more when they work at night.


Cons :

  • You’ll have to leave events early to fit a nap in before work.
  • You hit the crappy morning traffic when you’re off work.
  • Since it’s so slow, it can be very  boring and 10 minutes can feel like 2 hours.
  • You end up sleeping for the majority of the day
  • A lot of stores may not be open when you get off.
  • The freaks REALLY DO come out at night. You’ll deal with a lot more drunks and weirdos.
  • Even if you get a good 8 hours of sleep, you still feel tired all the time and you don’t get a lot of things done because you’re so drained.
  • It’s difficult to sleep during the day when people are making a lot of noise around you and the sun is shining bright.
  • Late night shifts are linked to shortening your life and may cause weight gain.

So! There are a lot of cons to working the graveyard shift, but is it worth it? Well, that’s up to you to decide!


Sleepy time



Let’s start with the most important thing when it comes to managing the Late night shift… SLEEP! This is definitely the toughest part of it all and can make or break your day -erm night at work. There are two ways you can do this! I usually get off work at 8:30 AM which can be hard because after a long night, all I want to do is hurry up and get home but 8:30AM in LA though? AHAHAHA yeah right, hurry up my patootie! There is bound to be a ton of traffic everywhere, so you really have to pay attention while driving since you’ll naturally be ready to go to sleep as soon as you clock out and because the road will be full of idiots driving erratically as they’re rushing to work. I usually get home between 9:00AM and 9:15AM and the first thing I do is prepare to go to sleep. I bought some blackout curtains and they work almost like magic to keep the sunlight out of my room. It was very difficult to sleep before I bought them and even wearing an eye mask didn’t work well for me, a combination of BOTH the curtains and the mask however, have worked wonders for me so far! It also tends to be pretty hot during the summertime, so make sure to crack open a window or turn on a  fan to keep cool. I’ll sleep from around 9:45AM and then wake up around 3PM to run errands, spend time with my boyfriend, eat, shower, wash clothes, and hang out for a bit. Since I start work at 11PM, I usually go BACK to sleep for an additional nap at 7:30PM until my alarm goes off at 10:15PM. I can get away with heading out to work at 10:45PM because there is absolutely nobody on the road at that time, so I usually get to work at clock in at around 10:58PM. IT’S AWESOME! Normally if I work at 5:30PM there is no way in hell that i’m doing that! I’ll leave my house at 4:45PM and STILL end up work late at 5:40PM because of the damn traffic.

If you’re not okay with sleeping that much of your day away, you can also try staying up and running your errands once you get home from work since the stores tend to be emptier in the early morning, then catch your sleep later. I’ve been staying up until 3pm and then going to sleep until I have to get up. Either way, you really have to be careful about waking up on time! A lot of employers can be understanding of Graveyard shift’s off hours since most humans and even animals are programmed to sleep at night time, so if you oversleep a bit it’s totally understandable. You still should be a responsible adult, so make sure to get one of those old school bell alarm clocks to make sure you’ll wake up because my cell phone alarm has failed me so many times by not going off or me sleeping through it when I needed to get up for work!

Nom Noms


There are a couple of issues when it comes to food and working late at night. For one, You’ll most likely have to spend some time preparing some food to take to work while you’re awake since most food establishments close right before or at midnight so no delivery or going out to lunch for you! The only places that are left are junky fast food places. eck! Go to the grocery store and stock up on some healthy snacks and prepare a healthy meal to bring to work everyday since apparently people who work late at night tend to gain more weight than those that work regular hours. This is due to a slower metabolism since your body is not meant to be awake in the middle of the night.


Getting through the night



Coffee will definitely become your best friend when you work graveyard! I have always HATED coffee, but now it’s just about what type I can handle to get me through the night. I tend to go for the super strong Vietnamese coffee packets and keep those on hand at work or get an extra shot of espresso in my drink when I go to Starbucks or Dunkin Donut. The only problem is that i’ll be wired up for a couple of hours and then start to feel sleepy again when I still have 5 hours left of work. Try to time your caffeine consumption so that you don’t crash and burn while you’re still at work! I try to wait until halfway through my shift (3AM) to have caffeine.

There are of course natural ways to stay awake besides caffeine. You can always take a power nap during your lunch break after you’ve eaten of if you decided to not eat at that time.Other ways to stay awake while you’re at work are listening to music (if you are able to). Usually everybody else in my department go home at midnight and since i’m the only one left here, I get play whatever music I want!I like listening to Kpop and EDM while i’m at work because anything slow and boring will make me want to fall asleep. Singing along (silently) will keep you awake for sure! Taking little breaks to walk around will keep you awake and keep your body active. If you’re not by yourself the whole night, having  a conversation with someone will definitely keep you engaged and you’re less likely to feel like falling asleep (unless this person is boring).

There are a lot less customers in the middle of the night at most places so that is a plus if you don’t feel like dealing with people’s attitudes. Where I work, customers tend to just need the bare minimum so the transactions are extremely short and the phone calls are just simple inside calls and transfers to other departments. When ever I work the day or swing shift I tend to feel so overwhelmed with the rush of customers and constant tasks because i’m used to dealing with 1 or 2 customers every 2 hours. My work day also goes by way faster!

A few things that I like to do when i’m bored at work is to read online comic books and novels. Since I have 8 hours with nothing to do most of the time, I always try to learn something new! I’ve been brushing up Chinese and Spanish while at work or sometimes i’ll visit math websites to refresh my memory. I like to also take Buzzfeed quizzes and organize my work space when it’s super slow. You can always ask your supervisor for additional work if you want!



Sounds great! What are these jobs though?!


Good question! I personally work at a customer service desk of a Casino, which is greaaattt if you need a full time job that offers graveyard shift (of if you like tips from winning customers!)

Here are a couple of other places that have a late night shift.

  • Hospitals
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Hotels
  • Casinos
  • Gas Stations
  • Winco (a grocery store that is open 24 hours)
  • Airports
  • Security companies
  • Car rental companies
  • Call Centers
  • Night stockers
  • 24 Hour gyms like Planet Fitness or 24 Hour Fitness
  • 24 hour Diner like Denny’s or Norm’s.
  • After-hours cleaning companies
  • Police Officers
  • Firefighters
  • EMTs
  • Warehouse jobs

These are all just off the top of my head! You’ll have a better chance of getting the job if you request to specifically work the late night shift since that is the shift that people want the least.


Hope this was able to help you decide if you are up for working the late night shift. Again, things have been working out beautifully for me when it comes to working this crazy shift and also doing work for my career.  It’s tough at the beginning, but once you get into the flow of things then you’ll be able to balance working late and living your life! : )







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