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Old April 23 2014, 09:15 AM   #1
varek
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duty shift preference

This topic has been discussed before, frequently, I am sure. But, I just wanted to hear other officers' opinions on this subject.

Most Starfleet starships and facilities seemed to use duty shifts based upon a standard Earth day of 24 hours. They usually used 3 shifts, of 8 hours, each (although they sometimes chose to use 4 shifts of 6 hours, each). These were usually organized as follows:
Alpha shift, 0800-1600 hours;
Beta shift, 1600-2400 hours (midnight); and,
Gamma shift, 2400/0000 hours (midnight)-0800 hours.

The senior officers usually worked on the Alpha Shift, but there could be a rotation through the three (or four) different shifts.

If you were assigned to a starship or facility that used such a system, on which shift would you prefer to work, and why?

Having worked all three shifts, myself, I would probably prefer to work on the Gamma shift, because it is quieter and less hectic, with fewer distractions.

Also, I think the Main Bridge's oncoming shift officers should assemble about 30 minutes before their shift begins in the Observation Lounge--where they could get their raktajino, coffee or whatever--so they could prepare themselves for their shift. Then, the Main Bridge officers going off duty could meet them--staggering their transitions, so that the Bridge was always properly staffed--there and pass along any important information. The officers going off duty could also file their reports, then, in the lounge, while all the details and specifics were still fresh in their minds, before going to their quarters.

What do you think?
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Last edited by varek; April 23 2014 at 09:26 AM.
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Old April 23 2014, 12:28 PM   #2
Finn
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Re: duty shift preference

First of all, we have no idea how most ships and facilities are run.

Jellico ran his ship differently from Picard.
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Old April 23 2014, 07:58 PM   #3
JirinPanthosa
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Re: duty shift preference

Alpha shift is where more of the action is. More visibility, more advancement opportunity.
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Old April 23 2014, 08:06 PM   #4
T'Girl
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Re: duty shift preference

In Data's Day, when Riker arrived to relieve Data on the bridge, a fair number of "first shift" people exited the lift with Riker. This suggest that they had priviously met somewhere and entered the lift together.

Pre-shift briefing in one of the ship briefing rooms ... or they all have breakfast together.

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Old April 23 2014, 08:27 PM   #5
C.E. Evans
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Re: duty shift preference

I've always felt that duty shifts frequently change and are dependent at times on whatever mission is taking precedence. You might work all three shifts during the course of an ordinary week that way (a couple of days on this shift, a couple of days on that shift, etc.).

During an important mission (be it tactical, scientific, diplomatic, or just logistical in nature), all senior officers could be called to duty regardless of what shift it is, IMO.
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Old April 23 2014, 09:06 PM   #6
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Re: duty shift preference

I wouldn't think people would generally work all three shifts within the course of a week barring special circumstances. If other species are like humans, they're really not designed for that sort of disruption in sleep cycle.
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Old April 23 2014, 10:34 PM   #7
C.E. Evans
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Re: duty shift preference

Many who work in retail do it all the time. One day they may work early mornings, the next day they'll work late evenings. When I worked in a grocery store, I would sometimes work 4am-12pm and then do 10pm-6am and back again.
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Old April 23 2014, 10:35 PM   #8
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Re: duty shift preference

I work all three shifts, and I like doing so, because it lets me interact with and get to know the crews from all three. But then again, I'm the ship's holographic avatar and 2nd Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Richard Bateson, so the lack of sleep really isn't a problem for me - and I'm also *off-duty* in other parts of the ship, as well, while I'm on the flag bridge *and* the main bridge.

Commodore Chandler, our Fleet CO, is on and off of the flag bridge during Gamma and Alpha shifts, and usually sleeps during Beta. She rarely takes direct command of Triumphant, so her flag captain, Capt. Tomas Gallo, has the main bridge during Alpha, his XO, Cmdr. Torg, takes the main bridge during Beta, and I have the watch during Gamma. You might say it's the only time I'm fully in control of myself.
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Old April 23 2014, 11:30 PM   #9
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Re: duty shift preference

C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
Many who work in retail do it all the time. One day they may work early mornings, the next day they'll work late evenings. When I worked in a grocery store, I would sometimes work 4am-12pm and then do 10pm-6am and back again.
Just because people do it doesn't mean it's a great idea.
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Old April 23 2014, 11:36 PM   #10
C.E. Evans
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Re: duty shift preference

DonIago wrote: View Post
C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
Many who work in retail do it all the time. One day they may work early mornings, the next day they'll work late evenings. When I worked in a grocery store, I would sometimes work 4am-12pm and then do 10pm-6am and back again.
Just because people do it doesn't mean it's a great idea.
No, it just means that not everyone works an ideal schedule.
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Old April 24 2014, 08:04 AM   #11
maneth
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Re: duty shift preference

But there's no reason to have a less than ideal schedule on a spaceship. Individual tolerances naturally vary, but people whose sleep schedules are constantly being interrupted and who essentially suffer from perpetual jet-lag are more accident prone and more likely to suffer from sleep disorders, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, depression and infectious diseases because lack of sleep affects the immune system and the body's ability to control appetite as well as stress tolerance.

IMO it's completely unrealistic to have the captain and his XO on the bridge at the same time during ordinary travel in space. Ship's schedules are completely arbitrary since there's no external daylight cycle.
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Old April 24 2014, 09:55 AM   #12
C.E. Evans
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Re: duty shift preference

maneth wrote: View Post
But there's no reason to have a less than ideal schedule on a spaceship.
A spaceship, just like an oceangoing vessel, runs 24-7. It never shuts down. As such, there will always be a need for some people to work shifts that aren't ideal even if only on occasion.
IMO it's completely unrealistic to have the captain and his XO on the bridge at the same time during ordinary travel in space.
A case could be made that the times we do see the captain and the exec on the bridge represent special occasions or occasions in which their shifts overlap. It could be that most of time (the unaired time in a show or movie when nothing really exciting/important is going on), the captain and exec actually aren't on the bridge together.
Ship's schedules are completely arbitrary since there's no external daylight cycle.
Which is why it's possible that personnel may alternate between various shifts. But we do know from TNG's "Data Day" that there is a day watch and a night watch on the Enterprise, which was likely created as a result of most of the crew having either a diurnal or nocturnal biology.
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Old April 24 2014, 03:22 PM   #13
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: duty shift preference

For my fanfic I always work a three-shift rotation, with the senior staff assigned to the same shift, whilst other the other two shifts have their own supervising personnel. I haven't had crew switching shifts, so if they're assigned to beta shift they are there for the forseeable future--unless there is a prolonged injury/illness or promotion.
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Old April 24 2014, 03:37 PM   #14
DonIago
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Re: duty shift preference

The three-shift rotation works reasonably well. Using TNG you might have:
1) Picard and Riker
2) Riker and Data
3) Data and whomever.

...with the option to have Picard called to the bridge anytime something seriously exciting happens. So if we're watching an episode with a "normal" opening we just happened to catch the crew during their first shift, while if it's a situation where Picard's not on the bridge then it's not the first shift.

...actually, that particular list wouldn't quite work since Riker would be working 16(?) hours consecutively. Hm.
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Old April 24 2014, 03:38 PM   #15
sbk1234
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Re: duty shift preference

I always thought about shifts staggered for different departments. For example, helmsman may start a shift at 08:00, while science officer may start a shift at 10:00, and communications at noon. This way there wouldn't be an entire shift all starting at once, and there could be a certain amount of consistancy maintained without all new people taking over at one time.
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