Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by F. King Daniel, Nov 23, 2020.
I don't know about the modern military, but in the 1960's when my dad was in the Air Force, it was pretty much a 9-5, 5 days a week, with a couple of weeks off in the summer for vacation. He was an NCO for a big chunk of his twenty years, so maybe rank hath it's privileges
Years ago, I gave a somewhat simplified description of what it was like for me on one of the ships I served on, for those that are interested.
(And for those that will understand, for the most part, I was a fresh air snipe )
When I was in Reactor / RE Div I was a regular snipe. That was only for a year. When I was TAD to Firewatch Division in Norfolk Naval Shipyard (Portsmouth VA) and when I was transferred to Engineering / BR Div I was mostly a fresh air snipe. In port overseas when on duty I was back to being a snipe, but only in 40' and 50' boat bilges. A 6-71 Detroit diesel doesn't require much of an "engine room." I guess you could say sort of a shuttle craft snipe.
Hence all the evil admirals in Trek
Do we know how long a duty shift is as depicted n Star Trek?
In the TNG era aboard the Enterprise, it was 8 hrs per shift in 3x shifts using Earth's 24 Hr/Day calender before Edward Jellico took command temporarily
After Edward Jellico took over, it was 6 hrs per shift in 4x shifts using Earth's 24 Hr/Day calender, Picard authorized that change to stay.
True but then we've got Tom Paris pulling a "double shift" in certain episodes of Voyager (I think other characters mention it too). That's a 12-16 hour work day! Maybe Janeway uses shorter duty shifts?
Presumably the idea behind a 4 shift system is instead of working say 56 hours in 6 days over 6x8 hour shifts, you instead work 56 hours in 6 days over 8x6 hour shifts?
With 192 people you'd have
A (8-16): 64 people
B (16-24): 64 people
C (24-8): 64 people
And you'd do 6 days on shift A, 6 on shift B, 6 on shift C (or even not cycle the shifts)
Total 1536 hours work a day
A (6-12): 64 people
B (12-18): 64 people
C (18-24): 64 people
D (24-6): 64 people
Total 1536 hours work a day
And you'd do
Day 1: A, rest, rest, D
Day 2: rest, rest, C, rest
Day 3: rest, B, rest, rest
Or does it mean
A (6-12): 96 people
B (12-18): 96 people
C (18-24): 96 people
D (24-6): 96 people
Total 2304 hours work a day
And you'd do either shift A and C, or shift B and D (and maybe cycle every 6 days)
If the former I don't understand why you'd suddenly change a well functioning crew to get the same amount of work done.
If the latter, why not extend to 12 hour shifts and slip them, so you work
Alpha shift: Half do 04-16, half do 08-20
Beta Shift: Half do 12-24, half do 16-04
Gamma Shift: Half do 20-08, half do 00-12
Well... we know for a fact that
- they have shifts (TNG „data’s day“)
- they spend their free time at free will (Barclay‘s holo episodes, TNG)
- senior officers can be called to bridge 24/7 (see every episode)
- have vacation days that can be postponed indefinitely (Picard has around 200 left in „insurrection)
- they have at least 4-5 people for the bridge command shift in TNG (Picard, riker, data, crusher, Troy; diverse episodes) I assume that only Picard, riker and data do 100%
that means they could have 5-7 shifts a week / 8 hours or less
Welcome to the squirrel-cage, K'Mpec. I'm guessing from the German-style quotation marks that you're either from Germany or Austria.
At any rate, good analysis.
I would also note that with a multi-species, multi-cultural crew, with differing mental needs for rest days, and differing cultural norms about when to take them, there's probably little or no trouble keeping enough people on duty to run the ship.
thank you! right, I am German
your addition seems logic. Today everyone wants to work during day time and not on Christmas or weekends, but the more cultures (=species) the less problems you will have with these topics.
Really appreciate your serving and Thank You for the detailed description of your deployments.
One of the complaints which I used to have about ST was how safe the world it was set in. They had access to replicators, they could go to holosuites. No matter how much danger there was they had their creature comforts.
Now, I see that as a misconception. Most are dedicated career minded individuals and they don't get much off time that we mere mortals get so a bit of downtime whey they can get it is down on the holosuite or at some area of diversion like Quarks on DS9 when they get it. In short, they work hard and play hard.
On watching the early episodes of DS9, one of the Bajoran characters mentioned to O'Brien that Bajaron staff didn't mix with their Starfleet colleagues with the inference that she and her Bajaron colleagues could relate to him. While this ethos of working and playing hard increase Starfleets efficiency and productivity, could it mean that they were not as approachable as they could be to non-Federation races?
I didn't know you could escape; I thought that once you were a Nuke, you would glow in the dark forever.
I say that people are going to want days off of work, and in a more perfect world, they can get days off. I think that unlike a boat or submarine which have weight limits, a big starship can hold enough people to cover the weekend and holiday shifts. Whenever Star Trek characters talk about the rarity of their days off, I think the writers are failing to imagine the benefits of a better future. Even in the real world, there are countries where a 35-hour work week and 8 weeks of vacation is the norm. I think Star Trek can do better for its starship crews.
I know a lot of people draw parallels with naval vessels, but I wonder if the work cycle aboard a research vessel is more apt (as an aside, many U.S. research vessels are technically owned by the U.S. Navy and provided to research institutions for use under agreement).
One 2016 blog post by graduate student Bridgit Boulahanis at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory notes that "Life aboard a research vessel means tight spaces, few amenities, and workdays that can easily last 24 hours or more."
Of course, explorer-type Starfleet vessels appear to have far more resources, but it's a detail that may work for the smaller, dedicated science vessels seen in Star Trek, like the Oberth class.
In a separate 2018 post, research assistant Regan Drennan with the Natural History Museum in London compares and contrasts the experience of being aboard a research vessel with sci-fi depictions of spaceship life.
Shifting to the fictional Starfleet, I imagine it's staffed adequately for the three or four shifts with the ability to accommodate some personal time off with the added capacity to go to reduced or skeleton staffing in an emergency or while in port. There are also likely times when a department is working overtime on a specific mission, but the rest of the staff may have more flexibility if they're not tasked to help with the mission (one non-canon example includes what first-contact specialists might do while their ship is conducting non-first contact tasks).
Regarding leave in Starfleet, there have been non-canon references to how Starfleet is generous with its leave policy (which makes sense given the other touches on labor that we've seen on screen).
...and Vulcans, Horta, Andorians, Betazoids, Medusans, Phylosians, Bajorans, Tellerites, Deltans, Fabrini, Caitians...
Kira did the same in DS9: I always wondered how that worked with the 26 hour Bajoran day.
Funny, that's one of the things I love about Star Trek. It's the future I WANT.
Copy/paste of what I wrote in the "Jellico/Shelby" thread back on 18 OCT 2018---
Jellico initially said he wanted the switch to happen "starting tonight", giving personnel a 12+ hour lead-time. Trust me, that's plenty of time. It's not like they had to recall anyone back from a weekend trip to Yosemite.
Here's the transcript:
JELLICO: How many duty watches does the crew stand?
RIKER: We've a standard three shift rotation.
JELLICO: I'd like to change that to four starting tonight. I'd also like to examine the duty roster and the crew evaluations as soon as possible.
.... later ....
JELLICO: I believe we're scheduled to arrive at the Cardassian border during delta shift. Please inform the delta tactical officer that I want to launch a class five probe just before we drop out of warp.
RIKER: I was actually going to talk to you about delta shift a little later, sir. Right now, gamma shift will be on duty when we arrive and I will tell Lieutenant McDowell about the probe.
JELLICO: Is there a problem with delta shift, Will?
RIKER: There is no delta shift yet, sir. I have spoken to the department heads about changing from three shifts to four, and they assure me it's going to cause us significant personnel problems.
JELLICO: So you have not changed the watch rotation.
RIKER: I was going to explain this to you after the ceremony, sir.
JELLICO: You will tell the department heads that as of now the Enterprise is on a four shift rotation. I don't want to talk about it. Get it done. Now that means delta shift will be due to come on duty in two hours. I expect you to have it fully manned and ready when it does. Is that clear?
RIKER: Yes, sir. If you'll excuse me, sir. Captain.
Okay, I assure you that a "standard three shift rotation" does not mean there are only three teams. If it did, nobody would get a day off. Rather, there are at least four but more likely five teams that rotate in a four-on/two-off or five-on/two-off schedule, working 3x8-hour shifts per day. That would require each team to rotate to a different shift each flip: days this week, nights next week, swings the following week, then back to days. I know because I worked such a schedule most of my 26 years in the Air Force.
Indeed, with a ship the size of the Enterprise-E, it's possible that there are six teams working a three-on/three-off no-flip schedule. But let's say for some stupid reason they gave the ship the minimum number of teams: four. There should be enough manpower to run a 4x6-hour duty schedule. There shouldn't be any "significant personnel problems", at least not in the short term. Jellico originally ordered the change to happen "starting tonight", which was plenty of lead time to make it happen smoothly. Riker drug his feet and thereby cause it to be more of an issue than it needed to be.
The only valid objection Riker and the department heads should have had was "Okay, sir, but we can't keep this up for very long, or you're going to burn the crew out by not giving them time off." And at that point, Jellico would have looked at him and said, "Of course I know that. I'm not stupid. We're gearing up for a crisis, and once that crisis is over, we can go back to a normal duty schedule."
Been there -- done that. More times than I can count. A no-notice switch to 12-hour shifts for two weeks because someone ended up in the hospital sucks, but you do what you have to to get the job done. Going from a 16x5 to a 24x7 shop to support real-world operations sucks, but the bad guys don't stand down for weekends and holidays.
P.S> Anyone who'se been in the Navy will tell you that a 3x8-hour schedule is not normal for ship-at-sea duty. The standard is a seven-shift rotation of five four-hour shifts plus two two-hour "dog watch" shifts.
Would I be right in thinking that modern ships wouldn't require staff actually in the engine room full time, with the engineering crew working mainly from elsewhere on the ship? Because Star Trek's depiction of the engineering deck looks quite antiquated, like that of an old steamship, still common when TOS first aired.
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