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Returning to shift work after retirement

(59 Posts)
Nanny2859 Sun 26-Nov-23 21:32:45

DH has recently taken a part time job 3 years after retiring from 30 years service in the police, which involved shift work. I felt so lonely when he was working shifts, especially nights and weekends. We always said if he did go back to work it would have to be something that didn't involve working nights and weekends. So this job he has taken is only 2 shifts per week but it is Saturday night and Sunday night. I'm really struggling with why he would want to do this after knowing how much I've hated it in the past. If I say anything he says he'll pack it in, then I'll feel bad for making him stop. But it is making me feel so miserable and lonely. AIBU for being annoyed at him for putting me in this position again? I know I should have said I didn't want him working those shifts before he applied but I think 1. I was shocked when he suddenly said he wanted a job and 2. I was so stunned at the proposed shifts and that he wanted to do it that I didn't know what to say.
I don't know what to do. Do I persevere and hope I get used to it? Part of is stamping my feet and saying I shouldn't have to get used to it again

Fleur20 Sun 26-Nov-23 21:36:38

You had an agreement and he has gone against that. Tell him you are unhappy. Remjnd him of the agreement. He can find something else.

Theexwife Sun 26-Nov-23 22:29:46

After 30 years of shift work maybe he did not think 2 nights a week would be a problem especially as you didn’t object when he applied for the job.

You have said that he would leave if you say anything and you would feel bad, he will probably be unhappy too as he wants this job.

You have to weigh up your feelings now against feeling bad for making him leave and him having to leave a job he wants.

25Avalon Sun 26-Nov-23 22:34:20

This means you can’t go anywhere at weekends so it just isn’t any old only two shifts, so no I don’t think URBU.

Nansnet Mon 27-Nov-23 03:53:10

No, I don't think you're being unreasonable. He's gone back on his word. He knew how you felt about him working shifts, and said he wouldn't do it again. Now, he's not only chosen to do it again, but it's at the weekends, when you could otherwise be enjoying time together, days out, weekends away, going out with friends, etc. I'd be very unhappy about it, and I'd have to tell him so. You shouldn't be the one feeling guilty here, worrying that he'll be disappointed if he has to give up his job. He should feel guilty for leaving you home alone at weekends when other couples are usually out and about enjoying themselves, or even simply enjoying a nice meal together at home, or with friends. You shouldn't be wasting your retirement sitting at home alone on a Saturday & Sunday evening.

nottherequiteyet Mon 27-Nov-23 07:06:45

Have sympathy for your position but not a good idea to stop him doing a job he wants to do … after all he did it for all those years … why don’t you think of things you would like to do on your own or with friends at the weekends? Many jobs aren’t M-F now. Or make those days busy so all you want to do is crash on the sofa in the evening and watch your fave show. Those unsocial shifts are more likely to be the ones available and difficult to fill by FT staff … anyway all best

fancythat Mon 27-Nov-23 07:49:16

I started off being on his side. But with further thinking, I am on yours.
With his skills, he doesnt need to take a job doing shifts, I would have thought.
I could handle the two nights I think, but you cant, and I am not you.
From his perspective, you did have time to say something.

So I think now, you two have to decide what to do about the job, going forward.

LOUISA1523 Mon 27-Nov-23 07:57:59

Weekends are family time ....working every weekend is unfair to you...tell him now before he gets to involved in the job

Casdon Mon 27-Nov-23 08:09:22

I’m in two minds because I think it’s reasonable for your husband to go back to work part time over two nights a week, but Saturday night is a bad night to work. Sunday night wouldn’t bother me, as you can still do other things during the day. I think you must work on your fears of loneliness when he isn’t with you though because you must have your own life that isn’t dependent on his support 24/7, which will make him feel guilty, that’s no good for either of you.

Katyj Mon 27-Nov-23 08:10:30

Mmm I’m torn with this one. I don’t value weekends that much now we’re retired. We don’t see family usually as it’s their family time. We tend not to go out much as it’s too busy especially at this time of year.
We’re out most days through the week days out walking, shopping and the coast, then picking DGC from school some says too. But it’s how you feel that matters, if weekends are usually your time then you need to speak up.

Susan56 Mon 27-Nov-23 08:19:51

I don’t think you are being unreasonable at all.

My husband worked permanent nights for the last twenty years before he retired.He had one Saturday in three off.It was just our way of life at the time but I wouldn’t want to go back to the days of him yawning his way through any functions we were invited to or having to leave early.

I love our weekends now as I am sure you do too.I would explain to him what it was like when he was working before and that you really don’t want to go back to that lifestyle.

You have as much right to be happy as him.Say to him you are happy with him working two nights if that is what he wants to do but not at the weekend.

Georgesgran Mon 27-Nov-23 08:19:54

I’m with ‘Casdon’ in most ways. As someone who’s DH was away 4 nights a week for years, I just had to get used to it. No choice.
I’m wondering if the OP still works, because as retired, it really doesn’t matter at all (to me) that the weekend has to be Saturday and Sunday. DD1’s weekend was Monday and Tuesday, which was great to take DGS1 to places that would’ve been too busy for him on Sat/Sun.
Maybe it’s weekend nights to start off with and he might be offered different shifts as and when they’re available.

NotSpaghetti Mon 27-Nov-23 08:42:32

I do think you should have addressed the issue when he was applying (as you said).
Was he really deliberately "going against a promise" or was it just that the job popped up and he was excited? Did he know the depths of your dislike of the overnights or was it something that was less discussed as life went on?

It seems to me that ge was too excited at the prospect of part time work and you were too surprised to speak up.

Are you still working? If not, why be bothered about it being the weekend? I really don't understand this.

And I haven't got a solution, I agree it's tough - but personally I'd just suck it up now as I would think he wouldn't have applied if you'd spoken up beforehand. I'd ask him (now he's "back in") to look seriously at part time day jobs if they come up - I'm sure they will.
Meanwhile you might suggest he tries it for a few months and then asks if he can transfer to days?

Don't stamp your feet now, it's a bit late in my opinion.

ronib Mon 27-Nov-23 09:05:54

I guess it’s easier for your husband to find weekend night shifts as they are harder to fill. Also these shifts should be paying more than standard day rates. Also having been out of the labour market for awhile and an older worker, your husband might have struggled to find work at more normal hours?
Personally I would go with the flow and see what happens next.

sodapop Mon 27-Nov-23 09:14:08

I agree with Katyj weekends are not so important when you are older and the family all grown up. If you have an active social life which revolves round weekends that may be different. I worked shifts for most of my career and quite enjoyed having time off when others were working. I think you should go with the flow for now as ronib said.

M0nica Mon 27-Nov-23 09:50:03

Any other night but Saturday ro Sunday and I would say, accept it, he clearly needs the occupation and stimulation.

But Saturday and Sunday nights....................... they write off the whole weekend, I know weekends matter less when you retire, but one still has children and grandchildren who are only availableaat weekends, not to mention younger still-working friends plus special events are always at weekends.

Granny23 Mon 27-Nov-23 09:52:34

My late husband played in dance bands during all of our married life, while working full time at his day job. Most of the Band work was on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. so these were the evenings when I visited my parents and later when the children arrived DM & DF would visit me on these evenings. or babysit if I wanted to go out. I had a neighbour who also had 2 children the same age as mine and as her husband always wanted to watch football on TV she would join me for OUR favourite weekend TV.

Later on I was available to Baby sit for My 2 DD (3 DGC) so that they could socialise at the weekends. and we took some Monday to Thursday short breaks just the 2 of us.

"Where there is a need there is a way"

Nansnet Mon 27-Nov-23 09:53:37

notquitethereyet said, 'why don’t you think of things you would like to do on your own or with friends at the weekends?'

And Casdon said, 'I think you must work on your fears of loneliness when he isn’t with you though because you must have your own life that isn’t dependent on his support 24/7...'

Whilst I do agree that non of us should be totally dependent on our partners, and we should have our own friends to do things with, isn't it often the case that, particularly at weekends, most friends are spending family time together, or doing things with their own partners. When one half of a couple is left alone, it's not always so easy to find someone to do things with, without feeling you're encroaching on someone else's precious weekend time together. I realise that some people are single, and aren't in relationships, so they do need to find hobbies, and like minded people to spend time with. But when you are in a relationship one tends to expect to do things together, particularly at weekends. Or, at least, that's my experience amongst my friendship circle.

I don't think the OP sounds like she has a 'fear of loneliness', she's spent 30 years with her DH working shifts, so she's obviously used to it. To me, it sounds like she's rather disappointed that her DH has taken on a weekend shift job, when they should be enjoying retirement together. The traditional weekend of Sat/Sun is obviously important to the OP, and the prospect of going through the rest of retirement, or for as long as her DH decides to stay in this job, without being able to spend the weekends together, must be quite upsetting/annoying.

OP wrote, 'We always said if he did go back to work it would have to be something that didn't involve working nights and weekends'. Her DH went against what they had discussed and decided together, before he applied for a job, so I think he is in the wrong for considering to take on the job in question, and she needs to speak up now, before it festers away and becomes a bigger issue between them.

Harris27 Mon 27-Nov-23 09:59:43

This is tricky. Has he gone back to work as a sense of worth or is it purely financial? I would wonder why he’s decided to go back are you feeling hurt that he’s decided this without really discussing this with you and the reason why? I think you need to sit him down and ask these questions.

NotSpaghetti Mon 27-Nov-23 10:06:01

Harris27 - it obviously was at least talked about as Nanny2859 said she should have spoken up:

I know I should have said I didn't want him working those shifts before he applied

And yes, she says she is lonely Nansnet - she says:

it is making me feel so miserable and lonely.

pascal30 Mon 27-Nov-23 10:18:57

Now I'm retired a w/e isn't really any different to a weekday. I would look at this positively and start planning all the mini breaks you can do together mid week with the extra money!!

LadyGaGa Mon 27-Nov-23 10:54:10

Sorry you feel sad about this OP. Have you had a conversation about why he wants to do this? I retired 2 years ago as a shift working nurse. It only took me me a couple of months to realise how much I missed it. I love the job I do but also enjoy the social side and the people I work with - many of them I no longer see unless I go to work. It took me a couple of months longer to realise I also needed extra money - so I now do bank shifts. I don’t like night shifts/weekend but they pay more so that’s what I tend to do. Is your husband worried about money? Does he miss the camaraderie? Does he feel he needs a purpose in life? I would tick every box for me. My husband does miss me when I’m at work and it sometimes disrupts family events, but he understands my reasons and appreciates the extra cash. I hope it all works out for you.

WhatamIdoinghere Mon 27-Nov-23 11:49:36


This means you can’t go anywhere at weekends so it just isn’t any old only two shifts, so no I don’t think URBU.

I think he should have discussed it with you before he accepted the job, but in terms of going away - if you are retired you're not restricted to going away at weekends, and surely he'll be entitled to some holiday. It obviously means a lot to him to be able to work, and after retirement age it can be difficult to find a job, so maybe he could do this but on the basis that he looks for something else that's not night shifts? You don't say what the work is, but if a more attractive shift came up, he might be well-placed to get it if he's already working for the company.

Nansnet Mon 27-Nov-23 13:08:21

NotSpaghetti, I know she said it makes her feel miserable and lonely, which is quite understandable, as her DH has accepted a P/T job working night shifts every weekend. I feel the same way on the odd occasions when my DH needs to work overtime at weekends, when we could be enjoying ourselves. It doesn't mean that the OP has a fear of loneliness, which is the comment I was referring to. I think there is a huge difference between feeling miserable and lonely because you're sat at home on your own every weekend, and actually fearing loneliness. That is just my take on the OPs current situation. Others, of course, are free to interpret it however they wish.

Casdon Mon 27-Nov-23 13:35:08

It’s the choice of words used Nansnet. ‘Annoyed and told him so’ would be the case for a lot of people I think. ‘Miserable and lonely’ seems an over reaction to me, when after all they are presumably together for the whole of the rest of the week, including Friday evening and Saturday during the day. It’s all down to our own interpretation, and it would be good if OP came back on the thread and clarified the circumstances in more detail.