So, yesterday along about 4:45 in the p.m., I am sitting at the desk I use in Engineering down at the Main Campus of The Skunk Works -- and doing, if I may say, a very creditable job of holding it down, not to mention finally making a start on paperwork from last week -- when my immediate supervisor emerges from his tiny office, takes a quick inventory of Us Techs from the guy working vacation fill-in on the mid-late shift, to the near-retiree on days packing his briefcase to go home, to the empty desk shared by a tech on vacation and his peer who did the early-early shift on regular rotation at the start of the week and, finally, settles on me.
He gives me The Grin. "How would you like to go home early and still get paid for the rest of your shift?"
"That bad, is it?"
"I need somebody to work the three a.m. to eleven-thirty shift tomorrow. Regular morning tech just called in sick."
His options are another tech who left fifteen minutes earlier and already worked seven days of morning without a break last week, me or Nobody. So of course I volunteer; last-minute overtime is of necessity and contract voluntary, even when it really isn't.
Drove home in a mental fog, in heavy and what appeared to be uncommonly foolish traffic; arrived without serious incident en route -- honking and dire looks, each given and received, isn't serious, right? -- and was in bed by 5:15. Not asleep until after 6:30 and cat-feeding was finished, but you can't have everything.
And now here I am. Y'know, I'm starting to think my department may be just a little short-handed.
3 months ago