Successfully Surviving a 12-Hour Shift

Across America, many companies are moving to longer shift schedules for their employees. In the manufacturing sector, 12-hour shifts have already been common for decades and PMG employees are very familiar with finding ways to work them successfully.

If you’re wondering how you can possibly make it through a work schedule that accounts for half of the total time available in a day, here are some tips and tricks for surviving a 12-hour shift.


two production workers working together

Get Your Mind Right

A 12-hour shift is 50% longer than an 8-hour one. You have to start each shift with the right mindset. If not, it will feel longer and get more dangerous.

“The long hours can wear on you mentally…so you need to show up wanting to be there and focused on safety, of course.”

Dan O. – Welder

 You Can Always Teach or Learn

There’s always a chance of downtime during production. The question is, what do you do with it? Passing along knowledge is a great way to pass time.

“Twelve-hour shifts are much shorter if you’re busy so help others with their work or just clean up.”

Jeff C. – Maintenance

Don’t Forget What You’re Working For

The good part is long hours equal large paychecks.

“An old road dog told me not to ever forget what you’re doing this for…money.”

Jeff C. – Maintenance

Physical Condition

inspector working on an oil pump

Elements & Conditions

The work is one thing, but the situation you’re working in is an entirely different thing to consider.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re ready for the job; if you’re not ready for the weather, the wrong clothing can ruin a job.”

Jason H. – Operations Manager

Battery Life

Your tools won’t work if the battery is dead and neither will your body. Taking sleep seriously is a must for surviving long shifts.

“The people that struggle the least with long hours are the ones that get enough sleep the night before.”

Kim M. – Technical Manager

Fill Your Tank

If you’re making a trip in your car, you need enough fuel in the tank to get there. The same thing goes for your body. Eating and drinking right is imperative.

“You have to make sure your body is ready for it with plenty of nutrition and hydration.”

Dan O. – Welder

Mental Condition

machine operator working on a CNC machine


The nature of production facilities means some can be less than stimulating and some tasks can get repetitive. Often, the best cure for this is a simple change of perspective.

“Adjust your vision periodically, meaning don’t stare at the same thing constantly. It’s a small thing, but it can go a long way.”

Jason H. – Operations Manager

 Smaller Time Blocks

Production runs, especially big ones, can deal with some daunting numbers. Thus, the best way to attack them is often in smaller chunks.

“I like to set short incremental goals. Cutting a cycle time for a part down from eight minutes to seven can result in substantial savings on a 1000-piece run and it makes the day go faster working in shorter time frames.”

Dan C. – Machinist

Prioritize Appropriately

The more you put on your plate, the easier it is to get overwhelmed. Make sure your checklist is in good working order.

“Our best techs all have a lot they could do. They learn how to recognize what needs to be done, compared to what they’d like done, and then set their work accordingly.”

Kim M. – Technical Manager 


The next time you have a long shift, or mandatory over-time come up, don’t dread it. Rather, try using some of these tips from our employees to help you prepare to not only survive your shift, but shine during it. If you think you’ve already got 12-hour days down, then maybe consider a position with PMG.


Check out our website to learn more about open positions.

The new year is up and running, January has come and gone, and here we are in February. However, this year is a little different than last; it’s a Leap Year with a leap day.

Have you ever wondered – Why is another day tacked on to February every four years? Here’s what I found.

What is Leap Year & Why Do We Have It?

Leap year happens every four years and leap days are always February 29. The calendar we all know and use is called the Gregorian calendar. In leap years, we add an extra day (February 29) to the Gregorian calendar to synchronize it with solar years.

A solar year is the time it takes the earth to complete its orbit around the sun (365.24219 days, to be exact). This is 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds longer than the time allotted in a Gregorian calendar.

Through a simple (actually, it’s likely a very complex) mathematical equation, it’s been determined that adding one extra day, a leap day, every four years, realigns the two calendars again. Without leap years, the discrepancy in time between the solar calendar and the Gregorian calendar would cause events scheduled in a Gregorian calendar to misalign with the seasons of the solar calendar (e.g. Christmas would eventually become a summer holiday!)

Fun Facts

Can’t remember if it’s a leap year or when the next one will be?

It takes a little math to figure it out. If the last two digits of the year are divisible by 4 (2012, 2016, 2020, 2024 etc.), then it’s a leap year. The exception to the rule is century years. These years must be divisible by 400. For example, century year 2000 is a leap year; century year 2100 is not.

What are the odds that someone will be born on a leap day?

The simple estimate is one in every 1,461 days. You can find more detail on the odds of being born on a leap day.

What do we do on Leap Day or during Leap Years?

Not much really, but Irish tradition encourages women to propose on leap days. Find details on that and more here.

You can start your own tradition by turning on the TV to watch this movie.

For more fun, find 29 things that happened on leap day.


US Presidents’ Support of Manufacturing

The cornerstone to America’s strong economy has always been its labor force.  While most Presidents claim they will help out our workers, some actually made major steps in doing so.  In honor of President’s Day, here is a small list of US Presidents who helped the working class.

William Taft

William Howard Taft is responsible for signing the creation of the US Department of Labor (D.O.L) in 1913.  The D.O.L. is responsible for promoting the development of wage earners, job seekers, and retirees.  Also, the D.O.L. is responsible for many of the laws keeping workers safe, productive, and well compensated.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) into law in 1938. As one of the most important labor legislation ever signed, this Act changed hours and regulations across the board.  The FLSA created the 40-hour work week, 8-hour work day, and ended child labor practices.

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt, known as the ‘Trust-Buster’, worked hard to regulate large companies from exploiting workers.  While known for his boisterous and bullish personality, Roosevelt supported workers’ rights, supported unions, and curbed wage cutting during his presidency.  Often, he would also confront business owners in public on behalf of workers.


Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Harry S. Truman, Donald Trump, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush all owned small businesses before being elected.  Each of these Presidents were known for supporting workers over companies during their legislation.

The backbone of the US economy will continue to be its labor force.  Years of hard work, legislation, and tenacity has created the protection and opportunity for workers to be productive and compensated fairly.

To learn more about US President roles in manufacturing, please visit

Dave Rohlfing, Senior Technical Solutions Coordinator

Why is showing appreciation at work important?

Love and appreciation can be shown in simple and inexpensive ways in the workplace. Increase your company’s productivity, loyalty, and happiness by incorporating it into your everyday.

At some point in our careers, it’s likely we’re either shown appreciation or received it in the workplace. Whether you’re the giver of appreciation, or receiver, we could all agree being recognized feels pretty darn good. The best part about this type of love is it doesn’t take much of your time; it’s free; and research shows it builds an enormous amount of loyalty and increases productivity.

Isn’t it a wonderful feeling when our hard work, efforts, and time are noticed – especially by the boss. Being noticed and appreciated naturally creates and builds a deeper connection to those around you. Think back to a time you recognized a co-worker’s efforts or your efforts were recognized. How did that make you feel? Warm and fuzzy? Empowered? Motivated?

It’s in our biological makeup to need and yearn for all types of connections. We strive for acceptance in social groups; we want to do a good job at work and have it recognized; and we always strive to contribute to something bigger.

Research shows that love is a common denominator uniting us regardless of upbringings, cultures, religions, or beliefs. It’s the one “thing” that can slice through some of the most dynamic and complicated topics that make up who each of us are as individuals. Pretty incredible if you ask us.

Are you struggling to find joy at work? Check out our post on  How to Fall in Love…with your Job! 

How do you show love & appreciation at work?

If love is truly our one common thread, regardless of circumstances, then why the heck don’t we show and share it more often? We asked a number of PMG employees what comes to mind when they think of the word “love” in our office. Here are some of their responses.

I felt appreciated when my team surprised me with a thoughtful card and gift on national boss’ day. I had NO clue this was even a thing, but it made my entire month, no YEAR! The card is still hanging up on my refrigerator at home and it makes me proud to have the team I do.

It made me feel appreciated when Amy (PMG’s President) called me directly to tell me I’m doing a great job during a challenging client situation.

When my grandma passed away, my amazing coworkers sent beautiful flowers to the funeral home. When I flew back into town, I had a card waiting for me in the mailbox signed by each of my coworkers.  It really made me feel loved after such a hard time in my life.  I’ve never worked for a company where I’ve felt so much love and understanding. I truly do love my PMG family!

I loved it when Tess got me coffee and left me a note on my desk last time we were in MN.

In the spirit of St. Valentine’s, we hope this post inspires you to share a little extra love and appreciation with those around you.

Love, Kelly and Tess

Tess Dailey, Client Solutions Manager

Kelly Grohowski, Client Solutions Manager

Q&A with PMG Machine Operator Larry P.

How long have you been working in manufacturing?

I retired from the Marine Corps after 20 years in 2014. After retiring, I went into manufacturing because of the first job I fell into after the service. I decided to stick with it because I’m more of a hands-on kind of guy and the pay is good compared to other things I could do.

Have you had any formal training?

Yes, I used my GI bill after the military and went to Faulkner State in Alabama for machining. I chose that over welding because welding just seems too hot.

Before working at PMG, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

I got to see a lot of places in the military – Hawaii, Australia, Korea, Guam, Japan, Thailand, and Jamaica. But the military is the military. The work isn’t that different at any duty station, just the locations. I really liked Okinawa though.

What do you like most about working for PMG?

I like that PMG is straight-forward, especially my coordinator and project manager. They tell me how it is and I like that. You also get to meet a lot of different people, from different places and different backgrounds. A lot of those people I now call friends…. And PMG keeps me working – I like that too!

What is one thing you miss or wish you could have with you while on the road with PMG?

Not much really. I joined the military when I was 17. I’m used to being on the road. I don’t get to see my kids as much as I’d like, but I can’t complain about much otherwise. I take advantage of the time I get with them when I get it. I’m on the road to do the work and to make life better for them at home.

What are some career lessons you’ve learned thus far?

My concept, even when I was in the Marines, is treat everybody like you want to be treated and they’ll normally do the same for you.

When you’re not working, what sort of hobbies do you like to do in your free time?

I don’t do much besides work, but I am a big sports fan. I try to watch and/or attend as many sporting events as I can. Basketball is my favorite sport. I’m a Lakers fan now because I’m a big Lebron fan. I go where Bron goes.

What is something fun you’re looking forward to in 2020?

I’m getting married in June and I’m looking forward to that. I actually met her on a PMG assignment!