lobster shift (n.) an early morning shift; an earlier than normal start to the working day
Lobster shift was Word of the Day earlier this week on HH, essentially defined as “an early start to the day”.
Also known as the lobster trick, the term lobster shift is thought to have originated among early-starting newspaper journalists in turn-of-the-century New York, before coming to be used more broadly of anyone whose working day starts early, or who is compelled to start their day somewhat earlier than normal.
Quite what the reference to lobsters is meant to imply here is unclear. One suggestion is that it refers to all those workers whose day begins at the same time lobster fishermen head out to sea, while another claims it as a metaphor for the sidling, lobster-like pace of a commute in the wee small hours of the morning. Regardless what inspired it, though, there are still plenty of people who work it.