Labor Day is one of the staple American holidays, marking the “unofficial end of summer,” but few people know what we’re actually celebrating. A quick look at Wikipedia reveals that the holiday was modeled after the Canadian Labour Day festival and was rammed through Congress by President Grover Cleveland to appease the workers unions after the Pullman Strike in 1894. Not much of a history or meaning, especially compared to other American holidays like Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Christmas, which all have either strong patriotic or religious themes.
In order to apply the holiday a bit more to my own life, I’ve decided to reflect upon the opportunities that are available to us as Americans. As Americans, we tend to run too fast; today is an opportunity to slow down and reflect. When we become overwhelmed, we tend to forget that good work is a blessing and brings dignity to the person. Through our profession, we are able to exercise the gifts and talents that we have been given. Especially in America, where we live in an entrepreneurial society, we have much to be grateful for.
I would recommend that you take Labor Day and use it to reflect upon your own work situation.
Am I an employer? If so, do I provide gainful employment and pay a just wage to my employees? Do I give my workers responsibilities and allow my workers to exercise freedom in reaching them? Do I refrain from discrimination and attempt to maximize opportunities for others? Do I strive to create a safe and dignifying environment for my employees? Am I truly grateful for the workers that support my business? Do I demonstrate that appreciation?
Am I an employee? If so, am I grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given to work? Do I work diligently and have a strong work ethic? Do I care about the quality of my work and use my imagination and creativity to improve my performance? Do I stop and think about the sacrifices my employer has made to create jobs and provide employment or do I grumble and resent his success? Am I fair in my critique of my employer?
If everyone were to stop and reflect, this Labor Day, on our own work situations, our economy just might bounce back a little bit sooner than we expect. Business owners may be more apt to take seriously and generously their role as employers and workers would likely increase their productivity. How do you intend to express your gratefulness for your work situation? If you’re not currently employed and working hard to find gainful employment, I will whisper a prayer for you.