When Labor Day rolls around, most of our thoughts turn to the really important matters at hand: Where did the summer go? Will Monday's barbecue be the last till next June? Long gone are thoughts about the true meaning of this day to honor the nation's workers. Labor Day, being the first Monday in September, makes for a pretty good holiday. Before the “real” holiday season begins, it’s a nice break, generally observed with parades, speeches, barbecues, and picnics. It has also become the unofficial end of summer. In essence, while we have a holiday in honor of “the worker,” we celebrate Labor Day by not laboring.
It was just last Labor Day that we were looking at a grim economic picture. Just two weeks later, on September 15, financial giant Lehman Brothers went under, and it's still the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. Two weeks later, it was followed by lender Washington Mutual. That was not the end. Much has happened since the last Labor Day to Labor Day 2009. And much has happened since the first Labor Day was celebrated in New York City on September 5, 1882.
If you're like most people, you spend at least one-third of your life at work. This Labor Day, with the nation's eyes upon its workers, it's a good time for both employers and employees to evaluate what you do with that one-third of your life. Is your work personally satisfying? Do you take pride in what you do? Do you have a support network at work? Do you feel you are a valued employee (and if you’re the employer, do you demonstrate that you do indeed value your employees)? Do they know it?
Given the current economic conditions, debate over health care reform, job loss and job uncertainty, (this is where we tie this post into LoneStart Wellness) now would be a very opportune time for each of us to do everything in our power to ensure our individual and organizational long-term health and wellness. After all, we know healthy and well employees are happier, have more energy, give more to the job—and get more from the job. That investment in wellness is indeed a job well done, and a fitting way to mark Labor Day, 2009.