The Irony of Labor Day

Labor day has been observed in this country since 1882 “originating from a desire by the Central Labor Union to create a day off for the ‘working man’.”Boy have we gotten far away from that original intent. Don’t get me wrong, most people DO get labor day off, but it’s typically not the people who could use the day off! I’m talking specifically about retail and food service; the industries which require long hours of tiring, ‘on-your-feet’ work. Yes, Labor day has now become the day where those of us who sit in offices in cushy chairs take the day off of work to go find the wicked Labor day sales. Some people even start their Christmas shopping on this dreadful weekend.

I really blame the retail higher-ups themselves for this. Their year over year push to make the holiday buying season start earlier, and drive up 3rd and 4th quarter sales has increased pressure to sell more stuff faster and earlier. These guys never take a break.

I think that’s why I could never be happy in sales. You have to be ready at any moment of the day to close the deal. There is no time off. You have to make yourself constantly available, or you will lose money. And with our impatient, need-it-now culture, people don’t just wait until Monday like they used to.

It makes me respect retail and restaurant businesses who do set better work-life balance schedules. I was reading a placard outside a Chick-fil-a store about why they are closed on Sunday, and their primary reason was, “we were just tired, and needed a day off.” I say, good for them! The world will not starve if Chick-fil-a stays closed one day a week.

In fact, maybe it would be interesting to see what would happen to the obesity epidemic in this country if all restaurants closed one day a week and forced their consistent patronage to actually make a meal in their own homes for once!

Oops. I have diverged from my original post. Last point: while I am clearly pointing out this injustice, I don’t work in retail or food service, and I don’t hear any retail or food service making a big stink about working on these days. Maybe this isn’t an issue then. Maybe we CAN have our cake and eat it too. Somehow these employers are doing right by the workers.

Happy Labor Day! Go join a union or something…

Take Time for Thanks

In less that 48 hours I will be enjoying a beautiful thanksgiving vacation to LA, so I’m enjoying that thought right now. More and more, the anticipation of the vacation is almost as exciting as the vacation itself!!! I’ll be spending Thanksgiving with family, which will be a treat.

I hope you all take an opportunity to express gratitude this week. We are all very fortunate. We live in the most prosperous nation on the planet. We do not know hunger. We do not know poverty. We are blessed with incredible networks of family and friends. We enjoy a free, open society.

Really though, those are the “easy” thing to be grateful for. It’s easy to just acknowledge those things and be done. I challenge you to take some real time this week for giving thanks. Express your gratitude to those you love. Pray to your creator and thank Him for his sustaining you. Don’t just be say your grateful for your prosperity, give some of it to someone in need. Don’t just sit there and satiate your own appetite, invite a friend over for dinner. Don’t sit there counting your savings, give a dollar to a worthy cause.

And above all, don’t just say your grateful for freedom, reach out and give someone their freedom by releasing feelings of hate or a long held grudge.

Don’t just take a day for thanksgiving, live each day of your life IN THANKSGIVING! You will have a better, more meaningful life.