Do you remember when you were 5 or 6? Did you play at being a teacher? A fireman? Did you want to be Bob the Builder? Did you want to be whatever your mom or dad was?
We learn about the importance of work at a very early age. People doing their job is how things get done in society. As toddlers, we understand on some level that your job is one way that you contribute to a safe and productive community. We already feel the pride and satisfaction even though it’s a pretend job.
But it’s not all pretend. That feeling of pride is real, even in a 4-year-old. Do you remember your first job? Do you remember how excited you were when you got hired? How proud you were to cash that first paycheck? I do. I don’t think that feeling ever really leaves us. It continues throughout our careers. Our jobs are important, and we justifiably take pride in what we do.
That’s what Labor Day was created to celebrate — the work we do. The work that we are so proud of. It is a day to recognize the contribution that ordinary people make each day to the strength and success of our society. This year that celebration takes on even greater importance. There has been a focus on front-line jobs, jobs that are often unseen and unappreciated but are so necessary to successful everyday life. We have rightfully been singing their praises.
But Labor Day gives us an opportunity to recognize the contribution of everyone; to say thank you to each other. It is also an opportunity to think about the meaning of work and to understand how important that pride is to our wellbeing, individually and as a community. No one thing defines us as a person, nor should it. But there is simply no denying that the work that we do is a critical part of who we are and how we feel about ourselves.
Being in the staffing business means that I am keenly aware of the meaning and importance of work. Since my parents founded ATR, I have seen, heard, and eventually became part of the joy that finding someone a job brings. Everyone at ATR understands clearly how important each job is to each individual. And so, at this time, we also are thinking of the millions of people who are without a job.
The consequences of unemployment are terrible, certainly devastating on a personal level, but also for society. Just as the collective outcome of all our work lifts and benefits us as a whole, the lack of work affects us too — it hurts us all. Celebrating Labor Day means acknowledging this too. If our Labor is important, then its absence matters terribly.
We are faced with a great challenge at this moment — as individuals, communities, a nation, and a world. It’s a scary and uncertain time, but humans survive and move forward, somehow, someway. I am confident that we’ll continue to move forward, make progress, and rebuild our struggling economy. At ATR we know how many smart, talented people there are doing amazing work at large and small businesses everywhere. We meet and place them every day. Labor has always been the critical bedrock of a healthy society. We’re confident that through hard work, we can build an economy that strengthens each of us and our whole society.
I also know that, as always, we each have our part to play. For me and my colleagues at ATR, that means a renewed commitment and heightened sense of importance and urgency as we do our jobs. Helping our neighbors and friends find their next job, their new opportunity, is what we do every day and it’s how we can best contribute to the recovery. By doing our job.
Whether you’re one of my wonderful, hardworking colleagues at ATR, one of our clients, or just a fellow member of society, I hope you got to enjoy a long weekend! As we move into fall, let’s keep in mind the meaning of Labor Day — what it stands for and why we celebrate it.