Once upon a time (I always wanted to say that) there was a special day of the year called Labor Day. It was special for a lot of reasons: it honored workers with a day of rest; it gave families a chance for a last vacation fling before the start of school; it brought friends and neighbors together for a picnic or some backyard grilling; and it gave young adults who were headed back to college a chance for a final weekend of partying near home before beginning consecutive weekends of partying on campus. And for years, businesses of all kinds were actually closed. (For those of you with relatives at the University of Idaho I'm thrilled to be able to tell you that despite the day of rest for some cafeteria workers, Jared, Jason, and Brittany will not starve. Please double-click screen shot below.)
Labor day clearly is no longer a day of rest--but the other stuff is still going strong. By noon today I had done some banking with a live teller at the bank, worked out at the fitness center where they had slashed their closing time from 11 p.m. to 6 p.m., took the car to a carwash where it was scrubbed by live people, and stopped at the cigar store to score a few Robustos.
We've Made Progress
Work life isn' the same as it was in the 1800's. This conclusion was reached through agonizing, lengthy, in-depth research. . .
which means that I clicked on a couple of keywords to discover that in the late 1800's, prior to Labor Day, here's what the gang in the photo (double-click) was up to on the first Monday in September:
I'm guessing that they were thinking something like, "We need to band together and knock this stuff off. Let's form a union and get a holiday so we can cruise to Cabo."
Thanks to their willingness to do just that, the students from Bloomsburg University did not have to organize anything other than what they labeled The Bloomsburg Sea Isle City Volleyball Mixer. Here are a couple of photos from that event taken from their website:
This is visual evidence that the whole work situation has improved for everybody--except maybe the bank tellers and car wash guys in my town.
Note: Please email if you find any evidence of volleyball. I think they got the Mixer part down pat.
And this from Mongolia: The Chinese "Labor Day" is actually seven days long. According to these guys, they don't actually stop working for the entire seven days. However, a brief break to arm wrestle the Western guy dressed as a potential Plumber of the Year appears to be a big part of the festivities.
In many countries Labor Day is celebrated in May--frequently on May 1. For some reason, there is enough interest in Labor Day to have an online forum.
"Steve, You Are Not Behaving Like A Serious Business Blogger"
Yeah, right. I knew you might say something like that--even on Labor Day. So I was prepared to close with some pithy pieces that add deeper meaning. So here:
Great Places to Work
Want to work at a great place? Companies know they have to pay attention to the "people part" of the business in order to attract and keep good employees. It's become so important that each year Fortune Magazine publishes The 100 Best Companies to Work For .
This year's #1: Genentech . Click to find out why it's numero uno.
Steve's pick for the "Hi, I'm Jimmy Hoffa and I'd like to pass out some membership cards" award: Radio Shack . Read the brief blurb. They laid off 400 employees via email. The spin was that they had told the employees in a meeting sometime prior to the actual layoff that a). there would be cutbacks and b).they would be informed by email. So I guess they get high grades for keeping their word. "You've Got Mail!"
Gotta go to work. My turn to flip the burgers.