Origins and Progression
Known as Labour Day or International Workers’ Day in some countries, Labor Day, for most people in the United States, is part of a long weekend off from work, a reason to have a barbecue, go on a short trip, and/or hang out with friends and family. It signifies the end of Summer. Originally, it was a day set aside to honor the American labor movement and to recognize the work and contributions of laborers to the development and achievements of the United States. 1
In recent years, I think we have seen a drastic change in the attitudes of people toward laborers and of many of the laborers themselves. Teachers, we all know, are underappreciated and underpaid, restaurant servers are treated like less than first-class citizens, and those in the sanitation and janitorial services are looked down on. Is it any wonder why individuals wouldn’t want these jobs?
The Effects of COVID on the American Work Force
As we all know, many (if not most) businesses were ordered to shut down in 2020, forcing many people out of jobs. Some of these layoffs were temporary, but unfortunately, many were permanent, due to businesses having no choice but to close their doors forever. If you were part of a business that was considered “essential,” you were one of the more fortunate ones.
Naturally, unemployment rates rose astronomically, the government issued checks, and we waited. After things started heading back to a place of “normalcy,” many businesses were able to reopen. The government, however, continued doling out money, whether you were able to retain your job or not, and many people continued to collect unemployment, not bothering to even look for jobs. When I heard the amount that individuals were collecting for unemployment, I thought, I could quit my job and make more money by not working! Am I missing something?
Even after restaurants were allowed to open at full capacity, they were not able to do so because they didn’t have the staff. I saw Help Wanted signs up and down the street going unanswered. People either didn’t feel the need or perhaps the desire to return to work. They lacked a certain type of ethic.
Whatever job I’ve had, I have made sure that I am good at it; at least, as good as I can be. Mopping floors may seem to be a menial task, but I will at least do it thoroughly. I have had many coworkers, however, who lack such a work ethic. Especially when the boss isn’t around, they will do the bare minimum, sometimes much less.
I think one of the reasons for this change is a severe lack of empathy. In today’s egocentric society, a lot of people ask, “What’s in it for me?” If a job or task doesn’t suit them or have a direct impact on them personally, they may choose not to do it, or at most give it minimal effort. In order to gain back the empathy that would raise their level of work ethic, all a person would have to do is ask themselves, “If I were owner of this business, how would I want it ran?” The answer would get them up off their tush and moving.
Rewarding Good Employees
If you are an employer, I encourage you to take notice of your more dedicated employees and reward them for their work ethic. Show them that good deeds are worth doing. If you are an employee, strive to be the best at what you do, whatever that may be. Even if you are not immediately compensated, it will pay off in the future; if not monetarily, in building your own character.
Thank You, Workers
In the midst of eating that barbecue wing, drinking that beer, or playing corn hole, take time to say thank you to some of the workers providing you with the things you’re enjoying on this holiday. Let them know they are appreciated–especially when they may not be fortunate enough to have this day off themselves.
Copyright © 2022 Brandon Ellrich
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