“Monday 5 Things”™ ….. Laboring …..

Dsc 4366 1Photo: D. Paul Graham, “Fishmonger”, Istanbul, Turkey Circa 2017

“Monday 5 Things”™ ….. Laboring …..

Your scribe spent the past few days in bed. Nothing lascivious mind you – I was simply trying to let my body heal. All that said, with very little energy to spare, I dug into the M5T archives, looked back to 2019 and updated the missive I labored over back then.

Labor Day has been celebrated in the US since 1882 and was made a national holiday in 1894 to unify union workers and celebrate the accomplishments of workers across the nation. North of the 49th parallel, Canadians added a ‘u”, and Labour Day started in 1872 with a “nine-hour work movement” to show support for striking workers. Whichever country you are reading this in, Labo(u)r Day is meant to be a celebration of the work of so many who make these countries two of the greatest in the world and yes, I still believe that. Today’s M5T pauses to reflect on the importance of labor, no matter how you spell it.

1. Have To or Get To?

Do you have to work, or do you get to work? Think about that for a moment – the difference is significant. I always wonder at those that complain about the work they do. How sad it must be to have to wake up each Monday morning dreading the 40 plus hours they will toil this week. We thankfully live in a country where you can choose to undertake whatever type of work you want to. Whatever your situation, if you are gainfully employed by someone, or running your own company, embrace your role, stay positive, thankful, and productive in all that you do.

2. Purpose.

The most fulfilling work is work that has purpose. Work that allows you to contribute and realize achievements. Work with a purpose is a calling, a mission. Victor Frankl had a lot say about this. Now that I think of it, Monty Python also had lot to say about the meaning of life, but I digress. Recognize the fruits of your labor, the leadership that you provide others, and acknowledge first and foremost to yourself that your work matters.

3. Creating.

No matter what type of work you do, there is always room for creativity. Open your eyes. Transform your outlook. Question the status quo. Find other options to solve problems. Seek out inspiration. Be brave in your convictions. Be a catalyst for change and improvement. Find ways, even small ways, to be innovative. Daily. Communicate, streamline, and always create with quality.

4. Food.

More burgers, dogs and beer are consumed today than on any other day of the year, with the exception of the 4th of July and Memorial Day. Working with some agriculture clients has given me a new perspective on the importance of farming labor. Farmers are some of the hardest working, optimistic people that I have met in my life. Each year farmers plant crops knowing that their compensation is dependent upon two factors that are outside of their control: weather and market prices. Two factors that mean the difference between exhilaration or heartache. The economic impact of farmers is massive. Farmers provide jobs from farming, processing, and transportation. Industries thrive from farm equipment, feed, seeds, chemicals, and fertilizer. The labor of farmers feeds us, clothes us, and is critical to a reliable food supply for our nation and the world. Farms are largely family run, passed on through generations. Raise a pint today to farmers in honor and celebration of their labor as you enjoy the food you put on the grill.

5. Significance.

Of your labor. I’ll leave you today with a fifth point to ponder from the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’ No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

On this Labor Day Monday, let’s take a moment to be thankful for the legacy of those who toiled before us to make this a better world; celebrate the labors of those around us, and reflect on the value of our own labors.

© 2022 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved.

For over 10 years, D. Paul Graham has published “Monday 5 Things” ™, also known to readers as M5T ™.  Each Monday, Paul shares his observations, thoughts and passions on people, life, and culture.