It’s hard to believe that Labor Day is Monday. It marks the time when we say our bittersweet goodbyes to summer and prepare to welcome the crisp, cool days of fall. Holidays provide time to reflect and find relevance in the significance of the occasion.
Origin of Labor Day
This excerpt from HISTORY says, “In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages. People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks.”
As a result, labor unions organized strikes to protest the poor working conditions, low pay and long hours. On September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City. That was the first of many Labor Day parades in U.S. history.
Labor of Love
Although Labor Day originated 133 years ago, it still holds profound meaning for our country. The tireless efforts of the American workforce provided this nation tremendous strength and numerous freedoms. One of the greatest of those is the freedom to be an entrepreneur. You no longer have to work just for the sake of work. You have the freedom to pursue a career, not just for the paycheck, but because it’s something you love to do. As a result, many small businesses are a labor of love, or “a labor voluntarily undertaken or performed without consideration of any benefit or reward.” People these days pursue their passions because of the joy and meaning the work brings to their lives. That’s a beautiful thing and something for which we should be forever grateful.