“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”
– Ecclesiastes 9:10
It’s a fine thing for a person to have a job they consider worthy of their effort and rewarding in its results.
As the Old Testament reminds us, we’ve got to work while we can and give it our all because we have but a limited time to make our mark.
This Labor Day is a fitting time to reflect on the slow but steady progress we’ve made in recovering from the Great Recession.
In the years since the national unemployment rate peaked at 10 percent in October 2009, our nation has seen a steady decline in the jobless rate, to 4.3 percent in July, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Work is a large part of many of our lives. As a society, we know that having a job is a fulfilling thing, which is why we wish for work to be part of as many lives as there are those who wish for it.
Although it’s true that there are many Americans who consider themselves underemployed, or who have dropped out of the workforce because they grew discouraged, the fact is that many of us have something to genuinely celebrate today: The jobs that we work, either as members of a team striving toward a common goal, or as individuals.
Traditional wage-earners are one type of laborer, but there are many others. Stay-at-home mothers and fathers and grandparent caregivers do important work every day. Artists, clergy, and farmers all do their share to make our world better, too.
It’s fitting to celebrate our labor because it is part of what makes us human. Having productive work and doing it the best we can is an important part of being alive.
Even the hardest-working people need a break now and then, though. Although Americans are among the most diligent workers in the world – studies have shown that working too many hours a week can actually be counterproductive.
For those of you who will work on Labor Day, thanks for helping the rest of us to enjoy the holiday.
If you’re not, find some way to enjoy the fruits of your labor or just take some time to relax.
You’ve earned it.