Commentary: On Labor Day

Photo by Randy Stern

State fairs, late summer car meets and political campaigns – these are all part of the Labor Day ritual.

The national holiday marks the unofficial end of summer for practically everyone. Schools, colleges and universities already began their new cycles this week. Vacation days are loading up at every job site – from fast food joints to corporate headquarters. Picnics and barbeques signify the call to kick back and relax while the heat of the summer sun and the threat of weather events combine to balance out this final ritual as designated by the Federal calendar.

Labor Day may seem like any typical three-day weekend, but there is a meaning behind it.

For those of who work for a living – it is supposed to be a day off. It is to celebrate the hard work we Americans put up with either in great corporate cultures or failing ones. When it is all over, we head back to work – almost every one of us – to start anew.

This is includes everyone in the automotive industry.

As production plants begin to spit out 2013 model year vehicles, we are presented with a new slate. This means transitioning the old model year's stock to the new one. It also kicks off a world of auto shows to present future products and concepts. This past week Moscow opened the door to two world premieres and a window into what will the Russian contribution to global marketplace will be. The Paris show is just days away.

Meanwhile, the labor movement celebrates its longevity even in the face of relevance. It did not help when an old wound was reopened in the guise of Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin). General Motors' Janesville plant was mentioned on the podium inside the convention hall in Tampa opening up a social media-driven debate as to whether Ryan’s statement about the plant’s status change was true or not. You can tell which side argued in which way along partisan and collar lines.

Politics can ruin a day such as this. The focus should be on celebration. A day designated to step back away from the work we do. Labor Day should be a day to reflect on the hard work we do to keep our lives going. We provide for ourselves, our families and the community what we sow from our work. The food we bring to the table, the shelter we call home and the basic necessities to keep us going through the good and bad times in our lives.

When we get back to work on Tuesday, we will begin anew. We will ask for new opportunities to grow in our lives. We will task ourselves to attain new goals and set forth to achieve them.

Me? I have plenty to reflect on. Three years after being laid off from Merrill Communications gave me the opportunity to change focus on what is important in my life. My writing presence grew and you are a part of this growth equally.

Yet, there are challenges ahead. A stressful current contract-to-hire situation complicates this work to a certain level. I also felt some challenges regarding this work alone as to my own competency in this line of work.

This is why I am taking this day off to reflect on where I came from since August of 2009 to today. It is also see through my current set of goals in order to gauge where I am at today.

I believe I have been lucky over the past few years. I also believe there are new challenges ahead that must be met. In all in the name of maintaining a level of hard work that goes into keeping a roof over my head, food on my table and the ability to move forward in an uncertain economy.

My Labor Day is just like yours. Let us take time to reflect as the summer is almost over. Then, let us get back to work! We have so much to do maintain our lives even in the face of adversity, divergence and uncertainty.

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