This is the 4th or 5th year that I have been home alone (with a ton of home and freelance chores) for Labor Day, or that i've been working. I don't remember my husband ever having Labor Day off, except when he worked at AT&T... As a customer service agent... In an office. Wearing a suit... And tie...
After AT&T, he took a job at Stone Care of Austin where he worked hard LABOR cleaning and restoring various stone projects including mantels, counters, floors, etc usually for large corporations or very rich people and politicians with very fancy homes. Although he broke his back daily with long, unpredictable hours, often on weekends or at night, his LABOR was not rewarded with a day off. Currently, he works as a field LABORER for a local organic farm. They treat him very well, but he does not have the day off because the work of a farmer is never done, nor is the work for the farmer's field LABORER.
This trend makes me sit back and think. Wasn't Labor Day created to ensure that those who worked the hardest were given a day off to enjoy a long weekend and get some rest? It seems to me that Labor Day has become a day for folks to skip wearing their suits and ties and to go out to parties, take a trip, or go shopping, served by shop LABORERS who do not have the day off. Do those suit wearers, who are generally paid a great deal more than the LABORERS in fields, who may not have the skill set or education required to work more high ranking jobs, really deserve another day off? Don't most of those folks get paid time off that they could use at their discretion with a little forward planning? PTO??? I haven't gotten to use that term in my own daily life since i was laid off from the Austin Museum of Art back in 2000whatever when the economy crashed. PTO? My family has to carefully weight the benefits of an extra day camping or traveling to family weddings vs a day's lost wages. No PTO, overtime, sick leave or even national holidays for us.
I currently work 2 days a week at a temporary job, and am applying like a mad thing at all sorts of full time jobs, some of which i'm incredibly excited and hopeful about. I also work as a freelance artist, which gives me the most flexibility of all work schedules. So, i'm not complaining about having to 'workin' myself this Labor Day. I get to draw cute critters that make people happy, make a bit of money, and also have time to walk our dog past the fields where my husband and fellow field LABORERS are sweating on this Labor Day..... It just makes me pause and think about the irony.
If you have today off, please stop and think about where the meat and veggies on your grill came from: field LABORERS worked from dawn til dusk, literally, tending those crops. The waiters and shop employees don't have today off, in order to lavish you with Labor Day sales and tasty treats. If you have today off, say thank you to those who are working to make your holiday enjoyable, and who work hard every day yet don't get to enjoy a day off for Labor Day this year.
It seems to me that many national holidays today feel like just a chance for sales, bbqs, or an excuse to skip work and school....
What do you think about national holidays? Do you feel that their original purposes are still being upheld?