The very first Labor Day was celebrated in New York City on September 5, 1882. And on June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a law making the first Monday in September of each year a national holiday to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers; the contributions they have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
For most of us, Labor Day has always marked an end to summer – parades, picnics and one last warm weather gathering with friends and family before the kids head back to school and the days become noticeably shorter. It goes without saying, however, that the unprecedented nature of this ongoing pandemic has changed everything this year.
The time honored tradition of celebrating by taking time off from work rings a bit hollow when large segments of the U.S. labor force have been either unemployed or drastically underemployed for half a year now. Even those of us lucky enough to be in the world of professional services – where work-from-home arrangements are not only feasible but often more efficient and financially lucrative – have struggled at times with feeling isolated and disconnected from our peers.
The COVID Silver Lining
Amidst all the political turmoil, social unrest and ongoing health concerns, it’s difficult but important to stop for a moment to take stock of the things we’re grateful for. Even something as horribly devastating as COVID-19 brings with it small positives that we can latch onto: skies are bluer and the air quality is better; we’re seeing significant reductions in auto fatalities and overall crime rates; and hospitals are reporting reduced occurrences of other infectious diseases.
What’s your personal COVID silver lining? What have the results of this pandemic made you most grateful for? Perhaps it’s the opportunity to spend more time with your family…being home every night for dinner with your kids (even if it’s because you never left your new upstairs or downstairs office). Or maybe the new normal has allowed you to maintain a better work-life balance; getting more sleep, working out more regularly and/or reconnecting with hobbies or passions.
Labor Day also presents an opportunity to think about and celebrate the importance of your team – the contributions they make to both the financial lives of your clients, as well as the financial viability and sustainability of your business. Consider taking a little time out of your day – especially given this unprecedented time where we’re all still feeling a bit cut off and insulated – to reach out and express your appreciation and gratitude to each member of your team for their ongoing commitment and passion.
One of the Roman poet Ovid’s most well-known quotes is, “Take rest. A field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” I hope you, your loved ones and you teams have a safe, happy and restful holiday weekend before we all get back to tending our fields.
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