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Another summer winds down, and suddenly, it's Labor Day. Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. More than 100 years ago, Labor Day was designated to celebrate the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. Our country has enjoyed the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known. It is appropriate that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership -- the American worker.

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, the American economy sputters to rebuild itself. The American worker struggles to reinvent him/herself.

As we visit with clients, colleagues, and friends and work with various businesses, organizations and industries, we have some observations about the new world of work:

1. If your business still exists, your company and its employees are very fortunate. So many businesses, organizations and retail operations are no longer with us. Falling into the vast abyss created by persisting economic challenges and moving job overseas, many good companies and organizations simply could not continue to make their business models work.  

 2. If you still have a job in these times, it's pretty wonderful. So many experienced and talented individuals would be extremely grateful to be in your shoes. It may not be the job you once had, and it may not be the job of your dreams.  But, it is your job.Your job, to appreciate and tend to.

3. You may find yourself doing the work of two people now, and that can be stressful and frustrating. It is a call to work smarter, figure out better, more efficient ways to do things. It is a call to add more value than we cost our employers. It is a call to collaborate with our colleagues, customers, and possibly, our competitors to find better, more efficient ways of doing things.

4. There are no guarantees. Job security is not something employers can promise. We must take every opportunity to grow our job skills and diversify the possibilities in which our skills and experience might be used. We must continuously find ways to add value to our customers and our employers.

5. American creativity and ingenuity accounted for the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country 100 years ago. We need to tap into our creativity and ingenuity today, no matter what our job. 

 6. Our government is not going to save us. Waiting for solutions from on high is delusional and wastes precious time that could be used to create our own solutions.  We must resolve to do our part by committing to improve the jobs we perform.

Perhaps this Labor Day season is a time to celebrate our jobs and the opportunities our jobs provide for us to add and receive value.

Your Coaching Challenge, Should You Choose to Accept It: 
If you have a job, take time to appreciate all that your job provides for you.  Whether it challenges you to grow, to learn new things, to do things smarter, to become more creative, or to practice teamwork, take the time to identify and celebrate its many tangible and intangible benefits.

Decide to create your own "economy" by figuring out new and different ways to add value for your employer and your customers.

Above all, resolve to stop looking for solutions in the wrong places.  Only we can lead ourselves, our companies and ultimately our country into better times.
 

Jeanne Gladden

Born to be in business, Jeanne Gladden is a business coach, consultant and educator.

 

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