Friday, August 29, 2008
A Salute to the Worker Bees
While most people see the Labor Day holiday as a chance to cut out of work early today and head for one last weekend at the beach or perhaps a barbecue in the backyard with friends, I see it as the one time of year I need to stop and salute all of you.
As a workplace columnist for nearly 17 years, I've interviewed hundreds of workers and hundreds of bosses. I've heard from readers of my column all across the globe. I've been grateful for your letters telling me that information I shared helped you, that for the first time you don't feel like you're the only one who has workplace challenges. You share your difficult experiences: being bullied, being fired, working for a tyrant and getting annoyed with co-workers.
But despite your problems, you continue to go to work every day. Maybe you don't get much recognition, maybe you don't have a glamorous title or a fancy corner office. Maybe you work despite a chronic illness or constant pain. Through whatever trials and tribulations you face in your private life, you go to work.
You work when companies treat you like a commodity to be bought and sold. You labor when your benefits are cut, when you don't get a pay raise and when you fear you may be laid off. You put in extra hours on the weekend, and even when on vacation.
The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Sept. 5, 1882. More than 100 years ago people felt like laborers should be celebrated. In 2008, I couldn't agree more.
So, you have my admiration and my thanks. I've learned a lot from each of you over the years, and I have come to be amazed by your resilience, your dedication and your perseverance. To me, the fact that you get up every day and go to work -- no matter what your circumstances or what challenges you face -- make you heroes in my book.
Take a bow. You've earned it.