Happy Labor Day! When you think about that statement, it seems like somewhat of an oxymoron, wishing someone a happy day celebrating the fact that they have to work.
Labor Day was originally created to celebrate the labor movement, dedicated to the social and economic achievements of the workers. It honors the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of the country.
Yet, if you ask most people, they would prefer to never have to work another day in their life. According to a 2013 Gallop Poll, The State of the American Workplace, 70% of Americans described themselves as being “disengaged” from their jobs, with only 30% of the 150,000 surveyed admitting that they actually enjoy their bosses and their job.
For most of us, Labor Day means taking the day off to celebrate the end of summer, with barbecues, parades and community festivities. It doesn’t honor the privilege of work, nor the collective accomplishments of the workers and what we’ve achieved. For most of us, we’d have to go to Wikipedia to actually understand why we even have this holiday in the first place.
But I’d like to change that. I’d like to propose that we honor Labor Day by celebrating the fact that we get to choose what kind of work we want to do! We get to choose whether or not we do something that we love, or resign ourselves to a fate of unhappiness, doing something that brings a paycheck, but no joy.
We each have different things that we are passionate about, and different things that excite us. When we find a way to create a “job” around that which we love, what once was “work” becomes play. When we follow our passion rather than our paycheck, life presents us with infinite possibilities.
Confucius said, “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” I’d like to take that one step further and say, “Create a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” After all, when we accept responsibility and realize that we do choose what we do, it’s the end of the blame game. No longer is it our boss’ fault, or our company’s fault. If we’re not happy, we are the only ones who can make that change to create the life we desire.
So how should you celebrate this Labor Day? According to British historian and philosopher Arnold J. Toynbee, “The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.” Celebrate by looking at your life, remembering what it is that excites you, what it is that makes you want to jump out of bed and get started… and then go do that! Create a career doing exactly what you love, and watch the numbers shift from 70% unhappy to an overwhelming number of happy, productive workers. Work can be play if you’re doing what you love.