Conduct an online search for “Labor Day” and you’ll see an onslaught of articles about bargain shopping deals. We’ve lost the meaning of what this holiday is all about.
The Labor Day holiday emerged in the late 1800s in response to the predatory work practices demanded by the owners of factories and businesses. Employees were made to work over seventy hours a week with little or no vacation time or days off.
The holiday’s founders sought to enact changes on behalf of the working class. This included forming unions to protect the rights of laborers and creating a six-day work week. Labor Day developed over the years as a time to honor hard-working Americans and remember all of the contributions made by our predecessors to pave the way for our better working conditions.
The pandemic forced companies to enact measures to improve the quality of life for their employees. CEOs, executives and middle managers weren’t too pleased, but didn’t have too many alternatives during the pandemic other than allowing employees to stay at home. We’ll soon be remote-working for two years.
Remote work has been amazing for most people. They’ve enjoyed a higher quality of life. Without two plus hours of commuting each day, they now have more time to spend with family and friends. Working at home allows people to have autonomy over their lives. They enjoy hobbies, go to the gym, take a bike ride and engage in other activities without the boss staring over their shoulders.
Working parents were able to spend quality time with their children. As public schools closed, they were able to help supplement their education and guide them through glitchy online classroom lessons.
While having greater freedom, workers actually put in longer hours and were more productive. The results can’t be disputed: the stock market is hitting record new highs on a regular basis, indicating that businesses are doing exceedingly well and thriving.
The conversation has dramatically changed from two years ago. We are now talking about hybrid work models in which people will come to the office only one to two days a week. Many will remain working remotely indefinitely. There is a big push for a four-day workweek and abbreviated workdays. Since childcare is an important matter, some places are offering staggered, flexible schedules to accommodate working parents. These concepts would have been mocked two years ago, and here we are, progressively moving forward making the lives better for workers.
Regardless of the new developments, you can’t rely upon companies. They do what’s best for them. Right now the changes made were not done because they love you, it’s out of necessity. Since we’re in a hot job market, businesses have no other choice than yielding to workers in an effort to attract, hire and retain talent. As soon as the balance tips back in favor of the employers, the dynamics will once again change.
With this in mind, you need to be prepared for the future. As we’ve learned the hard way, life changes quickly. Out of nowhere a disease completely upended our work and lives. It’s reasonable to conclude that other black swan events will occur again. To insulate yourself from rapid changes, you need to hyper-focus on your job and career.
Take some time off during the long weekend to enjoy yourself. Practice some self-care, Destress from everything that’s been going on. However, don’t squander the precious moments. We only have this one short life to live. It’s self-defeating to waste valuable time—that you’ll never get back— by watching the same inane movie for the 10th time, as if you’ll live forever.
Now is the time to take bold actions. Use this weekend wisely. Think of where you are in your career and where you want to go next. Put together an action plan to power forward your career. Write down your goals as it will make it real and keep you accountable.
In addition to the goals, have a system in place. This entails taking certain actions every day. For instance, you could allocate time to keep in touch with and build your network of people who can help with your career development. Set aside time to get in touch with recruiters, career coaches, mentors and resume writers. Go back to school, if it will open up new doors. Gain some accreditations and certifications if they’re needed in your field to advance.
Timing is on your side. The first week of September is like January 1. It’s a milestone representing change. Although we may be adults, we can’t kick the ‘back-to-school’ mindset when summer ends and autumn starts. The mindset drastically shifts from the mellow, relaxed last few weeks of August to becoming serious-minded and career-focused. Hiring managers and human resources professionals return from their vacations. They have open job slots to quickly fill. Since there is a war for talent, they’ll need to act fast so as not to lose out the best people to the competition.
If you are looking for a new job or need to hire, this is a good time to start. Both the hiring personnel and job seekers are well-rested and ready to go. We now know that things don’t stay the same forever. There could be a new strain of the virus or another event that impacts the economy and job market. It’s prudent to take action while the odds are in your favor.
It’s wise to act while there are opportunities. Even if everything stays strong, the window of finding a job will soon close again. After the summer ends, the traditional hiring season runs from September to mid December. Once the holiday season starts, the job market grinds to a halt until around late January.