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September 5th is Labor Day and for most of us, it represents both an end of the summer and a welcomed day off.

The holiday was adopted in 1894, after receiving early support for labor unions who pushed for a national holiday to recognize the contributions workers made to America’s strength and prosperity. President Grover Cleveland made it official, designating the first Monday in September a national holiday.    

As we get ready to celebrate the day with parades, picnics and parties, what is so great about work that it has been celebrated for the past 128 years?

Why is Work Important?

Sounds like a question your teenager might ask? Well, first, there’s the obvious answer. Work enables you to have an income to support yourself and your family, attain life goals like buying a house or sending a child to college and eventually amass the means to stop working forever.

Barnhart workers getting ready to take on a job.

Beyond that work provides a few other benefits:

  • Sense of purpose. A job provides this for some and for others some much-needed structure, enabling you to stay on task.
  • Socialization. While colleagues can get on our nerves, the lack of them can be equally unsettling. Co-workers are something we took for granted before being shut up alone with our dog during the pandemic.    
  • Self-esteem. Being able to go to work and provide for yourself contributes to your sense of self-worth.  
  • Skills. A job provides you with skills and experience that can be used to find another higher-paying job or can come in handy in your everyday life.
  • Fulfillment. OK not everyone can say they are fulfilled by their job. But if you have ever experienced pride from a task or job done well at work, that qualifies.

The COVID pandemic caused many to rethink and reprioritize the role of work in their lives. That caused many to pursue a healthier work/life balance. 

And after all, isn’t that what Labor Day celebrates? A day of play to celebrate the value of work.