Labor Day Thoughts On The Virtues Of Work

“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”  Aristotle

Labor Day is here. For most of us, it arrives too quickly with the end of summer. This three day weekend there are bonfires and last-hurrah barbeque with friends and family. Fashion police say it is the end of wearing white clothing. There is that back-to-school edginess for our kids, sales and the beginning of NFL season.

Contemporary images do not mesh with Labor Day’s origins. We don’t necessarily pay attention to its creation to counter abusive work practices by factory and business owners. We should pay tribute to the social and economic achievements of American workers.

Celebrate Hardworking Americans

The first Labor Day was held on September 5, 1882. Ten thousand workers took unpaid time off to march in a New York City parade from City Hall to Union Square to protest poor wages, 70 hour-7 day work weeks, child labor and hazardous conditions. It became a federal holiday in 1894, shortly after labor unions began to claim prominence in the American economy.  

Things are not perfect in today’s workplace but fairer systems prevail. This is a far cry from the late 18th century. I always thought of Labor Day’s celebration as a demarcation between summer and the more casual days in late August. We all need a push to get back into the swing at work whether its after  Labor Day weekend or the start of a regular week. 

Use your days off to have fun with friends and family, get rid of some chores, make time to reflect and plan for the week ahead. It is a good time to consider where you are in your job, seeking a promotion and evaluating your career. 

The Benefits of Work

“Choose a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”  Whether it was Mark Twain or Confucius who said this, it is a sentiment worth aiming for whether you plan to work for 10 years or 40 years.

I always valued my work, appreciated its challenges and a way to give our lives meaning. Sure, there are always days we would rather not be working. However, seek fulfillment from your job and career or make changes. Explore and broaden your interests. Our jobs  give us a sense of pride, independence, identity and purpose, a way to meet people, improve our skill and of course, financial support.   

Post Labor Day, consider these benefits and strive for more. It is no time for complacency at work. Learn how successful people use their weekends. Instead make the time to think about your accomplishments, what you can achieve going into the end of the year and the next year. You may have used your summer to plan out assertive action to successfully reach your goals. Now is the time to pull out your career playbook.

13 Tips For Achieving Success In The Workplace

1.Set reasonable goals and be focused on accomplishments.

2. Develop and strengthen your confidence.

3. Take risks and be bold. 

4. Invest in yourself by growing your skills or taking more classes in your field.

5. Don’t procrastinate as it is a costly habit.

6. Accept and learn from constructive criticism.

7. Negotiate for higher pay and expanding opportunities.

8. Be open to new ways of thinking and always know all sides of an argument.

9. Find mentors to learn from and trust. 

10.Accept failure as a step towards your success.

11. Be a lifelong learner.

12. Value your time and be productive. 

13. Take time to reflect on accomplishments. 

These recommendations whether you are a recent college grad starting your career or have significant experience in the workforce. 

Quotes To Celebrate Labor Day:


1. “Work is no disgrace; the disgrace is idleness. ”   Greek Proverb

2. “Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure you do things differently from everyone        else.”     Sara Blakely, Founder & CEO, Spanx

3. “Labor Day is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race or nation.” Samuel Gompers

4. “The law of work seems unfair, but nothing can change it; the more enjoyment you get out of work, the more money you will make.”                Mark Twain

5. “All wealth is the product of labor.” John Locke

6. “Growth and comfort do not co-exist.”   Ginni Rometty, CEO, IBM


7. “A hundred times everyday, I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other me, living or dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.”    Albert Einstein

8. “Stick to your true north– build greatness for the long term.” Ruth Porat, CFO, Alphabet

9. “The truth is, there is money buried everywhere, and you only have to go to work to find it.”  Henry David Thoreau

10. “I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability.”             Ruth Bader Ginsberg

11. “Be grateful for what you have, and work hard for what you don’t have.”     Anonymous

12. “Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.”    Woody Guthrie

Women’s Rights

13. “Around me, I saw women overworked and underpaid, doing men’s work at half men’s wages, not because their work was inferior, but because they were women… As man’s equal before the law, women could demand their rights, asking favors from no one.”                            Anna Howard Shaw 

14. “If they give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”   Shirley Chisholm

15. “I do not demand equal pay for any women save those who do equal work in value. Scorn to be coddled by your employers; make them understand that you are in the services as workers, not as women.”    Susan B. Anthony

16. “I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine a marriage and a career.”   Gloria Steinem

17. “It is vain to expect from women till they are in some degree independent of men.”    Mary Wollencraft

18. “We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes– understanding failure is not the opposite of success, its part of success.”   Ariana Huffington, Founder, Huffington Post; Founder & CEO of Thrive Global 

19. “I am opposed to ‘right to work’ legislation because it does nothing for working people, but instead gives employers the right to exploit labor.”   Eleanor Roosevelt

20. “No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.”                 Michelle Obama

21. “Without labor nothing prospers.”    Sophocles

22. “Nothing will work unless you do.”  Maya Angelou



There are still biases that remain in the workplace. That said, Labor Day remains a worthy time to celebration the accomplishments of all hardworking Americans in every field of work. Although most of us dislike the thought of Mondays, try to use a few minutes to reflect and plan out your week. I believe the virtues of work beat idleness anytime as long as you enjoy your job. If not, make changes that can benefit you longer term. 

How did you celebrate the holiday? Are there any quotes we missed you would like to share? Let us know and we will add it. We would like to hear from you!



























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