Labor Day 2019

I think about Labor Day and a lot of different thoughts go through my mind.

What’s the origin of the holiday in this country?  “Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor, ” according to Wikipedia.

What, if any, is our U.S. Labor Day’s association with International Worker’s Day on May 1st?  Turns out that “May Day” is linked to an ancient traditional festival time in Europe, and similar labor movements in that region selected that date to also associate with honoring and further the cause of workers. That occurred around the same time in Europe that it did here in the U.S.

I think about the early 20th century novel, “The Jungle,” and the fictional account of very real working conditions in the meat packing industry in the northeastern U.S. around that same time period.

How far have we come with regulations and minimum wages in that time, to give rank and file workers safer conditions and enough income to live a reasonable life?  Lots of data, some objective results, but plenty of subjective opinion on those topics to be had, for sure.

Then I consider the hardest, most physically demanding jobs and who does that work.  Think about the people that work in extreme physical conditions, so that others might benefit from seasonal produce or the freshest catch.  How difficult is that work?  How much do those folks make?  Would I want to do that work?

I think about people I know that do white collar work and make good income; some are associated with organized labor, some are not.  I consider the various aspects of work today, and the manner in which plenty of white collar, high-skill workers also can be exploited and might benefit from organizing. 

Throughout the world we can say that collective bargaining has been good for workers in the industrialized world over the last one hundred and forty-odd years. We can also say that wages have increased, working conditions have improved, and society on the whole enjoys a higher standard of living along that same period of time.

Sure there’s still more work to do.   But I’ll spare you the red star or the fist clenched in the air.  We have to say that the owners and the governments and society in many countries have supported the workers’ cause, to everyone’s benefit.

In my humble view, Labor Day should be a day when we remember and appreciate all those workers, of all shapes and sizes and trades, all the rank and file whole make our economy churn.   Those that, through there hard work, make our country a better place to live.

We should appreciate, and honor labor, on Labor Day,  and everyday.


More on:

Labor Day

May Day

The Jungle


Collective Bargaining

#Worklife 1.0


Lately business has been a bit challenging.

With the energy sector in the space it is now (and has been for the past twelve months or so), budgets have been adjusted, belts have been tightened, plans have been scaled back.  In the capital equipment business, that means orders have slowed some, and the values have similarly shrunk.

There’s business to be had out there, but the sales cycle is often longer now, and the outcome more uncertain.  More rocks have to be flipped looking for opportunity, and you have to be dogged in your pursuit.   Lots of people are uncomfortable with the uncertainty, the slowed business. Candidly, I “feel” the same.  But at the end of the day, you can only do so much, and market reality is market reality.

Rather than trying to pull a rabbit out of the hat, you have to change with the conditions and keep moving forward.  Lots of folks think they understand the sales job. Many think they can do it (& many can for sure). But it’s not as easy as one might think.

Here are a few personal maxims that come to mind:

To thrive you must be able to adapt to change. And find inspiration everywhere. And self-motivate. And share the energy.

One of the key traits of a good sales person is managing, and overcoming, uncertainty. Lots of people struggle with that.

Patience, Perseverance, Tenacity, Creativity, & Positive Thinking: These are the main drivers behind successful sales people.  And probably safe to say, good life lessons for everyone.