Monday, September 05, 2005

happy labor day

i have never celebrated labor day...

every year i have the day off as a holiday and sometimes there have been cookouts or picnics, but i have never actually "celebrated" labor day...

i have thought of this as an undistinguished holiday. i have not explored the labor movement. i have not appreciated labor laws. i have not considered my personal learning and growing through my own progress through labor...

so today i take a moment to celebrate labor day and give honor to every position i ever held, even those i may not talk about today and those i don't care to list on my resume. every job i ever held has contributed to the person i am today...in fact, every job i interviewed for and was denied...has contributed to the person i am today. what a lovely thing now to take time to give tribute to my own work history...

a shoe store clerk, i fitted people for shoes and sold them laces and socks. i delivered the washington post (as an adult) and learned how to start my workday at 4 a.m.. i waited tables and began the practice of patience (and the customer is always right). i cleaned a bank and a clinic during the night while the buildings were closed and discovered the significance of positions that receive little honor. i was a computer operator for the bank and then a teller and became humbled by my clients’ deep appreciation for kindness. i sold avon when i was young and then tupperware when i was just a little bit older and developed wonderful customer service skills during those sales years. i went through training to sell cars but i quit before my first day (the organization was a hugely sexist organization and it was not for me). i have been a secretary for brokerage and accounting firms, where i developed professional strength and business acumen. I have conducted several hundred seminars across the united states and the united kingdom and found the work that inspires me most. I have taught writing, have had a couple of articles published, and am now in a book manuscript, which has become the love of my life. And, of course, i honor the depth of experience from my years of raising children and managing a home.

having work to do is one of our greatest gifts and one of our best teachers. but i have learned what you do is not who you are, whether you are proud of what you do or whether you are ashamed. what you do is simply what you do. what you learn from it becomes who you are.

today i honor and give tribute to the jobs i have held, the bosses i have had
(pleasant and otherwise), and the companies who have employed me.

and i wish you a happy labor day.

photo posted with the permission of artist and friend ron porter

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