Labor Day may not hold some deep-seated meaning to the average American, but it is still a necessary component of American life.
In addition to marking the end of summer, it’s a great day to shop the 50 percent off sale at Savers and a reminder not to wear white shoes again until Memorial Day.
As Editor Mark Evans pointed out in his recent post, the day has pretty much lost all of its original meaning. But folks don’t really care – as long as they get the day off.
The American workforce needs all the breaks it can get.
The country has been steadily working itself into the ground, suffering from ulcers, migraines and black eyes on the way down – yes, some workplace stress actually leads to violence.
Mix in longer hours, pay cuts and picking up more duties thanks to the wholesale reduction of the workforce across the nation and you’ve really got a mess.
An Attitudes in the American Workplace Gallup Poll in 2000 – a full nine years ago – came up with the following statistics:
* 80% of workers feel stress on the job, nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress and 42% say their coworkers need such help;
* 14% of respondents had felt like striking a coworker in the past year, but didn’t;
* 25% have felt like screaming or shouting because of job stress, 10% are concerned about an individual at work they fear could become violent;
* 9% are aware of an assault or violent act in their workplace and 18% had experienced some sort of threat or verbal intimidation in the past year.
We can bet it’s gotten worse. More recent polls also highlight workers’ economic fears and resentment of the government for starting this economic turmoil.
Thus we need Labor Day – and more holidays that let us take a break from the torrid workplace. Rather than changing Labor Day to honor something else, as Evans suggested, we should just add more holidays to the calendar.
Legal holidays should be scheduled at least once a month, more frequently if there is something really good going on. Please bring this to the attention of the President when you get a moment.
January – New Year’s Day, MLK Day, Sawyer’s Birthday
February – We already get Presidents Day as a legal holiday, but we should also add Groundhog Day since the little dude does go to all that trouble to come outside and predict the weather for us.
March – Ides of March. We may as well give a nod to the Romans on the first day of their new year and first day of spring. It’s also the day Julius Caesar was brutally stabbed to death by Marcus Brutus. Let’s celebrate.
April – Since April is already designated National Poetry Month, we should add a National Poetry Day. We get the day to read, write and reflect on poetry throughout the ages and figure out exactly why Sylvia Plath stuck her head in an oven.
May – Memorial Day, Ryn’s Birthday, Ryn’s Friend Victor’s Birthday, Everyone Born in May Birthday
June – Paul Bunyan Day on June 27. Heck, Tucson should get a whole week off for this guy, since he stands stately at the corner of Stone Avenue and Glen Street. Not sure why he comes up in June, but we need a holiday for this month anyway.
July – Independence Day needs to be accompanied by July 14th’s Bastille Day for good measure.
August – Frankenstein Day. Frankenstein author Mary Wollenstone Shelley was born on Aug. 30, 1797, according to HolidayInsights.com. Other sources put Frankenstein Day on the last Friday in October and/or Oct. 29. We may as well add all three to the calendar. Also add Phoebe’s Birthday to the August list.
September – Labor Day and others
October – Yes, we get Columbus Day but please also join me in the movement to make sure everyone gets the day off for Halloween.
November – Thanksgiving
December – Since there are so many different holidays going on in December, from Christmas to Hanukkah with Kwanza in between, we may as well get the whole month off.
Full disclosure: I am just back from a looong holiday week off that was completely sublime. The world could definitely use some more of those things.
Are you working too hard and need more holidays?
Has a fellow worker ever given you a black eye?
Do you spend more time with your coworkers than you do with your family?