It was a relatively quiet Friday, likely due to VMworld and Labor Day hangovers. The most interesting news of the day is the announcement of U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra’s Tuesday press conference to unveil the first government cloud computing initiative. Details are sparse, but I am sure there will be plenty of praise and venom directed at the plan once it’s announced. I, for one, cannot wait to hear it.
The origins of Labor Day, which takes place the first Monday of September in North America, are somewhat uncertain. The holiday originated in Canada, born out of the worker’s rights movement there in the 1870s. By the 1880s, it had spread across the border, and the first organized Labor Day celebration in the U.S. was held in New York City in 1882.
Throughout the 1880s the honoring of Labor Day gradually made its way throughout the U.S., until it became a federal holiday during the administration of President Grover Cleveland in 1894. Rather than being a day of rest for the worker, however, Labor Day was initially a day of activism. Early celebrations relied on parades and festivals centered around union organizations and their workers. Homage was paid to the rights of these workers and their incredible importance in the growing industrial economy of the country.
What is certain is that since then, the world of work has changed dramatically. The American worker is migrating from the factory to service and knowledge work. Union membership is falling. More and more of us work for small businesses, or even ourselves, instead of large corporations. Read More about The Evolution of Labor Day
Labor day seems like the most ironic holiday on Earth — a day off to celebrate work. To celebrate the nine-hour day, specifically, though these days, in the U.S. at least, it’s seen as the last long weekend of summer. I know that when Labor Day comes around, I’m always happy for the break, but it seems that many aren’t so ecstatic.
Apparently, some of us won’t be making the most of the holiday because of the economic downturn. And of course, whether we’re at home or away, a large portion of us will remain connected, checking email, catching up on reading or research, or getting ahead on deadlines. Like we do every year, even though we know we’re supposed to be enjoying a well-earned rest.
If you’d like to do something different with your Labor Day, why not consider stepping back from your work, your web connection, and your professional zeal, and spend at least part of the day objectively reviewing the place work has in your life right now? Read More about Labor Day Challenge: Wrestle Your Work Back Into Its Box