In 2021, Labor Day will happen on Monday, September 6th, and celebrates the contributions and achievements of American workers. Traditionally observed on the first Monday in September, the labor movement created the holiday in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894. For many Americans, Labor Day also symbolizes the end of summer and is celebrated across the country in various ways.
Labor Day originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters. In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks to maintain a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 worked, making only a fraction of what an adult earned. People of all ages, particularly impoverished and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions. These employees began organizing strikes and rallies to protest poor conditions to compel employers to renegotiate hours and pay. The holiday was established as an incentive for these workers to continue monitoring working conditions and pay.
The issues of long working hours and no time off still exist today. Not as much as in the past, but for highly skilled white-collar workers, who feel constantly connected to their job. The obligation to always be available for their job is causing burnout for many Americans. Job burnout is a particular type of work-related stress — a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that often involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity. If you feel tied to your job and rarely take a vacation, remember the original idea behind Labor Day. Give yourself the day off. Shut off your phone, computer, and other electronic devices that connect you to your daily tasks. Celebrate Labor Day this year by taking time off for your most valuable asset—you!
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