The bottom line up front is that if you don’t work hard and together to acquire the appropriate skills, training, and education you will be left behind when it comes to being fairly valued and compensated in today’s economy. As summer comes to a close this year’s Labor Day celebrations seem like a distant memory. It was a holiday which for some included family barbecues, trips to the beach or watching football. These activities bring us together and highlight the good moments we can have when in fellowship with each other. However, we often don’t do as good a job of sharing the history and background of Labor Day with our children and some of the challenges they will face when it comes to careers and future employment. In my book “Step into Your Glorious Future” I write about financial literacy, planning for college and/or a career, developing strong relationships and other subjects that if applied, will improve their employment prospects. There is also a blueprint that lays out step by step actions you can take to create positive changes in your life. In this post, I discuss the:
The history of Labor Day
The benefits of uniting for common causes and
How to approach an ever-changing employment landscape both in the private and public sectors.
Labor Day is a national holiday and is celebrated annually on the first Monday in September. This holiday was born primarily to unionize workers and reduce their time at work. Today I hear a lot of young people (and some not so young) say they are taking on another job in addition to driving for Uber or Lyft to “make ends meet”. The reality is that unless a strategic approach is taken, both on an individual and collective level, workers will continue to struggle when it comes to fair employment practices, struggling with low wages, lack of financial literacy and not having to work so hard for such low pay.
In the 1800s, unions covered only a small fraction of workers and were so organizers did all they could to achieve mass and power through organizing. While living in the Seattle, Washington area I witnessed the push by workers and some of their supporters for a minimum wage increase to $15/hr. Since being passed it has affected some of the very workers it intended to help primarily by diminishing employment opportunities. Social media and cell phone use in many cases have diminished worker productivity due to their use on the job. The current U.S. President boasts of the great numbers in unemployment among various ethnic groups but the reality on the streets doesn’t appear as rosy. Historically, some politicians have been the ones more in favor of bills and policies that promote free trade agreements within countries and rules that allow businesses to create more jobs and opportunities for more workers in the country but it appears that most of those benefiting are in corporate America and in politics. Union leaders and their members fear that if trends continue they will be losing membership and jobs because of these policies. With midterm elections coming up this November, the stakes are high when it comes to electing local, state and national political leaders. The time for sitting on the sidelines should have been in the past, however, many of the affected groups continue to have relatively low voter turnout followed by complaints about who is making decisions that affect their lives.
When it comes to future employment, no one has a crystal ball to tell us exactly what will happen next, however, The Bureau of Labor Statistics has an exhaustive amount of data to show employment trends, outlook, job requirements and much more. This data is useless if we don’t look at the trends and outlook and use the information to develop future plans. Change will happen either when we want it or when we don’t but it will happen. Our young people need to develop a written plan (career, education, personal growth, financial, etc.) and work together with their parents, teachers and community leaders to implement their plans. Simply talking about how we’re being “wronged” will have little to no effect on your situation. This task is a heavy lift but I firmly believe when we reduce the hype from our lives (24-7 football, the need for designer stuff we can’t afford, excessive cell phone use, social media, etc.) and take the time to vote, engage in meaningful conversations, value friendships, establish written plans, seek out mentors and serve others, positive change will be inevitable. Let’s do this!
Marko Gittens, Author
Step Into Your Glorious Future
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