Executive Coach Executive CoachExecutive Coach
Scott Eblin offers his take on lessons in the news and his advice on your pressing leadership questions.

Reflections and Suggestions on Labor Day Weekend


What are you doing to celebrate Labor Day? Like so many three day weekends in the U.S., the original point of Labor Day has sort of gotten lost in the shuffle. (President's Day mattress sale anyone?) I spent a little time this morning looking up the history of Labor Day and found this on History.com.

"On May 11, 1894, workers of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago struck to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives. They sought support from their union led by Eugene V. Debs and on June 26 the American Railroad Union called a boycott of all Pullman railway cars. Within days, 50,000 rail workers complied and railroad traffic out of Chicago came to a halt. On July 4, President Grover Cleveland dispatched troops to Chicago. Much rioting and bloodshed ensued, but the government's actions broke the strike and the boycott soon collapsed. Debs and three other union officials were jailed for disobeying the injunction. The strike brought worker's rights to the public eye and Congress declared, in 1894, that the first Monday in September would be the holiday for workers, known as Labor Day."

A couple of things strike me about that story. One is how much history we overlook in our focus on the now. We forget where we've come from. The other is that people shouting at health care town halls, however rude their behavior is, is a long way from sending the Army in to break up a strike. A little historical perspective can be helpful in evaluating what's going on today. The cable news culture can make history seem like whatever was caught on video tape a few hours ago. That doesn't exactly encourage thoughtful reflection or dialogue.

But, I digress. Back to the opening question - what are you doing to celebrate Labor Day? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Thank Your Co-Workers: Before you leave work today, thank some co-workers for what they do. Tell them what you appreciate about their contribution and why it matters. They'll appreciate it and you'll feel better having done so.
  2. Go to a Parade: If there's a Labor Day parade in your community, go watch it. It will reconnect you with our country's history and your own.
  3. Unplug: Spend some time with friends and family having fun. Go for a walk. Watch some baseball or football. Declare Monday an e-mail free zone. The day after Labor Day represents the start of the sprint to the end of the year. Take the time to recharge your batteries for the next leg.

Executive coach Scott Eblin’s goal is to help you succeed at the next level of leadership. Throughout the week, he’ll offer his take on the leadership lessons in the news and his advice on your most pressing leadership questions. A former government executive, Scott is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and is the author of The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success.

Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.