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Labor Day a day to celebrate with or without a job

By Dian Vujovich

My mother took Labor Day seriously. It was the day on which I was born.
I don’t think she planned it that way— due dates aren’t always that precise. So as you might expect, this holiday weekend carries with it a lot of positive meaning for me. With so many people out of work right now, I’m hoping that they may see it the same way too.

I know that it’s no fun being out of work for an extended period of time, being under-employed, having your wages slashed because of the tough economy or overworked for the same reason.

It’s also no fun sending out resumes for positions you’re totally qualified for and never hearing back from the companies they were sent to. Nine times out of ten not even a post card or e-mail arrives stating your resume was received or that the position had been filled. It’s hugely disheartening to keep on looking for work and being rejected dozens upon dozens or hundreds upon hundreds of times. But when you’re looking for employment these days that’s how it often goes.

It’s also no fun having to tap one’s savings or retirement plans to make the house and car payments, buy groceries and meds or muster up the gumption to out right ask someone for financial help.

Asking for help of any sort for folks who have worked all of their lives and been able to take care of themselves and their families is something that doesn’t come easy. That old American get-a-job-any-job mantra can haunt your mind and so can the thought of how not having a job makes others think that you’re lazy. Poppycock to both. If you need financial help and exhausted all avenues, ask for it. Through asking you’ll learn about receiving and through receiving about accepting. And the tougher each one of those actions is for you to do, the more lessons you’ll learn about yourself and others.

So through it all interesting things can bubble up. Your family and its members will show their true colors. Acquaintances and friendships can be renewed. Honest conversations can be had. Helping hands can come from someone or someplace you never could have ever imagined they would.

Being down, as in without a job, does not mean being out. It only means being without a job. And having no job has nothing to do with your self worth as an individual. Or the person you are—-unless you choose to let it. Don’t do that.

For once you’ve experienced what being without work for an extended period of time is like, rejiggered the money you do have to see how little you can live on, realized that shopping isn’t everything and that you truly don’t want for too much –even during financially challenging times— you begin to learn about the stuff in life that’s really important. Like who your friends and loved ones really are; that a day without appreciating simply one thing in nature is a day that’s been lost, and that work comes in many forms—from paid, to not paid or under paid—and all carry value.

These things I’ve learned through experience. Happy Labor Day.

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