A Tribute to Hard Workers Everywhere THE WORK WE DON’T SEE
I’ve always thought Labor Day to be one of our most noble holidays. The American workforce is the engine that powers our society. Every job, whether it be senator, CEO, construction worker, or caterer, matters. Labor Day is a chance to celebrate the folks whose work so often goes unnoticed and is taken for granted. Every time you walk into a brightly lit building, somebody put time and effort into the wiring. Every time you have a meal at a restaurant, you’re indirectly experiencing the work of hundreds of people. Perhaps I use these two examples because they are the industries in which I held my first two jobs. The summer before I went into 10th grade, I took a summer job as a dishwasher. Mostly, I worked the lunch shift, and I can still remember the basic rhythm of the day. I’d get in, make sure my station was clean, and brace myself for the lunch rush. Once the first wave of diners finished their appetizers, I’d be in the weeds for a solid three-plus hours. No break and no respite; it was just me and an endless mountain of dishes. Eventually, the rush would taper off, and I’d finish up the last few rounds at a slightly less frenetic pace. At a lot of restaurants, this would be considered an easy shift. The average restaurant guest never sees the dishwasher, probably never even thinks about them, but, ask any employee, and they’ll tell you that a good dishwasher is essential. We’ve gotten away from regarding the ‘regular jobs’ with the respect and dignity they deserve. Today, everyone wants to be a celebrity, and we celebrate the glamorous. America should be a country where workers of all types are
I only worked in that restaurant for one year, but it forever affected the way I see food service workers. Every role in a restaurant is difficult and demanding. When I say hundreds of people contribute to a good meal, I mean it. The people who grow the ingredients, build the restaurant, wipe the floors, make the plates, mix the drinks, cook the steaks, serve the food, and wash the dishes all have to work in unison to make it happen. When you think about it, it’s a pretty amazing accomplishment that we view as totally mundane. If I ever see someone ranting and raving in a Starbucks at the slightest inconvenience, I know they’ve never worked in a restaurant. The next year, I worked as an assistant to a local electrician. It’s another job you instantly learn to appreciate when you see it from the inside. I mean, the idiom we use to describe baseline survival is “keeping the lights on.” An electrician’s job is to do this, literally. Electricity is one of the fundamental necessities of our society, which makes being an electrician as crucial a job as there is. And yet, we never celebrate electricians. You may not even know the name of your local electrician anymore. We’ve gotten away from regarding the “regular jobs” with the respect and dignity they deserve. Today, everyone wants to be a celebrity, and we celebrate the glamorous. America should be a country where workers of all types are celebrated, paid a living wage, and treated with the rights they deserve. One of the best parts of my job today is the chance to represent folks who work in all types of industries and do all sorts of jobs. We are grateful to be a law firm that serves the people of Spartanburg. Thank you to everyone reading this for the job you do, whatever it may be.
Happy Labor Day.
celebrated, paid a living wage, and treated with the rights they deserve.
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