The new Labor Day

One day a year isn’t much to spend honoring the folks that built everything.

One day a year for the more than twenty that died from the heights and in the caissons as they built the Brooklyn Bridge.

One day a year to remember the 123 women and 23 men who died in the Triangle Shirtwaist tragedy.

And one day a year for the overlooked and disrespected, for the hardworking and the burnt out.

Of course, there’s still factory work to be done, but more and more, the labor each of us do is labor that can’t easily be done by a computer or a robot, work that requires emotional labor, that challenges us to lean just a little bit further into the unknown.

One of the factors that made hard labor palatable was that the economy didn’t offer a lot of choices. If you worked in Lackawanna, you probably worked a farm or in steel mill. It’s not like you spent a great deal of time wondering about what you might be doing instead.

Today, choices are everywhere. Which means that not only do we have to wrestle with insufficiency (of respect, of compensation, of reliable work) but we also have to take responsibility for our freedom. The freedom to choose something better, and even more important, the freedom to do work that matters.

We live in a world that’s moved by connection more than it is by heavy lifting. The connection of seeing and being seen, the connection of creating opportunity and value.

That shift isn’t easy, and for many, it’s painful. But that shift is up to each of us.

Today’s not just the end of summer. Today’s a day to plan how next summer might be very different for us and for those we seek to serve.


We’re launching the Bootstrapper’s Workshop on Wednesday because we know this is true. And we want to make the difficult work more possible, to create space for you to move forward, to lean in, and to connect with others who have made the choice to shift.