It was Labor Day last weekend in the United States, a time set aside as a federal holiday to consider the benefits of labor to our general well-being.
This year seemed like the perfect time to really contemplate the qualities of a good labor force.
Over the past few months, we’ve heard about plenty of job openings. From nursing jobs to city employees to factory workers to fast food, and everything in between, there are help-wanted signs just about everywhere you turn.
When you’re out and about, the shortage of good workers is simple to see. Some people are very attentive and helpful. Others seem bothered you’ve interrupted their quiet time.
I’ve always appreciated people who go above and beyond when working. These are the people who will not only answer your direct question but can anticipate what you really need from their organization. Their goal is to keep you satisfied with their company, and they’re willing to think ahead to come up with better solutions for you.
These are the people who will never tell you something’s not their job. They might not have the authority to directly solve your issue, but they promise they’ll do what they can to get you to the right person. The best of these deliver on those promises.
These are the people who bubble over with unique and creative solutions to everyday problems. They can look at the same problem others have looked at before them and come up with a novel solution that hadn’t been considered.
These are the people who truly appear to enjoy their jobs. They don’t necessarily have to be cheerful, either, just competent and interested in what they’re doing. They want to know not only what needs to be done but why it needs to be done.
These are the people who become indispensable at their workplaces. They know more than their titles might suggest, and they’re eager to use that knowledge. They often become bridge-builders between different departments or warring factions in a workplace.
These are the true laborers of our time. They’re the people who work hard and appreciate the outcomes of their work, both from the wages and perks they receive and from the intrinsic benefits only they know they’re receiving. That’s the real reason hard workers work hard, since they know the satisfaction of a job well done.
These are the people we should consider as we celebrate Labor Day weekends. When you see someone not just doing a job but doing a job well, you should give them a quick bit of appreciation and let them know their hard work was noticed. But because humility often comes hand in hand with hard work, don’t be surprised if they brush it off.
Just know that they truly appreciate being noticed for what may seem like an unrewarding contribution to society. People working harder than they have to is what helped make America a great nation, truly worthy of recognizing its labor force.
David Trinko is managing editor of The Lima News, a division of AIM Media Midwest. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.