On the Lessening of the American Work Ethic

Today (September 4, 2006) is a bank holiday here in the United States, called Labor Day.

Labor Day is a holiday to celebrate the American worker.

Rosa Say at her Managing with Aloha blog today has an outstanding opinion post about Labor Day. In it she decries the chipping away of the American work ethic:

As I write this today, reflecting on the values of Managing with Aloha, and how much I personally do love and enjoy the work I am so fortunate to do, I must say that I wish Labor Day would live up to its name.

I don’t mean to rain on your holiday parade, — or picnic, but I do yearn for getting back some of the good “old fashioned values” that truly honoring a Labor Day could inspire.

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It used to be that we talked about the honored value of having “a great work ethic.” It was the hallmark attitude which became the defining qualification for just about every job worth having. It was the one box we wanted our boss to check off as EXCEPTIONAL on our annual performance reviews.

We don’t talk about that much anymore; not nearly enough. We don’t pride ourselves on it, and we don’t honor it in others.

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This Labor Day, let’s spend some time thinking about those good old fashioned values connected to meaningful and worthwhile work. Let’s think of how good we feel when we work long and hard with focus and self-discipline to achieve goals which stretch and challenge us. Let’s commit ourselves to stellar, admirable work ethic again, to the honor, dignity, and respect of good work.

Nice job, Rosa. Read the entire article. It’s quite good and she manages to weave in some excellent observations from Thomas Friedman’s book, The World is Flat, as well as her own book, Managing with Aloha.


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

2 Reactions
  1. Thank you Anita, I see you are hard at good work today! I sincerely appreciate your pointing your readers my way.
    With much aloha,
    Rosa Say