5 Unconventional Ways To Make Labor Day Work For You

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Labor Day, the national holiday to celebrate workers in the United States and Canada, falls on the first Monday of September. Originally conceived to celebrate the spirit of the labor movement, the holiday was rushed into legislation to placate workers in 1887 after a prolonged and messy Pullman's Strike.

More than 127 years later, the holiday now signifies the end of summer, a retail holiday when many now have to go to work rather than rest from it, and a day off from work for those lucky enough to have full-time business hour jobs.

For many it is now a bittersweet holiday.
  • For summer seasonal workers, it's the end of the working stint for another year. For some of the luckier of these workers, if they've put in the time and received the minimum qualifying pay, it can be the beginning of a long winter of unemployment, but one subsidized by unemployment insurance. These rules vary by state.
  • For the unemployed, it's a marker of another day not working and the beginning of the last quarter of the year when the hiring environment can be chaotic. People do get hired the fourth quarter of every year, but holiday slow downs also occur.
  • For the retail sector, it is a time to gear up. It's the beginning of the back-to-school, Thanksgiving and holiday season when working hours can be long, hard and unforgiving. But, it's an opportunity for another type of seasonal employment that can be a boon if it's all that's available.
Regardless of your job situation, Labor Day can become a great milestone for taking a fresh look at your career or job opportunities. Here are five ideas for celebrating the spirit of the holiday in more productive ways than tending to the barbecue grill.

1. Move Away from the Grill. Instead, move toward the computer for refreshing your resume. Save your resume in whatever format it currently exists and give it a new name. Now start slicing and dicing it to reorder and reword how you present yourself. It's your day to try out and serve up a new resume dish. You may not use the new resume, but by tinkering with it you may come across some new ways for presenting yourself to prospective employers. Can't bear to tear apart your resume? Try creating a resume addendum to get a fresh perspective on your skills.

>> Related Article: Build Self Confidence with a Resume Addendum

2. Get Yourself to a Bookstore. Go to a local bookstore and browse the business section. Stay away from cookbooks and self-help books. You're looking for a title that sounds readable, potentially interesting, and imparts some new business wisdom. It can be a business parable – essentially business fiction, but it's also something that allows you to talk about it in an interview you hope to have within the next few months.

Hate business books? Find something light such as the Fish! series highlighting how Seattle's Pike Place Fish Market employees found inspiration in reinventing their jobs. It's not uncommon for interviewers to ask about the last book you read. This title will be your answer. Besides, the bookstore employees had to work the day, so gave them a reason for being of service on a day and ask them what books have been hot in the business section. They'll know and will like being asked for a recommendation.

3. Find an Inspiration. Search LinkedIn for someone who has a title you might want. You don't need to connect with them, but read their profile and consider words and phrases that might work for you in your own profile. Search at least five people to see if you can find 1-3 ideas for refreshing your profile.

4. Reconnect with a colleague. Find an old teacher, co-worker, school pal, or neighbor and connect with them either on Facebook, LinkedIn, or just email. Connect for old time's sake, not a job, but be honest about where you are in life and where you hope to still go. You never know whom they may know and how an old connection can lead to a new one.

5. Appreciate Yourself. It's Labor Day, the day set aside to celebrate the spirit and ingenuity of the American worker. That's you! Whether you're actively working now or not, give yourself a pat on the back of appreciation and let yourself know why you deserve a new opportunity. List five strengths and five potential opportunities by completing one half of a SWOT analysis on yourself.

>> Related Article on how to do a SWOT on yourself: 5 Steps to Take Control of Your Career

Come up with three words that describe you in a positive light and say those words to yourself like a mantra from Labor Day until New Year's. If you're dedicated, creative, honest, punctual, or hard-working, let yourself know by saying it out loud to yourself. You need to hear it and whom better to tell you than yourself!

Regardless of your current working situation, enjoy Labor Day and use it to your advantage. For most of the country it's a day to get away from work, but for you – make it a day you dedicate to working on yourself.
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