I don’t often give much of a passing thought to Labor Day as an adult.
Years ago, when school was my job (along with throwing newspapers, working the kitchen at a greasy spoon restaurant or the grocery store) Labor Day was the official end of summer.
Growing up in Independence, Labor Day meant the final hurrah of Santa-Cali-Gon and the ushering in of school the very next day.
As an adult, Labor Day has been nothing more than a fringe holiday that usually meant I had to work in some capacity.
During my newspaper years, we didn’t stop the presses for Labor Day, Memorial Day or many other holidays. The paper still had to get out, which meant most of us would enjoy some time off on those days, but eventually end up at the office, preparing for the next issue.
Like many my age and older, laboring has been a part of my life since long before I could drive.
In grade school and junior high, any disposable income I could scratch up came courtesy The Independence Examiner, where I threw a route in my townhouse complex for many years. Those dollars usually immediately went into baseball cards, candy bars and video games at the various arcades around the city.
After stints cooking and stocking produce, college work was at the newspaper and the local bars and restaurants. The money came quicker then, but so did the bills. You learned early on what you could afford, what the cheapest beer was on the shelf and how valuable those $1 sandwiches at QuikTrip would become.
Labor means something quite different now to me as a small business owner of almost four years. I have taken to the Internet to try and learn a little more about the labor movement, why it was so vital to the working class as the century turned from 1800 to 1900 and how we have progressed as a working nation over these decades and centuries.
For so many, Labor Day doesn’t come with the ability to sleep in, attend a family picnic or spend the day with friends and kids.
Dispatchers, firefighters, medics, policemen, nurses, surgeons, air-traffic controllers, pilots, working parents, cooks, dishwashers and so many small business owners still labor on this day to honor why we labor and why labor regulations on fair pay, time off and working conditions are so very important to us.
For me, it always comes near the anniversary of when I formed my company, and is a yearly reminder (along with so many other daily reminders) of why I went into business for myself and what it means to form a company, be a part of the economy and take pride in not only holding up your own name, but the brand you’re building as a business.
Editor's Note: John Beaudoin is a Lee's Summit resident and award winning writer and former newspaper publisher in the Lee's Summit community. Views and opinions expressed in his columns do not necessarily reflect those of Link 2 Lee's Summit, it's employees or any other guest contributors.