A Labor Day worksong
“I listen to the finest work song. Your finest hour.”
By Scott M. Bruner
Labor Day isn’t a holiday a lot of us think about.
It’s not celebrated with fireworks, parades or any of the pageantry usually associated with a major holiday. Most of us just notice the nice three-day opening on our schedules. On our days away from the office, the last thing we want to think about is work.
Here at Goodwill, though, we never stop thinking about work — the basis of every service or program we offer is the idea of not only providing opportunities to work, but by providing the resources necessary to sustain and build on it.
I write a lot of grants for Goodwill, and I can find myself falling into the trap of repeating the statistics (and even some of the jingoistic language that is all too common this election season) and numbers here at Goodwill that I’ve memorized. Sure, they’re impressive: 46,000 visits to the One Stop, 7,000 people served, 20 million pounds of donated items spared from landfills.
Just like anyone, it’s easy to lose right of what numbers represent and talking about work isn’t always the most glamorous subject. I’m lucky though, because besides writing grants, I also get the opportunity to cover graduations for our training academies, conduct tours, and interview folks from every step of their Goodwill experience: participants, teachers, mentors, even folks donating the lamp they can’t keep anymore.
Although I’ve worked in communications before, I’ve never had such an opportunity to see first-hand the impact a committed organization can make.
Don’t get me wrong, like most people, I’m not a huge fan of work itself – I’m looking forward to having Monday, off, too! – but through my experiences here, I’ve learned how work can provide context, purpose, responsibility, and even meaning to our lives. (And I’ve also learned that if the job you have doesn’t, you should find one that does, because I truly believe that job is out there for everyone.) That’s just not from observation, it’s from my own personal experience. Paychecks allow us to live, but meaning and context give us a reason to spend (or save) them.
Recently, I had the honor of meeting Diane to record her Goodwill experience, a story that’s as moving as it was informative. Diane has gone through our transitional employment program, and used many of our services but what I was struck by and still am, is that the thing that made the biggest difference in her life was having a place to work. Work provided the stability and security necessary for her to build the other changes she needed to make in her life. Her story is what Goodwill is all about.
Work can remind us all that we’re needed, necessary and essential. Context and meaning. Purpose and reason. On this three day weekend, I will certainly be thankful that I can get away from work for a little while – but also that I’ll be able to return to it on Tuesday.
If you would like to know more about what we do at Goodwill, and how your material or financial donations power the work we do, please stop by for a tour. You can always reach me at email@example.com.