By Edward M. Bury, APR, aka The PRDude
Yesterday, I learned that Labor Day, which is today here in the United States, was born from controversy, hard times and labor unrest. An historical piece in yesterday’s Chicago Tribune pointed out that the first Monday in September, a day devoted to the American worker, was made a national holiday in 1894 under order from President Grover Cleveland. Earlier that year, things were not so rosy.
Many of us who fire up our grills and bid good-bye to the “official” end of summer may not know that the first Labor Day took place at a time when the nation was in a depression and federal troops were sent to a quash a strike in June of 1894 at the Pullman railroad car plant in Chicago.
Well, back then Pullman was the town industrialist George Pullman created for his thriving business; it’s now part of Chicago. He owned the town, the plant and the houses his railroad workers were forced to live in. He cut workers’ pay but not the cost of rent, leading to a strike, violence and ultimately a blow to the unions. Of, Pullman was forced to divest his industrial fifedom and sell off the town.
Of course, there’s labor strife today, mostly felt among the 9.1 percent of Americans who can’t find a job.
You loyal readers know The PRDude was inspired to join the ranks of bloggerdom (I just made that word up) when he was thrust into “transition.” That nice three-syllable word is really a euphemism for being unemployed. Or underemployed. Or to many Americans, in dire straits.
My outcome was positive. I’m approaching my 11th month in a tremendous position where I manage public relations, marketing communications and lots of other stuff for a great real estate association here in Chicago.
My search took 13 months. On this Labor Day, I offer this advice for those who remain in the hunt.
- Think Not Outside the Box. Thankfully, that silly cliche –“think outside the box” — has faded from our lexicon. It basically means, “try something different.” I don’t think that’s good advice for job seekers. Focus on your strengths. Concentrate in the industry and fields where you have experience. Why “reinvent” yourself if your old self worked.
- Ask For Help. It’s Out There. Too many unemployed people fail to ask for assistance, referrals or advice. You’d be surprised. Friends, former co-workers, the guy at the coffee shop more than likely are willing to help. Ask. But remember, there people have lives and other stuff to do. Don’t expect to be top of mind to your network all the time; just stay within range.
- Have a Routine, But Make Time to Follow a Different Path. During my transition period, you know, when I was still seeking that next great job in public relations, I kept up my ritual of starting my day with a brisk stroll through the neighborhood. I got exercise and an opportunity to think. Some days, I would return and get right back to work. Other days, I’d (figuratively) keep walking. It helped because I did not feel each day was the same; not just another day of being “in transition.” NOTE: Watching television all day but switching channels doesn’t count.
Of course, those seeking work should continue to network, remain positive, volunteer if possible and remain diligent. Hopefully, on this 117th Labor Day, the three thoughts above will provide some additional insight and inspiration.
Do you have similar thoughts to share? Are you “in transition?” Hit the comment button and make your thoughts known.
Wishing all a safe and tranquil Labor Day. Wishing all who’s labor is finding that next great position much success. You can do it. Just ask the PRDude.