According to the website of the U.S. Department of Labor, Labor Day is defined as:
"The first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."
Labor Day is one of those holidays that don't get much fanfare, and many people have no idea that it exists or what it's all about. How fitting that this day has a lot in common with society's perception of the working man. We all love the achievements, but the general public sees these men as disposable. Everyone talks about and congratulates the work and sacrifices that women make, yet we consistently brush off the work and sacrifices that men put in. At least until we feel that they're obligated to do more for us.
We're so spoiled that there are people who debate over whether a woman can raise a child -- usually a boy -- without a father. Fatherhood may not be a traditional job, but it's the most important role a man can have. Yet even that role gets tossed aside as unimportant.
In honor of Labor Day, here's a reminder of what the working man is worth.
From 2011 to 2015, 92.5% of employees who died on the job were men. This is because the most dangerous, yet necessary jobs are dominated by men. Such as standing on platforms that are raised 100+ stories high so they can build the houses, skyscrapers, and other structures that we all love so much. And taking apart our broken machines to reconfigure the wires that most of us wouldn't dare touch. And moving heavy objects around all day, damaging their backs over the years.
Oh, here's an invention that we take advantage of without expressing gratitude: steel. Notice how there's no demand for equal opportunity for jobs where employees have to work in 3000+ degree heat, risk breathing in soot, and operate dangerous equipment. The "don't need no man" crowd won't be digging in the mines to get their own diamonds. In 2014, it was reported that the steel industry has a death toll of 150 workers per day. 150 employees -- almost all men -- die every day so that we can have this material that makes it so convenient for us to cross bridges, ride trains, eat without dirtying our hands, and just about everything else.
Let's not forget the emergency teams. Between criminals, crooked partners, and animosity from civilians who see all cops as bad, police see numerous threats on their lives. Firefighters put their lives on the line when they rush into burning buildings, then have to avoid fiery debris that can crush them, and avoid falling into a hole that leads to the flames on the ground floor. And if that's not enough, they have to help other people out of there. Police and firefighters risk their lives on a daily basis to save our lives.
Only about 23% of American school teachers are male. There are children who go years without having a male teacher. The men who do work in schools often serve as the only male role model that some boys have. Male teachers show troubled boys how to channel their aggression. They understand how to teach boys, as -- contrary to popular belief -- boys and girls learn differently. Now if we could just get rid of the sexism that keeps men out of these professions...
There's a popular meme that shows a poster on a telephone pole. The poster reads, "Every thing you see was built by men supporting their families." What better way to end this article by talking about fathers?
My business sponsor has a saying: "If your Why don't make you cry, it's not big enough." There are self-employed men with big dreams, who are hitting the wall at this very moment. Prospects are saying "no" to what that man is selling. The audience hates his act. Every publisher, every studio, every audition has rejected him. He's tempted to give up.
Then he reaches into his wallet, or opens the car visor, or looks at the photo sitting on his desk. There, he finds a picture of his children. He wants to provide his kids with all of the things that his parents couldn't afford. He lives in a bad neighborhood, and wants his kids to grow up in a better place. He wants to be there for his kids, instead of listening to the naysayers who tell him to get a "real job" that takes hours of his time away from his children.
Just like that, he gets up and keeps on moving forward. He keeps it moving through every rejection until he gets a "yes." Eventually, he gets another result. And another, and another. Soon, he gets to the point where he can achieve his fatherhood goals, and create something that is making a difference in the world.
In many homes, men are still the sole breadwinner. Dad is the one putting food on the table. The husband is the one busting his ass at work all day to pay the bills so you can stay home with the kids. Dad is the one who earned the money for your video games, clothes, college, etc. Those moments of your childhood that he missed because he was at work? He had to miss them so you could enjoy all that he gave you.
To those of you who have a good relationship with a still-living father, when was the last time you've thanked him for all that he's done for you?
All things considered, it's fairly amusing how nowadays, it's considered sexist for a man to be head of the household. And then there's all the women who throw tantrums at the idea of cooking and cleaning for a man who spent hours making it possible for her to be home all day. But I digress.
To the men I've left out, thank you for your contributions to your families and to the world. Whether you've been laid off, or you're a CEO, I salute you. As always, know your worth, gentlemen. Don't let gynocentrism hide it from you. Just as society says that men have no right to disrespect a woman because we all came from one, women have no right to disrespect you because we all benefit from men's work.