Labor Day

01 September 2013 | Uncategorized
8 hours for work, 8 hours for rest, 8 hours to do what we will

Image by Ricardo Levins Morales (links to his site).

For many of us, Labor Day is either a day off to enjoy the last dependably summery weekend, or just another work day. Let’s also make it an opportunity to reflect on how we think about labor.

The dominant class culture teaches us that some kinds of labor are difficult and valuable (“skilled” labor). Of other kinds of labor we are taught that “anybody could do it” (even though not everybody does) – and that this so-called “unskilled” labor deserves less compensation, appreciation and respect than the “skilled” kind. Some kinds of labor are so unappreciated in the dominant culture that we may not even recognize them as work. The work of caring for children, elderly relatives, and our living spaces is often invisibilized in this way.

How have you internalized messages from the dominant class culture about the meaning of work, what counts as work, and the value of different kinds of work? How do these norms play out in your organization? What do you want it to look like instead?


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