Labor Day is set aside to honor the virtue of hard work. It’s a day off for many folks, and just another day at the job site for many others. In the northeastern United States, Labor Day signaled the end of the summer vacation season.
Growing up in upstate New York, my first day of school was traditionally on the Tuesday following Labor Day.The Jerry Lewis Telethon for Muscular Dystrophy was held on Labor Day weekend up until a few years ago.
But if the first Monday in September is set aside to bring attention to our labor force, a day should be set aside to draw attention to the people who have done the hiring. These owners, managers, human resource professionals, and others deserve some sort of call out.
I occasionally think of the people who hired me for several jobs I held over many years.
When my broadcasting career was launched at a small radio station, a man named Dave hired me at the end of a short interview for a weekend announcer. He needed someone fast, and with a recommendation from another staff person who knew me, the job was offered on a Friday without the standard voice audition. It was accepted immediately by me and I was on the air that weekend.
My first television job
A man named Mark gave me my first television reporter job.
He’s in the picture at the top of this column.Mark had several candidates from which to choose. After an in-person interview, I waited about a week before receiving his call that included points about the salary, benefits, and the expected working shift.
He did everything except offer me the job. He told me he would have to run his choice past the station manager and that if everything went well, he would call me the next day. I slept only three hours that night and waited all day long the next day for the call.
It finally came at 6:30 PM. The job was offered and I accepted on the spot.
When I switched careers in the mid-1990s, a man named Joe headed the search committee for the job of executive director at a chamber of commerce. The decision was not entirely his, but as the chairman of the committee, his view carried considerable weight. He saw some potential of bringing someone from a different field of work into an organization. I remember the phrase “transferrable skills” was used by him on several occasions.
Thirteen years later, a woman named Mary made the difference in my professional career by again seeing the potential of “transferable skills” to position me in a new role helping local governments save energy.
I try to call her every year on my work anniversary date to thank her for that leap of faith.
It’s important to be ready to work.
We hear a lot about education, job training and the so-called “soft” skills such as promptness, following through, and good customer service.
All of this matters. But when I think back on the successes I’ve had in getting hired in the first place, I always get back to the person who made the decision to invest their company’s resources in me.
They could have hired someone else. But something spoke to their decision-making process and helped swing the pendulum in my direction.
For that judgment, I say thank you!
We rightly focus a lot of effort in the direction toward finding and keeping a job. As we take a day off to celebrate Labor Day this year, I urge you to spend a little time remembering the people who said those two magic words:
Steve Newvine lives in Merced and serves as the immediate Past Chair of the Merced County Workforce Investment Board.
His book Soft Skills in Hard Times is dedicated to the people who hired him at various jobs over the years.You may read a preview of the book at:http://www.lulu.com/shop/steve-newvine/soft-skills-for-hard-times-new-forward-teens-in-the-20-teens/paperback/product-20506951.html