Monday, September 5, 2022

Labor Day, Grandparents, and the Workplace

I have written in this space about Labor Day for many years now.  See here, here, here, here, and here for the posts from the past few years.  Each year, I write about something related--closely or vaguely--to the holiday.  I actually see it as my "job" as the regular Monday blogger for the BLPB to provide some kind of linkage to Monday holidays.  However, I also find that Monday holidays serve as a creative outlet for me--one that often reflects a personal or professional moment in which I find myself when I write the post.

This year, I am drawn to think about family, especially parents and grandparents.  My two children, both adults in their 30s, lost the last of their grandparents, my father, a few weeks ago.  So, all of that has been on my mind.  But what could any of that have to do with Labor Day?  I went on a digital treasure hunt to see what I could turn up . . . .

Imagine my joy when I found this article, penned eight years ago for the Association of Corporate Counsel by Anil Adyanthaya, then Senior Corporate Counsel at Analog Devices.  The title of the article, A Grand Approach to In-house Practice, intrigued me.  But the content sold me.  Amazingly, it ties together Labor Day with another September holiday, Grandparents Day!  Of course, that September holiday connection synced perfectly with my current family focus.  He writes:

The national holiday most people associate with September is Labor Day. That’s understandable considering its role as the unofficial end of summer and its purpose of honoring the great driver of our nation’s progress: the American worker. Most in-house counsel, when asked to name the September holiday most relevant to their career, would obviously name Labor Day as well. Because of our workloads, it would probably be the top choice for corporate counsel regardless of month!

But it may surprise you to learn that Labor Day is not the only September holiday relevant to in-house counsel. That other national holiday is Grandparents Day, which falls on the first Sunday after Labor Day. The statute creating Grandparents Day was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter in 1978 and states, in part, that the holiday’s purpose is “to help children become aware of [the] strength, information and guidance [that] older people can offer.’’

The main thesis of the article?  Mentoring--employing that "strength, information, and guidance" to help others in the workplace--is important to what in-house counsel bring to the task.  Here's the ultimate conclusion, but I urge you to read the entire article, which is only one page in length.

[T]his month, as we honor our grandparents, whose wisdom and caring have done so much to shape our own lives for the better, please remember that one way to express that esteem is to take their example and apply it in our own lives. Our workplaces provide an excellent opportunity to do just that. And it won’t involve buying any ice cream or knowing any knock-knock jokes. Unless you work for a really interesting company.

I am privileged to have a career that allows, encourages, and enables me to engage in mentoring colleagues and students every day.  So, in honor of both Labor Day and Grandparents Day, I plan to redouble my efforts to use the "strength, information, and guidance" with which age has blessed me to help others in and through my work.  These efforts are emblematic of the brand of servant leadership that I enjoy most.

Joan Heminway, Teaching | Permalink


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