The Top 5 Unsung Heroes of Labor DaySep 03
Modern life is so full of convenience that we often forget that their are real people behind each and every product we consume and service we use. Yet, the men and women who work these jobs show up every day and give it their all. This post is for them, a special thank you on Labor Day to the workers of five of the most vital and under appreciated professions out there.
Being a farmer is a tough life. It’s waking up before the sun, performing physical labor well into the evening and chasing a livelihood with no guarantees. It’s also the most vital industry in the world because without it, we don’t eat. So to say it’s an important job is a bit of an understatement. Nutrition is second to breathing, and our farmers toil away to make sure we get the food we need 24/7/365.
At your next meal, we challenge you to think about each food your eating and the people behind it. Do you know where it came from? Do you know how it was raised or grown? In addition to being hard workers, farmers are notoriously quirky and funny, and worth getting to know. You could join your local CSA to have local produce delivered to you or even go pick it up at the farm. It’s worth the drive!
#2 Waste Management Pros
The men and women of the waste management industry keep our communities clean and sanitary. It’s not something we think about often, but if you’ve ever experienced a city garbage strike—NYC we’re looking at you—you know how quickly a little trash begins to make your community someplace you don’t want to live.
Waste removal and management is a physically demanding job with early hours and long days. Our municipal garbage systems usually work so well that we take for granted how much effort and hard labor goes into making our trash disappear from the curb every week. The next time you see your garbage people give them a smile or a wave or just think a little bit more about the tough job their doing and how grateful you are. Maybe there are a few things you can do to make their job easier? Like maybe not overfilling your bin and taking the extra time to rinse and sort your recycling? (Don’t worry, we’re guilty of those things too.)
#3 Police Officers
It’s truly a complicated time for police officers. And while the very large systemic problems in our law enforcement agencies are constantly in the news, we forget just how important police are and how much we need them. Have you ever been in an auto accident, had your home burgled, or discovered a deceased family member? The average person is not equipped to deal with those kinds of traumas, but police officers are highly trained and skilled at managing those situations and keeping you safe in the process.
Being a police officer is a difficult job. They tend to see humanity at our worst, and dealing with that strain takes its toll. We could be better about really seeing these men and women and remembering their humanity when we interact. More support and openness in communities might just be the path to creating the change we need.
#4 Transit Employees
Public and mass transit employees have big jobs. In addition to driving, conducting or facilitating the movement of thousands (sometimes millions) of people, they’re also in charge of our safety. Getting on a bus, train, ferry or trolley puts you in the care of the craft operator until the ride is over. That’s quite a bit of pressure, and we commuters don’t always make it easy for them. We can be especially hard on conductors and drivers when we’re late due to unexpected delays and traffic. Transit employees are often the first source of blame during transit errors, and most of the time, the causes of a bad commute (accidents, failed switches, and weather) are completely out of their hands.
It’s worth it just to stop and consider that your bus driver, train conductor or ferry operator is doing whatever they’re doing for your safety. We could give them more space to do their jobs, and when we remember, a friendly smile and a thank you for the safe ride goes a long way.
#5 Call Center Operators
Most of the time when we find ourselves on the phone to a call center, it’s not a good thing. Something has gone wrong on our account, a package has been lost or we have a huge bill we don’t think we owe. When we get worked up, we tend to forget the people on the other line aren’t personally responsible for our problem, yet we need someone to listen to us vent (and sometimes rage). In those moments, challenge yourself to stop and start fresh with the person on the line. They are trying really hard to do their job well, and a little bit of kindness might just get your problem solved faster. It will surely make the call center worker more likely to care about you and put more effort into helping you.
We’ve taken out our frustration on more than one operator and for that, we feel guilty. So each time we get on the phone now, we try to put more care in how we communicate. The best part is that it works, and even if they can’t solve your problem, the whole experience is much more pleasant. So thank you call center people for enduring us when we’re not at our best. Your job is tough and we do appreciate you.