Back to Work?


Contributing Editor
Walt Pickut

This week your Jamestown Gazette celebrates Labor Day 2021 with all of our readers. We’re thrilled that everyone is now back to work.

Or are we? Sadly, the answer is No. The worldwide pandemic stretched its tentacles into Chautauqua County, Cattaraugus County, and Warren County where most of our readers live and work. But that’s only here at home. We know of Jamestown Gazette readers who have migrated as far from home as the South and West Coasts of the United States, and even overseas.

They were hit, too, with illness and job loss. For some people the job went home, for others it went on hold, but for many, the job just went away altogether and may never come back.

How then do we celebrate Labor Day?

Maybe, this year, we start the celebration with a goal. We have always been a nation that aspired to—even though we’re not always successful—having a job for everybody who needed one or wanted one.

The Labor Day goal for this year should be back to work for everybody who needs and wants a job. Next year, we can celebrate that.

Unfortunately, today too many small business owners, and many big businesses, have seen remarkable, inexplicable “walk-aways” in great numbers by employees who just don’t like the job. Some leave on the same day they are hired. At other times, some perfectly good jobs go unfilled altogether, sometimes for years, even since the years before the pandemic.

If somebody asked me for a motto for this year’s Labor Day, I’d suggest a question worth finding an answer to: “What’s missing?”

Maybe it’s the relationship thing.

Eric Nam, YouTube Music’s Global Trending “Artist on the Rise” for 2019, said it like this: “No matter what job or industry you’re in, life is hard, but we’re all going through a difficult time and the best thing we can do is pick each other up and move on together.”

Please notice that the Preamble to the United States Constitution, begins with the words: “We the People.” It does not start with: “I the person.” It is a document of community. We only succeed and enjoy our rights if we guarantee them to each other. My job is not only for me. It has some us in it, too.

Author and journalist, Chuck Palahniuk, offers this: “Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home… it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it.” Please notice that doesn’t say love it or leave it. It says you have a responsibility, and you get paid for it, too.

So, please join us this week in celebrating Labor Day, 2021, with a goal for everybody who needs and wants a job. Our goal: Everybody back to work.

Regardless of your political outlook or loyalty, consider these words: “A job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about respect. It’s about your place in your community.” President, Joe Biden, said that, and he is in nearly perfect agreement with President, Harry S. Truman, who said, “America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”

Back to work? Let’s make that our goal statement for Labor Day, 2021, and celebrate it together on Labor Day, 2022.

Enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut
Contributing Editor

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.