Here in the United States where I live we just finished celebrating Labor Day two days ago. It comes around every year on the first Monday in September. For many of us, it’s the most melancholy of all our national holidays. Yet, Labor Day week is also a great time to reflect. Reflect upon what, you ask? Keep listening, for I answer this question in today’s show.

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If you find yourself wanting more from your relationships, you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll discover practical principles you can use to experience the life-giving relationships you were made for.

I’m your host, John Certalic, author and relationship coach, here to help you find more joy in the relationships God designed for you.

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The blandest of holidays – Labor Day

Labor Day, as I mentioned, is the most melancholy of all US holidays. It marks the unofficial end of summer and the beginning of fall. It’s the middle child of our national holidays. Labor Day doesn’t honor any particular person or event in our nation’s history. It’s pretty nondescript; an afterthought among the rest of our holidays. Airports are not jammed with Labor Day holiday travelers.

Labor Day became a national holiday in America in 1894 to honor working men and women. It grew out of labor unrest due to horrible working conditions in the later part of the 19th century. Other nations in the world have a similar holiday, often celebrating it on May 1st.

For me, Labor Day week is a time to reflect on the nearly 25 years I spent in the executive recruiting business, helping companies fill their staffing needs and coaching people on how to find jobs. It makes me reflect on the things I learned about people and how a job fits into the rest of our life.

I hope you know by now that this podcast is all about finding joy in the relationships God designed for us. One of those relationships is the job God provided for you. If you’ve ever earned a paycheck it was because of a relationship you had with the employer who paid you. So in keeping with this Labor Day holiday week, I thought it would help to take time to reflect on several important principles related to our relationship with our work.

Principles of relationships at work
  • Everyone is hired to solve a problemTake time to reflect on what problems you’re helping to solve at work. What are you doing to bring in income to the organization, cut costs, or further your employer’s mission in the world?
  • Know the difference between a job and a career and act accordingly

A job is a means to an end. It’s a small part of our identity. A career is a larger part of who we are. It doesn’t define us, but it’s a big part.

  • A stay-at-home-mom is a career, not a job. It too solves a problem.
  • Take time to reflect on what you don’t want to do for a career.

Story of grandson Grant what he learned about himself in his internship

  • To get ahead at work, think like an employer, not an employee

Employees are driven by what’s in it for them. An employer mindset thinks about furthering the purposes of the organization

  • Reflect on this question, Do I have 10 years of experience in my job, or do I have 1 year of experience repeated 10 times?
There’s value in every work experience
  • God doesn’t waste any of our experiences. Don’t you either. Take time to reflect on what you’ve learned from each one.

Story of grandson Grant’s camp counselor job getting him an internship with a research study

  • Changing jobs for the sole reason of earning more money is a terrible idea.
  • No employer cares what you’re passionate about. They only care about results. It’s the theme of Cal Newport’s book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You.
  • Some people fail at jobs because they’re a square peg in a round hole. If that’s you, look for a square hole and you’ll thrive.

The church who sent one of their missionaries to us to answer the question, “Is he cut out to be a missionary?”

Airplane mechanic running a missionary guest house in Africa

Jobs/Careers are about working with things – people – or data.

Change jobs/companies is always an option

  • The greatest job satisfaction comes from using the abilities and talents God equipped you with. The greatest dissatisfaction comes when you don’t.
  • Parable of the servant and talents in Matthew 25:14-30
So what does all this mean for YOU?

This Labor Day week, as we transition from summer to fall, is a great time to reflect on our jobs, careers, and the meaning they have in our lives. Ask God to help you in the process.

The extent to which we apply the principles I mentioned, the more joy we’ll experience in our job or career.

Read Cal Newport’s book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You.

Listen to Episode 025, “The Toughest Job in America” The main point of the episode is: How we relate to our job is often a reflection of how we relate to God. The episode contains several stories on how we view our jobs and careers.

If you’re a parent, pass these principles on to your kids. Share examples of them from your own experience at work.
If you are no longer working, take time to reflect on how God led and sustained you during your working life. Thank him for those years and what you learned during that time.

Here’s the main takeaway I hope you remember from today’s episode

Labor Day week is a great time to reflect on how to be all that God created us to be. It’s an opportune time to think about the abilities and talents God hard-wired into us and to thank him for it.


In closing, I’d love to hear any thoughts you have about today’s episode. I hope your thinking was stimulated by today’s show, enough to put into practice what you’ve just heard about taking time to reflect on your work. To consider how the work you do can make best use of the skills and talents God created you with.

For when you do, it will help you experience the joy of relationships God designed for you. Because You Were Made for This.

Well, that’s it for today. If there’s someone in your life you think might like to hear what you just heard, please forward this episode on to them. The link to today’s episode is simply

And don’t forget to spread a little relational sunshine around the people you meet this week. Spark some joy for them. And I’ll see you again next time.

Related episodes you may want to listen to

040: A Square Peg in a Round Hole

025: The Toughest Job in America

139: Why Should I Listen to This Podcast?

021: The Most Important Relationship of All

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