Today is Labor Day in the United States. It became a federal holiday in 1894, created to celebrate the strength and spirit of workers across the country. It also is recognized as the end of summer, the beginning of some school programs, and also the beginning of the football season.
But the main purpose is to celebrate work.
Over the years, I have been on my own quest to find work that I love doing. In fact, I am now drinking my coffee from a cup that was a gift to me from “The Cowboy” (shown in the image above). The cup has a story.
You see, The Cowboy and I have a dream. Someday, we want to be rolling throughout the U.S. in an Airstream, writing and taking photographs of the breathtaking scenery of our beautiful country.
I wasn’t as knowledgeable about Airstreams as The Cowboy. As a young boy, he had seen one cruising down the highway and was instantly intrigued. I have had a slight interest in RVs for a few years, but always placed it in the “someday when I retire” category.
But in October 2011, I saw a Roadtrek SS-Agile pull up next to me at a stoplight. As I looked at its sleek exterior, I realized this was no ordinary van. As I noticed the electrical outlet on the side, it dawned on me that it was small motorhome.
Something in my spirit clicked as I thought, I want this.
It was the beginning of defining a dream.
Visiting The Airstream Factory
The Cowboy agreed to visit an RV show in January 2012. I had never been to one, but ever since I caught a glance of that Roadtrek, I was hooked. I started to research all different types of RV manufacturers – Thor, Forest River, Redwood, and more. The lush photographs entranced me and I wanted to see one of these majestic beauties up close and personal.
However, the photographs made them look gorgeous but when I tested some of the cabinet shelves or tables, they lacked strength and durability. We left the show and I felt a little disappointed.
That’s when The Cowboy started to talk about Airstreams. Before, I wanted the slide-outs, which for trailers and fifth-wheels, meant that you had more living space once the trailer was parked somewhere. A slide-out did exactly what it sounds like: a portion of the side would slide outward, expanding the space within the RV.
Airstreams don’t typically make slide-outs (they did introduce them in 2001, but didn’t last long). I immediately thought that meant they would feel cramped. I wanted space! However, after doing more research, I saw that Airstreams had the highest resale value on the market, with many owners buying a vintage Airstream and renovating it.
When I discovered that the Airstream factory was only an hour and 15 minutes from our home, I knew we had to visit.
So in May 2012, we made the trip and took the tour. I highly recommend this tour, even if you never have seen yourself as an “RV type.” If for nothing else, it shows you the incredible process of building something as amazing as an Airstream. The workers there are quite proud, as they should be. It takes four days to build an Airstream and a whole lotta collaboration.
While there, The Cowboy bought me an Airstream keychain and the coffee mug. The coffee mug became a type of touchstone for me, reminding me to pursue my dream of doing what I love to do and that someday, I would be doing it in an Airstream.
Most Americans Hate Their Job
Recently, a woman who works with The Cowboy asked him, “Why are you so happy?” She didn’t ask this with a smile on her face. In fact, she threw the question at him as though it was an accusation. She honestly couldn’t imagine anyone being happy while they were at work.
Mickey is a an upbeat, happy guy. He enjoys his job but what’s more, he enjoys life. No matter what he puts his hands to, whether it’s the ukulele, writing and publishing Ukulele Players Magazine, taking photographs, cycling, or any other of his interests – he thoroughly enjoys every minute of it.
A 2013 report revealed that only 30% of the workforce feel truly engaged and inspired by their work. That means that the rest of the 70% are pretty miserable. And 18% of those who aren’t happy aren’t just disengaged with what they’re doing, they are actively undermining others at their workplace.
Is this you?
There have been times in my life when it was me. It’s taken me years to discover my passion and strengths. I’ve taken many assessments and tried different types of jobs to figure out what I truly enjoy doing.
If you’re not sure what you like to do or what you’re good at doing, I’d like to recommend a book that I’ve been talking about almost non-stop since reading it (and taking the assessment).
He makes an excellent point in saying that no one really will tell you your strengths. Schools don’t do it well. And companies only care about you doing whatever work needs to be done. It is up to you to figure out what you’re good at doing and then pursue work opportunities that allow you to do it.
You need to buy a new copy of the book because it has a code in it to take an online assessment. The code can only be used once (so don’t buy a used book because the code was likely already used).
Once you take the assessment, though, there’s a very good chance that everything will fall into place. You’ll understand why you do the things you do, why you prefer one type of work over another.
For instance, some people enjoy teaching others while other people would consider that a slow death. Some would rather be cutting away a new path while others would rather stay behind and show people how to find their own way.
Whatever your strengths are, you need to identify them and nurture them so the world can benefit from your own unique brand of genius.
So if you’re happy today because you have a day off but dread tomorrow, perhaps it’s time to do something different. You were meant to do what you like and like what you do.
Don’t be a spectator to your own life. Time waits for no one. It’s time to get in the game and play!