Labor Day has always been a milestone day for me. (In the US, Labor Day is observed on the first Monday in September.) It’s the transition point between summer and fall. It typically is the last day or week before school starts again. And back in the day when I worried about fashion, I knew I should stop wearing white shoes. Something about the beginning of September brings on that feeling that the year really will be drawing to a close.
Labor Day is intended to pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. Back in 1887, Oregon was the first state to make it a holiday. By 1894, 30 states officially celebrated Labor Day before it became a federal holiday. I also found it interesting that several other countries throughout the world celebrate their own versions of Labour Day. Labour Days throughout the world can have significant political undertones or overtones, where local speeches and demonstrations might focus on the achievements of labor unions in gaining more beneficial terms for workers, most notably the 8 hour work day.
It’s an interesting thing, this concept of the 8 hour work day. And while I don’t want to underestimate the importance of this achievement in a world where worker exploitation and 16-hour days were common, in the world we live in as aspiring and new business analysts today, the achievement of a time-based constraint on our day is thin. Who hasn’t thought of a great solution in the shower, listened to a training seminar on their way to work, or worked over the weekend to help their team?
Is the work you do about putting in an 8 hour day sitting in front of a computer screen or in meetings until the whistle blows? I doubt it. Most likely, the work you do is about investing your best intellectual effort into solving meaningful problems for an organization. As I laid out in my BA Manifesto, the passion of a business analyst is for creating positive change for the organization you serve.
When we think about the achievements we might look for as a work force, our problem as business analysts isn’t so much about trading time for dollars. We are lucky to be in a profession where we get access to a reasonably high salary, suitable working conditions, and most often a variety of benefits such as paid vacation days and health insurance.
The real question is, for the time I invest at work, am I getting an emotional return on my investment? Am I fulfilled through my work? In other words, do I enjoy what I do and contribute to something that’s larger than just me?
This is the line of questioning that often leads a professional to pursue a career in business analysis in the first place. As we read the BA Career Transition stories so many readers have graciously provided for our Registry, we find that it’s the common thread that leads them to the path of business analysis.
- I want to have more, do more, be more.
- I want to contribute at a higher level and do work that’s not just a job, but also a career.
- I want to have a positive impact and be proud of the effort I invest in my organization.
It’s a natural thing to outgrow the work we do and become restless. It’s a natural thing to want to be rewarded not just financially, but also find fulfillment in the work we do. It’s a natural thing to want to contribute more and see better and better results from our contributions.
This Labor Day, I challenge you to look at your job situation and ask what non-financial rewards you are receiving from your work. Do you have more that you want and more you can give? Is it time to fast track your business analyst career? Will this be the year you make your career transition a reality?
As the summer draws to a close, now is the time to plan for a strong close to the year and to plant the seeds that will grow into new opportunities. Just like summer slipped by too fast, the holidays will be here before you know it.