Try Using Labor Day as a Catalyst to Think About Your Work Life. #HappierLaborDay

Gretchen Rubin
3 min readAug 8, 2018

If you listen to the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast, you’ve heard me mention the idea of “Happier Labor Day.”

In the United States, Labor Day falls on September 3 this year.

Labor Day celebrates the contributions and achievements of workers to the strength and prosperity of the country. It also unofficially marks the end of summer and the beginning of a new year (as I write about in Happier at Home, September is the other January).

This year, just as Valentine’s Day is a day to think about your romantic relationship, and New Year’s Day is a day to think about what you want to achieve in the upcoming year, try using Labor Day as a day to think about your ownlabor — your own work life.

How could you be happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative in your work life?

What do you want to accomplish in your upcoming year of work?

We can think about this issue at any time during the year of course — yes, Questioners, this is arbitrary — but I’ve found thatsomething that can be done at any time is often done at no time.

We can think about what we could do better, what we might want to change, how we could grow, whether that’s to do a side hustle, write a spec script, go to a networking event, avoid the vending machines, update a resume and start looking for a new job.

It could be something as big as switching careers or something as mundane as cleaning out your desk.

For example, do you want to choose a one-word theme for your work aims? Last year, my theme was “Re-Purpose.”

If you could magically achieve one aim in your work life over the next year, what would it be? Would you magically learn a new software program, get a new boss, or switch careers?

In your work life, do you use a piece of technology or equipment that’s obsolete, but you haven’t pushed yourself to deal with the hassle of replacement? Want to check it off the list? Excellent tools make work so much easier and more pleasant.

Post your ideas, questions, reflections about using “Labor Day” as a catalyst here in the comments, or post to #HappierLaborDay, or leave a message at (774)277–9336 (77 HAPPY 336), or send an email or voice memo to podcast@gretchenrubin.

We’re doing this across the Onward Project podcasts. Side Hustle School is going to talk about this issue, and so is Happier in Hollywood. We all come to it from a different perspective.

In the tumult of everyday life, it can be hard to find an occasion to step back and ask ourselves the big questions. Labor Day can be an opportunity to reflect.

If you found this post helpful, I’d appreciate it if you scrolled a little further and hit the Recommend button.

Gretchen Rubin is the author of The Four Tendencies, her most recent New York Times bestseller about the groundbreaking analysis that reveals the one simple question that will transform what you do at home, at work, and in life. She has also written three other bestsellers, Better Than Before, The Happiness Project, and Happier at Home. She writes about happiness and habit-formation at Follow her on Linked In, in/gretchenrubin, on Twitter, @gretchenrubin, on Facebook,, and listen to her popular podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin.



Gretchen Rubin

Wrote The Four Tendencies, Better Than Before, The Happiness Project & Happier at Home (can't resist adding: New York Times bestsellers). Etc.