The Gift Of Employment

The Gift Of Employment

Last Friday the latest jobs report came out and it was a blockbuster: 266,000 people found work. For the first time in decades, there are more jobs than there are people to fill them. A sizable number of people who had become discouraged and opted out of the workforce are returning in droves.

People on both sides of the political spectrum will parse these numbers and try to claim credit for them.

Good for them. But here’s what I see. Over a quarter million people are getting their dignity back and having a chance to be productive and take care of their families and build a future. Work does all of that for us. Our souls need to feel like we are accomplishing something and it deadens us to sit idle and do little or nothing that matters.

That’s why all work is important. Some roles may seem small but their impact is large nonetheless.

I am thankful that I live in a country where the high-performance economic engine we’ve been blessed with gives us a chance to be anything we want to be. We can start with absolutely nothing and turn it into something if we work hard enough and smart enough. Every day in this country, entrepreneurs launch businesses on a shoestring with the hope of turning those enterprises into money and missions accomplished and jobs for people in their communities.

We sometimes take this system for granted, but we shouldn’t. People in other countries don’t. There is a reason that immigration (both legal and otherwise) continues at a rapid pace. Economies fail. People lose their jobs and sometimes their homes and everything else. They feel desperate to get their lives back and getting it back begins with a job and a paycheck.

So, they head for the United States. Most of them arrive here with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Have you ever met one of these people after they have come into our country and found work? There’s joy there. There’s hope there. There’s opportunity there. They contribute to our economy and they get recompensed. They rebuild their lives and their self-worth, all because the system works. Granted, it’s not perfect, but it continues to rumble down the track at a breakneck pace, and it has for a very long time with few bumps along the way. You can get on board and go to places that you dream about. You can work hard and you can be somebody.

The late great Don Clifton, Grandfather of Positive Psychology and the inventor of the Clifton StrengthsFinder, once said that, “It’s not about getting work done with people. It’s about getting people done with work.” He knew what getting up every day and using our gifts and talents means and how it impacts us.

So, tomorrow, when you’re waking up in the morning and you’re maybe hitting the snooze button a couple of times before grabbing a scone and a cup of coffee and heading out the door, take a minute and be thankful that you have a place to go that needs exactly what you bring to the table.

It’s a gift.

Happy Holidays.

Forbes.com Contributor

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