Why Labor Day is so great

There are the obvious benefits of labor day, such as the fact that its a holiday, and that it extends the weekend, and that it also shortens the ensuing week.

But there are two other benefits that are a little subtler.

One, which I discussed here, is the network effect or coordination effect. Public holidays let everyone plan to be off work together and so not only are you off, but all your friends are. This benefit is compounded again by the well-known and public nature of the day off. It’s not that you and ALL your friends just happened to have the day off, but that you all knew you would all have the day off together well in advance so that you could plan on going to the beach or to the park or whatever.

A second benefit, which I didn’t realize until this Labor Day is that not only are all your friends off work, but all the other strangers in this world are off too, which makes it easier to justify cutting loose completely. What I mean is that if half the population were working on labor day, you might feel encouraged to work yourself (not likely I know, but for workaholics like me, this is a real threat), but you might also find it convenient to schedule errands or other small chores. But no. EVERYTHING is closed. You can’t go to the bank or anything. All you can do is call your best friends to hang out, and this is what makes Labor Day such an intense holiday.


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