Poem About Labor Day at Your University

Photo credit: TheCulinaryGeek, CC BY 2.0.

Dear Faculty,

We trust that you are enjoying

Labor Day

From where you are standing

At this moment,

Right there by the chalkboard

In your classroom.

As you know,

The university’s staff

Has the day off,

But the faculty does not.

Please allow us to clarify this

Distinction, which you

No doubt feel

Has utterly robbed you of

Grilled hot dogs and

Pleasant seaside activities.

In a series of meetings held

In a secret underground bunker,

The university determined

That although teaching

Sort of looks like labor — mostly

Because you get up in the morning,

Put on clothing,

Eat a breakfast bar,

And go to your office —

It is not.

Yes, the university understands,

Insofar as an institution

Can understand,

That it may seem odd that you

Must labor on Labor Day,

As “Labor Day” does have

The word “labor” in it

And is regarded by many as

A national holiday on which people

Who hold various kinds of jobs

Do not labor.


We would encourage you to dwell

Not on the term “labor,”

But rather on the word “day,”

For today is after all a day,

And such a pretty one, too!

Just look at that nice tree

Outside your classroom window.

We here at the top of

The university’s administrative

Food chain

Are made extremely


By the idea of

“Intellectual labor” —

More uncomfortable,

We think it is safe to say,

Than that time

Your colleague accidentally

Touched your boob

While reaching for

A piece of paper.

We would prefer

To think of what you do

In the classroom

(Generally referred to as “teaching”)

Not as actual work,

But as something

More along the lines of

Those adult summer camps

Or a hobby that has gotten

So out of control

That you require a craft shed

In your backyard.

Needless to say,

We recognize and admire

That you all became professors

Because you wanted to

Do What You Love®,

A cherished and treasured

Idea for all of us

Highly-paid, upper-level administrators

And the now-dead Steve Jobs.

We hope that you will appreciate

Not being folded into

A crude understanding of

What constitutes labor,

With its attendant focus on money

And days off,

And that you will bear

Our thoughtfulness in mind

As you reflect on,

And perform,

Your non-job of pure, unadulterated


It is our impression that

Regarding the labor of

The university’s staff

As labor

And regarding teaching

As the relentless pursuit of passion

(In the manner of a thrilling

Car commercial

Set in the desert)

Has gone over extremely well

Across this great nation

And has led to no labor issues


So best of luck teaching

Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People


And please do grab

A hot dog in the dining hall,

Which is open

And staffed by members of staff

Who are different from the members

Of staff

Who have the day off.

Cordially and Not With Or Without Love For Our Own Jobs,

The Administrators Who Control the Calendar

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