At an Academy Awards ceremony, because the wrong envelope had been given to Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, they said La La Land was Best Picture instead of Moonlight.
Responsible for a task that we only notice when the person does a poor job, the envelope giver was an invisible worker.
On this Labor Day, like the envelope people, our focus is the invisible workers we do not see.
Andy Johns was (1950-2013) the recording engineer none of us has heard of. And yet, he was responsible for the sound from Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and Van Halen. He decided how many mics, where to position them (like high or low in a stairwell), how to manipulate an echo unit, which sounds to combine..Although the great music was because of him, we did not know it.
We also rarely credit the fact checkers of the world. When satirist David Sedaris had to eliminate a part of a New Yorker Magazine article, the reason was the fact checker because he could not verify the availability of a purchase. Had the piece been inaccurate, someone would have noticed. But we take accuracy for granted.
My favorite, though, is the wayfinder. Wayfinders enable us to…yes… find our way. Hired by airport designers, they are the individuals who use architecture, signage, lighting and color to take us from Terminal A to Terminal D. They create paths for people through angled counters. Or, in a mostly monochromatic space, they could use one color that pops to identify a crucial service.
At Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, Mijksenaar, a Dutch wayfinder, made it easier for us to remember where we parked. Instead of a letter and a number like B23, they used graphics:
Our Bottom Line: Labor
Whether visible or not, today is the day to celebrate the labor we use to make our economy’s goods and services.
One of the three factors of production (land, labor and capital), labor is considered a primary factor of production because it exists naturally. However, I like to think of labor as human capital. Similar to the tools and equipment that make factories more productive as physical capital, our education and training add to the human capital that fuels our economy..
In fact, isn’t human capital somewhat invisible too?
My sources and more: Thinking about Labor Day, I took David Zweig’s Invisibles off my bookshelf and got some great facts. From there, I used this HBR article and econlife. All provided a new way to look at and appreciate labor. Please note that several of today’s sentences were in a we published previous x post.