Labor Day is an old American holiday. With origins in the 1880s, it celebrates work, workers, and the labor movement. Some annual events coincide with it. In my state of Michigan, the Mackinac Bridge Walk is a traditional Labor Day event. Today, the state’s governor, Jennifer Granholm, leads thousands across the structure connecting Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas.
For me, like many Americans, it’s the symbolic end of summer—I’m back teaching in the classroom tomorrow.
Given the celebration of labor, this week’s Quick Poll poses a tantalizing hypothetical situation about the importance of work: What would you do if you won the lottery?
USA Today asked a similar question on Labor Day in 1997.
Only 40% said they would quit working altogether. Thirty-five percent said they would continue to work in their current job, and almost 25% said they would still work but in a different job.
Of course, this is a “what-if” scenario. What people actually do when they hit the jackpot could be quite different from what they think they might do. But most winners of big lotteries actually do continue to work. In fact, 85% of big-lottery winners in America continued to work, according to a study by psychologists Richard Arvey and Itzhak Harpaz.
If I won the big one, I would continue to work in the same job (though I might restructure it a bit).
What would you do?
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