Today, we celebrate Labor Day with the highest unemployment rate in 26 years. The official stats are in at 9.7 percent; though the Washington Post puts actual unemployment rate at 16.8%. (Many organizations continue to "reduction in force"--aka "RIF" trend. It's not one of my favorites.)

In future years, I'll refer to this Labor Day as the one of the "thin lipped smile." (I think you know the smile. It's the one you you get when someone really doesn't want to smile. You know, the smile you use when someone tells you that you didn't get the job, or spills a glass of red wine on your white shirt ...)

Barbecues, last swims, and other traditional farewells to summer are popular Labor Day activities. But given that today is a national holiday observed since 1882 as a "tribute to the contributionsworkers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country," I also recommend an alternate activity: It's do something nice for someone who wants to get back to work day.

This initiative isn't sanctioned by the Department of Labor. But is encouraged by Keith Ferrazzi, best selling author of Who's Got Your Back and is also recommended by Carol Osborn, author of the recently published memoir The Year I Saved My (Downsized) Soul.

Call a friend who's unemployed. Lend an ear. Share a contact. Pass on a lead. Provide support. Don't know what to say or in this situation yourself? Read Penelope Trunk's great advice on How to Talk to a Friend Who's Been Laid Off, and go from there.

This is my advice, and a "dare" for this week. Let me know how it goes, and--as always--let me know if I can help.

To your success,

Chandlee