The Personal Holiday John D. Rockefeller Created

It takes some doing to get your own holiday, at least in the United States. It helps if, for example, you were born of a virgin (Christmas Day is a federal holiday in the U.S.), were a notable president (viz, President's Day), or were the public and martyred face of a century-long struggle for equal rights (Martin Luther King Jr. Day).

One of the richest men to ever live, and certainly one of the richest Americans to ever live, was John D. Rockefeller. He was born to an itinerant physician and snake-oil salesman, according to Britannica, but by his teens had found value in actual hard work instead of flimflam. Indeed, so important to Rockefeller was the day that he got his first real job that, decades later, he continued to celebrate it as his own personal holiday, even if it meant nothing to anyone else. Indeed, it was that first day on the job that planted the seeds that would eventually flower into his unimaginable wealth, and he was not going to let that day fade out of his memory.

Rockefeller celebrated 'Job Day'

John D. Rockefeller's youth was spent moving from here to there, with his father absent for long periods of time, according to Britannica. Eventually, the family wound up near Cleveland, Ohio, which at the time was just starting to come into its own as a major American city. It was there that the teenager signed up for vocational training and took a three-month business course, according to Notable Biographies. He used that training to secure for himself a paid job, specifically, as a clerk for a grain and coal supplier, according to Mental Floss.

Today, few teenagers remember much about their first real job, except for the day they brought home their first real paycheck. For Rockefeller, however, September 26, 1855, was a turning point in his life. He called the date "Job Day," and every year he would use the date to honor his humble beginnings and his passion for real, hard work rather than a lifestyle of scams and hustles.