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McGoff: Go on vacation

May 9, 2012
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wellness-mcgoff-sharonWhat do you want to do/be when you grow up? How many thousands of times were you asked that question? How did you answer? Did you say:

• I want to work long hours, maybe 17 hours a day and be continuously tied to my job via email and phone;

• I want to gain 20 to 50 lbs and take medications that cause unpleasant side effects;

• I want to have poor quality and quantity sleep, maybe getting five hours a night. I want to have insomnia, worry about everything, feel constant stress, and I don’t want to take time to rest and rejuvenate;

• I want to have a spouse, children and friends, but I don’t want to spend any fun, adventurous or relaxing times with them;

• I want to have hobbies, but I don’t want to have time to enjoy those hobbies;

“Yeah, that’s what I want to do/be when I grow up!”

I’ll bet no one reading this replied with anything close to these responses, yet doesn’t this sound a bit like your life now? Is this really what you want? Take a good, hard look in the mirror and decide. You are the only one who can make the changes.

Taking a vacation this summer is a great opportunity to spend time thinking about what you want to do/be. Many attorneys don’t take vacations because they don’t have “time,” or if they do take vacations, it really isn’t a vacation because they are forever tied to the office in some electronic way and they feel guilty about being away. Yet, everyone agrees that vacations provide us with: 1) a mental health break from the rigors of our jobs; 2) an opportunity to reconnect with and nurture the relationships with our families/friends; and 3) the chance to explore new places, have fun and learn new things.

A recent survey revealed 90 percent of American workers reported feeling rested, rejuvenated, more productive and more appreciative of their jobs and bosses after they had taken a vacation. Psychologists agree that people who do not take vacations (including vacations away from your electronic portable devices) have an increasingly difficult time relaxing in the future, thereby compounding stress and stress-related illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer and depression. Their bodies never get a chance to go through a much-needed process of restoration and they exist in a continuous stress environment.

So, where does this lead us? To my not-so-infamous three-step process. Step 1: Schedule your vacation. Step 2: Let everyone know you will be unavailable – translation: “you will not be checking your electronic devices!” After all, if you were a patient in the ICU of your favorite hospital, no one could reach you there, and this is where you might be heading if you don’t make an effort to take a much-needed vacation. Step 3: Do something new and different on your vacation. When was the last time you did something for the first time? Think about it – we are creatures of habit. Change really freaks us out. We drive the same way to work, eat the same food, watch the same TV shows, blah, blah, blah. Do something new on your vacation! Your brain and inner child will thank you.

Words of advice

If you are new to the idea of taking a vacation and want to test the waters, take one day away from the office to do something fun in your area: visit a local park, rent a bike, canoe, read that book you got for Christmas, snuggle with your spouse as you enjoy a picnic. Chances are, you will have so much fun and feel so relaxed that you will be eagerly planning your next adventure. If you want to enjoy a longer vacation, maybe three or four days, consider exploring our great state from top to bottom or left to right. Visit a festival in a small town you’ve never seen, explore one of our wonderful state parks, discover a farmer’s market in another town for fresh produce, attend an outdoor concert or sporting event … even a Little League game to bring back memories of fond days gone by when your son or daughter played ball. The sky is the limit, which is another thought, how about skydiving? If you have more than three or four days to take a vacation, wahoo!!! Seek out a new location, one that has been on your list for years and explore this new territory with vigor and wonderment.

My hope for you during this vacation and beyond is that you will have reconnected with your family, yourself, your values and your inner child, and you will return to the office with a better idea of “what you want to do/be when you grow up.” Just remember, don’t ever grow up!•

__________

Sharon McGoff is a graduate of Indiana University Maurer School of Law, a certified personal trainer and health fitness specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine, and a certified life and wellness coach with WellCoaches, Inc. She owns Fit 4 Life Coaching and welcomes your questions or comments at Smcgoff@comcast.net. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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  1. IF the Right to Vote is indeed a Right, then it is a RIGHT. That is the same for ALL eligible and properly registered voters. And this is, being able to cast one's vote - until the minute before the polls close in one's assigned precinct. NOT days before by absentee ballot, and NOT 9 miles from one's house (where it might be a burden to get to in time). I personally wait until the last minute to get in line. Because you never know what happens. THAT is my right, and that is Mr. Valenti's. If it is truly so horrible to let him on school grounds (exactly how many children are harmed by those required to register, on school grounds, on election day - seriously!), then move the polling place to a different location. For ALL voters in that precinct. Problem solved.

  2. "associates are becoming more mercenary. The path to partnership has become longer and more difficult so they are chasing short-term gains like high compensation." GOOD FOR THEM! HELL THERE OUGHT TO BE A UNION!

  3. Let's be honest. A glut of lawyers out there, because law schools have overproduced them. Law schools dont care, and big law loves it. So the firms can afford to underpay them. Typical capitalist situation. Wages have grown slowly for entry level lawyers the past 25 years it seems. Just like the rest of our economy. Might as well become a welder. Oh and the big money is mostly reserved for those who can log huge hours and will cut corners to get things handled. More capitalist joy. So the answer coming from the experts is to "capitalize" more competition from nonlawyers, and robots. ie "expert systems." One even hears talk of "offshoring" some legal work. thus undercutting the workers even more. And they wonder why people have been pulling for Bernie and Trump. Hello fools, it's not just the "working class" it's the overly educated suffering too.

  4. And with a whimpering hissy fit the charade came to an end ... http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2016/07/27/all-charges-dropped-against-all-remaining-officers-in-freddie-gray-case/ WHISTLEBLOWERS are needed more than ever in a time such as this ... when politics trump justice and emotions trump reason. Blue Lives Matter.

  5. "pedigree"? I never knew that in order to become a successful or, for that matter, a talented attorney, one needs to have come from good stock. What should raise eyebrows even more than the starting associates' pay at this firm (and ones like it) is the belief systems they subscribe to re who is and isn't "fit" to practice law with them. Incredible the arrogance that exists throughout the practice of law in this country, especially at firms like this one.

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