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 The opinions expressed are those of the author.


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues