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Working the holidays

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Like most holidays, I’m in the office.

The only two holidays that I try to take off are Thanksgiving and Christmas. The rest of them are fair game for work — Washington’s Birthday (commonly known as Presidents Day, and no, we’re not going to get into a discussion about whether there is an apostrophe and, if so, where it belongs), Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, and so on.

This can be difficult with regard to family life, because my wife, a teacher, gets most holidays off.  So, it’s tough to tell her that I need to go into the office. It’s even harder when, on some of those holidays, the daycare is closed, and my wife then has two children to entertain and care for by herself.

But, taking these holidays off just allows the work to pile up to an even larger level. The one thing I have learned about a plaintiffs’ practice is that the work just keeps coming, and it is nearly impossible to stay well ahead of the tidal wave. So, it’s easier to work a holiday than to make up for taking a holiday off. I’m happier, and I don’t feel so overwhelmed.

Add to that the fact that clients appreciate it when you work these holidays, just like they appreciate e-mails or phone calls after hours. Most attorneys I know work beyond the usual 9-5, which can be a testament to our dedication to our clients.

But occasionally, I will find someone who thinks it’s offensive to work on some holidays, for example, Veterans Day. We certainly should be honoring our veterans. But, is it really honoring them to take the day off work and go shopping, or sit around at home? Could it be said that we are honoring them just as much by taking advantage of our freedoms by working in a chosen profession?

The holidays are important to remind us to recognize, in our own ways, the importance of an event or person. Today’s holiday is an important one — please take time out to find some way to celebrate.