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Summer is coming!

The “unofficial” start of summer is upon us with the Memorial Day holiday weekend only a week away (even if Mother Nature may not be ready to accept that summer is right around the corner). At least for me, summer evokes memories of family vacations, time spent at sleep-away camp, making a mess of myself eating s’mores, and general laziness. Even though I’ve been out of school since 2011 and haven’t really had a traditional “summer vacation” since I started law school in 2008, I still try to take advantage of the warm weather and occasional slow time in the office when I can. However, this year, for the first time since entering the working world, I’m planning an exciting summer with some real adventures.

In many aspects of my life, I’m a saver. Saver of money, saver of “things,” saver of memories, saver of the boxes my TVs came in for when I move, saver of that one sock I can’t find the match for but hoping it turns up. My saving trends translates to my work life with my use of paid time-off. I rarely take long breaks from work and strive to save my vacation and sick leave for times when I really need them, which is hwy I was one of the few employees left in the office during “Zombie Week”.

This summer, however, I’m taking a different approach. I’m using my hard-earned, paid time-off to take a few vacations between now and September. I know once the fall rolls around and football season takes off, I’ll be on a high school or college field possibly four to five times a week. My ability to take any vacation ends by mid-August. But between now and then, I’m planning: a Memorial Day weekend getaway with my girlfriend and our friends; a one-day trip to Dallas to experience an airline I’ve never flow before; a long weekend in Portland, Oregon, with my girlfriend with a potential swing through Las Vegas on the trip back; and finally, an overseas trip to see family and show my girlfriend around London.

Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about these trips but I’m also excited by the plans. The opportunity to disconnect and relax is enticing. I plan to use my time off to breathe and reboot, and return for an action-packed fall full of officiating!

I also think this is a perfect use of my paid time-off. In the fast-paced legal world that we work in today, young lawyers can be hesitant to use leave for fear of getting behind at work or being seen as uncommitted. I find both of these worries to be unfounded in my government practice. Time off is encouraged; work-life balance is a focus of our careers.

The moral of the story: paid time-off is a benefit of your job. Why not take advantage of all the benefits provided by your employer, not just the health insurance? The hours are yours, use them!

(In unrelated news, as a shameless plug: I am guest-blogging on a friend’s food blog when I review Caliburger, a new restaurant that opened this week in Columbia. Look for my review next Wednesday at https://liketheteaeats.com/.)