Working while on vacation

My husband owns his own law firm. It is a small group – him, another attorney, two paralegals, a part-time law clerk and a secretary. And while I know that he needs to work (and bill clients) to make a living, I want him to be able to take a break. After all everyone needs a break now and then.

But vacations seem to stress him out. There is the getting everything in order and done before you go, finding someone to cover your work, and then of course trusting that they can handle everything without you.

I’ve come to understand that my husband will never be able to do that last one. He has never been able to go on vacation and NOT check in. He did this when he worked for another law firm and of course it has only gotten worse since he became his own boss.

When he first started out on his own, it was just him and his paralegal. And even though he had an attorney friend who agreed to help out with any emergencies, my husband still wanted to be available for his clients. So when we went on a cruise two years ago, he called in when we were at port and tried to stay in contact using the ship’s slow internet connection.

This week we are on a trip to Houston. It has been in the works for years as we kept postponing it to go on a cruise or to Disney. But four or five months ago we picked our dates. (We always have to do this early as my husband is required to file vacation notices with the courts so they don’t schedule anything during those times.)

It has been on his calendar for months and now he seems shocked that it is here. And of course, he is busy. He is always busy. Working to take time off takes work and he doesn’t seem to appreciate it. Truth be told, I know he would rather not go on vacation.

The fact is he will always be busy. There will always be motions and hearings and deadlines. It is like people who say they will wait until they have money before they have kids. It isn’t going to happen. You just need to do it.

And I think he needs time away from the office. And while I know that a trip with the kids isn’t his cup of tea, I planned a short Las Vegas getaway for just the two of us earlier this year. But it is always the same complaint that he has to work so hard to prepare for even a short trip that he isn’t sure it is worth it. And then, he does not disconnect from work if he is working while “vacationing.”

I worry that working all the time will lead to burnout. And I wish that he would put aside work and truly disconnect. It would do wonders for him to enjoy himself and destress. But he isn’t going to do that. So I have told him that if he needs to, he can work in the afternoons while we are in Houston while the kids and I are at the pool. But I know the kids would be happier if he was out there with him instead of in the room. But hey, we will take what time with him that we can get.


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