Law firms, and most professional service firms, do everything they can to compete in today’s global market. That often means working long hours regularly, pulling all-nighters, coming in on weekends, and even going without vacation for the year. But that wasn’t true for many people yesterday, as a lot of people at my firm, and in Chicago, took at least part of the day off to get started on the fourth of July weekend.
That’s because it’s finally the fourth of July weekend. It’s a weekend where families take off for a relaxing vacation. Where non locals come to town to enjoy the beach and see all that the big city has to offer. And where students put the books down to roam the streets for the day, which is especially satisfying during times when we’re really busy.
For lawyers those times happen pretty often. After all, law firms are filled with people who are eager to make millions, make it to the top, and eventually make partner. Whether they’re competing in a litigation trial, writing a closing argument for a jury, or negotiating the terms of a deal, lawyers are often workaholics who constantly think about work, check their blackberries, and take on more responsibility, all while neglecting relaxation. And that’s especially true now given the economic times and the incessant need to generate revenues and find more hours to bill.
For me, this summer has me feeling a lot like a lawyer, because it’s also one of the most busy periods of my life. Although most JD-MBAs take classes full time during the summer, I am both working downtown at a law firm and taking classes. And I’m doing that in addition to a few sides jobs and all the other activities that I am involved in.
But on Friday my firm, felt like a ghost town. Most of the offices were empty and most of the lights were turned off. And the same seemed true for many of our neighbors, because the streets were less crowded than usual and the bus ride home had a lot of extra space on it.
So unlike usual, I’m going to slow down a bit and enjoy the three day weekend. Sure I am going to get started reading a case from my accounting class and perhaps work on homework from another class, but I’m also going to catch up on a few blog posts, go see the Taste of Chicago, and re-connect with a few friends and classmates here in the city. In fact, just last night, one of my great JD-MBA colleagues threw a get together at her house. It was good to see some of the JD-MBA family together again.
I haven’t planned the specifics for the rest of the weekend yet, but it will definitely involve a mix of work and relaxation. Hopefully you’re planning to do the same.