Considering leaving my firm due to having to work vacations. I have attempted to take two vacations since starting with my firm, and each time it has been scuttled due to partners giving me huge projects while I’m away. I have been super burnt out lately and needed a week away. Do your jobs respect your vacation time? How to do you set boundaries?

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I think boundaries in the law don’t really exist (I haven’t had a work free vacation in at least 10 years). I do my best to get coverage, avoid deadlines while I’m away or soon after that, and try to avoid calls while I’m gone. But clients inevitably have issues and problems always come up. It’s the nature of the job.

As a result I do my best to do my work at night after my kids go to sleep. That way I can spend time with them during the day. It’s not optimal but better than nothing.

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Yes we’re basically protected on vacation at the junior levels. Partners obviously are available in case clients have a disaster but they generally try to communicate and plan ahead so they’re not bothered on vacation either

Turn off your phone. Don’t respond to email. Arrange coverage and be very clear about delayed responses. You may still need to check in on things, but that is not unreasonable in some cases. The myth that you need to be on all the time is a vicious cycle you’re helping to perpetuate. 20 years ago people did not commonly have cell phones or laptops. When they went on vacation boundaries were easier to maintain. Now we need to make an effort. The world will not fall apart while you’re away and you’re most likely damaging yourself the most by actually working.

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