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Dos and Don'ts for End of Summer

Vivia Chen

August 31, 2013

The following post is an updated version of the one that originally appeared in The Careerist on September 1, 2010.

Heart Beach © kasto - Fotolia.com(1)I've always found Labor Day weekend to be bittersweet. The air is crisper, and the skies take on a sharper blue. But it also signals the end of summer. I get teary just thinking about putting away my sandals and those Lilly Pulitzer dresses.

But I'm determined to savor the holiday this year. For starters, I'm vowing not to think about work during the weekend--not an easy feat these days, considering I can't even look at a piece of toast without thinking how I can blog about it for The Careerist.

To maximize what remains of the summer, I give you my do's and don'ts for the summer's end:

• Don't check your smartphone more than 10 times a day. And don't take it to the beach. Not only will it get sandy, but you risk looking like a jerk. There are few sights more pathetic than a lawyer standing in the surf, punching away at his (yes, it's gender-specific) smartphone.

• Do make fruity cocktails. My latest concoction: Ginger melon daiquiri. Toss cut-up ripe melon into the blender, squeeze some lime juice on top, pour in generous amount of vodka, add some slices of ginger, and lots of ice cubes--and pulverize. Scrumptuous.

• Don't try to get a last minute tan. It's not worth the effort. Plus, most lawyers I know look more natural and dignified pale.

• Don't read books on management, self-improvement or work/life balance. On the tippy-top of the no-no list: anything by Jack and Suzy Welch or Tony Robbins.

• Read a fantasy book. My colleague at The American Lawyer, Emily Croy Barker, just came out with The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic. And it's quite delightful.

• Read poetry. Personally, I think all lawyers should read "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." In a nutshell, it's the musings of a middle-aged man who's trapped in an inglorious life. I think T.S. Eliot might have written it with a lawyer in mind. In any case, it's a startlingly beautiful poem.  Just try the first stanza:

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

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Do you have topics you'd like to discuss or tips to share? Email The Careerist's chief blogger, Vivia Chen, at VChen@alm.com.


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It's a bummer that summer is over, wish I had taken time to do some of these things before summer ended.

Great advice, the end of summer is meant for relaxing no matter who you are!

This stanza always makes me think of lawyers who are all "attendant lords" dancing to their clients' tunes.

"No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool."

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The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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