I'm sitting under a beach umbrella, staring miserably out at theGulf of Mexico, with sand in places there shouldn't be sand.

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I don't have time for this, but my wife insisted. Somethingabout kids and memories and the last summer before the oldestleaves for college. I don't know what the big deal is. He'll beback soon enough. They always come back.

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She doesn't know I brought my phone out here. It's on vibrate.With every buzz I'm falling farther behind. Deals are falling apartand every one of my clients is leaving me for the competition.Every. Single. One.

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So I hope she enjoys this vacation because it's the last onewe'll ever take. There'll be no more money, and the kid willdefinitely be home from college because we won't be able to pay forthat either!

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Vacations are for people with no responsibility. Those of ustrying to make a better life don't have time for it. I'm going tosneak away later and return a few calls if I can find a quiet placethat's not blasting that @%&! Jimmy Buffet music…

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You ever have a conversation like that in your head? It's easyto fall into the trap. We convince ourselves that the world willcollapse without us; that the office cannot function if we're notthere. But that's a lie.

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I once got into trouble because I told a group of executivesthat within five years after they retired no one at the officewould remember their names. I wish I'd said it differently, buthere's what I meant: The office will adjust without you. Andvacation is only for this week. Whatever the issue is, it'll keep.When you take time to rest, you come back better prepared for thechallenges and you become a person people really will remember infive years.

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Piedmont's business is growing at an unbelievable pace. Theannualized premium that we manage has grown 4,900 percent in thelast 2 years. You read that right. Good times, huh? And for thefirst time in years, I've found myself needing a vacation. Iwon't pretend I completely disconnect, but I'm much moreintentional about taking a break.

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I've learned that taking a break isn't just a “work hard, playhard” thing. It's a necessity—now more than ever. We're connectedin ways our predecessors never dreamed of. We need to disconnect sowe can reconnect in a positive way.

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It's June. Let's renew our License to Chill this month or next.Let's not complain about what we're missing at work and be presentin the moments of rest. Go ahead, pour you somethin' tall andstrong, make it a Hurricane before you go insane. It's only halfpast 12, but we don't care… It's 5 o'clock somewhere.

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