Vacations are Good for Body and Soul

by Joe Dorman | Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy

OKLAHOMA CITY – I read an interesting article about how Oklahomans work far more hours and use less vacation than those in other states. Coincidentally, this was at the airport as my own vacation was ending.

Oklahoma ranked 14th for the hardest working workforce and finished in the top six in three metrics, as reported by Kathryn McNutt of The Journal Record, based upon data collected and published by WalletHub.

The article went further to point out that for Oklahoma, the work average was 39.6 hours per week, the sixth highest among the states. What was most troubling was that more than 30% of workers who collect vacation time left theirs unused at a rate of 55% of accrued time going to waste.

I certainly fall into that category; over the past seven years at OICA, I have let much of my vacation time go to waste. Like many others, I make the usual excuses of “I just cannot afford something right now,” or “I cannot get away with a big project looming,” or some other such justification.

Another likely reason is that we rarely took family vacations as I was growing up. My dad was injured severely from a truck accident, so it was tough on him to travel. We would make the occasional trip two hours south to Jacksboro, Texas, to see my mother’s side of the family, but we did not take big trips. I am sure that formed my own habits; I rarely travel unless it is a work trip.

I was thankful that some friends dragged me out of town to do our annual fantasy football draft last weekend. Another friend, who lived just a short flight away, encouraged me to extend my time to visit for a few extra days.

The time away, though I did have some work calls, helped recharge my batteries and prepare me for OICA’s upcoming annual conference, Fall Forum. It is here that the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy brings together Oklahomans to discuss child well-being, while the assembled advocates work to shape solutions to the problems examined.

Fall Forum will be held primarily at the Oklahoma State Capitol on November 8-10, with a two-hour online gathering held the Friday before to shape initial ideas. You can go to for more details and to register.

I am glad that I took the time to get away; I could certainly feel “the grind” getting to me. Still, it was nice to get back home and be excited about the upcoming opportunities with work. The break did me a world of good and I am ready to tackle new challenges.

If you are not a “vacation taker” like many Oklahomans, I hope this encourages you to consider taking at least some extended time during long weekends with your family to explore our state. Our state Department of Tourism has done a phenomenal job improving state parks, and there are many fantastic destinations that you can reach on a tankful of gas, especially if you have children. This will certainly create wonderful memories, much like I did during trips to my grandfather’s house many years ago.

So, even though summer break is over for students, do not let your vacation time go to waste. Start planning for fall and spring breaks and shape wonderful family experiences with the time you have earned. It will do your body and your soul good!

And if you see me, or follow my social media accounts, be sure to check out my vacation photos!

About OICA: The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2023. The organization was established in 1983 by a group of citizens seeking to create a strong advocacy network that would provide a voice for the needs of children and youth in Oklahoma, particularly those in the state’s care and those growing up amid poverty, violence, abuse and neglect, disparities, or other situations that put their lives and future at risk. Our mission statement: “Creating awareness, taking action and changing policy to improve the health, safety, and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.”

“For the Children” is a weekly column by Joe Dorman, OICA CEO

Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy

Telephone: (405) 833-1117


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