I read recently about how Facebook’s incredibly talented and respected CFO Sheryl Sandberg Leaves Work at 5:30.
Gobsmacked. How cool. Bloody good on her…. I thought all these things. And I loved that she’d spoken out on it. This is important.
I also liked that it appears not to have affected her career trajectory:
“I walk out of this office every day at 5:30 so I’m home for dinner with my kids at 6:00, and interestingly, I’ve been doing that since I had kids”
But she was somehow ashamed…and had to “justify” it:
”I did that when I was at Google, I did that here, and I would say it’s not until the last year, two years that I’m brave enough to talk about it publicly. Now I certainly wouldn’t lie, but I wasn’t running around giving speeches on it. I was getting up earlier to make sure they saw my emails at 5:30, staying up later to make sure they saw my emails late. But now I think I’m much more confident in where I am and so I’m able to say, ‘Hey! I am leaving work at 5:30.’ And I say it very publicly, both internally and externally.”
The Washington Post makes the point that we need to keep talking about this stuff…to get a better idea of how women are meant to juggle it all. They ask of Sandberg: Does she have a cook? Does her husband cook? Does she have a nanny? Is she involved with the school PTA? Is her husband? When I meet a highly successful woman raising small children who is willing to be real, I ask those questions. It drives me crazy feeling like my generation is left to figure out how to make our lives work when so many other women already have. And is the trail really blazed if you keep it a secret?
Why shouldn’t we work less hours? Evidence suggests we work smarter when our parameters are narrowed. The French have mandated reduced working hours. They like it. Four-day work weeks…I can vouch for them (I still take Thursdays off and get just as much done in a week).
I made the bold move of stepping away from the clock-in-clock-out system a while back and now set my own hours. It took me ages to get used to this idea and I still feel odd finishing at 6pm, when all my career I’ve worked