By Pete Cashmore
In this article, the author notes:” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg recently set off quite a debate in the tech world when she told an interviewer that she works a 9-to-5 schedule:”I walk out of this office every day at 5:30 so I’m home for dinner with my kids at 6, and interestingly, I’ve been doing that since I had kids,” Sandberg said in a video posted on Makers.com. “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.”
Clearly there was a certain shame, or at least reluctance,to admit, as a woman, one maintained less than tortuous and Herculean work hours. Sandburg has done all women a great favor by “coming out of the closet” on not giving in to the expectation of ambitious workers to put in grueling hours and also for women, always, to have to work harder and longer to “prove themselves.”
In a recent article in “Elle” magazine, Hillary Clinton was depicted as having 7 am meetings, working all day, then having 3 am meetings around her dining room table. Although Clinton has been described by some who’ve met with her as the “best prepared Secretary of State” they’ve ever sat down with, that kind of intense work load might not be a recipe for success for every woman, even though it seems to work well for Clinton. In fact, most of us should probably strive for the kind of balance that works for our particular situation, as Sandberg has done.
As we’ve noted before, in an AW section title: “Was that bring home the bacon or the baby? Coping with the conflicting demands of career and family”:
Moving Towards Change : Strategies for Successful Career Integration
Communication With Their Peers
Women should seek to dialogue with other working women about these choices and challenges in order not to feel isolated or that the fault lies with them
Higher Aspirations by Women
Women sometimes do not “actively work toward promotion”. Women must reflect higher aspirations and never stop seeking to advance in their careers. ( Sandberg certainly could serve as one of the ultimate role models of not sacrificing one’s personal life to achieve a great career.)
Women must seek to achieve and maintain financial independence because of expected additional years in the workforce and because a realistic look at statistics shows that women are most at risk for financial hardship as they age.
Enhancement of Career Opportunities
To enhance career opportunities and remain current and viable in their careers, women must take advantage of diverse learning experiences, volunteer for opportunities or positions which lead to additional experiences and seek advice of mentors, experts or colleagues.
The Equal Partner Conundrum
Negotiate with your husband, before marriage, or now, if you are already married, on what responsibilities he is willing to share so you can continue to grow and advance.
Negotiate with your employer about what family friendly policies she or he is willing to institute to attract, retain and increase the productivity of more women, who make up 50% of the “best and brightest” in the workforce.
We can’t expect change to happen overnight, but we can begin. As someone once said, there is magic in beginnings.
As society gradually transforms, and the workplace continues to change, both women and men have an obligation to reevaluate and recast the old dichotomy about women’s roles at home and work. Men should be encouraged to be more nurturing at home and women should strive to reach their full potential at work.
Both men and women professionals should join together and see that changes in the workplace are conscious and consistent, not only with allowing women to achieve their career aspirations, but with helping families achieve more balance and greater contentment.
Sharyl Sandberg has started a dialogue. Let’s continue it.
- What Facebook’s IPO means for women (penelopetrunk.com)