In a competitive industry where your work is never truly complete, has it become socially awkward to leave work at a time that used to be the standard? And are those working eight-hour days that end at 5 p.m. being quietly judged by their co-workers? Whatever happened to “work-life balance”? Worse still: Are those who work these “standard” hours being overlooked for promotions?
Sandberg’s timing would suggest that such biases exist. She only felt comfortable talking about her work hours once she had entered the highest levels of management. What’s clear is that many in the technology industry hope to take the shame out of having a balanced life. Mashable reader Dave Plantz said of Sandberg’s story: “Good for her! Life is way more important than work and I refuse to have to go to a funeral for a loved one before remembering that. I’ll take family over developing the ‘next big thing’ anyway. I can always create new things, but I can’t keep people forever.”
Reader Jason Hunter added that we shouldn’t hold different social norms for single people: “But, let’s forget about having family or being married for a minute. 5:30 as an on average time for going home should be acceptable for everyone — single or not single … family or no family — assuming you don’t come into the office everyday at 11 a.m.”
Ultimately, I think the measure of our work is in our productivity, not the number of hours we put in. Alas, few of us are in a position to change perceptions — it’s up to both employers and employees to make living a healthy life socially acceptable again.
Do you agree that it is okay to leave a tech job at 5 pm?