"I Have To Leave At 5:30 To Get To Zumba."

I've been having a conversation - a few of them actually - over on Facebook around Sheryl Sandberg and a few of her viewpoints from recent days.

In particular, her comments around "work life balance"and initially feeling "guilt over leaving at 5:30pm to get home to her family" have rubbed me the wrong way.

To summarize it for you, if you haven't read it, she says that "There is no such thing as work life balance," and that the two things people have going for them are "work" and "life." But don't expect there to be a balance between them.  She also commented on how she only recently began openly sharing that she leaves work at 5:30pm to get home to see her family. She intimates that she felt guilty about admitting this for a number of years.

It seems like Sandberg has a focus on coming to the personnel table with the viewpoint only of a "mom"... Which is understandable. But I really would hope a woman with her position and influence would come to the table as a "human being."

I have yet to see her speak about how we all (women and men together) should be fine with leaving or NOT LEAVING work at 5:30pm. Forget the idea that people leave promptly at because they have to take care of family (children, elderly parents, etc...) This is a chance to stand up and change how Americans work altogether.... Not just piecing out one segment of the work population.

  • What about those of us who don't have kids?
  • What about those of us who are single?

Women and men should feel free to leave at the end of their 8-8.5 hour work day because it's the end of the day. And if deadlines are being set reasonably and being met... No one should feel guilty leaving when "quitting time" rolls around.

I also have an issue with another comment Sandberg makes in the article about how women often have to trade off between "success and likability."


Maybe if you aren't confident in what you're doing, you do. But I don't find that at all. And I think it is important that we not perpetuate that idea. What we should be doing is teaching both women and men (from an early age) that there is a way to be successful and likable. And that it won't be tolerated to have a double-standard.

My issue is that there seems to be a commitment from her to the idea that "if you want to be successful, be prepared to be seen as a bitch."
"A woman, if you're most intelligent or most likely to succeed, that's an embarrassing thing or something that's not considered attractive, and that's something we need to change."
Well, eff that.

I think most of us would say our parents raised us to not be assholes. "Do unto others as you would have done unto you"...  It's only when our agendas don't sync up that you find yourself butting heads with people. And when that happens, one can easily be pegged as being "difficult" or "an asshole."

I say that's just a part of life.

Be nice to people. But realize that not everyone is going to be in harmony with your plans. And when that happens, you just have to decide if you want to compromise (which isn't a bad thing!) and when to go a different direction.

I don't allow people to make me feel like I should be embarrassed for any piece of success I've had. And I sure as hell would never allow anyone around me to make a comment about any person (male or female) I work with that indicates that person is not "likable" because they are "kicking ass and taking names."

I guess, bottom line is, "I don't care if you don't like me because I am doing something you aren't/don't like... I am still getting the job done." And both women AND men should carry that attitude. It's not women against men. Or mummies and daddies against non-parents.

Again... I really wish Sandberg and all her influence would have said (as my friend L wrote on Facebook), "Yeah, I leave work at 5:30pm so I can get to Zumba." 

Or something to that effect.

Just because people don't have kids/husband/family to take care of doesn't mean what they prioritize is any less relevant. So the argument should be...

"Work is a part of life. You should find joy in what you do to earn a living. If you don't, either find a way to have harmony with your job... or just get a new job. And your non-work life is valid and should be rich with experiences... Whatever you choose to do with that time. So at the end of each day, be confident in what you produced that day and leave to go pursue what also pulls at your interest."