Home for Dinner

Striking a work/family balance

The COO of Facebook leaves work every day by 5:30 to have dinner with her kids and she thinks you should too.

How great is that? There are so many things that I love about Sheryl Sandberg's video highlighting her commitment to prioritize family dinner. It's refreshing to hear professional women talk openly about their balancing choices. Notice that Sheryl doesn't brush over her decision to leave "early" as if it were no big deal. It is a big deal, maybe especially so in the tech industry where Sheryl works. This clip makes it pretty clear to me that leaving by 5:30 is not the easy thing, but it's the right thing for Sheryl and her family. So she makes it work.

I know that some of you are thinking, That's great for her. Maybe someday when I'm the boss of the company, I'll leave whenever I want to!

Yes, it's true that by being the COO, Sheryl has some latitude. But Sheryl wasn't always the boss! I don't believe you have to be in that position to make it work. Personally, I left work at 6:00 p.m. every day to be home with my family throughout my entire career, not just when I hit the executive suite.

Notably, even though Sheryl is the COO, she doesn't discount the needs of her company and her coworkers. She knows that her team members need to feel that she's engaged and contributing, whether or not she's in the office at 5:30 p.m. So she gets up early, sometimes she stays up late, and she does her job really well. And that part matters.

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Diane Paddison

Diane Paddison is a business professional and founder of 4wordwomen.org, local groups of professional working women committed to faith, family, work, and each other.

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May 25

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