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Facebook No.2 Sheryl Sandberg leaves work at 5.30pm on the dot

Kim Hookem-Smith
Yahoo Lifestyle
13 April 2012

High powered business woman Sheryl Sandberg has publicly revealed that she (whisper it) leaves work on time every day.

The Facebook COO (Chief Operating Officer), who was previously Vice President of Google’s Global Online Sales & Operation, has admitted that she’s only recently had the confidence to go public about finishing work at 5.30pm.

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“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,” Sheryl explains in a video for 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,” she added.

Though a trailblazer for working mums, Sheryl also admitted that there’s no such thing as a work-life balance, and that she worried leaving work on time would affect how she was perceived by her colleagues.

“I was showing everyone I worked for that I worked just as hard,” she reveals. “I was getting up earlier to make sure they saw my emails at 5:30[am], staying up later to make sure they saw my emails late. But now 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.”

Her words may inspire working parents who feel the stigma of leaving work at 5.30pm (which sounds like a perfectly reasonably clock off time to us!), especially as we know eating together as a family is great for children and working mums invariably feel guilty for not spending enough time with their family.

But for many parents who don’t work in the upper echelons of hugely successful companies, Sheryl’s comments may only serve to worsen that nagging feeling of guilt. In the current economic climate, overtime is a fact of life for non parents and parents alike and no one wants to leave their overworked (and childless) colleagues in the lurch while they head home for tea with the kids.

Signing off at 5.30pm might be the ideal, but for many families, paying for mortgage, childcare and extracurricular activities are the priorities, and that work-life balance seems increasingly elusive.

Could you head home bang on half five every day?

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