Overheard on CNN.com: Do you stick to 40 hours' work or burn midnight oil?
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg admits that after dinner with her kids, she's back to checking her work e-mail.
April 16th, 2012
04:29 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Do you stick to 40 hours' work or burn midnight oil?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Mashable's Pete Cashmore profiled Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who said she works 9 to 5 hours and gives the rest of her time to her family. Many of our readers responded and said they agree and support her decision, but we also heard from a lot of folks who say workers should be prepared to slog out those long hours.

Why it's OK to leave a tech job at 5

We're looking for your video commentary on the above story; just look on the page for the blue button that says "record your response." Or, upload your video here. We're asking about how women can balance a working life and motherhood. If you've got any thoughts or strategies, regardless of whether you are male or female, we'd love to hear it.

Here are some different takes on Sandberg's work-life balance:

SuZieCoyote: "She is dead-on right. 9-5 is what the company is due. The rest belongs to family. For women AND for men."

Max Derpin: "Don't forget that people in innovative industries are mentally on the job 24/7. I know I am thinking about improving features and other pressing issues even when I am off the "clock." It's just like a hobby, I like doing it, whether at the office or not."

Randall Stevens: "Good for you Max. But those who don't want to live that way should be able to live how they want."

A few people expressed resentment at those people, particularly parents, that leave on time.

ank250562377: "I hate when working parents assume they are the only people entitled to leave work at 5 p.m. Why are childless or single workers expected to stay late? I work with a few women with small children, and boy do I pick up the slack for them. They are excused from work events because "they can't get the babysitter." They maximize every day off because kids are sick. They don't show up until 9 a.m. because of dropping kids off at school. I am single and have no children but I still would like to have a life outside of work. I think I may have a kid just to have an excuse to leave at 3:30 p.m., get maternity leave and take personal days for kid's events."

glee7106: "ank, I agree, those working parents should not leave their work to their co-workers to pick up the slack. However, don't think it's a conspiracy against single workers, because trust me, there are single workers out there who think they can get by with doing the minimum and deserve a big paycheck. You do have the right to leave early; if not, then there is an issue with your employer, and I would look for another job. Trust me, when you have kids, your priorities will change and this conversation will seem ridiculous to you! Also, you might have an issue with TMI, just tell your boss you need a day off for personal reasons, they don't need to know the details."

This is the life.

Timmer1107: "I work zero hours each day and mostly play golf, play cards with my buddies, go on frequent vacations, relax and read every day, post some ridiculous comments on CNN opinion boards and I'm just as happy as I can be for it. The previous 40 years were another story altogether, which included some 80,000 hours of unrequited toil for companies where management couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a steam shovel."

Someone had to say it.

nicolipi: "Stop reading CNN articles and get back to work, all of ya's!"

Many of the commenters shared experiences with work efficiency.

clown99: "I worked way too many hours when I was wet behind the ears and stupidly thought that the number of hours I worked would somehow translate into promotions and wage increases. Only when I started observing other engineers did I discover that it wasn't hours. Rather, it was the boss' perception of your work. Nothing else mattered. Once I understood that, I was down to 40 hour work weeks and my pay just kept rising, and all of that with little if any real accomplishment. A real tragic statement on the state of our companies."

The eternal question applies: Do you work longer or work smarter?

TomInRochNY: "Tankeray, I disagree. I normally work a standard 40-hour week. I've been doing that for years. I've gotten some of my best kudos by doing that. It isn't how much you work, but how well you work. It's that whole 'work smarter, not harder' thing management keeps telling you. It does work."

Tankeray: "Problem is, the company sees two comparable people: One leaving at 5:30 every day and the other leaving at 7 every day. The one leaving at 7 will get the promotion first. The only way to get the next promotion is to start leaving at 7:15 and so on. If you want to leave at 5:30, you should be allowed to, but understand the perception that WILL come from that compared to the person next to you that stays late."

Another question is, where do you derive life's meaning?

fllybd5: "Fools who think they must give up their family life for a salary, regardless of the job, deserve the consequences of doing so."

drcanuck1: "Agreed. Jobs come and go, but family is (or should be) forever."

MattQu: "For me it's not about giving up my family life for a salary, but because work is what has meaning for me. I'm not old enough to have children, and when I do, I'm sure they will be what gives my life meaning, but for now, my greatest accomplishments are what I do at my job, because I'm passionate about what I do."

One commenter got a little philosophical.

dadof2girls: "I have been an ordained minister for over 20 years. I've sat alongside many people as they are getting ready to part this great Earth. Never once in all my 20 years did I ever hear anyone say, "Gee, I wish I had spent more time at the office." The opposite is true, I frequently hear regrets that they weren't there for their families more. Or worse yet, how many wish they had been more involved parents. I applaud this woman for her honesty and her principles. We can learn from this. In the end, what is more important?"

How do balance work and life? How does work affect mothers in particular? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or post a video comment via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (150 Responses)
  1. _ NOSFERATU _

    ... I ONLY work at night ...

    April 16, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Occupy Dude

    When you get up early in the morning and go to a job where you are treated like a criminal and spat upon and belittled by the foreign immigrant boss the US tax dollars set up in his position, think you could have said fudge it, slept in, and live off the government like all the black people. I don't know about you but I'm gonna sleep in tomorrow, eat me a peanut butter sandwich, and smile. : ).

    April 16, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Occupy Dude

      Gonna sleep in and then watch Partridge Family reruns. Play with my cats then take a nap. Life is good for me. If the government and big business want to outsource most of the jobs then set up Indian immigrants in tax subsidized business then who cares?

      April 16, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mary

    Lets take this question posed at the end of the article
    "How do balance work and life? How does work affect mothers in particular?"

    Add the words *Family unit* and *values*
    What is valued more in todays society?
    Working for mans values or Gods values?
    Cir c u m stances being what they are today within the American culture, is it not fair to say that the The family structure has been eroding over the last 40 yrs or so.

    The American culture of today is vastly different in what we *valued* 50 yrs ago.
    Who would profit from killing the family unit that God commanded? Hmmm, could it be SATAN!
    He he, I had to put that one in... But it's true
    Enter... The industrial revolution, Media, Wars, Drugs, and the world powers that pull those strings
    (The God Father) hehe ... or (Satans demons)
    But the worst culpert of The Family structure is ... ME
    *Me* seems to be the center piece of what ever *family unit* one would like.
    *me*... What makes ME happy
    *my*... This is MY god or spirituality
    *I* ... *I* want my reward NOW!
    ME, is the only one I can control.
    ME, is the only one that can make my God given freedom to choose ... Mans values or Gods values
    Thus, the struggle that not only women have between work and family, but all of us do.
    The BALANCE would be had if God was the center piece again.

    April 16, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • LDS II

      Its the women's libbers fault. they should be at home raising a family and teaching moral values. The 19th Amendment and womens liberation movement destroyed the US.

      April 16, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • portland tony

      Jesus was reported to be a carpenter. Yet I find nothing in the Bible about his work. Musta worked under the table for cash!

      April 16, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. LDS II

    When I see a women's libber or career woman I see a closet lesbian.

    April 16, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Then you should have no problem at all letting the little woman in your life stay home and raise the kids, right?
      You made a very silly blanket statement about women and their role in society.

      April 16, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • portland tony

      Thou has eyes but do not see. Ears, but do not listen.....etcetera!

      April 16, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. raven


    April 16, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Agreed, m.s.

      April 16, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. hamsta

    i have an idea,why dont we bring the jobs back and send occupy dude overseas to greece so he can learn whats wrong with his thinking?that would make everyone happy jobs for people that want one and socialism for occupy dude.

    April 16, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Barney

    Sounds like there are a few disgruntled workers in here. Hamster, you sir have one disrespectful att-itude, no wonder you never know when youre going to work! Fired much?

    April 16, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Philip

    @portland tony. A man like Jesus can do whatever he wants for a living. He doesn't need educated or to join any union. He just needs to know that God promises you a decent life now and an exquisite life in the future if you are willing to work with the sweat of your brow rather than living off of other people or reaping where you did not sow.
    as far as working for cash under the table, the CIA is on that fraud too. For about 8 years the CIA has had the technology to track all American cash dollars wherever they go, and have been builfing a data base on cash workers for future reference.

    April 16, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Barney

    And mary, you are not making any sense at all. This topic is about "work ethics" not church ethics. Do you even work?

    April 16, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dazzle ©

    The topic is about work-life balance and I applaud this COO for getting that family should always come first. This is not a female gender issue only, they're are many single fathers out there raising kids on their own. When my child was born, her father and I both worked and we always had a Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C in the event something happened at school. I was in acadamia at the time, so I was usually the parent that was on the scene. I realize that times have changed and people want to be defined by what they do. No thanks, I just want to be considered a great mom, nothing more....

    April 16, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      And you are.

      April 16, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Philip

    @M's. You do not recall the tantrums you threw prior to about the age of 5. A 3 or 4 yr. old child simply doesn't have the capacity to plan-out strategies against his own parents. Kids do learn quick that mom's are more wishy-wasy than dads and so later in life DO pit one parent against the other in hopes of getting their own stupid way. But not before they are of an age molesters prefer. And once a small child has been introduces to s/e.x, the child withdraws, only later in life to be diganosed depressed and prescribed 'snake oil' cures. Or worse, living in denial.

    April 16, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dazzle ©

    @banasy, thank you for that!! 2am Sunday morning my little girl will be home..

    April 16, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I can't wait to talk with her again; I KNOW you can't...
      She is delightful; funny and smart.
      You and Patrick did a wonderful job with her.

      April 16, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • dazzle ©

      @banasy, she always asks for you. Patrick is meeting up with her in Paris, he's in Italy now. They are both on the same flight and they land in Houston and he will go back home from there and I am taking Tori home with me.

      April 16, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. raven

    Amen, dazzle...I worked hard all my adult life. Having a "life" and "work" are not mutually exclusive. When I wasn't at work, I was with my kids. People (women AND men) can have a career and be wonderful parents.

    April 16, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Well put.

      April 16, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • dazzle ©

      Beautifully worded Raven. When I meet people for the first time and the question that always comes up, "What do you do?" The answer is I am a mother.

      April 16, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Barney

    Too true Mickey, my experience has been the "quality" of work done has had more rewards than the amount of hours that clock milkers have done! Ive been fortunate with having bosses that respect my efforts. Not to say ive not done overtime when needed!

    April 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. raven

    Stream of consciousness or what?? I need a freakin roadmap to follow wherever the hell that is going

    April 16, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
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