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. Barney

    Ok this is way out there now. Welcome to your world, obviously you like nothing more than a national pity party. Im gonna decline the invite though.

    April 16, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Barney

    Well Philip, why did YOU make it the topic? I really didnt chose to hear all this. Theres a couple of people here that are so far out there you cant see them. I wish you luck, but for gods sake man, TMI!

    April 16, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    Dear Faux High Hopes:

    You have never met raven, therefore are not qualified to judge whether or not if it IS raven or not.
    It *is* the real raven.
    Keep on jacking, good buddy.


    April 16, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. raven

    Philip, YOU made the topic philip...and thats okay...but you suddenly decide to change the topic ....also ok....and close the door and place the blame elsewhere, saying "its not about philip and it's not okay to TALK about philip." Just seems like a segue into making the topic about the stuff you obsess over: bayer, nazis, ufos, black boxes at ground zero, religion...all topics philip loves. And thats ok. Just seems a tad manipulative.

    April 16, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. raven

    And high hopes, sorry to break it to ya, but caw! caw! Its really me. I dont believe we've ever spoken??

    April 16, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. dazzle ©

    If your goal is to rid these boards of the regulars, you have succeeded.

    April 16, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. dazzle ©

    My comment was directed at you @fake High Hopes certainly not banasy

    April 16, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I knew it wasn't meant for me, darling dazzle©.

      April 16, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • dazzle ©

      Thankfully you got it there my sista @banasy. I hate the way these comments and replies end of looking so convoluted.

      April 17, 2012 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ellen

    It isn't okay to leave a tech job at 5:00pm, and it's crap to say that there are no consequences for doing so. This woman is working in the evenings, just leaving the office at 5:00 or 5:30. I don't believe that she works 9-5. She may be physically present in the office during those hours, but tech is not like a clerical job, with a beginning and end to the shift. For seasoned, experienced professionals, you can get by with a 50-hour week kind of sort of, plus talking to people on the other side of the globe in the middle of the night, flying places on Sunday in order to work a few days and fly back – at night, when you should be asleep. Tech has specific requirements to perform, and it is far more likely that tech people work about 10 hours a day. If you can't hack a 50-60 hour week, tech is not the place for you. You may indeed be able to be in the office in person for fewer hours, but you will indeed work much longer hours than that. It's why they pay you the money. You do get to leave early sometimes, so there is flexibility for tech people, but it doesn't make up for the 12 hour days the rest of the time. Don't imagine that tech people work only 40 hours in a week, even if they do make it to their kids' plays and games.

    April 16, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Barney

    Sounds as if someone is writing a sci fi novel on here. But its really hard to follow. Or maybe a soap opera. I dont know. Is it like this always?

    April 16, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Hi. I'm banasy.
      I'm here a bit.
      If you stick around for any length of time, you will begin to see a pattern, a cycly, if you will.
      Themore the stories revolve, the more they stay the same.
      Sci-fi? Perhaps.
      Soap opera? At times.
      I'll leave it up to you to discern what is going on, for I have been here a while, and it still baffles me.

      Welcome to the boards.

      April 17, 2012 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  10. hamsta

    @ barney no i havent been fired much at all.contrary to popular belief the boss people in my industries do not like brown nosers.my best three qualities are pride in my work professionalism and the balls to let the boss know when he makes a stupid decision.

    April 17, 2012 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Ted Narckinson

      Contrary to popular belief, those in management positions do not like toadys, and those people are generally held in contempt. Also, contrary to YOUR belief, bosses do not like to be contradicted, especially by someone who has the false bravado to think that this is somehow having balls. You will be held accountable for your actions, sooner or later. Bet on it. It is called disregarding a directive from your supervisor, and is a cause for termination. Be careful how you boast. You may be working six jobs before long, son.

      April 17, 2012 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
  11. Barney

    Thank you banasy, i think. Lol. Thats one strange character for sure. WHO tells the whole world that kinda stuff anyway? And that other flighty one, she sounds like his siamese twin. Damn, sure got more than i bargained for, or wanted. lol.

    April 17, 2012 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  12. hamsta

    by the way i hate that purple dinosaur.he reminds me of dr. phil. dr. phil needs to wear a dress.

    April 17, 2012 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Ted Narckinson

      You are making fun of someone's name? What is your given name? It cannot be hamsta. No self-respecting employer would hire you.

      April 17, 2012 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
  13. Barney

    Hamster, not sure i would classify that as having balls so much, i would say more insubordinate. Its not professional to talk to your boss in such a disrespectful way.

    April 17, 2012 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. Philip

    @Dazzle. Yes, I'm very familiar with the genetic component of clinical depression. That's why I don't drink much milk and avoid pharmacies and MD's like the plague. All milk and dairy cattle are processed using hormones that ALL tests show, that if introduced to a developing fetus at just the right time can even alter a persons ability to distinguish what gender they are, not to mention growing teets on boys and causing girls to menstruate years ahead of schedule. (prior to 1994, only crooked dairymen used growth enhancers, for it was illegal and for reasons stated above. Congress made it legal for some known reason) Me? I see a drug-free therapist once or twice per month, and have for many many years. No-doubt I behave like a teenager here from time to time. My emotional growth lags behind my physical years, as it does with all people whom were severely abused/molested as children. I'm not all growed up yet. 🙂 Shoot me. he he

    April 17, 2012 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  15. Philip

    ...that Nazi inspired pharmaceuticals have altered the human dna strand goes without saying, it's THAT obvious.

    April 17, 2012 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8