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

    But given how disrespectful you are to the President of the US im not surprised. And i dont like rats so i guess we are even on your purple suit comment. Maybe you should change your handle to slug, it sounds more appropriate anyway.

    April 17, 2012 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. hamsta

    When i disregard the supervisor i am saving lives.these eggheads think the white hard hat they wear is the equivalent of an engineers degree.can you read blueprints?can you build machines and run cranes?dont feel bad neither can they.part of my job is to prevent catastrophe and loss of life when these eggheads think they know.

    April 17, 2012 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Ted Narkinson

      If you were my employee, you would not have a job with that att itude. Having my degree in Construction Engineering, I am well versed in blueprints, OSHA regulations, and I am also wellUversed in the att itudes of renegade employees that think themselves above their supervisors. If you were as intelligent as you would make yourself out to be, you would BE in a position to supervise others. As it stands, you sound as if you are exactly where you are qualified to be.
      Take sone advice, son. Stop acting as if you know better than your superiors. You do not.

      Good evening.

      April 17, 2012 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Barbed Wire

      Rise above your addicition to yourself. You cannot speak of others and what they do when you do not know yourself. Behold, your contemptuous ways will cause people to flee from you, rather than to take your words to heart. Women are to be cherished. Men are to be looked up to. A repeated reference to anothers "sins" is admitting a committance of those same sins. Alcool use? Drug use? Pointing fingers at others as a way to deflect from your own behavior. That is not the path. Repent and forgive yourself, so that others may forgive you.

      April 17, 2012 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
  3. Philip

    Example: (of why I've always avoided Big-Pharma drugz) Americans take approx. 10 billion Tylenol's (or generic acetamenophen) ea. year. Goto the FDA's webite. "Acetoamenophen is responsible for up to half of all liver disease" it says, and so the way has been cleared for late-night TV lawyers to begin suing Big-Pharma on behalf of the same liver-shot lazy drunks they sued social security to get disability benefits for. Booze only softens your liver so that acetamenophen can do it's assigned task: damage your liver and make you MD dependant.

    April 17, 2012 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
  4. High Hopes

    Philip, if you think that your emotional growth gives you the right to treat people as your own personal whipping posts, you are severly mistaken. Rise above yourself and be the decent man you proclaim yourself to be.

    April 17, 2012 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  5. Philip

    Gn all. Barney? I've never seen you here before, so welcome. And just as in real life, if you work your way around old ladies gossiping and pecking at whatever, your time spent here can be informative as well as entertaining. Not that it's the most unenjoyable task in the world...refuting the wisdom spouted by the xanaxers. gn ladies. 🙂

    April 17, 2012 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. Meat head

    @@@barney hey barney want a date i loooove big plump dinosaurs how ya doin there barney?

    April 17, 2012 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  7. Philip

    High Hopes? I guess that was the real 'raven' after all. Your powers of perception preced your last post. gn bro.

    April 17, 2012 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  8. raven

    No one is all growed up. Ever. We would all do well to remember that. However, you are defining who you are each day. How can you say " Listen to me", when you are stuck in the past? Your life experiences shape you and mold you, but they aren't YOU. I say again : you define yourself a day at a time, sometimes a moment at a time. You can't teach others til you learn that lesson for yourself. Who is going to listen to a little boy in an old mans body.

    April 17, 2012 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  9. Barney

    Hamster, do you REALLY have a job? I cant imagine any self respecting employer hiring you. You certainly are obnoxious as hell though. And im really surprised any fellow workers havent gone postal on you.Working so many jobs as you say you must be a drugy

    April 17, 2012 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. raven

    See philip? You again illustrate my point. You speak out of both sides of your mouth. You couldn't WAIT to get your dig in. Under the guise of "kindness" you welcome one person while insulting another...its sad. And predictable.

    April 17, 2012 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  11. hamsta

    who does xanax.philip, you do?

    April 17, 2012 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. Philip

    Raven, good point and taken. However, do we not learn from and do-well to study and remember our past? For example, bible history records Jesus on one knee listening to a group of young children. The hypocritical Jewish religious leaders state that he is wasting his time...what could a young boy possibly have to say to the Lord of the Sabbath. Jesus corrected their brain-farting. He said that unless they themselves became like children, they would always be in the dark concerning spiritual matters. Listen to that boy. Even if he's trapped inside of an old man.

    April 17, 2012 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
  13. Barney

    Philip, i happen to like talking to ladies. It beats the hell outta talkin to yourself. But this has sure been an experience i wasnt quite expecting. Nice meeting you all. And you too meathead lol.

    April 17, 2012 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. hamsta

    There is nothing disrespectful about telling the boss his idea wont work if i prevent him from ripping the boom off of a crane and killing people or if prevent a bridge from collapsing.

    April 17, 2012 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  15. Philip

    Ummm, it's not like I made a whip and walked into Chase Bank. It's not like I made a sword and lopped-off someones ear. Words. Just words, raven. Millions of americans are addicted to pharmaceuticals...Big-pharma puts addictive substances in most all of their SSRI's and painkillers just as tobacco giants do. So the odds are that many who blog here are under the influence and would take offense. It is the truth that sets one truly free, and "The Truth Hurts". Try and refute anything I've posted. From the origin of modern-day pharmaceuticals to the NWO/Illuminati plan to scare people into sacrificing their patriotic nationalism in favor of a One World Government by attacking them with manmade flying saucers reported to be alien. The next phony war after this "war on terror" concludes is United World Military vs. Invading Aliens.
    Anyway, gn. Sweet dreams everyone. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    April 17, 2012 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
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