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.

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