Sheryl Sandberg Leaves Work at 5:30 Every Day — And You Should Too
Somewhere along the line, ending one’s workday before 8:00 p.m. became a source of shame and sign of laziness — or at least that’s what many of us have tricked ourselves into believing.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is familiar with the funny, uncertain feeling that comes with checking out soon after 5:00 to be with family, and although she used to worry about what others thought of her departure time (which is a completely reasonable hour to head home, by the way), she has finally reached a point where she can take off at 5:30 p.m. without the lingering concern of how others are perceiving her.
“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,” Sandberg said in a new 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.”
To make up for ducking out at 5:30 p.m., Sandberg said, she would send emails to colleagues late at night and early in the morning as proof that she was still giving her all to work:
“I was showing everyone I worked for that I worked just as hard. I was getting up earlier to make sure they saw my emails at 5:30, 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.”
Many of us know the stigma against going home early all too well, especially in competitive work environments in which many judge work ethic by the number of hours spent in the office. There should never be any shame associated with heading home before 6 p.m. to eat dinner with one’s children and spouse, and Sandberg is sending a much-needed message to parents everywhere that it’s OK to leave work before dark for family time, especially since research has shown that children are healthier, happier and better performing students when they eat with their families.
In high school, my friends used to always say they envied my family for making it a rule to have dinner as a unit at least five nights a week, and I honestly feel I would have become a different person had my parents not prioritized it.