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The Myth -- or Reality? -- of Work-Life Balance

By HERWriter Guide
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can-women-find-work-life-balance Fuse/Thinkstock

A woman named Sheryl Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook. You know, Facebook.

The thing that most of us (think we) can't do without -- that we check every day and where we post all about our kids' milestones and their every little vomit session, as well as nauseating and never-ending diatribes regarding religion, politics, how long it took to crochet a scarf and just how deliriously happy our marriage is (right before the relationship status changes to "it's complicated.")

But Facebook is a multi-billion dollar enterprise, with a corporate culture of employees that can't stay away from their laptops and Blackberries and don't really seem to mind. It really is a culture -- a mindset and way of life.

So when the COO happened to mention recently that she left work at 5:30 p.m. to have dinner with her children at home by 6 p.m., it took the tech world by storm.

Almost incredulously, people read her statements that included eating dinner with her kids at 6 p.m. (at home) and admitting that yes, she checks her emails during the course of the evening but she's home -- and engaged with her family. By 6 p.m.

Cue the collective gasp! She can't be serious about her job, right? Who's home at 6 p.m.? What COO. of a huge company like Facebook has dinner with their kids?

In the whole scheme of things, techie world domination wins out, right? Well, not according to one of the most powerful women in the industry.

Many women are using flex-time, part-time choices or work-from-home options in order to be able to have a career and a family. They are told it won't make a difference to their career ambitions but we all know that with some companies, that's BS.

Many women in the corporate workplace pay a very heavy price for having children and some return to work as early as two weeks postpartum so as not to lose their standing.

And while that may be laudable in the work force, they know their mommy peers wonder how she can just leave a newborn like that, and act like he doesn't need his mama.

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EmpowHER Guest

Wow! What a great (and timely) article. I am lucky enough to work from home and have for years. The good news is - I work from home. The bad news is - I work from home! I have had employers in the past who took advantage of that and expected after hours works because they knew I was still there at the "office." I've finally (after many years) come to a point where I'm confident enough to set the boundaries between work and home. Of course, there is a huge difference, between now and when I was younger trying to achieve a work-life balance. Before, I answered to someone else and was more hesitant about saying "no" since it could reflect poorly in job evaluations, bonuses, etc. It wasn't healthy to be thought of as someone who wasn't a team player. Positional power - whether real or perceived - had a lot to do with how much work/life balance I could reasonably implement. Now, I'm a full-time writer and all the work I do is on a contract basis. It's much easier to set the boundaries between work and home now that I'm the final authority.

April 18, 2012 - 7:28pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.