April 24, 2012


I read an article the other day (Why It's Okay To Leave A Tech Job At 5:00 PM) and it got my thinking. Primarily this:

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg recently set off quite a debate in the tech world when she told an interviewer that she works a 9-to-5 schedule:
"I walk out of this office every day at 5:30 so I'm home for dinner with my kids at 6, and interestingly, I've been doing that since I had kids," Sandberg said in a video posted on 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."

And this sparked something of a debate around what the workday actually means these days.

I used to get to work much earlier than I do now. Ten years ago, I'd be at the office by 6:30 AM. These days, not so much. I'm up later and it's harder to get out the door in the morning once the kids are awake. And it seems like Owen's always awake. But I'm generally online by 7:30. I try to walk away from my laptop by 5:00 but I know that once the kids are in bed, I'll be checking email until I fall asleep, tackling the important stuff if needed.

Two years ago I got promoted into a big-time position. But I vowed to myself that I was going to do everything in my power to strike the right balance. I would work hard, bust my ass for The Man, but then, as much as was humanly possibly, I'd go home, have dinner with the family and put my kids to bed. Sure, there are exceptions and some very long nights and very early mornings. But oddly I've been able to manage it. And I'm proud of myself for that.

What's your new 9-5?

Posted by Chris at April 24, 2012 7:33 AM

I'm actually a 7:30 - 4 guy most days, but with my commute that translates to 5:45 to 6:30 most days.

Posted by: COD at April 24, 2012 8:33 AM

While I tend to be able to maintain an 8 to 5(-ish) schedule, my wife’s schedule is particularly unique. She works in sales and use tax for a very large company and she telecommutes. The commute can’t be beat, of course, but the lack of delineated “at work” vs. “at home” time is always a bit tough. The first 15 days of every month she typically works about 50 hours a week. On quarterlies this ramps up to 60 hours, and once a year it ramps to basically non-stop work. Almost every night she stops long enough to have dinner and hang out with our boys for a bit, but not during annuals. The other half of the month she works a pretty typical 40 to 45 hours a week. Needless to say we try not to have any visitors around the 15th.

Posted by: Kevin Berry at April 24, 2012 9:42 AM

I work 7:30 to 3:00 (our company considers 7.5 hours a full day) so that I'm home when the kids get home. My husband works 9:00-6:00 (theoretically) so he can get the kids on the bus in the morning (he works for the same place). It's a (literal) fight to get him home at night though, and as soon as the kids and I are in bed he's working again. I wish he had more of your attitude.

Posted by: Elizabeth at April 24, 2012 10:12 AM

My attitude has always been that the workplace can do what they want with me from 8-5 but the hours after that are mine mine mine. I will work like a dog, through lunch (or take a half hour lunch) and cram as much productivity as possible into their time but they do not get me on my time. Of course, my work is union and we are mostly forbidden from working at/from home. That said, if I am home sick with kids (like today) my employees have my number and home email. I would love to try working from home but in my librarian line of work, (even behind the scenes) we haven't gotten that progressive yet.

Posted by: rebecca at April 24, 2012 10:22 AM

I have a tech job too. I'm online by 7:00am, and most days I'm done sitting at the computer at 4:00pm when the kids are home and ready to play. I watch email and instant messaging on my phone until about 8pm but rarely have to work during that time. Then I'm done. Now, emergencies happen and I have worked nights and weekends as a result but I'm glad to say that I manage that well.

Posted by: Brad at April 24, 2012 10:57 AM

Well I have always been a pretty much 9-5er, but recently the corporation I work for is on a 6:30-2pm schedule, which with my commute, means a lot of really early mornings/with less traffic than rush hour. But it really wears me out that commute. My bf works for the fire dept/medical field, and is itching for me to start nursing school, so I can get onto the 12 hr days for 3 days a week schedule, which is really nice actually, he gets four day holidays after his rotation ends, and always a full day in between his 24 hour shifts. So he gets time off when most people are working during the week, and he can skip all that commuting chaos, which is really very detrimental to anyone's health! So I am counting myself in, once I get my degree :)

Posted by: Heather at April 24, 2012 11:22 AM

I'm the team lead for a support group that covers from 7am Central to 11pm Central. I consider my hours 8-5 and like Rebecca up above, do what you want with me during those hours, but after I clear the door at 5, that time is mine.

I will not attend meetings after that time.

Posted by: Rex at April 24, 2012 11:31 AM

I've been fortunate enough to work at companies that are flexible with hours. Maybe all companies are flexible with hours yet, and I just missed that memo. I've worked for small agencies, a government entity, and now, one of the largest B2C travel agencies online.

At every job, I've worked 7:30 to 4:30, and on days that I don't use my whole lunch hour, I cut out early. I come in, I focus, I work hard, and I go home. In the past, I've gotten company email on my phone, but it just stressed me out so I don't do that anymore. I learned that whatever the issue is, it can wait until the morning. My philosophy is: if it's important enough to handle tonight, someone will call me. When I leave the building, I check out.

I think we can allow our work and home lives to bleed into one another, and while that's okay for some people (preferred in some cases, even) it's not for me.

In early, out early, and everything's kept separate.

Posted by: Emily at April 24, 2012 12:40 PM

I think expectations can easily get really out of hand with work hours, and though I'm not in the workforce as yet, I really can not see myself expanding beyond a 9-5 - I honestly don't think my overall and mental health would fare very well if I did.

Posted by: Heather at April 24, 2012 12:41 PM

My 9-5 is actually 0630-1500. Some days 0700-1530, but primarily 0630-1500. Luckily, I can't do my work from home. I can't say that I would, because most days (like today) I have absolutely NO desire to have any more contact with any more co-workers or customers. We did try in the past to be allowed to link our email to a company owned blackberry, but the best we could do was a cell phone and a PDA, then still need our personal cell phone. So we said no.

Posted by: Kim at April 24, 2012 2:28 PM

Mine tends to be 8:30am - 5:30pm, modified to earlier end time or later end time depending on the time of year.

I don't mind working longer than 9 to 5, I mind being expected to work as much as two people but paid as one. I want there to be a second shift person if that is what's needed in a job, or an on-call rotation. Otherwise it's disrespectful to the person trying to balance family (or just oneself) and work.

Posted by: Poppy at April 24, 2012 8:28 PM

my husband's boss seems to think the new workday is six days a week 7am to 6:30pm. but i'm not bitter or anything. ;)

my non-mom workday is awesome. some mornings, i get to hang out with families, take their pictures, drink some coffee, laugh. and then nights after the kids go to bed i answer my emails and edit photos while we watch tv. no complaints!!

Posted by: kati at April 24, 2012 10:07 PM

Actually been thinking about this a lot lately. I've been a 9-5er mostly for a while, but it's seeming less and less realistic to stay that way.

Posted by: Caleb Gardner at April 25, 2012 9:56 AM

My hubby works from 7-5 almost everyday. He normally works through lunch. He has conference calls at night twice a week late at night that usually last an hour or more.

He turned down a job last summer that would have massively increased his hours and included working every Saturdays. Personal and family time was more important than the opportunity.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at April 25, 2012 3:29 PM