Bravo to Sheryl Sandberg for leaving work at 5:30
By Pamela Stone, Special to CNN
updated 2:28 PM EDT, Mon April 16, 2012
(CNN) — NEWS FLASH: Working mom leaves office at 5:30 to spend time with kids.
Sadly, this is newsworthy, especially when the mom in question is Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook. By outing herself and urging others to follow her lead, Sandberg did us all a great service. Her announcement is an important step in normalizing and destigmatizing flexible work practices that should be prevailing practices, not exceptions.
Welcome as her announcement is, it also offers a cautionary tale. While she’s been leaving at 5:30 since her children were born, or about seven years, it’s only in the last two years, she says, that she’s been “brave enough to talk about it publicly.”
Despite the fact that the vast majority of women, especially professional women like Sandberg, combine careers and kids, the dirty little secret of today’s workplace is that it still takes bravery — and perhaps being the COO — to be able to talk openly about leaving at the end of the day.
It’s hard to imagine that Sandberg, a woman whose career has taken her from Harvard to Treasury to Google to second-in-command at Facebook, is easily cowed. She may not be every woman, but her fear of the consequences of being found out is shared by far too many working moms. Unfortunately, their fears appear to be well-grounded. Sandberg is the exception who proves the rule.