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The new normal means that there are just not enough hours in the day. For years, I attempted to solvethis problem by skimping on sleep, a common but often counterproductive approach. I realized mymistake partially from observing my children and seeing how a happy child can melt into a puddle oftears when he’s shy a couple hours of sleep. It turns out that adults aren’t much different. Sleeping fouror five hours a night induces mental impairment equivalent to a blood alcohol level above the legaldriving limit.20Sleep deprivation makes people anxious, irritable, and confused. (Just ask Dave.) If Icould go back and change one thing about how I lived in those early years, I would force myself to getmore sleep.It’s not only working parents who are looking for more hours in the day; people without children arealso overworked, maybe to an even greater extent. When I was in business school, I attended a Womenin Consulting panel with three speakers: two married women with children and one single womanwithout children. After the married women spoke about how hard it was to balance their lives, the singlewoman interjected that she was tired of people not taking her need to have a life seriously. She felt thather colleagues were always rushing off to be with their families, leaving her to pick up the slack. Sheargued, “My coworkers should understand that I need to go to a party tonight—and this is just aslegitimate as their kids’ soccer game—because going to a party is the only way I might actually meetsomeone and start a family so I can have a soccer game to go to one day!” I often quote this story tomake sure single employees know that they, too, have every right to a full life.My own concerns about combining my career and family rose to the forefront again when I wasconsidering leaving Google for Facebook. I had been at Google for six and a half years and had strongleaders in place for each of my teams. By then, Google had more than 20,000 employees and businessprocedures that ran smoothly and allowed me to make it home for dinner with my children almost everynight. Facebook, on the other hand, had only 550 employees and was much more of a start-up. Latenight meetings and all-night hackathons were an accepted part of the culture. I worried that taking anew job might undermine the balance I had worked hard to achieve. It helped that Dave was working asan entrepreneur-in-residence at a venture capital firm, so he had almost complete control of his schedule.He assured me that he would take on more at home to make this work for our family.
My first six months at Facebook were really hard. I know I’m supposed to say “challenging,” but“really hard” is more like it. A lot of the company followed Mark’s lead and worked night-owlengineering hours. I would schedule a meeting with someone for 9:00 a.m. and the person would notshow up, assuming that I meant 9:00 p.m. I needed to be around when others were and I worried thatleaving too early would make me stand out like a sore—and old—thumb. I missed dinner after dinner