For some reason, staying even a half-hour later — and getting home around 6:30 instead of 6 — seems to have a disproportionately large impact on how the evening goes with my family. Losing that half-hour means I have less of an opportunity to help with homework, which sometimes means my wife is delayed in work she's trying to do, which tends to throw off the entire evening schedule.
It's even worse if one of our children has a performance or event of some kind that starts at 7. In that case, the difference between a 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. arrival at home is the difference between having plenty of time to get ready and frantically trying to get everyone out the door without being late.
Don't get me wrong. I don't think we should all work six-hour days and be home by 4 p.m. I am a firm believer in working hard, showing dedication to your employer and consistently giving your best effort, to the extent that you routinely exceed expectations.
I just believe that you can usually accomplish all of that during a regular workday. And an employee who does so and gets home at a decent time is likely to be happier — and, in the long term, more productive — than one who has to stick around the office to make sure he or she is seen by the boss "after hours."
I'm interested in readers' thoughts on this topic. When do you leave work each day? If you usually leave late, how would it affect your chances for promotion if you left on time — that is, after working a full eight-hour day — even if your boss was still in the office? Or, if you've had a boss who expected to see you in the office after regular working hours, how did that affect your productivity and/or your work/life balance?
Let me know your thoughts and experiences, and I'll share some of them in a future column.
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