The TechCrunch ‘Lean In’ Roundtable, Part 2: Guilt And The Myth Of Doing It All

As we mentioned yesterday, we took an in-depth look at Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s new book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead with a number of Generation Y women who are part of the Silicon Valley’s rising new guard.

“You start to have friends who drop off, and your family starts to say you never call anymore.”

You can watch the first segment of the conversation, where we addressed fear and its effect on our careers here. It was a four-part discussion in all, and we’ll be posting a new segment each afternoon until Friday.

Those who participated in the discussion around Lean In: Leah Busque, the former IBM engineer who is now the founder and CEO of TaskRabbit, the startup that has built a platform for outsourcing errands, tasks, and deliveries; Ashley Mayer, the senior director of communications for cloud-based enterprise storage technology firm Box; Megan Quinn, the Google and Square alum who last year made the leap into the venture capital world as a partner at Kleiner Perkins; and Pooja Sankar, the Stanford MBA and former Facebook engineer who is now the founder and CEO of educational Q&A platform Piazza.

In this segment we tackled Sandberg’s statement on “The Myth Of Doing It All,” and the guilt many women feel as they sacrifice time with their families for their careers. As Sandberg writes, “guilt management is as important as time management for mothers.”

As our panelists discuss, though, it is not just mothers who feel that guilty pull. Megan Quinn shared an interesting point about guilt and how she has adjusted her attitude towards it. She said:

“If you are with your family or your friends, and you’re having a life, there’s always that nagging question of, ‘Is there more I could be doing at the office?’ And if you are at the office and you’re there late, especially in startup culture, and it becomes your life because it is your life, you start to have friends who drop off, and your family starts to say, ‘You never call anymore.’ So the guilt actually goes both ways.

For me personally, I’ve never been a big believer in ‘work life balance’ — the phrase, not the concept, to be clear. I believe that if you really enjoy your work, and you work really hard, it becomes your life. And if you enjoy your family, and you love your family, and hopefully you do, that becomes your life. And so, it’s more about weaving the two things together than having a clock that you clock in and out of.

Especially with mobile devices, it feels like you’re always on now. But you’re always on as both a friend, a sister, a parent, and a partner, and you’re also always on as an employee, a manager and a boss. So I actually think it’s not so much the guilt of one or the other, but sort of the [feeling of], ‘I wish I could be in many many places at once.’ And in some ways, we’re lucky that with phones, we can be.”

Check out the video above for much more.