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Marissa Mayer reveals how to work 130 hours a week...

Marissa Mayer reveals how to work 130 hours a week...

Executive Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd


Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo and Google’s 20th employee and first female engineer, has revealed how she worked 130 hour weeks.

Speaking to Bloomberg Businessweek about her time at Google, she said: “The other piece that gets overlooked in the Google story is the value of hard work. When reporters write about Google, they write about it as if it was inevitable. The actual experience was more like, ‘Could you work 130 hours in a week?’

“The answer is yes, if you’re strategic about when you sleep, when you shower, and how often you go to the bathroom. The nap rooms at Google were there because it was safer to stay in the office than walk to your car at 3am. For my first five years, I did at least one all-nighter a week, except when I was on vacation—and the vacations were few and far between.”

She also spoke about having her son when she first joined Yahoo, and then having her twins while the company was going through a proxy fight.

“The company was not in a state where the CEO could go home for four to six months, so I worked my son into my daily life,” she said. “For his first four months or so, I would just have him in the room when I was doing conference calls. He’s like this little business baby. You start talking about revenue or negotiating an offer or a deal, and he immediately kind of understands it. The twins have been the biggest shock and surprise of my life. It was like winning the lottery.”

The decision came under criticism, with Scott Galloway, Clinical Professor of Marketing at New York University, telling Bloomberg’s Surveillance TV show: “If she hadn’t announced she was pregnant with twins she’d be out of a job within six months.”

Mayer had this to say of the criticism: “In my view, there’s just entirely too much judgment over motherhood. There are some mothers who want to work; there are some mothers who need to work; there are some mothers who want to stay home; there are some mothers who need to stay home.

“One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten is there are always a lot of good choices, and then there’s the one you pick, commit to, and make great. In my case, I don’t really feel like I chose not to take a maternity leave; it was just a fact of life. I had healthy children. I had a company that needed me. I found ways to make that work.”