Day 20: Saying No


Talk about empowerment.

I decided I was going to say, “no” for an entire hour of the workday, no matter what was asked. Even if it was something I really wanted to say, “yes” to.

My first “no” was whether I would be willing to re-write something that was the responsibility of another team member.  At first I hemmed and hawed. Then I just came out with it.

“Sorry, no, I just can’t fit it in…”

And then I wimped out. “Today,” I added.

Argh! That barely qualified as a “no.”

Next I was asked if I could orchestrate a group meeting. It’s nearly impossible to find a time when everyone can be in the same place at the same time. “I’d like to help,” I started, aware of my recent lame attempt at saying no, “but I don’t think I’m the best one to take this on. How about Lazy Lisbeth*?”


“Ohhhhkay,” was the asker’s response. I could hear his eyes rolling. Still, that went a bit better, even though we all know that Lazy Lisbeth will do a lousy job.

I was asked to do a video conference call (I said no, but asked a colleague to stand in for me); expected to look at some statistical results (delegated to another); and invited to a lunch in two weeks (said no, even though I wouldn’t have minded).

The big challenge came when I was asked to do a conference call with several members of the top management team. It was touch and go. I mumbled incoherently over the phone until I came up with a plan.

“What’s that?” My colleague inquired. “I can’t understand you. Bad connection?”

And then…

I. Said. No!

But…I also feigned sickness.

“Cough, cough.” Well, that sounded realistic. “I have a cold. Yeah, that’s it. A cold.”  I whispered, “I barely have a voice.” I added a few throat-clearings and another cough or two. For effect.

Ok, I am such a loser!

But I did make it through The Hour of No. Even if it meant being a big ol’ delegator or a teensy weensy duplicitous.

I’m almost afraid of what will happen when I try a day where I force myself to say, “yes” to everything. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be a smart idea to do this on a workday; I think I’ll save my “yeses” for a weekend or vacation day.

*Note: Lazy Lisbeth is not her real name.  But it should be. She is lazy. And inept. And it is her job to arrange meetings. It always falls to others because they know she won’t be successful. Well, maybe it’s time to stop covering for her and to let her fail so that we can get someone in here who can actually do her job. Y’know? Snap! 
Each day of 2014, I’m forcing encouraging myself to have at least one new experience (and chronicling it to keep it real). If you’re interested in why–though I can’t for the life of me imagine anyone would be that bored–check out the “about” page.

3 thoughts on “Day 20: Saying No

  1. great idea to stop covering for the those who have the responsibility – it’s a tough one having boundaries, right?

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