Enhance Your Career with Two Simple Letters: Start Saying NO!

Posted July 11, 2013 by Marcy Twete in On the Ladder


It may a stereotypical view of women, but the truth is, stereotype or not, we often have a very difficult time saying two little letters in sequence: No! We want to please everyone, we want to be well liked, and we ultimately want to be the kind of person who is agreeable and willing to help in any circumstance. So even when we have hundreds of tasks on our plates, we say yes to more and more just to be nice and agreeable. When you spell it out like that, it’s kind of ridiculous, isn’t it?

So to help you out, instead of telling you how to say no, we’re giving you a list of what to say no to!

  • Requests that aren’t mutually beneficial. When someone asks to “pick your brain” or “get your advice,” it’s easy to want to say yes every time, but you have to ask yourself whether or not the relationship you’re developing will be mutually beneficial. It’s hard to draw the line, but unless you can see that individual adding to your life or your career, it might be time to say no.
  • Meetings and events that you have to travel over 30 minutes to take. I live in downtown Chicago, and while it might help my business to network in the suburbs, it’s part of where I draw the line. Paying for a car to get out there, finding my way to a networking luncheon or dinner, it takes half my day! You can say no, too, to anything that takes more than 30 minutes of travel time to get to. That’s what phones (and Skype) are for!
  • Poorly written emails. Do you know how many times I get emails from people interested in meeting with me addressed to Marci or Marcia? Delete! It may sound harsh against typos, but if someone can’t spell your name right, they probably didn’t do their homework. Say no!
  • Events past your bedtime. It may show that I’m “getting old” (ha!), but the fact of the matter is, I don’t want to stay out until all hours of the morning anymore. So yes, I’d love to attend your birthday party, but not if it starts at 10pm. It’s OK to set limits on your personal hours.

So go ahead, start saying no. And tell us in the comments below, what are some things you’re willing to say no to?

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."