Saying "No"

Posted August 27, 2009 by Marcy Twete in Life After Five

I’ve posted a number of times the past five months about how wonderful it’s been to achieve some semblance of work/life balance. Well, apparently, putting it out in the universe that I might have some free time has come back to bite me.

In the past moth, I’ve been asked to join three committees, chair a committee, volunteer to develop a new program at a local nonprofit, and volunteer for an adoption nonprofit with families who are thinking about adoption. Obviously, I can’t do all of those things. Obviously, I can’t say yes to all of those things. But I kind of did. I didn’t say “yes yes yes” to everything – but I probably made it sound doable. Now that I’m looking at everything, I realize I’m in over my head.

My boss has been indispensible when it comes to advice on these matters, so I’d like to share her advice with you:

  • Just say no. Don’t feel bad, don’t backpedal. If you want to say no, say no.
  • Only take on volunteer opportunities that expand your current skill set. In my case, I am consistently asked to volunteer on events committees. Clearly, events are my expertise. Should I spend more time expanding what is already my expertise?
  • Think of your ideas and thoughts as proprietary information. When you’re in volunteer situations and committee situations, ensure you’re not giving too much of yourself.

Now I just have to decide which of the offers I’m going 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."