Get a Life

By Judith Welles

Blog archive

Get a Life!: Yes, you can say no

It isn’t always easy, but you can say no to your boss. The technique, experts say, is not to use the “no” word. Instead, help your boss understand that it might be better if you did not do what he or she asks.

Consider the example of a federal worker who got a promotion and a new job in another city. He rented a place that luckily would be available two weeks before his new job began. He planned to take a much-needed vacation first.

Soon after, his new boss telephoned him to tell him about a training session that was offered several weeks before the job began. He said it would be good to “hit the ground running” by taking the earlier training session instead of one that started a week after the employee was to arrive at the new job.

The employee did not want to start off on the wrong foot with his new boss or appear disinterested in work.

In this instance, rather than pointing to any personal hardship, the employee responded that he agreed on the importance of starting out quickly in the job. He mentioned that his previous years of experience in the federal government and the job area would certainly help.

Because he had received new employee training at other agencies, he asked if he could take only the second week of training when he planned to move to the city. He added that once he was settled in his apartment, he would be in the best position to make sure everything at work fell into place quickly.

Most employers are reasonable, and in this instance, the employee’s approach worked. He was excused from the first week of training.

Managers want people they can rely on, and that does not mean saying yes all the time.

Do you agree with what this employee did? How would you have handled the boss’ request?

Judy Welles

Posted by Judith Welles on Aug 19, 2008 at 12:13 PM


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