Just Say NO!

For this month’s Work/Life Balance meeting, our topic was the importance of being able to say no in the workplace.

At work, we often feel the pressure to take on as much as we can, but we very seldom stop to reflect on why that is. We don’t want to feel like we’re not being team players or contributing to the workplace. We spend a large amount of time at work and as such, it’s natural to want to avoid conflicts and be liked by our peers. 

Sometimes, saying “no” when you need to can be more valuable to the office, rather than saying yes to something that you cannot handle due to a lack of knowledge on the ask or a lack of time.

Everyone in the office has their own role and responsibilities, and your responsibility is to stay on top of your own. Similar to when flight attendants advise that in the event of a drop in pressure, you have to place the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting anyone else; you’ll find it very difficult to help yourself if you’re always busy helping everyone else.

I’ve been guilty of this. when asked if I can lend a hand with something, I very rarely say no. Over time, I have learned to say “yes, but here’s when I can get this to you” instead so that I can fit things around my time, which is valuable.

When it comes to saying no, we found that it’s better to stop and assess what you already have on your plate and see if you have the space to take on more. If not, it’s better to simply be honest about it.

No one wants to wave the white flag at work, but knowing your limits and being communicative of them is always the better alternative.

Meriam Noori, LLB,