xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement

As President and CEO of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, I see every day that work is a noble thing. From the entrepreneurs who pursue their passion and create jobs, to farmers working the land, to the person stocking shelves in a warehouse, the pieces all seem to fit and every employee has their part in the tapestry. Many people of faith tend to even view work as spiritual. It can then be concluded that work is a good and essential thing for us.

Workplace demands seem to increase with each passing year, however, and the stress this puts on the employee can lead to a work/life balance that is in no way harmonious. Leisure and personal pursuits are critical. These are secret ingredients for a strong economy and a healthy workforce, because the more refreshed, peaceful and fulfilled we are, the better we perform on the jobs.

Advertisement

So, why is saying "no" to extra work so hard for the vast majority of us? It's because we want people to like us and we don't want to disappoint them. We think that saying "no" will be letting someone down and we don't want to seem incapable of handling things. We might even be afraid to say "no." If we want to safeguard our time for personal pursuits and relationships, though, we'll need to learn how and when to say "no" in the workplace.

Let's face it, if we work for someone (and most of us do), we need to say "yes" to most things the boss assigns us to do. This is just a fact of life. It's the other requests that come our way which we have the power to decline without the fear of making a career limiting refusal. Things in this category could be:

Advertisement

• Committees or boards we're asked to serve on that we just aren't passionate about. We need to sincerely thank them and then nicely decline, stating that our plate is already too full.

• Someone wants to meet and pick our brain about a topic near and dear to their heart, but we absolutely are filled with meetings and tasks for the next three weeks. We should be honest and gently decline or set a meeting four weeks out when our calendar allows us to give them some quality attention.

So what about when the boss asks us to do something likely to have a high probability of failure because of time constraints? The boss needs to respectfully be told the truth without a lot of emotion that might make us sound defeated, aggressive or whiny. We also should be prepared to give options for accomplishing this task, since it's obviously important to our boss. Maybe there's a current assignment that can be delayed to prioritize this new goal, or maybe there's another employee or a consultant who can be brought in to handle this.

For our health, relationships, job performance and personal fulfillment, we should all be aware of when the time is right to say "no."

Mike McMullin is President of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce. Email him at mmcmullin@carrollcountychamber.org.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement