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5 Times Saying "No" At Work Is Necessary For The Career You Want

Saying no will be your saving grace in these five situations.

Workin' Girl

One of my greatest strengths and weaknesses is that I am people-pleaser. Growing up, I was always that kid that didn't like to let people down and I would be the first person that would say “yes" whenever I was needed.


Not much has changed except that now at the age of 25, I don't care that much about what other people think. As I am growing as a young professional, I am also evolving as a woman and I have learned that what is meant for me is meant for me, and each time an opportunity presents itself, I should not feel obligated to say "yes".

I've learned that the grass is not always greener on the other side, and everything that glitters isn't gold. Most importantly, I have learned that it is okay to say "no" when you need to because when you say "yes" to any and everything, you sometimes lose sight of yourself and your own goals.

Although saying "no" is a lot easier said than done, especially if you have grown accustomed to pleasing others, sometimes you may be better off by turning people or things down.

Listed below are five instances where it is necessary to say "no" -- or "hell no" in some cases:

You Are Not The Woman For The Job

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Have you ever lied on a resume or in an interview? Of course you have! We all have at least once in our lives. If you haven't, you will one day. Lying, or exaggerating the truth, for a job is never the best idea. From my experience as the liar and as the person being lied to, the truth will always be revealed.

When you are filling out that job application or responding to a job inquiry, if you are honestly unqualified, don't lie to yourself, or talk your ego up. Simply tell yourself "no" and move on.

You Don't Have As Much Free Time As You Thought

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When I first decided to freelance, I reached out to so many companies for work. Between my 9-5 job that keeps me hella busy, writing a ton of content week after week, and working on my own personal brand, I was TIRED. Honestly really "tired" isn't even the best word to describe how I was feeling because I was way past that.

From that experience, I learned that every opportunity that is presented to you may be legit, but it may not be good for you at that particular moment. Before you say "yes" to every job offer that you receive, analyze your life and figure out how much time, and energy that you can truly dedicate to the new opportunity. If you realize that you cannot dedicate as much time as the job needs and as you want, you should probably not pursue that opportunity at that time.

You Deserve Better, And You Know It

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When I was job searching, I made it a priority to take my job search extremely seriously. As a grown woman with grown bills, I knew I needed a career and not a job. I needed a challenging career, and not just mundane work. When I interviewed with companies, I came ready with my notepad full of questions because not only were they interviewing me, but you better believe I was interviewing them. I knew in my heart that I wasn't looking to get a job just for pay, because honestly I could snag a paycheck from anywhere.

As several job offers came through, I declined many of them because I knew that the best job would present itself soon. I learned how to say "no" to those job offers even when I wanted to say "yes" because as we all know, the job search routine can be depressing and exhausting. However, when you deserve better and you know it, it becomes easier to turn down things that are not worthy of you.

You Are Not Passionate About It And Would Rather Be Doing Other Things

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When you don't have passion for what you do, it shows in your work and attitude. Trust me, I have been there before, and I have seen it before in old employees. If you are given the opportunity to work on a new project or start a new job that you have zero passion for, don't waste your time doing if it doesn't interest you. Feel free to say "no" when the passion is not there and use your idle time to find opportunities that align with your values and interests.

You Work Harder For Others Than You Do For Yourself

Businessman, investor, and speaker Farrah Gray once said, "Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs." If you have your own aspirations, make sure you are taking the time out to work on yourself, and accomplish your own goals. The worst thing that you can do is work 40 hours a week for someone else and not one hour on yourself.

Sometimes when we say "no" or back down from opportunities, we feel like we are being cowardly and are letting others down. Every job and opportunity that comes our way isn't meant for us. We have to learn how to be selfish and go after opportunities when we should, and back away when the opportunity isn't meant for us.

Featured image by Getty Images

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Originally published January 14, 2017.

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