Thanks, but no thanks: Finding clarity in the workplace by saying no

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Yes, ma’am. Yes, sir. Yes, boss. We say yes all the time. Now it’s time to work up the courage to say no. No to that last day-to-day task that will send you over the edge. No to the change in work hours. No to the decisions being made in a process that works just fine. No to the new promotion if it’s not quite right. No to hiring a new employee who doesn’t fit the bill. And no to the new job if it doesn’t scream yes.

We’re not suggesting you say no to anything and everything you’re asked to do in the workplace. We are, however, suggesting that you express your opinion when it comes to major decisions that will affect the workplace, the outcome of the product or service you create or provide and your personal life.

Take it personal. Saying yes to everything is good for people pleasing but it’s not always so great for end results. Oftentimes, the big yes or no questions actually affect our personal lives. A yes may keep us at work an extra hour each day or keep us so busy that we’re unable to concentrate on everything else we’ve said yes to over the years. Saying no doesn’t mean you’re not a team player. It means you’re taking the lead to call the shots because if you’re being asked a question the ball is in your court, after all.

Plan b. If you’re a good employee, the reason you’re saying no in the first place isn’t because you’re lazy. It’s because of the impact saying yes will have on your ability to perform in the workplace or on the company as a whole. If you say no because you don’t have time to take on a new project, give an alternative suggestion as to how you can still be of help. If you say no to a promotion because you see the new position as a step in the wrong direction, consider and speak out about the reasoning behind the no while providing answers as to how you could grow into a different area in the department. If you say no to hiring a particular new employee, throw out the names of other people who you feel do fit the bill. Providing reasoning behind the no and suggesting a plan b is key to legitimizing your answer.

Express yourself. You were hired for a reason. Your decision-making skills and authority in the field are part of that reason. So choose to give an honest answer when being asked a question. If there is any fear that your thoughts could be misconstrued, make time for an open, honest and in-person conversation. Emails and texts all too often go misinterpreted due to the lack of tone. Also, be sure to express gratitude for the opportunity to be heard. Thanks can go a long way.

Say it like you mean it. Going against the grain can be a challenge. Accept it. There is a fine balance between being inappropriately demanding or bossy and expressing an opinion in a manner that demands consideration. Choose your words and tone wisely. Speak calmly rather than out of spite, anger or fear. Look your boss, peer or employee in the eye. Demand to be heard. Call for a discussion. See what happens when you ask for clarity and careful consideration rather than just being a yes-man or woman.

Finding yourself in a position where your opinions and decisions aren’t being valued or considered? Take a look at our current job openings to see if there’s a fit for you here.

New Year’s Resolutions: Three steps to shed the weight of workplace stress

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New Year’s Day is a lot like the movie “Groundhog Day.” Statistically speaking, Americans tend to extend the same commitment to themselves each and every year. Losing weight is the number one New Year’s resolution of 2016. It topped the charts last year and the year before and the year before that one. But do you know the easiest way to lose weight? To shed stress.

Surprisingly enough, stress is one of the leading causes of weight gain. Getting rid of it is a better way to burn fat than diet and exercise. So by shedding stresses–which more often than not stem from the workplace–we’re able to make a better new year for ourselves in both mind and body. It’s time to shrink our waistlines and shift the battle of the bulge to our wallets with these three simple steps:

1. Let’s get together and feel alright. Put a handful of strangers in a room and chances are you won’t get along with everyone. Although your place of work probably consists of people with similar educational backgrounds, that doesn’t mean that you’ll all work at the same pace or have the same ideas about how things should be done. If you find yourself gritting your teeth every time a particular co-worker turns the corner, do yourself a favor and confront them. But do it with grace, please!

Oftentimes, we hide our anger to avoid confrontation. This works for minor instances but we find it best to talk things out with your work neighbor to escape from work frustrations in the future. Why is this so important? Well, it’s a weight off your shoulders first and foremost. But more importantly, by making amends now, you’re really thinking about the future.

More than likely, you won’t stay at your current place of work until retirement and neither will your co-workers–including the pesky ones. We can’t count the number of times that a negative workplace relationship also negatively affected a perfectly good candidate from getting a new job. On down the road, you may find that you are applying to jobs where people from former workplaces work currently. Always keep this in mind.

When resolving conflict, try to stay away from digital confrontation. With tone-of-voice and facial expression missing from the conversation, emails and text messages are easily misinterpreted. Set aside some time on your lunch break or outside of work to grab a cup of joe and meet face-to-face. Gather your thoughts and talk it out. The new year is the time for resolve.

2. Money. Money. Money! Money is the root of all evil, so they say. We believe this only to an extent. Money provides us with the means to survive, with vacations, new vehicles and a roof over our heads, but it’s the feeling of not getting what you feel you’re worth that really hurts and causes us stress. If you feel there isn’t an equal exchange in your case, do your research. Use tools like to find out what other people in similar positions in your area are making and see if you deserve more. If you find evidence that shows you really should be bringing home more bacon, put the facts on paper and set up a meeting with your boss. There’s no shame in honking your own horn when you have numbers to back you up. If your boss sees your worth as you do, they’ll do what they can to keep you around.

3. Move on up. If you’re really just not feeling it on the job, it might be time to move on. If there are other opportunities out there that you qualify for, why hold on to the stress you’ve been bearing? There are perks to job-hopping too. The key is to stay in one place for at least two to three years. You don’t want your resume to be 10 pages long and make you look like you’re a drifter. Human resources isn’t going to want to take a risk on you doing the same to them. But if you can stick it out at your position long enough to gain experience and earn a clean record at the company you’re at currently, you could just earn yourself quite the raise. Job-hopping is the way of the millennial. It’s the fastest way to make more money but it’s also quite a hassle if job-hopping requires big moves. Weigh out the pros and cons and if you’re ready to start the new year with a new job, check out our openings. We’re ready when you are!