How To Say No At Work

| March 6, 2013 | 5 Comments

We’ve all be in this situation: overworked, underappreciated, and ultimately feeling sorry for ourselves. It’s especially hard when you have little ones at home and are trying to maintain your energy levels for the mayhem that awaits you when you walk through the door.

Since returning to work about 6 months ago from extended Mat leave, work is not the break from the kids I was hoping it would be! Not only am I still clearing the backlog from when I was off, but the scope of my responsibilities has increased twofold. Even co-workers and management acknowledge that I have the work of 3 people. Despite this, I’m still getting tasked with new assignments which means I have to be my own advocate at work.

Can You Work Overtime?

The one weekend my boss asked me to work overtime, I had to say no. Maybe that was a ‘No-no’ in itself. It was a Friday afternoon, I had worked through lunches all week, and I was facilitating a prenatal class that weekend. Sunday would be my only day to work overtime and I needed it to recover for the next work week, let alone look after my toddlers! It would mean finding someone to help Mr. Mama look after the little ones in the evenings, or asking the Grandparents for weekend support.

Can You Support This New Project?

Last week senior management asked whether I would be able to support another division that was asking for support. The task required freeing up time over the next few weeks to attend meetings and give advice and guidance. My first reaction was to say that I’m over capacity and they should get an external consultant for the short term task. Then I googled it and realized you shouldn`t say no to your boss… especially your boss’s boss! So I listed the four other projects that were requesting the same thing – on top of my other duties – and asked which one is a priority. By doing this, I am getting clarification what my current priorities should be, and reminding management that I already have a few projects requests on my plate that normally require a full-time commitment for each.

I Have A Deadline

I came across this line for when fellow colleagues ask you to do tasks that you are not responsible for and would take too much time away from your other duties. Just tell them `I would like to help, but I have a deadline`. That hits home the fact that you’re still a team player but are working towards your own deadline.

In this day and age when jobs are scarce and layoffs are not, you need to do everything possible to be a valued employee. Although part of me thinks that no matter what you do or don’t do, if management wants to keep you, they will. What really matters in the end is the health, happiness and well-being of you and your family.

Has anybody had a similar experience when going back to work? How do you manage your workload? Any other ideas on how to say no to tasks that are outside your regular duties?

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Ambereen Rahim is a senior analyst, part-time blogger and mom of three year old boy/girl twins. In her spare time you can find her travelling, exploring activities with the kids, trying new recipes and blogging about it. You can follow their adventures on twitter @2cuteblog

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Comments (5)

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  1. Rebecca Wemyss says:

    I’ve definitely had to learn how to say no a bit more often these days. But – I’ve also tried to stay balanced and still do my part. For me – it was more about making more efficient use of my time and not slacking off at work.

  2. Paula Schuck says:

    This is my downfall. I like how you solved this problem though.

  3. Ambereen says:

    Rebecca, how do you manage to stay on top of things and always be efficient? Some days are harder than others.

    Paula, unfortunately this problem is ongoing and means I have to constantly re-adjust priorities.

  4. kathy downey says:

    I really like your way of taking care if things

  5. kathy downey says:

    I’ve definitely had to learn how to say no moore often that i like but my family comes first

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