Here's a near-universal question we can all relate to:
Have you ever been employed by a company that took great pains to convince you how fortunate
you were to be employed by them? So fortunate, in fact, that you should be happy with the following perks:
* A substandard salary
* Being overworked and underappreciated
* A general inability to produce quality work due to inferior working conditions, and
* A dedicated team effort to NOT improving those existing conditions?
On paper, most people would walk away from a job like that at the earliest possible opportunity. Some might even go out of their way to CREATE an opportunity to leave.
And yet... SO MANY PEOPLE remain in jobs they despise (or relationships that make them miserable, or servicing clients they can't stand) because they don't know how much they, themselves, are worth.
Do you?The "No" Factor
When was the last time you said "no" when someone asked you for a favor?
We're trained to believe that friends, family, coworkers and employees -- aka "nice" people who want to live peacefully within an existing system -- don't say "no." Instead, they say "yes," and then they find creative ways to juggle the extra work / errands / obligations.
Because saying "no" would create strife.
It would force the person who was relying on you to then handle that problem himself. And, worse, it might mean YOU were unreliable, or not well-organized enough to shift your workload at a moment's notice, or -- worst of all -- that you said "no" because you didn't LIKE someone else.
No one wants to rock the boat like that. So we say "yes" endlessly.
That's because we have no idea what we -- and, therefore, what our time -- is actually worth.Snapshots of Impending Disaster
Your boss walks into your office and says, whoops, he forgot to inform production that a certain project was promised to the client by Thursday. Sorry, you'll have to work late.
A coworker stops by on his lunch break and says, hey, he forgot he had something else planned after work -- could you cover him at a company event?
Your brother calls and asks, please, would you mind babysitting tomorrow night because they just got tickets to a concert?
Before you reflexively agree (or disagree) in each of these situations, you first need to understand what your answer says about you, and how you present yourself to the world.The Problem With "Yes"
Admitting that you can rearrange your schedule at the whim of another means that you don't consider your own plans to be particularly important -- especially when compared to the plans of someone else.
Adding additional tasks into your existing workflow means that you're either SO competent at your current job that you don't mind the extra work (which begs the question, "So what DO you do all day?") or it means the work you're doing is so unimportant that it can wait an extra day or two while you do someone else's (in which case, why ARE they employing you in the first place?).
And consenting to work late, especially when the reason involves someone else's mistake or mismanagement of their own time and resources, implies that you're willing to subvert and sacrifice your own health, happiness and peace of mind for "the good of the company."
Would you ever say any of those things out loud? No!
And yet, when you chronically say "yes," that's exactly what you're admitting.The Power of "Yes, But..."
Inevitably, there will be situations in which you'll have to work late, you'll have to cover for someone else and, yes, you'll have to drop everything to help a friend.
Those are exceptions, not rules. And the way in which you ensure that those are exceptions is to not answer "yes," but,"yes, but..."
Yes, you'll work late this week -- but you're taking next Friday off.
Yes, you can cover for your coworker -- but only if he gets you tomorrow's reports today.
Yes, you can babysit tomorrow night -- but you need to borrow your brother's camping gear next weekend.Why "But" Matters
Saying "yes" invariably means you're sacrificing something of yours for the good of someone else, and you think that's okay.
Saying "yes, but" means you're open to helping out, but not at the expense of your own well-being.
If you're losing time, you expect that time to be made up.
If you're disrupting your workflow, you'll do so in conjunction with someone else.
If you're losing freedom, you expect to exercise that freedom elsewhere.
What you're NOT doing is subverting your own independence and autonomy for the sake of another, because that sets a precedent that invites your job / coworkers / friends / family to continually take advantage of you -- subconsciously or not.
Aren't you worth more than that?
Labels: boss, freelance, job, office, perception, sociology, time management, workday, workflow