You’ve got yourself a great internship at a company you really like and you’d like a job there. Your internship is coming to an end. How do you turn the internship you love into a job you love?
How to Say No at Work
When your boss asks you to do something, it usually comes with the expectation that you’ll say yes. Being a good employee is about being a go-getter and showing initiative. However, sometimes saying no is just as important. This is rarely an easy thing to do, as it can cause conflict with your boss.
Knowing what you should say no to, and how to say no can go a long way towards making you feel more confident at work. It will also keep you from feeling overwhelmed from taking on too many extra tasks.
Why to Say No
You’ve probably heard the term “work-life balance” before. Finding that balance is incredibly important to your health. Stress can lead to many different health issues. And one of the things that stresses people out the most is work. Keeping a healthy balance between your work and personal life benefits both.
Saying yes every time someone asks for something can leave you with too much on your plate. Before you know it, you’ll fall behind. Once you fall behind with projects or assignments, it’s too late to say no.
Take a Moment to Consider
In an article for The Globe and Mail, career coach Eileen Chadnick says:
“Sometimes we say ‘yes’ because we are put on the spot and we react negatively to the prospect of saying ‘no.’ To avoid agreeing to something on the spot, try to buy a little time to gather your focus and to respond more appropriately.”
When we want to show that we are eager employees, we can be quick to give a yes every time we’re asked to take on a new task. Before jumping up and agreeing to more work, take a moment to consider the request. Consider the time it’ll take you to complete the task and what other work would you have to move around. If you feel that your other work might suffer by taking on this new task, it might be the right move to politely decline.
Offer Another Solution
When your supervisor asks you something that you feel you need to say no to, don’t simply refuse and walk away. One of the best ways to prove you aren’t just trying to get out of work is to offer another solution to the problem. Maybe this particular issue can wait until a later date, or maybe you know of some other way you can help out the supervisor hasn’t thought of. Offering an alternative shows that you are invested in solving the issue and will also keep you from taking on too much work.
Make Sure People Know What You’re Working On
Finally, if you feel that taking on a new task may over fill your plate, make sure that the person asking you knows what else you have going on. This can be as simple and saying something like “I have this other project for Person B, should I prioritize this over that?”
Making sure everyone is on the same page is up to you. If you have more than one boss, there’s no guarantee that they know what tasks the other has given you. You may find getting everyone on the same page when it comes to your workload actually helps people distribute the workload more evenly. Creating better productivity.
Saying no at work can be a challenge, and a little nerve wracking. But it’s essential to keep you from getting overwhelmed and performing at your best. Have confidence that when you say no it’s for the right reasons.
Setbacks and trauma affect people in different ways. Some people experience a failure or an unalterable situation and come back more driven than ever. Others will bounce back to just about the same spot they started, while others fall apart altogether.
Are those responses set in stone? Is how we react to difficulties in life the product of nature or can we change our reactions? The fact is, you probably do have an innate degree of resilience. The level to which you bounce back without any intervention. But the good news is, it’s not the level you MUST come back to. You can think of resilience as a muscle, one that can be developed through exercise and training to become stronger. To the point that a new level of resilience can become your new normal.
In the article Developing Resilience from MindTools they discuss the key points in the development of a resilient attitude:
“Resilience is the ability to bounce back when things don’t go as planned. According to psychologist, Susan Kobasa, there are three main elements that resilient people possess. These are challenge, commitment, and control.
You can develop resilience in several ways. First, take care to exercise regularly and get enough sleep, so that you can control stress more easily. The stronger you feel physically and emotionally, the easier it is for you to overcome challenges.
Focus on thinking positively, and try to learn from the mistakes you make. Build strong relationships with colleagues and friends, so that you have a support network to fall back on. Also, set specific and achievable personal goals that match your values, and work on building your self-confidence.”
Increasing your base level resiliency
- Watch your thoughts. Are you talking yourself into accepting defeat or are you challenging yourself to rise above it? Pay attention and make a point of changing negative self talk to positive.
- Realize there’s probably something you can learn from mistakes or setbacks. Find the silver lining, no matter how dull and use what you learned going forward.
- Remember to always step back and look at the bigger picture. You may not like where you are today, but rarely is anything as difficult or insurmountable as it seems during our darkest hours. Instead of focusing on where you are, focus on where you want to be.
- Identify role models or mentors in your life. Imagine what they would do in your situation and emulate that attitude..
- Do things you are afraid to do. Every time you cross the fear barrier you become stronger and better prepared to cross it again.
- Set goals. Having a destination in mind gives you a reason to get up after a fall. It keeps you on task and reminds you of why you’re doing what you do.
Someone has made a huge impact on your life. You are so grateful for their help and their advice. You decide to thank them with the perfect gift. Imagining how happy they’ll be when they receive it, you wrap it up with a beautiful bow. Then you put the perfect gift on the top shelf of your closet until such a time when you will deliver it. Time passes and the gift languishes unopened and unknown. You forget all about it until you clean out the closet years later and wonder why you never gave it.
The gift of words
You can certainly show your gratitude with a gift, but remember a gift is only icing on the cake. The best way to let someone know how much they mean to you or how much their actions impacted you is to tell them. The person who helped you probably didn’t do it with expectations of any kind. Hearing about how they impacted you is the icing on their cake.
Gratitude is the gift that keeps giving
How do you feel when you are able to help someone? Probably pretty great. People helped you in the past, so when the opportunity to do the same for someone else comes up the repercussions flow two ways. Not only are you benefiting someone in the present, you are also acknowledging the help you received in the past. Gratitude is like a perpetual motion machine, the gift that keeps giving.
Acknowledgements big and small
Remember, gratitude isn’t only about the big things. It’s about all the little things that happen every day. Notice all the lovely things people do for you (for each other) all day long. You see someone give up their seat on the bus for the tired looking person beside you. You feel grateful there are such people in the world. Instead of keeping that thought in the top shelf of the closet of your head, go ahead and say something. Hey that was a really nice thing to do. You have just contributed to the happiness quotient of the world. Well done.
People have all kinds of preconceptions going in to interviews. Many of them are wrong. Check out our top three interview myths.
When optimism gets beaten down
Freshly graduated from college, most people set forth with anticipation in their shoes and optimism in their hearts. A month or two goes by and the only thing they’ve found on their trails is a string of unsuccessful job applications. As anticipation wears away day after day, the fear of failure creeps forward to try and steal optimism’s place.
What is the fear of failure about?
Not yet achieving what you want and never achieving it are two completely different things. So different they might as well be on two different planets. Nobody gets it together right away. Everybody has a period of unemployment and that fear of failure is existential dread getting fat by feeding on itself.
What is failure?
Failure is the lack of an attempt. That’s all it is. And the very fact that you’ve been rejected by anything means you tried. And it means you learned. You’ve only ever really failed if you learned nothing and didn’t change up your tactics in response. Every job rejection isn’t simply a rejection, it’s just a lesson on how to improve. So improve!
Just another no
This advice works just as well for dating as it does for careers: the worst anyone can say is no.
“No” doesn’t mean “you are destined for dismal failure and life as a disappointment to your parents.” “No” just means “not right now, not here.” That’s all. You can apply again later. You can apply somewhere else.
Maybe you got beaten out by someone more prepared and experienced, maybe you weren’t a right company fit, maybe the other candidate had more experience. The point is, “no” is just a word. Don’t worry about it. “yes” is another word, which you’ve got a 50% shot at every single time you give it a shot. So just keep shooting!
What is the future?
The future is everything from right now until you die. Every second, every minute, every day, all contained in that word. When existential dread leads you to say things like “I have no future” stop and think how ridiculous that is.
One job rejection when you’re 22 has nothing to do with the vast majority of that winding, twisting path ahead of you we call “the future.”
The only thing that can put a roadblock in front of that future and cause delays and setbacks is you if you’re not doing your very best RIGHT NOW. And Right now is all you’ve got control over. So go ahead and control it.
The job you’ve been waiting for has come up! Your resume is polished, personalized for the position and ready to go. You have researched the company and you feel great about your chances. You know how important first impressions are, so you want to make a great one. Your first impression with any potential employer is your cover letter.
The interviewer should be able to assess exactly why you are such a great candidate based on the cover letter. To ensure that, you need to make sure you cover these three things.
Catch them right off the bat with a hook of some sort. Tell them something fabulous about yourself to grab their attention. Tell them about recent successes and how you plan on benefiting this company. Be the opposite of Dear Sir or Madame I would like to present myself as a possible candidate for the upcoming position…
The music behind the words of your resume
Your resume is a cut and dry explanation of your experiences and accomplishments. The cover letter is where you get to embellish. It’s where you get to explain exactly how you improved things at your previous company with concrete statistics. And how your experiences teaching English on the other side of the world are exactly what this PR company needs. Gung-ho as you may feel about your potential don’t give in to the temptation to go on at length. Respect their time and attention span and stick to the highlights. You want to capture their attention so they are intrigued enough to meet you. You can dazzle them with the rest of what you want to say in person. Which brings us to our next point.
Ask for the interview
Great as your intro was and spot-on your accomplishments, statistics show that people who actually ask for the interview in the cover letter are twice as likely to actually be invited in for that interview. “I welcome the chance to meet with you in person to discuss how I can benefit…”
Enthusiasm and confidence are the impressions you want to leave them with.