The Power of Saying NO


Imagine this: a large and successful company calls you to come in and interview for a job or an internship. They are impressed by your skills, by your intelligence, and by your high levels of self-awareness and self-assuredness. They describe the responsibilities of the open position to you, and while you’re excited at the prospects of working for this particular company, you know in your gut that the position isn’t the best fit for your skills, interests, and passions.

When you get the call with a job offer two days later, you say thank you, but no. It just isn’t the right position for you.

It can be super powerful to say NO to a job offer or internship offer! Saying no means you have purpose in directing your own future. It means that you must have some self-awareness and a strong commitment to what’s best for YOU!

Sound crazy? I know. We’ve learned to think of job interviews as companies interviewing us, and we go in wanting that job or internship a lot, perhaps even desperately. If you get offered a good job, we’re told, you take it.

But just imagine for a minute how you might feel or where it all could lead if you just say yes, you’ll take a job or internship that really isn’t right for you. You could very well end up, two or five or ten years down the line, in the wrong place.

Compare it to the subway: if you get on the F train to Queens when what you really want to do is get on the A train to Brooklyn, you’ll have a more challenging time later getting to where you’ll want to go because you’ll have to backtrack. If you get on that A train from the beginning, you start off in the right direction, and every stop on the way can be a powerful one.

Being true to yourself is powerful. Knowing where you want to go is powerful. And, they may be what keeps you from landing among the 70% of Americans who don’t feel engaged in their careers.

So what can you do? Mostly, listen carefully to your inner voice. Trust your gut. When you get that job offer, before you react and instinctively say yes, ask yourself these five questions:

1. Am I excited to start this job?
2. Do I like the person who interviewed me or made me the offer?
3. Would I be really be bummed if I didn’t accept this offer?
4. Did I hear at least a few things that I am stoked to learn?
5. Should I keep the faith and my focus by staying true to the things that interest or excite me?

If you’re still not sure about turning down what by all objective measurements would be a good offer, you may want to reach out to your mentor for a heart-to-heart conversation. Having that trusted perspective in a time like this can often help you to trust your own perspective.

Saying NO can be a powerful choice for the BEST FUTURE YOU. As long as you continue to meet professionals, learn about yourself, and learn about the different career possibilities that are out there, you have PLENTY of time to find the position that’s the best fit for YOU.


Helene NaftaliComment