Slowly Sipping Coffee

Can I Really Tell Work “No”?

Just yesterday afternoon I got a call from an HR person in my company. They asked if I would be able to go to my alma mater and do some interviews for new hires and the upcoming intern season next summer. This all sounded great. I would get a chance to go back to Colorado, it’s probably not still in the 90’s there, I could see the old campus, and maybe even catch up with an old friend while in town. Then I found out the details and their answers made me spit out my tea – I literally had to clean my monitor… Suddenly, the trip seemed way more hassle and way less positive, no matter how I could spin it. I realize glorifying work trips is easy to do (not really, they mostly all tend to suck) especially when they involve getting back to CO even for a few days. I wrestled with what impact this would have on my career and what kind of exposure I would miss out on by not going. Mrs. SSC’s suggestions even had me second guessing the supposed benefits of going. Through all of this debate, I came to a few career conclusions that were a little shocking even to me.

When I got the call for this trip yesterday, I asked the usual, when would I be traveling out there, how long is the interviewing session, and when would I be coming home? Like I said, I spit out my tea – note to self, don’t drink anything ever when talking to HR – because their answers were “Well it would be for Monday (this coming Monday), and you’d be interviewing from 8-5 and then fly home Monday, or Tuesday morning depending on flight availability.” The short notice isn’t too bad, and the short turnaround of the trip would actually work in my favor.

What’s the problem with travel then?

I’m going to be out of town this weekend participating in a Sprint Triathlon. I plan on bringing my youngest with me, and fortunately we will be able to stay at my in-laws house, as they live where the race is happening. So it was going to already be a nice relaxing weekend with a race thrown in Saturday morning. I wasn’t planning on getting back to Houston until mid-Sunday afternoon.

When I checked flights, the only ones available on Sunday were at 5:30pm – doable but it would be sucktown. I’d be driving about 4.5 hrs with a 3 yr old solo in the car (I’m a little worried about this anyway), then get home, unpack the car, pack a work bag, grab some lunch, hang with the family and leave to the airport. I’d get to Denver at 7:30 pm and since their airport is in Kansas, I’d have a solid hr+ drive to Golden to get checked in and then get dinner. It would be a late night followed by a long day of interviews. The return flights would end up being Tuesday, probably a 6am flight, which again, due to driving to Kansas to get to the airport, I’d have to leave by 4am to have time to drop off the car and shuttle it over to DIA. Then I’d probably be asked to come in to work, because I’d be back in town by 10am. Double sucktown…

Maybe get to see more of these mountain views! Not this trip!

Maybe get to see more of these mountain views! Not this trip!

SUCK-ville! Probably just a lot of these views...

SUCK-ville! Probably just a lot of these views…

Am I going?

It sounded doable, but what would I get out of it? I know most people just get told they’re going somewhere, as this was my last companies approach, and at least I got asked if I could go. I’m guessing they forgot to line this up earlier and are now at the bottom of the list desperately searching for anyone to go. But what’s in it for me? Nothing really. Just 9 hrs in a stuffy room interviewing a lot of students, and then a lot of travel and lost sleep. No thanks! I even had the go ahead from Mrs. SSC if I wanted to go, and I was really leaning towards going. My thoughts were that this would get my name exposed to a new group of corporate yobbos* that may be helpful in support of a future team lead position. More exposure and inter-company networking is good and showing I’m a team player is even better right?

But why? I’m in the twilight of my career and not necessarily looking to climb the corporate ladder. It’s probably hard to do in just 2 years… This trip has no positive gain for me whatsoever. Like Mrs. SSC reminded me from the Essentialism book – Less but Better. This trip wasn’t either. For any bucket dipper philosophers out there, this was all dipping from my bucket with no refilling whatsoever.

So what’s shocking?

I was surprised how much I feel bad about saying, “No, this trip isn’t going to work with my schedule and family time.” I literally feel badly about it. Like one of those “Oh, damn this feels like the wrong move, even though it’s a right one…” sort of feeling.

Another shocker is I just realized this is the first time I’ve ever told work no. Any work. In all of my 23 years of working at any job, I’ve never said no when asked to do something extra. My work ethic says, “Hey, if asked to do something, you do it. Period. That’s what you get paid for.” That’s how I’ve always lived and what I’ve subscribed to. But not this time.

Finally, like Steve at Think Save Retire mentioned when he was in a similar situation with a recent work request – I have the freedom to say – no thank-you, this is not what I want. Surely it can’t come back to haunt me in less than 2 years right? We are still in a pretty horrid downturn, and there is always the threat of layoffs, because, well, they’re still happening everywhere else… Essentially, I am not super worried about getting ahead at work anymore. If I didn’t get another raise, promotion, or new position for the next 2 years, I’d be fine with that. That freedom is amazing.

Even though there is a pit in my stomach for doing the one thing I haven’t done in 23 years of work, saying no, I am excited because of why I got to say no. Being this far along in our Fully Funded Lifestyle Change journey is starting to have some cool rewards! Mrs. SSC got to quit her job and do something she is loving, even though the paycut was huge. I got to pass on an opportunity to “get ahead” at work in favor of a better lifestyle. Overall, we’re turning our hectic, busy, time suck life we created for ourselves into a slower, more open schedule, laid back, family filled existence that we would rather have.


Do you always say yes at work? Have you gotten the chance to say no? Did it torture you like it did me?

Let me know!

* I’ve always loved this term since I first heard it in Clockwork Orange, and it seemed fitting even if I may be misusing it.

(slang) Someone, usually a male, who is uncouth, badly behaved and obnoxious. Loud and drunk are also characteristics, but not always present

52 thoughts on “Can I Really Tell Work “No”?

  1. Steve @ Think Save Retire

    Interesting story. Yeah, saying “no” to work does feel strange, at least at first. It feels like you aren’t being a team player, and you’re concerned about what they must think of you for not going. You feel that it might stunt your growth, even though you don’t have any real interest in building a long career anyway. Still, it goes against everything that we’ve done and felt up until this point. Yup, I know the feeling.

    The ability and willingness to say “no” is also pretty darn freeing. I feel that while the company is paying us to work, that doesn’t mean we put our life on hold in order to do that work. The truth is flying on the weekend – which is usually *uncompensated time* – is a huge pet peeve of mine. They aren’t just asking us to work. They are asking us to take time out of our personal schedule so we can travel for the company and generally not get paid for it. To me, if it’s important enough for the company to have you there, then it’s also important enough for the company to compensate you for your time traveling over the weekend. Time and a half, even – we’re taking time out of our weekend, after all.

    And so, I think this is a two-way street. Yes, you get paid to do your job. But, that job must also work for you. Ultimately, a company will always do what is in their best interest, and we employees need to do similar. When it comes to skilled staff, they need us just as much as we need them.

    1. Mr. SSC

      I agree it was pretty darn freeing after I got over the “feeling bad” side of it. The kicker for me was the rushed coming home Sunday schedule after I’d already have a 4.5 hr drive, and then I’d still be looking at traveling and more driving and a late night. I might have gotten Tue. off if I talked with my boss about it, but having an extracurricular class that night means it’s a long day too.

      Under different circumstances (no race/out of town weekend) I’d have been fine with the quick turnaround trip, but not this weekend.

  2. Paul

    SSC I think you made a good call. I’m at a similar point in my career. The Up Elevator has very few floors left to open on, and when someone (me or others) decides to push the Down button it will be a rapid decent and out the Lobby doors. The tough part is determining if what you are about to do with trigger a ‘button push’. Something like a trip which was poorly planned on their part will not trigger the ‘push’. So as you noted the trip had little upside for you and probably no actual downside. Better to spend your time with family, reduce your stress level, and stay healthy. The actual ‘travel’ part of travel is not very fun and takes a lot out of you. That being said we do need to continually assess ourselves at work and make sure we are adding value everyday. If this remains true then little a little ‘No’ will not change the course. It’s so much more effort to replace you than to keep you if your value proposition is still on the positive side of the equation. Regards.

    1. Mr. SSC

      I am definitely still adding value and have a few high visibility projects currently, so I agree this trip wouldn’t have added much n the way of positive or negative influence regardless of choice.

      If it was for something more “substantial” that may have a more positive upside or negative downside, then sure I would have been more willing to play along. Since they haven’t come back to me to ask “are you sure?” makes me think someone higher up dropped the ball and is scrambling.

  3. soccerdad08

    Next to “IT”, “Clockwork Orange” has to be the 2nd most disturbing movies I’ve seen.

    Sometimes saying, “No” earns you some respect. Although at this point, that doesn’t seem to matter for you either. So awesome job in getting to a place where you feel like you can say, “No”. And certainly seems like a reasonable time to do so.

    Thankfully, I’ve only had to travel a few times for work, but there was a time when I was working 16 to 17-hour days to fix something others messed up. Finally, at one point I said, “No.”. Others needed to own up to their mistakes and get on board and provide some help. I earned some brownie points by speaking up.

    cd :O)

    1. Mr. SSC

      Yep, Clockwork Orange is a pretty disturbing flick. :)

      I think it’s nice to be able to say no, but just make sure it’s for the right reasons. I’ve gotten lots of “impossible tasks/deadlines and other people freak out about whether I can make the deadline and I just smile and say – don’t expect miracles every day, then they’re just normal…

      I am known to get things done as needed regardless, I’ve just found a way to balance it with life/family as well. Not this time though, and I’m okay with that.

      Good for you getting to say no and getting some credit for it.

  4. ChooseBetterLife

    Good for you! Saying no nicely is an art, and you’re mastering it.

    I’m also tempted to say “Yes” to work, but it helps to ask why the question is being asked. Failure to plan on that part does not make for an emergency on my part. If we both have plans for Satuday and they forgot they are scheduled to work, why should I give up my plans and let them keep theirs? If it’s a wedding or a kid’s birthday party, then maybe it’s a good reason, but if it’s most other things, then my plans are just as valid as theirs.

    Sometimes you can also negotiate. Would your work allow you (or would you want to) stay in Colorado an extra day or two so you could see friends and not feel rushed?

    1. Mr. SSC

      I definitely subscribe to that saying, “Failure to plan on your part doesn’t make it an emergency on my part.”

      I might have been able to stay longer on Tuesday, except that the travel schedulers are totally separate from the rest of the people that could approve me staying later. Maybe I could have told them to schedule a later Tuesday flight due to recruiting stuff, but I didn’t want to hassle too much because I have a class Tuesday night I need to be back for as well.

      Which would mean traveling from Fri. – Tue. and being exhausted come Wednesday. No thanks. :)

  5. Brian @ debt discipline

    I have the same type of feelings about saying “no” at work. It’s part work ethic and fear. Fear of being passed over, or looked down upon for saying “no”. Some management use that fear to their advantage, some understand the balance.

    Having an exit plan has to be freeing. I’m sure it helps breakdown the fear. I’m still struggling with leaving a job where I was on call 24/7 – 365 and expected to be on e-mail all the time. In my new role I still fight the urge not to check my work phone all the time on nights and weekends.

    That’s a big part of what changed over the last 15 years, e-mail and cell phones, we are tied to our work in more ways when we are out of the office.

    Have you considered countering their offer and having you travel late on Tuesday or on a schedule that more flexible to your needs?

    1. Mr. SSC

      I do wonder if this knocks me out of recruiting in the future and then I think, well, I really only have 1-2 more shots at it if all goes as planned, so meh… Friends I have that do recruiting do not speak very highly of it, other than something else to put on their year end review.

      My last job expected 24/7 access even though we had no wells to drill, no field to monitor, and it was primarily research and support. Yet, I would get questioned by my boss why I a) didn’t have a company phone, b) didn’t respond to his 7pm Sunday night email, or 4 pm Saturday email c) get him answers to things that don’t need answers for another week or so.

      I have no idea why I left… My new company had us return our company phones for cost cutting (Yippee!!), and we have desktops, so no real pressure to work over the weekend or check email after hours – double yippee!!

      I thought about countering to stay later Tuesday, but I have a class in the evening, so I’d have to be back by then anyway.

  6. Fervent Finance

    I don’t have a problem saying “no” if I really don’t want to do anything. It’s extremely freeing but at the same time others may take it as if you’re selfish. Reading How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World helped me insure this behavior was appropriate if you truly want to be free. Have you read that book by Harry Browne? Highly recommended. May help you say “no” more often :)

    1. Mr. SSC

      I would have been more worried about it except that the lady asking started off with, “Well, we know it’s hard getting people at such short notice…” whicha gain made me believe someone dropped the ball scheduling this anyway.

      I have not read that book, but will put it on the list. Something about saying no felt kind of nice. Although, while not saying no all the time, I will temper expectations if I get crazy extreme deadlines. Along the lines of “I may not have specific numbers worked up by then, but I can let you know if I’ve found any red flags that would say – don’t keep moving ahead.” I’ve found that’s been a diplomatic way of saying – your deadline is way too soon for what you’re asking, but I can still answer your question in that amount of time.

  7. Ms. Montana

    Mr. Mt had such a hard time with this. After so many years in the Army, you just do whatever you are told. Then he worked at a non-prof, and quickly learned that for everything you say “yes” to, they will give you 3 more.
    My last job was the kind that didn’t ask. It drove me nuts. They started having mandatory Saturday morning meetings… that we didn’t get paid for! I already didn’t love having to work every Saturday and Sunday, but going in a hour early to hear coworkers bicker about dress code was too much. I once asked the boss, beings we weren’t getting paid for these meetings, if he was going to bring in donuts. He looked at me like a crazy person. Apparently I should be thrilled to hear my coworkers argue at 7:30 on a Saturday morning, instead of make pancakes for my kids.
    That being said, I’m really glad they at least asked. It’s hard to say no, but nice to have the option.

    1. Mr. SSC

      I bet coming from military background would have made that tougher. It sounds like he learned quickly enough though, lol.

      My last job was the same – “Hey, we need you to go to Buenos Aires next week for 4 days, and leave on a Sunday and come back on another day off of yours. Thanks, go ahead and get that scheduled, okay? No question about how to deal with toddlers, or my wifes schedule, since she worked at the same company also. Just a “you do what you’re told because it’s work” mentality.

      That supervisor wore it like a badge of honor that he would have to remote in to meetings while on vacation, and do work during supposed family time. It’s no wonder we both elft that company and started thinking about FIRE while we were there, lol.

      My last supervisor at my new company would ahve Monday morning “donut meetings” meaning we didn’t need the meeting and someone would always “volunteer” to bring donuts for the next meeting. He’d pull up the donut spreadsheet (of course it was on a spreadsheet) and get the next 2-4 meetings scheduled for donuts. Very much “volun-told” versus volunteer type of system.

      It is very nice to have the option to say no, and that is not lost on me. Which makes me feel worse, because “at least they asked” hahahaha….

  8. Mr. PIE

    The right call was made given your situation and tenure.
    However, for those earlier in a career, sadly it would not be the right call. Or at least, they would make this decision once and a follow up discussion with supervisor would ensue about dedication, commitment, blah blah…

    A colleague of mine once flew to India from a major US hub for a Joint Research Committee meeting and flew back….wait for it…..the next day. Other than wasting nearly $10k on a business class flight and the untold hours of lost productivity, I am sure he felt great in his self importance. Interestingly, his area did not ask him to do this. He felt a great need to be there and micromanage his team. Sad. I made it a point to dictate to my org when I would fly to and fro India. I invariably made it a week to 9 day trip minimum and they paid for all nights including one night at either end where I got my crap together after a very long flight and to decompress after a heavy week of business. They never said anything about me overstepping the mark with expenses. Especially after the head of our area made the trip once and quickly realized what it did to the mind and body…..I made this trip about 12 times over a 3 year period. Not much fun for Mrs. PIE back home with very young kids….

    Saying no is all about choosing your battles and being cognizant of which stage in your career you do it. In my organization, I don’t know of anyone who has progressed by saying no too often and too early in their career. Yeah, not great. But then we al know how dispensable we are and it can al come unstuck rapidly and we are replaced by another body to fill the void and start the cycle again.

    1. Mr. SSC

      Oh man, I once had a trip to London scheduled for a research committee review, (I was actually excited about it) and then my boss “stole” it from me to feel needed or what not. Then he planned the same sort of trip you described – fly out Mon, meet Tue. and catch a flight back Tue. night… Yeah it’s only a 8-9 hr flight, but seriously, $10k in first class just for a day? Where’s the value add?

      I had a lot of short notice – volun-told trips to Buenos Aires which is a fairly easy overnight flight, but we had 2 kids under 3 at that point, so it was much easier for me. No regard for Mrs. SSC who worked at the same company, or how we’d deal with family, even though they touted work-life-balance. They just never applied it. Of course, that’s worse than not touting it at all. Just say – no we believe work comes first, but try to balance family life with it. At least that would be honest. :)

      I like my new company for a lot of reasons and it was evident, they knew I’d be 70/30 for not going, so that helped in my decision as well.

      If this was a year ago when I’d been here less time, or if I was earlier on in my career, I’d suck it up and go. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case in this situation, thank goodness.

  9. Elephant Eater

    I can definitely relate to the freedom of being able to say “no”. I don’t relate much to the torture of it as you describe. To me, I don’t see a black and white work full time all in attitude while working and then a completely retired, no responsibility, no work attitude. I view FIRE as more of a process of gradually gaining more freedom and then settling in when you hit the sweet spot balancing working and living. Mrs. EE was always more career driven than me and she did experience a bit of the torture that you describe when electing to quit full-time work after little EE was born. However, it has been great for her and she really hasn’t looked back since, kind of sounds similar to where Mrs. SSC is with the teaching gig. I look forward to finding my own sweet spot after moving on from my current job as I am definitely not there yet, despite saying no frequently.

    1. Mr. SSC

      I think having that sweet spot between work and life is key regardless of whether you’re looking to FIRE or just have a nice career and family life. It’s possible to have both, just more difficult to balance.

      I amexcited about finding more of a sweet spot, but for now, this one isn’t so bad either.

    1. Mr. SSC

      Thanks! It has to be even more difficult in your situation due to being remote and maybe feeling like you might have to overcompensate on some things because of it. Not that you do, but I know I’d feel that way if I was working remotely.

      Thank goodness you got out of your situation and good luck in the future navigating those waters. :)

  10. Tawcan

    Great stuff for saying no to work. *high five*

    There have been a few times that I said no to similar work travels. If it doesn’t work for me at all, I can’t go. It’s simple as that.

    1. Mr. SSC

      Thanks! *high five*

      That’s why I was torn because my version of “does this work for me” is much more liberal. Technically, yes, it did work for me and I could have made the trip, which is why it caused me some anguish to say no. I looked at it as more selfish saying no, because I could have made it work, it would have just sucked.

      Emotionally, heck no, I did not want to put my brain and body through that kind of a quick turnaround trip with no real positive gain for me from it. Ultimately, that’s why I said no thanks.

  11. The Money Commando

    I travel for work. No, let me correct that – I travel a LOT for work. I’m usually well over 100,000 miles per year, with trips all over the world (I’m heading to Singapore next week).

    When I was young all this travel sounded super fun and sexy.

    I had a corporate credit card! I could stay in nice hotels in the downtown of whatever city I visited. I thought I had it made.

    And the first one or two times I visited somewhere WAS fun. But the tenth time you’re in Houston, or the 8th time you’re in Shanghai just isn’t that much fun. Plus, business travel doesn’t usually afford you time to DO anything fun in the city you’ve visited. You spend all your time in airports, airplanes, hotels, taxis, and customer locations.

    I’m now at the point where I dislike traveling for work enough that the travel will likely be the reason I quit/change jobs. Being able to either not work or start a new career in a job that doesn’t require travel is a big reason I’m working so aggressively towards financial independence.

    Based on my experience, you did the right thing. If there’s no benefit to the travel for you, why would you do it? This isn’t the sort of thing that’s going to affect your career one way or the other, and if it actually IS really important that you go then the company will come back to you and ask again, in which case you can negotiate something.

    1. Mr. SSC

      See, I don’t even travel enough to make it worth it from a frequent flyer standpoint or retaining any mileage points either.

      My first trip to Buenos Aires I was excited – new place, new company to work with, yeah!! I went from IAH to BA, got in a taxi to the hotel, ironed a shirt, showered, changed clothes and into a car to go to the office for 4.5 hrs, to a taxi back to hotel for a “pre-meeting discussion” over dinner which wrapped up at 10pm.

      6am wakeup, taxi to the other companies office and literally, sat inside an interior conference room for 10 hrs before taking a taxi back to our hotel for another working dinner until 11pm. 6am wakeup back to the other companies conference room until 5 when we left for the airport to fly home.

      Yeah work travel!! I did a similar version of that about 3 more times and they all sucked in that same general way.

      This trip wouldn’t have been as bad as that, just exhausting like any work travel. I’m fine with my decision, but I was close to saying, Sure….

  12. The Green Swan

    Good for you!

    I’ve never told work no yet… Too much time on the clock for me yet. I look forward to getting in that position though, I think it would actually feel empowering!

    Your comment about the Denver airport made me think for a second… Then I chuckled realizing that yes, it’s way out there isn’t it!? Dang near Kansas :)

    1. Mr. SSC

      Thanks! It has felt pretty empowering after feeling pretty selfish and feeling bad about it.

      I get that there is cheap land out there, but my gosh, it definitely feels like it’s in Kansas at times. Even when I lived close to downtown, it was still a solid hour to get to the airport, much less to get from the airport to Golden.

      I think that’s how I got in the habit of getting to the airport SO early is that with all that road to cover and the time it took to get there, you could easily be delayed an hour just in traffic.

  13. TheMoneyMine

    If you tell work no, just tell them why. They probably already know that it’s a long shot and it doesn’t cost them anything to ask for it.
    Or you could say yes and ask for something in return. Maybe a flexibility on some holidays or that they give you the Friday off that week?

    1. Mr. SSC

      When she mentioned it was this Monday, I said, “Oh… I’m out of town this weekend for a triathlon – not a full one – but I won’t be in Houston though.” I even mentioned having signed up for it months ago, yada, yada, yada… Then she mentioned it was hard to get available people with this short notice, and I told her I’d check with Mrs. SSC to see if it would work with her schedule and the kids, because it might be possible.

      In the end, I just said it wasn’t going to work due to the out of town aspect. I could have probably gotten that Tuesday off if I got back early or late, but I just wasn’t feeling it this go around.

      It’s nice to have the flexibility to say no though.

  14. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

    Good decision, and no feeling bad. My dad told me when I was young and struggling with a work decision that I should never feel bad about saying “no” because no company is going to feel bad about letting me go if the chips are down. They do what’s best for them, so I should do what’s best for me. I’ve always tried to hold to that philosophy, and when I do, it’s always turned out to be the best decision. :-)

  15. Mr. SSC

    Man, that lesson was totally driven home to Mrs. SSC this past year with her company doing layoffs in a really horrible fashion. Just a morale killing, soul sucking drug out process to remind everyone they’re just a number on a spreadsheet.

    That was a great piece of advice from your dad, and I’ll have to remember to pass that one along to the little ones further along in their future. Of course going through this O&G downturn will probably cement that in my head, so it won’t be hard to forget.

    It was nice not getting “volun-told” to go recruit, and having the option to say no, even if I initially felt badly about it. :)

  16. Mrs Groovy

    Good for you for asking “What’s in it for me?” And I totally agree with Steve’s pet peeve with weekend travel. Companies often have a way of asking a lot without giving anything in return. And the common advice about doing much more than what is required, sadly, often backfires.

    1. Mr. SSC

      That is an annoyance of mine as well, because I’ve never traveled for work that weekend travel wasn’t involved. Fortunately that hasn’t been super often during my career, but it still bites.

      I’m happy with how it worked out, but in general, there’s usually very little that’s “in it” for the employee when it comes to work travel.

  17. Mustard Seed Money

    Awesome job saying No to your company. I think most workers aim to please their bosses and be the good “solider” agreeing to whatever the demands are. I have a feeling you will remember this triathlon with your son more than any business trip that you ever go on.

    Have fun at your triathlon!!!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Thanks, and the triathlon was fun! Words I never thought I would say, but surprisingly it was a blast!

      It all came to realization on Sunday evening when I was sitting in my chair about to fall asleep at 7pm and Mrs. SSC said, “Aren’t you glad you’re not on a plane to Denver?” I jsut thought, oh yes, yes I am…

  18. Finance Solver

    That’s a great example of the power of saving so much. Ability to say no goes so much higher! I don’t think my job would ever ask this of me yet (I’m not that important to the company yet) but I think I would have said yes just cause I’m barely starting out in the corporate life. I do say no to costly social commitments though and I don’t feel bad when I hear they spent close to $100 in a single day!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      It took me 22 years or so before I said no, so you can see how many times I’ve said yes for many of the same reasons you have.
      I am getting better at saying no to spendy social commitments, but then, with younger kids, they’re a rarity to get invited to these days. :)
      If only I could have convinced my youger self to say no to more of those back in the day, maybe I’d be a little further along. Oh well…

      1. Finance Solver

        I think it’s both sides of the coin. By saying yes, you created a lot of memories that you know you’ll cherish. I’m a little afraid that I’ll regret saying no too many times after 10 years of occasionally saying no, but that’s a story for another day haha.

  19. Fruclassity (Ruth)

    The picture you painted of the trip that you might have taken was truly horrible and life-sucking. Having that picture gone will make your weekend with your son so much more enjoyable. My guess is that you felt such discomfort in saying “No” simply because it was a first. It will be easier next time. Like Oprah says, the “No” muscle develops. You’re also getting used to a new paradigm of freedom and leaving the old one of “What can I do to impress them?” New “No”; new paradigm – it’s exciting stuff! But like anything new, somewhat nerve wracking as you make the adjustment. Good decision! And good luck in your triathlon!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I am definitely working on my “No” muscles. :) I’ll have to keep that in mind though for the next time my brain wants to automatically say – yeah, let’s do it!! It felt a little strange, but like you pointed out, I’ll just ahve to adjust to the new paradigm and accept it may be awkward feeling at first.

      The triathlon went way better than expected and was a blast! I think I have a new exercise type hobby. It’s way more fun than half marathons and the monotony of running, and running, and then more running… :)

      1. Fruclassity (Ruth)

        Congratulations! I’ve only done a “try a tri” – but I liked it more than a road race too (though I’ve never done more than 10 km). That’s a great hobby. May there be many more triathlons ahead for you!

        1. Mr. SSC

          You know, there are multiple variations of the Sprint Triathlon. The one Mrs. SSC is doing is only a 300m swim (in a lazy river), then 7 mile ride (it was shortened from 10 miles due to city issues) and a 2 mile run. I’ve seen a lot of variations around those lengths. Hers is also a female only race which eased her fears of trying it out as well.

          Just something to think about if you want to give it another go. Just google Sprint triathlons near me and see if any look like they’d be fun. :)

    1. Mr. SSC

      Man, after hearing the recap of the trip – then yes, it sounded like a cluster, and very exhausting. Then there are the followup reviews to write as well.

      Another good call by Mrs. SSC, I’m just glad I listened so well this time. :)

      Like you said, had I been here less time, or much younger, I’d have said yes and then made it work. Fortunately, that was not the case this time! :)

  20. Jacq

    I read “The Power of the Positive No” by William Ury. It’s about knowing your values and supporting -your- yes, by saying ‘No’ to others.
    Most of my work ‘no’s have been due to limitations. A 4 day test cannot be done in 2 days, a 4 hour test cannot have results in 2 hours. These parameters were not set by me, but I got grumpy people anyway. Alas. My current role is a lot more based on what I can personally accomplish in the time, but I can give myself the necessary time and have managers who support it!
    Great job on supporting your valued family time & sanity!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I’ve run into that too, things that are just not doable. I definitely enjoyed the easy weekend with my daughter way more than that work trip. :)

  21. ZJ Thorne

    I have sad no already. I’m a temp at my FT gig and my gig ends at their convenience. I’ll get half a day’s notice. They don’t know that I’m building my own business on the side, but they have seen a change in my attitude. I literally do only what I’m paid for. You pay me to X the widget and I will. I won’t care about the widget though. I will work hard and you’ll get that value out of me, but there is absolutely no stake in it for me outside of that paycheck. If there was a chance I could have job security through them, my approach might be different.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I can understand that. Not having the company committed to you would make my “give a crap” level plummet. Like you said, I’d X the widget, but not care about the widget. :)

  22. Our Next Life

    I’m glad you said no to this trip! Sounds like there was zero upside for you, and it’s hard to imagine this would ever reflect negatively on you (and if it did, it doesn’t matter too much). You described biz travel accurately (so much time spent in transit!), but you made me feel thankful that most of my travel is more worthwhile than this kind of thing. Either I’m meeting with prospective clients or I’m meeting with current ones, and either way, it helps my bottom line as well as the company’s. As for saying no generally, I’m going to look to you to tell me how it’s done after we end this year, our last year as “yes people.” Next year, it’s all no no no no no no. (Not quite, but even a few no’s would be progress!) 😉

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      After hearing the feedback from the people that did go on the recruiting trip, I was even more glad I didn’t go. Most got back early afternoon Tuesday, and just went home so that wouldn’t have been so bad, but it would have stil been a lot of wasted transit time.

      Saying no to this trip put me in a position to “not say no” to a fieldtrip this coming weekend. While I probably still could have said no, it’s a friggin field trip, and we haven’t had one of those since things started to tank in 2014, so I’m not going to pass that one up. It was just a bummer it was on my half marathon weekend. Ugh…

      Fortunately, I was able to find one only a few weeks later and register for it. Althouh now I’m even second guessing that decision thinking, why not just take the pass on this one, lol.

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