Reader QUIT: Saying Yes to Every Request (by Chrysta Bairre)

Dear Yes,

Please accept this notice of resignation.  Effective immediately, I will no longer say yes to requests I’m not willing, able, and pleased to do.

Thank you for the opportunity to learn to value my own worth, manage my time, focus on what’s really important to me, and take responsibility for my own health and happiness.

Sincerely,

Chrysta

I quit saying Yes.

I realized it was time to quit saying yes when I noticed people around me stopped performing everyday tasks I am quite certain they were capable of doing, but came to me instead.

“Chrysta, can you show me how to make double-sided copies?”

“Chrysta, the printer is jammed again!”

“Chrysta, the test results aren’t loading correctly, can you come take a look?”

“Chrysta, can you make me a copy of the report I gave you last week?”

I thought I was being helpful and amenable by saying yes to every request and offering my assistance even before I was asked to help.  I was Chrysta, SuperOfficeGirl! But my powers were anything but super, and I had spread myself so thin I barely had time to do my real work.  Then annoyance, frustration, and resentment became my best pals.  I had become unfocused, unhappy, and unreasonable.  I couldn’t stand living this way any longer, and I resolved to quit.

 

At first, it didn’t go so well.

My coworkers had become so used to calling on me for help, and they continued to make request after request after request after request. I was the office go-to-gal, and my sanity was definitely going.

I closed my office door and they came in anyway.

I gave non-committal responses such as, “Hmmm… that’s a tough one! I hope you figure it out.”

I directly replied, “I’m right in the middle of something and I can’t help you right now.”

They kept on asking.  I realized I had taught my coworkers how to treat me and, like most people, they were resistant to change their ways just because I decided to change.  Eventually, I moved on from that position—and resolved not to say yes at my new job.

 

 

Old habits die hard and come back like rotting corpses hungry for my brains.

Changing habits is easier said than done.  I said yes to fewer requests at my new job, but let’s face it, I said yes more often than not.  Still, it felt like a victory to say no at all, and it was a victory.

Every year I made a little more progress saying no, and when I slipped and said yes, I explored honest and respectful ways to say no after saying yes.  Hey, I’m only human. (And not a zombie, just to be clear about that.)

Saying no is still challenging for me, and I continue to make progress.  I know that saying no shows I respect and value myself and others.  I know I have more to gain by saying no than I do by saying yes when I’m not willing, able, and pleased to agree.  I know I’m showing others how I want to be treated by how I treat myself.

Every time I say no, life gets a little more enjoyable than the day before.

 

 

Chrysta Bairre wants to inspire you to love your work and life!  As a blogger and creator of Live Love Work, Chrysta writes about work/life balance, personal development, professional development, and career management.

With a passion and excitement for life, Chrysta has built upon hardship and struggle to become truly happy, finding joy in each and every day.  She takes this purpose and shares it with others to encourage a happier life for anyone who wants it.

 

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  • I’m honored and privileged to publish my very first guest post ever on Cordelia Calls It Quits! Thanks for the opportunity to share my story about quitting yes with your readers.

    Bring on the comments, for that’s one practice to which I gladly say yes! 🙂

    Chrysta

    •  I love your attitude, Chrysta!  So glad to have you!

  • Great guest post! 
    Sherri

    •  Thanks for your comment, Sherri! So glad you enjoyed my Reader QUIT!

      Have an awesome day!

      Chrysta

  • Brittany Hassell

    Oh, man, I was kinda the “yes” girl at my last office job. I swear that people wouldn’t even try to do anything with the copier or printer. Paper jam? Better go get Brittany. I began pointing out that the copier tells you exactly where the jam is and I would be doing the exact same thing that they would be doing. I mean, if I were at lunch or something they would figure it out, right? So why do I have to be the one who fixes the copier now? Ooooohhh, it’s just funny to read this story because I was there at one point, too. Except with my boss being who she was, unfortunately, I couldn’t say “no.” I just had to keep fixing things.

    (So glad to not be working there any more!)

    •  Thanks for your comment, Brittany!

      I’m laughing as I’m reading your comment, and I’m glad I’m not the only one that has had the reputation of office fix-it-all! Yes,  I’m good with machines and troubleshooting errors but that’s not really what I’m getting paid to do, and I’m still expected to my actual job.

      I’m glad to hear you’re not at that job anymore because neither of us will get where we want to be fixing everyone else’s problems before getting to our own. 🙂

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  • I’m not sure how many parents read this blog, but this post reminds me how important it is for me to tell my kids “no, do it yourself.”  When they’re little, you get in the habit of doing stuff for them because it’s easier, then you wake up with a ten year old lying on the couch and saying, “could you get me a glass of milk?”  Whether it’s kids or co-workers, learned helplessness is a real bitch (I guess, no matter what our age, we all want our mommy!)

    •  Thanks for your comment, Paula!

      You make a GREAT point about teaching kids to do for themselves. Not only does it allow kids to learn to take care of themselves, it provides them the opportunity to feel the confidence and competence that comes with taking responsibility for yourself.

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta