Seriously, it is okay to say No

So, this is in response to a recent post on the Globe and Mail – one where a 50-something woman decries the “playground” of an app company that she interviewed with. The story is all too familiar; the company sets you up with an interview for a position with a job title and description that sounds great, then in the interview, it is revealed that it is nothing like you expected. I’m not going to delve into the intergeneration conflicts that this has spawned, though that discussion is fascinating.

We’ve been there – I’ve been there. You go into an interview for a “Marketing Manager” position only to find out that you’ll be slinging phones in a call center. The correct response, if you have no interest in doing that, is to thank them for your time and then get out of there. It shouldn’t be viewed as an act of heroism to stand up for yourself and what you think you’re worth. The result is a position where you aren’t happy, and where you are unlikely to be doing right by the company. It sets up a trend of distrust as they’re starting the relationship with a piece of dishonesty.

The fact is that in our society you’re going to be in a position where you enter into a contractual relationship between you and the other party. Saying that you aren’t okay with a relationship is okay, that’s something you can do. It isn’t a big deal for you to say “no thanks,” and move on. That goes for any contract or negotiation. If you get yourself into a state where you aren’t comfortable saying no, you aren’t comfortable standing up for yourself, then you’re already in a difficult position.

The unfortunate reality is that few people are going to argue on your behalf, so you’ve got to do it.

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