• Saying No

    Date: 2013.01.11 | Category: Me, Sarah, Work | Tags:

    I can’t help it, I’m a bit of a people pleaser. Maybe it’s the Libra in me trying to find balance, or maybe I just don’t like people to be angry, especially at me. But, both in my line of work and at home, I’ve had to learn to say no.

    We have an overfull issue of the magazine this month. Too many articles, not enough space. While that’s technically a good problem to have, after all not enough is the real problem, it means I had to tell people their stuff wasn’t going to make the cut this month. I base it on a number of things including whether or not the material is time sensitive, importance relative to other articles, reader popularity and, sometimes, the writer’s own busy schedule. And I always try to be fair.

    Even with that, I find myself up against writers who are not happy by my decisions.  They think their item is more important than everybody else’s. And when I first started this job, I was more of a pushover on that sort of thing. But, I’ve finally learned that I have to be firm and let them know that I have the final decision on that and not them. A firm and decisive “no” is sometimes the only thing that works.  And even then I feel their wrath, but at least I’ve set the bar.

    At home I’ve also had to learn the firm and decisive “no,” but with a frustrated almost two-year-old. And while the stubbornness in some of these angry writers is mirrored in Sarah, the difference is that I love her with all my heart and I have a stake in the person she becomes.

    Sarah had developed a nasty habit of eating until she was full and then hurling the plate, usually still with food on it, across the room. Not only would food fly everywhere, but it would make a horrible noise and she would burst out laughing. After several half-hearted “no’s,” I had to make a stand. The next time it happened, I grabbed the throwing hand and popped it and said, “NO!” Now the pop was light and didn’t hurt her, but it got her attention. The look she gave me was one of pure betrayal and it cut straight to my heart. It killed me, but I held firm. And guess what? No more plate throwing.

    We’ve waged some more battles over dumping and cleaning up crayons and other toys, but we’ve won those too, mostly by not giving in and lasting longer than her despite the temper tantrums.

    All this to say, while I love to be the person who makes you happy and says “yes,” I’ve learned to be strong and give a firm “no” when I need to.