25 July 2013

Knowing When to say Yes

I recently read a blog post on idealist.org about saying “No” without committing career suicide. It’s a good read. Check it out.

Today I want to talk about the opposite side of that coin:

When faced with the chance to say no, weigh your options and see if you have a better reason to say YES. 

In a previous job I never had the choice to say yes or no to office social events; company picnics, birthdays, baby showers, and the like. Attendance to all such events was mandatory for those in my department. This came from the VP in charge of my division. For someone like me—who gets wrapped up in interesting design projects and relishes the satisfaction of completing a project then jumping feet-first into the next—these events were painful to endure. Each day that I was encouraged to leave the office early and drink beer with my professional peers was a day wasted.

Today my director and team participate in numerous departmental and organization-wide social activities—including  volunteer opportunities that allow the university community to mix with the larger community where we’re located. At times I’m encouraged to participate or I’m invited by the big cheese, but rarely is anything ever mandated. I feel at liberty to pick and choose events, and ultimately feel good about attending. Plus, it’s a rare occasion where I’m staying at my desk for hours after quittin’ time trying to make up those lost hours. It’s liberating.

I recently had an invitation thrust upon me with almost no notice, and had to choose whether to take it or pass. The invite came four days before the event. An industry conference held four states away, four days before my birthday. My first instinct was to pass—my media development duties—as well as creating a curriculum for the class I  teach next semester are all still on my plate, along with working on my house after work and battling insomnia all night long (yes, I block out time for that too).

Happily, I took this opportunity to say yes; projects, home, and lack of sleep will still be there when I return. Making an inconvenient jaunt to New York directly after work is little sacrifice for what I gain in trade. This conference helps me develop, grow, and learn about industry trends.  It helps me see where we are in relation to our professional peers in the field. It helps make me a valuable member of the team.  Plus, who knows what higher education budgets will look like a year from now; this could be a one-time-only opportunity.

Originally posted on www.simonejenifer.blogspot.com