We live in America, “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” yet we meekly surrender our freedom at work. I know, “We call it ‘work’ because ‘play’ means something else.” But we give up so much so easily! Employers dictate whether we wear our hair: long or short, covered or uncovered, coifed, clipped, combed, or corn-rowed. Whether we are allowed to wind down after work with alcohol, nicotine, or cannabis. Or, whether we wind down at all, with texts, emails, and travel at all hours of any day. We let them record our phone calls, read our emails, count our keystrokes, search our pockets, and time our bathroom breaks. We must not discuss our pay or take a job less than …_X_ miles away, then get fired anyway over a Tweet or a bumper sticker. There are even worse examples, but…
You don’t need more evidence that too many jobs are intrusive and demeaning. You know … You know it! I can tell. You may even know that inventing and enforcing these rules wastes money and reduces profits. I’m not here to prove that this is a problem. I’m here with the solution. I have the answer! … The answer… is, “No.”… “Just …say, …’No!'”
My friend took a job on the Hubble Space Telescope, where programmers had not delivered a single finished program in three years. When he heard his first deadline, he said, “No! I need more time.” His boss shrugged. My friend delivered working code “late” -but on the exact date he promised.
He got another assignment with another impossible due date. Again, …he delivered on the date he promised. He didn’t get a third program to code. He got three programmers to manage. His team delivered quality code on the dates they promised. So, they put him in charge of all the programmers. Not because he was a coding savant. Not because he was a charismatic leader. No, just because he had demonstrated the awesome power of, “No.”
Our reluctance to say, “No,” comes from fear. Fear that you are your job. Fear that your income is your value. That is not who you are. You get to say who you are.
You get to say, “No,” anytime, anywhere, to anyone. Because we live in America, “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Video Transcript by Machine for the sake of the search engines:
hello today is my birthday and of course that’s not unexpected it’s done scheduled it’s known it’s been coming for quite a while and last few weeks I’ve certainly thought about it more than once the implications of reaching this advanced age and I’ll admit my attitude toward it was pretty well reflected by the change in the seasons as the day is that shorter darker damper the leaves turned and fell from the trees I was thinking about maybe I should move into sort of an elder role back off from some goals not expect quite so much out of life and just turn into an old man but I happened to hear an interview with the actor Michael Caine and he mentioned that at his 62nd birthday which is the age on that right now he’s seriously considered giving up his acting career because he wasn’t getting the roles as the romantic lead anymore they wanted him to be the secondary character actor and he didn’t want to do that but his good friend Jack Nicholson talked him into taking one of those roles and now that he’s 85 years old he has continued to make a movie or three every year including what Michael Caine considers some of his best work more important closer to home my good friend Ralph Lee Smith who was a great musician and the world’s foremost expert on dulcimers he was in Greenwich Village you know with the Beat Generation and got to know Bob Dylan and Joan Baez he had his 92nd birthday this week 92 he’s 30 years older than I am 30 years that’s a lot of life in the past 30 years I I met married and raised three fine adults with my beloved wife Christine it may be just as many more adventures successes disappointments ideas I mean who knows what’s gonna happen in the next 30 years maybe I’ll get those and you know maybe I won’t maybe I’ve just got today like everyone we’ve only got today a long string of “nows” now to appreciate where we are what we’ve got and what might be next to anticipate contemplate and that’s what happens on my birthday when I get a greeting from a good friend like you who reminds me that I matter to other people and that those other people matter so much to me so your birthday greeting makes a big difference to me thanks for reaching out and reminding me that what really matters is our impact on other people and the impact of other people on us I appreciate you and thanks for reminding me of how much you appreciate me happy birthday to us all so long
CEO Executive Coach Tony Mayo has shared a great deal of practical information with business people since re-launching his free e-mail newsletter in 2008. Here is a list of topics covered. Just click on any title to read more.