Take It On Tuesdays: Convince someone else to say No

Take It On Tuesdays is a weekly encouragement for you to either Take It or Take It On. You'll use both depending on the work situation. You may need to turn the other cheek or confront, surrender or stand your ground, step back or step up. Here's to knowing which and when, and having the courage to follow through.


I had a boss who felt responsible for meeting the spiritual needs of all 3500 students on campus. Her job description affirmed this task, yet even with the combined help of our entire department, success was clearly unattainable. Ideal but unattainable.

So I chose to Take It On. In retrospect, I pushed back too hard (Thirty five does sound kinda radical as a substitute for 3500!), but I knew our approach wasn't realistic. We were heading for burn-out.

I had to say no to my boss. Even if she chose not to say no to her boss in turn, I couldn't continue at this unmanageable pace. Strategic goals have their place and it would have been great to list "3500 Served" on an annual report, but not when it costs everyone in the long run. 

Here's the rub. If the ladder rungs above expect 3500 and I decide 35, they can make me pack my bags. If they demand that I churn out deadline work and one day I decide to slow down, they may just find a starry-eyed replacement.     

Name a burnout area in your job this week. How would you build a case against it? What argument could you develop? How might you explain the proposed results? Think these through, and then with equal bits of grace, courage and shrewdness, convince someone else on the ladder to Take It On with you.        


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