Punk Rock HR Secret #5: Just Say No


I really hate career articles on Yahoo that offer trite advice on how to handle workplace conflict or how to get ahead at the office.

To counter the duh-no-shit literature that’s out there, here are the TOP THREE CERTIFIED PUNK ROCK WAYS to say no to anything — or anyone — at work.

  1. No.
  2. Hell no.
  3. Are you f-ing kidding me? No way.

You may say, “Laurie, that’s totally unreasonable. I’ll commit career suicide if I talk like that.”

I say, “Like your career is going anywhere, chump? You will never get ahead at your company if you are a pushover and take on extra duties that you don’t even want.”

My advice is to only say YES to extra projects and work when it benefits the greater good — and by greater good, I mean the magic combination of your career, the stockholders, and your pocketbook.

  1. Say YES to working late when you’ll get both short-term and long-term credit for it.
  2. Say YES to a project that has a direct link to savings (for your department or for the enterprise).
  3. Say YES to attending an extra meeting where you can speak your mind and accomplish something that you couldn’t do via email.

Saying no is tough, and you may worry that you have something to lose. I’m here to tell you that you have something to lose at work when people know you have something to lose. Start acting like you are empowered to own your own career, which means acting in the best interest of your company’s shareholders (& in the best interest of your personal salary).

My advice is so simple and will lead to instant results. When you nut up and act like the personal shareholder of your own career, coworkers and leaders will respond positively. Expect to hear:

  1. Dude, you are on fire!
  2. You were speaking for all of us at that really crappy meeting. Thank you.
  3. That’s a great idea and we really think it’s something you can present to (the VP, the CEO, etc.).

I know, I know. Thanks to this awesome advice, you are now punk rock enough not to care about what your peers and leadership team have to say.

You can thank me later when you get that big merit increase, yo.

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