how to say no when you can’t say no

Ok, as usual, I’ve found myself in a bit of a predicament. I’ll set the scene – I have worked in this particular part of the entertainment industry for just under 5 years. When I finished high school, it’s all I wanted, and that’s exactly the way they want you to feel before you get given the job. When you’re on the outside, you feel like you’re missing out on something huge. There’s no way in but luck and who you know, that’s just how it goes. So before I got my (un) lucky break, I had tried for 2 years to get into the industry. I’d send hundreds of emails, worked as an unpaid intern, flown around the world to find a job and then, out of the blue, I got a call saying that I got a job I’d applied for 2 months earlier. My first job was the dream job initially. I worked my way up and I actually started thinking that I deserved to have the job. It was all fine for a while, the hours were not the best but that can be excused if you’re loving everything else. About a year or two later, I started getting restless and feeling as though nothing I ever did was good enough. It didn’t help that my bosses at the time would pick apart every single thing any of us did and would call us into meetings in the boardroom to talk about how we could improve, even when there was actually nothing wrong with us, it was always their need to bring us down. I got sick of this pretty quickly and I’m not necessarily one to keep quiet when I think that something’s not right so occasionally I would argue back but then quickly learned a) that doesn’t get you very far and b) it didn’t matter what I did, this was their issue. Then I moved out of that job, and into the freelance world. It was scary at first but again, after my confidence built up it was ok. There were a couple of things that hadn’t changed though. First of all, the hours are even worse. Most days I don’t see sunlight and I get home in a bad mood because I’ve been surrounded by people who obviously don’t even know what smiling is. So anyway, fast forward 3 years and I’m still here, different jobs, same story except that I’m really struggling to cope now. I’ve got a lot of issues with feeling like a failure, it’s probably one of my biggest obstacles is feeling as though I’m never good enough. So, I’m trying to be positive and think that  if I can’t last out this career, it’s not because I’m weak, it’s just that the job isn’t the right fit for my life. I guess that’s what I have to tell myself to handle it all. Otherwise, I’ll just accept that I’m a failure and end up hating life and thinking there’s no hope.

Fast forward again to last week. I started this new job on Monday and since I was asked to do it (a month and a half ago) I questioned if it was the right decision. I’ve worked with these people before, knew it would be the same story but I felt obligated. I felt like they’d think I was unreliable if I said no… again, not sure why that matters exactly as I’ve wanted to change careers for at least a year now. But despite all of that, it did mean something to me and I felt bad so I said yes. My boyfriend was a bit exasperated and asked me why I thought this would be any different. He knows that it’s a bit of a Jekyll & Hyde situation and he hates seeing me so upset and acting like an arsehole basically. But I justified it “Well, I know I don’t want to do it anymore but I don’t have another job lined up, I’ll need the money and I’m sure it won’t be that bad.” And then I find myself on Monday this week having the panic attack I referred to a few posts ago and I feel stuck. I’m on this job for another month and then I’m supposed to have 2 weeks off before I start another contract. So today, I called the next boss and I said that my health hasn’t been that great and that I wanted to let her know in advance so she can replace me and I was sorry but this is what I have to do. “Oh no, how about we see how you feel in a week and if you still feel like you need the time then let’s decide then.” I kind of wanted to scream. She’s lovely, don’t get me wrong but for the first time in forever, I’m proactively trying to do something that I want to do. Not what anyone else wants me to do, this is for me and me alone. I guess I have to wait until next week now to tell her that I’ve made up my mind and I don’t want to take the job. But that’s the issue, I’ll have a week to change my mind and I’ll feel bad that I’m saying no and she’ll talk me into it and then I’ll be in the same cycle all over again. I’m looking for jobs in other industries, and just the idea of it is lifting a weight off my shoulders. But as always I’m stuck. Because I am not assertive to say “Actually no, this is what I want.” Why can’t I just be one of those people that doesn’t allow themselves to get pushed around? Why can’t I leave the industry that’s pushing me to the point that I actually felt like I was on the verge of a breakdown at only 28 years old?

I dunno, maybe I’ll answer that in a week.



3 thoughts on “how to say no when you can’t say no

  1. I could relate with what you shared here. I have trouble saying no to people too, especially when they ask *nicely*. I feel like a mean person for saying no, so if I could still suck it up, I usually end up saying yes. It’s very frustrating. But one way I’ve found that helps me get better at saying no is by practicing what I’m going to say, imagining the possible counter-arguments, and how I could respond to stand my ground. It’s like writing a script and rehearsing it over and over. Hope this helps. And good luck next week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I played through a few scenarios before the call but then I just tried to get it over with really fast because my heart was beating out of my chest and so I kind of scrambled and I guess that hindered me in being as forceful as I would have wanted to be. I think next time I’ll do what you said and really focus on what I’m trying to say and be a bit more assertive to get the desired outcome.

      Liked by 1 person

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