The thing is, I really like saying yes. I like new things, projects, plans, getting people together and doing something, trying something, even when it’s corny or stupid. I am not good at saying no. And I do not get along with people who say no. No is for wimps. No is to live small and embittered, cherishing the opportunities you missed because they might have sent the wrong message.
– Dave Eggers
The above is a slightly edited version of my all-time favorite quote by Dave Eggers when asked about whether or not he was worried about coming across as a sellout. I believe strongly in the sentiment of this quote. If I have the time and the ability, I will almost always be a yes-person, whether in the office or if asked to go on a night out. I’m not afraid to politely decline if I would be delaying my own responsibilities to do so, or neglecting a prior commitment. I just often don’t think I’m too busy to say yes.
But many career strategists will speak of the dangers of always being a yes-person. Always saying yes can make you seem like a doormat and actually decrease your chances of having a successful career, they say. I’ve seen the dangers of saying yes at the wrong time, so I do my best not to do it. I’ve seen it both from college students always up to go out (Party tonight, bro!) and adults living in the office (Gotta be up early for my 5-9, that’s still 8 hours of sleep, right?). I’m neither.
Still, am I too much of a yes-person? I don’t think so, but what do you think? At what point is it appropriate to be a no-person? Should we ever say no just to prove a point, even if the project sounds interesting or we have nothing else to do?