Job Stalking and Saying "No"

Job Stalking and Saying "No"

True story: it was a luncheon held after a successful “launch” of a new media venture. Immediately, the gathering turned from a general social outing to a more formal, business planning session, and I was forced to do something that I have found myself  doing more frequently: saying “no” to such big plans.

Like many of my fellow job stalkers out there, I find myself pulled in different directions – wanting to spend more time working on job search tasks, avoiding procrastination, and making the time for family and friends who are important to me. In order to do that, I need to say “no” more frequently and play “the bad guy”, accepting the consequences of my refusal.

It feels very counter-intuitive, to say the least: after all, we’re brought up in a time when positive thinking tends to be the norm. Saying “no” can be seen as limiting or pessimistic…or, at the very least, uncooperative.

However, as a time management seminar in my distant past once advised, “You can have anything you want; you just can’t have everything you want.” Part of finding and keeping work means that I have to set priorities, and that often means setting some firm boundaries around my time and my availability. A colleague publicly berated me – twice – for “bailing” on him at an event. Of course, this person failed to mention that we never formally arranged anything, and I left to visit a sick relative.

Yes, I said no to this person. I ended up disconnecting with this person via various social media channels, not just because of this incident, but because of their overall behavior. It means a lot less drama in my life.

Sometimes, job seeking also means saying “no” to behaviors like procrastination – I’m learning that if I can do something now, it might not be a bad idea to do it now. It means focusing my time on moving my job search (both focused on a long-term permanent position and/or acquiring further freelance work) forward. It also means moving away from job seeking colleagues who are more willing to share their tales of woe and complain than engage in positive behavior.

(Another mantra that I keep repeating to myself – no is a complete sentence. My own tendencies towards rationalizing and/or justifying my behavior can often lead me into trouble, even if it’s just a minor form of procrastination. Learning to say and accept no is a great way to learn how to handle rejection in the job search – accept the answer, be comfortable with it, and move forward).

It’s never easy, and never fun – but saying “no” to some things while job stalking often gives me the freedom to say “yes” to other things. But it’s all in knowing what I can say “no” to….and being able to say it.

I hope that all makes sense.

As I mentioned last week, you’re more than welcome to join fellow job seekers in a co-working session at Next Door on April 17th. In addition, you’re more than welcome to connect with me via LinkedIn (please let me know you’re connecting via Job Stalker) and check out my other writings via

Thanks for reading!

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