Saying ‘NO’ when you are an early researcher is a very difficult thing to do. You are at a point in your career where everything counts – or at least that’s what they make you believe -. You feel you have to please most (senior academic) people as this will ultimately aid you conquer that permanent lectureship you so much desire. This, firstly, is not true in most cases (doing the book review that your advisor passed onto you because he couldn’t be bothered to do it will most definitely not get you automatically short-listed for the position you’ve just applied for and on whose committee he sits). Secondly, always saying ‘yes’ and overwhelming oneself with work also leads to a lot of frustration for the early researcher because, whatever some older faculty members may believe, we are not superhuman creatures who don’t have a life and just need 2 hours’ sleep to survive. It’s time to start saying the word ‘no’ more often. Say yes to no!
So… my task for the next two months will be to say ‘no’ (in a polite way, of course!) at least once a week. It might sound a bit ambitious to be aiming for one ‘no’ a week, but, trust me, requests are constantly flooding in; we’ve just become so accustomed to them that we no longer notice them and do them by default.
Follow (and join?) me on this challenge here.