When You Have Another Commitment
Today’s Power Move was filmed at my graduate alma mater, the University at Albany during, homecoming weekend. I got my Master’s Degree here and it’s where my career in higher education began.
Today’s power move? How to let people, including your boss or a client or student, know you can’t stay late. It’s in the SAYING NO category! WHUT? YES, you are allowed to say no.
In one of my recent coaching sessions, one of my clients was upset because her boss scheduled a meeting at the same time as her dentist appt. She had asked for the time off months prior because it takes months to get an appointment with her doctor.
What did she do? She canceled her dentist appt! Ummmm NO NO NO. Your health is important, including your teeth!
I have been guilty of a similar mistake. I had to leave work at 5pm. NO later. I had to be somewhere at 6pm and you all know that whether it’s the subway, the bus or the car, the commute is unpredictable in NYC. Well guess what, someone was knocking at my office door – could have been a student or my boss, I can’t remember and it doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that I was late for my engagement.
Side Note: If you are an ER surgeon or a first responder, then saying no to an emergency is not an option. But I am betting that the majority of you watching this didn’t go to med school! And my one or two first responders? You all get a pass on this one.
So what are some ways to respond? I have two suggestions.
- Your boss schedules a meeting during a time that he gave you the permission to take time off. The solution? Remind her. It may be that simple. He may not have remembered or put it on his calendar. Say this: “I know the meeting is important, but you approved my time off and I have had this commitment for quite some time. Can you reschedule? If not, I’ll set up an appt with you to get up to speed.” Boom!!! You don’t even have to reveal why you are going to be out of the office. You have vacation days, personal days, sick days, whatever. Why you take them or how you use them isn’t the business of your company or institution.
2. Here’s a second scenario. It’s 4:59pm on Friday (because that’s when all emergencies occur) and you have to be somewhere at 6pm. It doesn’t matter if it’s dinner with your bestie, a doctor’s appointment or a wedding you RSVPed to a year ago. Unless someone is visibly in danger, in distress or it’s a true emergency, you say to that person “I have a previous commitment that I cannot be late for. Can we meet on Monday? (or tomorrow if it’s not Friday?) If they say it will only take a minute, invite them to walk you to your car or to the subway. That’s a solid 9 more minutes than they asked for.
Remember. Power moves are not just for the benefit of your company. Power moves are also meant to empower you. I don’t often talk about work-life balance because I don’t think it exists. We have priorities that shift day-to-day and even hour-to-hour. But this would be a good example of achieving a little work-life balance.
How do you find ways to say no that don’t compromise your professionalism or make you seem insensitive or unsympathetic? Share with me @higheredlatinas on FB, Twitter or IG.
#powermovemonday #solutionsnotresolutions You got this!