May 15, 2017

When to Say "No" to an Opportunity

As millennials, we're pressured to take every opportunity that comes our way, often whether or not we feel that we should, and to say "yes" to everything. We're conditioned to believe that we need to in order to be successful and to prove ourselves as more than a generation of social media-obsessed wannabe freelancers. As a result, a lot of us are afraid to say "no." I am not one of those people.

Last week, I took on a new job, which you probably know because you follow me on Instagram. From the outset, I was sort of suspicious. I went in for an interview and was hired on the spot. I was not asked a single question about my work experience or skills, or even why I applied for the job. I was thrilled to have gotten a gig so early on in the summer (my first day was the very next day, a few hours after my final final exam), so I didn't question it too much.

Then I reported for work. The objectives were not clear at all, and the job was not as described at all, and the language barrier between myself and my new boss made communication about this, and everything else, very difficult. So I quit. The only two things that I've really quit, ever, were band in middle school and AP Chem my junior year of high school, so throwing in the towel was weird for me. Weird, yes. The wrong decision, absolutely not.

I knew, in my gut, that this could never work. You won't love everything that you have to do or every job that you have to work, but you sometimes have to stick it out. This was one of those things that you just can't stick out. The language barrier made doing so virtually impossible. I wanted to cry on my drive home that night because I was so disappointed with how things had turned out and because I knew what I had to do.

But I reminded myself that everything is part of God's greater plan for my life and that there was a reason that I was called to quit before it even started. If you're at a similar crossroads, know that it's okay to say "no." Sometimes an opportunity is the wrongest thing for you, and sometimes you're supposed to try it out for a while. Sometimes you'll know instinctively, in your gut, what to do, like I did, and sometimes you'll find yourself flopping back and forth between "yes" and "no."

You should say "no" to an opportunity when:

  • It goes against your beliefs. 
  • It involves something difficult and unavoidable (e.g. a language barrier, an impossible commute).
  • It doesn't offer you the value you think you deserve.
  •  It's just wrong for you, and you can feel it.


  1. I got a job at a restaurant "on the spot" years ago and have since learned that getting a job so quickly is a path to disaster. Turns out the place had a high turnaround rate (I mean, what do you expect with such a horrible hiring process?) The owner was completely nuts and ended up firing me for an unjustifiable reason. I learned my lesson!

    1. That sounds awful! I'm sorry that happened to you. On a positive note, I have found that we learn to appreciate the best opportunities all the more in light of the ones that don't turn out as we expected :)


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