I used to work a job where it seemed my boss hardly ever showed up. There was always a “legitimate” reason of course. Illness, family emergencies, testicles caught in the leafblower, whatever. No matter how tired or overworked I was, whenever he asked me to cover a shift, I always said yes, despite my heart crying out, “Fuck no! Stop putting this on me. I never really wanted to work a day in my life to begin with, asshole, so leave me the fuck alone!”
I’ve never been very good at saying no to people, but I never really clued in how damaging it’s been to my psyche over the years.
I started a new job recently based on a simple agreement — I only work 3 days a week. Those days are on the weekend, the busiest times, and I put in 10-12 hours a shift while there. I’m still basically a full-time slave, from an hourly perspective, but I have the freedom of 4 days off a week to pursue my truer passions.
4 days off also allows me to adequately decompress from slavery. Each Friday I go back to work, I almost feel like it’s a new job, so I do my work eagerly and enthusiastically. Ultimately it’s a win-win situation for all — if there is such a way to describe engaging in menial work for stupid fucking paper dollars.
When I was asked last week to cover a Monday shift, supposedly for only 5 hours, I agreed. My bosses are hard-working people, and they wanted a day to spend at the beach with visiting family. I was happy to help.
The only problem was I didn’t bother taking a look at the schedule. Once I realized the incompetent jackasses coming in at 5 o’clock couldn’t adequately handle the dinner rush, I had no choice but to stay. A few hours of “being a nice guy,” turned into a 10-hour shift of “get me the fuck out of this building forever.”
So now it’s Thursday, and instead of feeling like I made any headway accomplishing other goals, I’m dreading the weekend. My mindset is anxious and stressed, as I feel the need to rush every single thing I want to get done today.
3 days a week off doesn’t fucking cut it for me anymore.
Before you call me I’m a whiner, and go on a rant about how you haven’t had a day off in two weeks, let me share this with you first…
I know what it’s like to put in 80-hour work weeks. I know what it’s like to sleep 5 hours a night for years on end because “shit needs to get done.” I know how to do all of it with a big smile on my face, and not a single complaint about fatigue or exhaustion. I’ve never suggested anyone “feel sorry for me” because I’ve been on my feet for 16-hours without a break.
The point of this post has nothing to do with shitty jobs or stupid responsibility.
It has to do with the power of saying “NO,” perhaps one of the most important words that gets underutilized on this planet.
We all want to be helpful. We all want to make others happy. And we all know what it’s like to be let down by someone we thought we could rely on.
But the truth of the matter is, if your heart isn’t in agreement with your mouth, the only creature who’s going to feel tormented is you.
If you wanna agree to stupid shit, then go all in. Put whatever resentments you have aside, and fucking do it. If you’re body and mind are pissed at you for being a spineless twat who gets walked all over time and time again, all you’ll end up doing is slowly destroying yourself from the inside out.
It’s easy to feel like you’ve let someone down by saying no. It’s easy to feel guilty or ashamed when putting your personal agenda first. But when you agree to something at the cost of your own sanity, on some level everyone ends up a loser, whether it’s you feeling like a victim, or the bitter, angry work you do to fulfill your verbal contract.
If I had been told a 10-hour shift was in order that day, this writing would probably not exist. I would have done it with a big smile on my face, and be done with it. It’s the feeling of being duped into something unwanted that has ultimately cheesed me off over the course of the week.
My personality has been conditioned over the years to say yes to everyone — anytime, anywhere, whatever they need. It took a lifetime to realize that always trying to be a “dependable” guy has filled my soul with a lot of ragey bitterness.
I truly do want to be of service to others in need, but I also realize that I don’t respect people who can’t follow through with the commitments they’ve made, always pawning shit on suckers like me. I guess I’m still a judgmental asshole, quel surpise.
We all need a hand from time to time, and there’s no shame in asking for help. But only do it when no other option seems possible. Helping is much more fun when you can do it for someone truly in need — when you can go all in to make their situation better, with nary a thought of being deprived of personal time.
For the rest of us doormats, try practicing this word from time to time, and maybe you’ll find a little more contentment within your soul, bullshit guilt be damned…
P.S. There are a few other variations to consider:
Suck my balls!
Not bloody likely, asshole!
Munch my ass.
No thanks, dickwad.
Sorry, I’m busy bangin’ your mom that day.
I don’t know about you, but I feel more liberated already…