Here’s How to Tell Your Boss No

Katie Sweeney

When I was working as a personal assistant to a high profile couple, my boss would call me on a Friday night at 9 pm to discuss things. She also expected me to work on weekends and be reachable by text at all times. At first this was fine, but over time, I felt like she was taking advantage of me. However, it was my own fault because I never told her no! Saying no to your boss is scary because you could potentially lose your job. However, as a recent Forbes story points out, if your boss is making unreasonable requests you have no choice but to set boundaries and tell them no.

Simply and calmly explain that you can not stay late or have plans that you can not change on Saturday. “You’ll feel a twinge in your stomach the first few times you say ‘I can’t talk about this now’ or ‘I can’t work this weekend’ or ‘I’m not available tonight,’” writes Liz Ryan, “but that twinge will get smaller and smaller each time you speak your truth.” Yes, your boss could fire you, but if you’re doing a good job and your work speaks for itself, why would she do that? Ryan says that “after you find your voice, you’ll have no trouble setting boundaries with an unreasonable boss and both of you will be better for it.” In my case, I ended up quitting because I couldn’t take the abuse, but looking back, I wish I had had the courage to say no.

Learn more about this topic by reading Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots.

Do you feel comfortable telling your boss no? Let us know in the comments!

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