The power in saying no

Music playing:  Perfect Day by The Constellations

Not too long ago (maybe a month and a half back), I got called in for an interview in this big, long running corporation. I applied for this job because it was titled as a part-time one. With my flexible working hours, I thought to myself, why not? The first interview was not so good in my opinion. I did not bring writing samples (I was not asked to but ya) and I couldn’t really outright tell the person who contacted me where I found the job opening (I sent out so many resumes last year that the job sites get jumbled in my head). Three employees interviewed me and there were times that they would talk one after the other, making questions overlap, which made answering more difficult. The good thing though is I eventually felt at ease, especially with the one giving me most of the questions which I assumed would be my immediate superior if I get the job which I really felt I wouldn’t. I was surprised when they told me right after that I would be interviewed by the big boss herself, the marketing manager.

I waited for a few minutes outside the office and got called in again to meet the big boss. She greeted me with a perky smile and urged me to sit down. During the course of the interview, I found out that they want to switch the open position from a part-time one to a full time one. It turns out the woman in my previous interview whom I assumed would be my boss is leaving the company that very week and I would end up replacing her, if hired.

I was really enjoying the interview up until that part. The hesitation must have registered on my face because the big boss stopped talking as if waiting for me to say what’s on my mind. I did. I told her I applied for the position because it’s a part-time position.  Reading between the lines, it was me telling her that I am not thinking of quitting my current main job. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, her facial expression shifted from perky to solemn.

She went on to tell me that offhand, the woman leaving likes me and recommends me already for the position. She also told me that most of the people who enter their company end up retiring there (The woman leaving is one of the very few exceptions, I guess?). She said there are so many people dying to get into their company and it’s a rare opportunity. She also said that there are so many benefits for the employees.

I knew what she was trying to do and I was caught off guard. I stuttered when I repeated the words — how I applied for this position because it was advertised as a part-time one but that I would think about it. Oh, her face grew from solemn to almost upset.

She said “It’s a very challenging job. It’s not like the kind of writing you do. Here we mingle with the VIPs, the CEOs, can you handle that? I mean you write for the public and I think it’s a very different audience. This one is really challenging. Did I mention that you will be the head writer for corporate communications?”

I let out a long, deep breath. So, that’s it? If you can’t coax me into accepting, you will turn the tables into making me feel inferior, hoping it could work to your advantage?

It took a lot of self-control not to answer her back to challenge her to write for a “public” audience and a lot of “humble yourself” talk in my head to keep me to shut up about what or who I’ve written for already.

I walked out of that office being confident with something I usually do not feel confident with — saying no.

I took my time in walking to the train station that afternoon because unbelievably, I felt at peace. I messaged some of my closest friends about what transpired, highlighting the fact that before that interview I felt no company would take me ever again if I lost my current main job. I also told them I am not going to take the offer of this big corporation.

Without saying it outright, I knew some of them raised their eyebrows. A flat out no? What if it pays really, really good? Not even considering a future in that industry that is looking good?

Probably a year ago or so, those questions would have shaken me. (And I know those friends of mine are just out for my best, not to hurt me or anything so that’s also a factor). But now, after everything I have gone through for the past year, I know that those questions are exactly the kind of questions that trap us into joining the trend of compromising and/or settling.

What if it pays really, really good? To be honest, that was the only thing I considered when I thought of saying yes. But I know in my heart that taking something just because it will benefit me is like dating someone just because it will make me feel good – it is selfish and therefore it is not a solid foundation and will eventually crumble in trying times and when that happens, I will be back at square one.

I already pictured myself wearing the gray-colored suits that most of the people in the office wore, staring at my computer, writing something I’ve written for the hundredth time and wondering what on earth I’m doing there making the person on the top floor who’s rich, even richer.

Considering something because it looks good? That’s what gets most of us stuck. That’s what got me into staying with things and people that only ended up damaging me. The situation could be better in time, he might become better in time he’s apologized anyway, things will change someday and I won’t regret this, etc. etc.

Oswald Chambers, one of my most favorite authors, in one of my most favorite books of all time said,

“The greatest enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but good choices which are not quite good enough. The good is always the enemy of the best. As soon as you begin to live the life of faith in God, fascinating and physically gratifying possibilities will open up before you. These things are yours by right, but if you are living the life of faith you will exercise your right to waive your rights, and let God make your choice for you.”

I look back on my life and I see that most of my regrets or mistakes do not come from the times I waited patiently for something I really wanted and believed is for me, but from the many times that I rushed to grab what was readily available.

On the practical side, I really do love what I do right now in my current main job which pays surprisingly good and I get to have time to do the things I like doing on the side. More importantly though, I know that God did not allow me to go through the deserts in my life for no reason. I see His hand in all the miracles I received and I trust that I would not have witnessed all of them had I pursued the next thing that came my way.

That is why I said no.

Because although sometimes extremely difficult, I believe that God has the best plans for His children. And oftentimes, as with most if not all the things that are worthwhile in life, it requires sacrifice. I am finding that that sacrifice is saying no to the good. Giving up the good makes room for the best to come in. Giving up the good is my way of saying, the best is yet to come.

So I encourage you not to fear. It may seem agonizing but I tell you that you will not regret waiting for the best choice because you have to remember… we were not made to settle.



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