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Posts Tagged ‘self-confidence’

NTKOG #30: The kind of girl who knows how to say “no” — even to a reasonable request. Sometimes it’s the little battles, guys.

I am: a world of yes. TKOG, can you pull an all-nighter rewriting my drecky essay even though you have your own deadlines? Can you wait for four hours in a freezing cold taqueria while I get to second-base with a random guy I met at a bar so you can give me a ride home afterwards? Won’t you please change your plane ticket so you can give me a ride home from the airport?!

I am not: going to confirm or deny whether those are true examples. (Sigh.)

The Scene: Copy room, corporate America, a state of severe emotional fragility.

So a little backstory: as you may or may not have gleaned from these pages, I have a fairly magnetic personality. I mean, literally magnetic. In my presence, credit cards are magically de-authorized, VHS tapes erased, computer hard drives spontaneously refragment, and office copy machines contract bulimia. Maybe you see where this is going.

This week I’ve been working on a project for Clerk (to whose moniker I will refrain, out of love for the company, from adding any of the particularly juicy adjectives that spring to mind). Of course, Clerk’s idea of allowing me to assist on an important project is emailing me documents so that I can send them to the printer behind his desk, pick them up, staple them, and hand them to him where he sits, ten feet away.

Funny thing about temping. When you come into an office as the new girl, all of the full-time employees look on you like a new puppy brought in for their amusement. Except for the old office puppy, who looks on you as a chew toy.

Last night, I printed and collated most of the documents he needed, but on the last document, the copier got caught in a paper jam the likes of which I — a professional secretary! — have never seen. I checked out its guts, forced it to belch up a stack of 17 sheets of paper, but still couldn’t fix it. One of the attorneys walked by and, seeing my dismay, lend her $200/hr brilliant legal mind to the problem. After $50 worth of her attentions, we gave it up and called the repairman.

This morning, attempting the same copies on the same (allegedly repaired) copier, again, after three pages, smoke start emerging. And hello again, Mr. Repairman!

Clerk started emailing me testy little missives. “When is repairman getting here? I require these documents URGENTLY!” Um, then why couldn’t you hit print yourself? I emailed to let him know the repairman had left and he was free to print the files his own dang self.

Apparently, though, my subtlety was lost on him, as he demanded again that I print it. Note to self: when saying ‘no’ to someone, it’s important that you actually say the word no.

Doormat that I am, I tried to print the documents again. The copier gnashed out a banshee wail, then some gutteral grinding, then stopped altogether. After a moment I wiped my eyes and stalked to Clerk’s desk.

TKOG: Look, I can’t print this for you. The copier has broken three times in 24 hours and I just. can’t. deal. with. it. Can you please print the documents yourself?
Choose Your Own Adjective Clerk: I suppose I can. It seems you’re doing something wrong.
TKOG: I — [deep breath] — I’m just hitting print. Maybe it hates me. That’s why you should do it yourself.
CYOAC: Fine. But will you have time to collate them when I’m done?
TKOG: Yes.

Damnit. How is it I can write arpeggios through the whole of the English language, but can’t say that one little word?

The Verdict: Even though this particular experience was a bit mixed, it’s a good reminder that I need serious “no!” practice. It did feel like a nice release to take this stupid issue off of my plate. But I’m always loath to say no out of the fear that people will think me lazy or stupid or inconsiderate. And yeah, I think finally saying no to jerkface Clerk definitely did cause him to think I was all of those things. Which is unpleasant.

Mixed result, I guess. I still feel terribly upset over the whole situation. So maybe the takeaway here is to be TKOG who just ignores jackasses.

[Edit: After I finally got out of my morning funk, Clerk came up to my desk and — miracle of all miracles! — thanked me for my work and offered to print the next batch of stuff on his own! All of a sudden I feel so … empowered and respected!]

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