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How difficult is it to say no?

by in Practice Life, Stress

Yes No ButtonI have always been the kind of person any boss would be pleased to employ – hard-working, uncomplaining and loyal.  I could always be relied on to accept those last-minute, ‘urgent’ jobs when everyone else had skedaddled off home even though they often took me extra hours or even days to complete and many times for little or no reward or appreciation.

Trying – and failing – to beat the clock!

So why, when I was given a job with a completely arbitrary deadline – set by somebody else with no real knowledge of what the job entails – can’t I ever say NO?  Even though one doctor told me that I was making stress for myself (easy for him to say!) I would still plough on chasing someone else’s deadline because the job interested me and I enjoyed a challenge.  I don’t like people pressuring me but I don’t like saying NO either.

I don’t want to be awkward – But….

I am armed with a long list of ready-made excuses for why I could say NO if I wanted to; I haven’t the time, I’m not paid enough to do that, it’s definitely not in my job description, and so on.  I could be really awkward about it if I wanted.  I could even use the excuse that it would cost the Practice £125 – that should make them think!  But the fact is that whatever I say I’m going to end up doing the job anyway and they are quite happy to let me muddle on with it, just as long as I can slot it in somewhere.

Coping strategies?

There are a number of ways you can cope with the workload and stem the tide which threatens to become a tsunami.  You could close your door, stick a ‘Gone Fishing’ note on the door and unplug the telephone.  Stop taking work home and start taking your lunch breaks; go home on time before the family forget who you are!  But remember in all this that your employer needs to be kept in the loop (whether they want to be or not) so it’s not a good idea to overburden your desk without spelling out the consequences for them.  So here’s what you need to do:


The work will be there tomorrow.  You can keep the work flowing whilst creating a good impression (and keep the doctor sweet) by allowing others to get things done for and with you.

Written by: Robert Campbell – retired!?

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Robert Campbell

Robert Campbell

Former GP Practice Manager with over 25 years experience working in Upton, near Pontefract, Seacroft in Leeds, Tingley in Wakefield, Heckmondwike and more recently Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire. www.gpsurgerymanager.co.uk

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