No one ever told me this, but I quickly learned how important it was to be able to say the word “no” in life. It is empowering, especially when it comes to the world of job interviews and offers. Most of the jobs I take in my field are seasonal, meaning that they only last for a “season,” typically the busiest time of year for the company. But I felt an insane amount of pressure (mainly from myself) to put my big girl pants on. I wanted to find a “real” job, which was full time and included benefits, 401k, the adulting stuff I thought I needed right now.
So, I started applying for jobs left and right. I received a few calls back and got 2 interviews, after which I received job offers from both companies. Each job had its pros and cons, but the main difference was that one job was full time and benefitted, while the other was not. After knowing my goals, guess which job I took?
The job with no benefits working part time. And after beginning to work there, I believe I made the best decision for myself. I do have to put this out there, I am fortunate enough to not have to pay rent while living at my parents house, and I understand that this is not always possible or plausible for people. However in this case, the pay for both jobs was the same. After working with a lot of people older than me who were more than happy to give out nuggets of wisdom, I have compiled a list on why I finally felt it was okay to say “No” to the big girl job I thought I had wanted.
Your gut instinct
We’ll call them job A (part time) and job B (full time). When I walked into my interview in Job A, the manager took one look at my resume and said, “I want to hire you right now.” Pretty good start, I’d say. After discussing a few details, she took me around to meet some of the people that also worked there. Everyone was happy and super friendly and I walked out of that interview feeling really good.
My interview with Job B was slightly different. I had a first interview, which went perfectly normal, and then I had a working interview the next week. Everyone I had worked with was very friendly, however I was basically handed a list right off the bat that accounted for all of the things that had to be done exactly right or else I would be in trouble. I was also told that the first 2 months of training I would have to travel over an hour away to train at a different facility for 10 hour days and if I was one minute late multiple times I would be fired. This seemed harsh since I would be traveling in the dead of winter in New England where snowstorms can be pretty unpredictable. Overall, I left that working interview feeling pretty negative about the whole situation.
But hey, it was full time! It has benefits! Everything I was looking for. I dreaded the thought of starting to work 12 hour days after just leaving a job where I worked 14 hour days for 8 months. It made me feel so anxious. And then I thought of Job A. I could have a life and make the same pay. It sounded heavenly. And guess what? It is.
It impacts your happiness
Sure, getting a paycheck every week is cool, but beyond materialistic things what’s most important for yourself? Your happiness. You’re spending a lot of time at this place every week, shouldn’t it be somewhere where you enjoy it? Something I learned a long time ago, especially working in the animal care field: do not take a job just for the paycheck. You’ll thank yourself in the end.
It can impact your family, friends, and significant other
Don’t forget about your biggest support group. At my internship 4 years ago, my boss literally sat me down, took out a piece of paper and drew one circle, another one around that one, and a bigger circle around that one. 3 circles in all. The small one in the center she drew a little stick figure, in the second one she drew several stick figures, and in the third one she drew a briefcase. She then pointed to the central circle and told me “this is you, take care of yourself first,” moved on to the second circle. “This is your family and close friends, they come next. Your job is third. Always take care of yourself and your family first, especially before your job.”
This has literally stuck with me for years and I have always lived by it. I have been fortunate enough for my jobs to be flexible with me in times that I needed to take off for myself or for my family and I have always picked jobs where upper management understands that. Your friends and family are the most important people in your life, don’t let a job sneak into that second circle.
It doesn’t add to your personal growth
All other aspects aside, you want your job to help you succeed in your career or field. It may be a step up, or even a sidestep on your career path, but what’s important is that you keep going. Learn a new skill, talk to people you wouldn’t have before, and do the best with what you’ve got.
Being in your twenties is frightening and figuring this time period out is a long, drawn out process that I really feel will only continue on into our thirties. It makes it easier to know that no one knows what they’re doing, but always go with your gut, and don’t be afraid to say no!