Gaining the Power to Say "No" at Work

Power Sep 7, 2020

There is pride to be had in service at work. When I started at my job, I rode that emotional high and was eager to please. When my lead waved his hand and said "make it so" I jumped to it. After I struggled my way through the ensuing problems and came back to him with the solution, I was pleased to get my good cookie. Yet very quickly the reality of mundane affairs settled in, and the infatuation faded to be replaced by droll clarity. Meetings and hour-long commutes each way wore on me.

That I let it get that way is a failing of my own boundaries. Within the kink realm, I love the probing dance to find those first "no"s that delineate boundaries. Yet in the business world, that same dance may be more fraught with desperate dishonesty. Employees need a job to survive in the world, even if it's not a job that is good for them. They're prone to accept a job that violates their boundaries, consumes their health, or guzzles their creative juices.

As soon as you give up your ability to walk away, you lose your power. Be it relationships or negotiations, you have no alternative to fall back on. Being so powerless is what prompted me to start exploring ways of regaining my negotiating strength. This search brought me back to Mr. Money Mustache:

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If you're rich enough to retire, you're rich enough to say "Hell No" to employers

MMM is an early retirement extreme blogger that preaches humorously on the FIRE lifestyle (Financially Independent, Retired Early). One of the major draws is that financial independence means that you're no longer yoked to a job purely for day-to-day finances. You're free to navigate your own path.

This is not a trivial undertaking, but instead a grand design. It takes years to accomplish, and comes with countless nuances such as the varying degrees of independence. In the meantime we all must learn to negotiate from a position of weakness. There is still room to say "No" even before you achieve FI, but unless you are ready to trade one job for a new one, your "Hell No!"s should be scarce.

Though I and my dearheart have not yet achieved independence, we recently enacted the "Screw you" plan with his work. Part of his management chain was overworked, understaffed, distrustful of their underlings, and chronically incapable of communicating. A classic recipe for an abusive relationship. Before introducing my dearheart to Mr. Money Mustache, he was an obedient underling used to his loyal service being rewarded with mistreatment. Nowadays he feels secure enough to stand up for what he believes is right--after all, a job is only an opportunity.
And opportunities are like buses, another one will be along in a few minutes.

Photo by Ant Rozetsky / Unsplash



Mistress of the Home, responsible for all matters financial. A loving Domme tempered with ambition and attention to detail.