DEV Community

Cover image for The power of the word NO in the tech industry
JC Smiley
JC Smiley

Posted on


The power of the word NO in the tech industry

I asked my local tech community how have they use the word “No” and how can someone become stronger from using it. The following is their answers.

Corey McCarty
NO means that there is room for another YES.

In the beginning every developer believes that they must do every single thing that is asked of them, or they will be in trouble or thought less of. In fact, being able to balance your activities so that you have the time to do the things that you have already agreed is a key part of this job. That means telling some people no.

If someone is asking you to join a meeting that you know will be fruitless then express what the requirements are for you to join that meeting. I specifically remember an event that required three different teams' management and lead dev to be on the line before we could get anything done and the one lead refused to waste his time if that didn't happen. This is empowering that lead to not waste an hour on something that wouldn't happen.

This requires that you understand your priorities as management would declare them, and that you understand what you require to get your objectives met. Don't let stupid stuff rob you of productivity if you can help it.

Specifically in personal life, a NO to someone else can be what makes the YES for yourself. Understanding what you owe someone else and what you don't is powerful. Don't let people guilt you into something if they would ignore you if the tables were turned. In order to help others you must be physically and mentally healthy enough to complete that task. You may have to drop some NO's on others in order to make that happen.

As an engineering manager, saying no is the best thing I can do for my team. It’s easy to say yes to every ask, and then the team suffers. Saying no to more allows the team to focus and be productive.

JC Smiley
The word “NO” is super powerful. I have had several conversations with my children on how that word let others know your values and ethics. You have to let your No mean No. I have used it in tech to let others know when I have over committed myself in to many projects and have to respectfully decline. This word makes someone stronger because it allows them to focus on what they said Yes to. More important, being able to verbally tell yourself NO keeps you out of trouble.

Dennis Kennetz
I have to use the words “NO” and “Not right now” pretty frequently. We have a ton of requests that come through our team, and we are currently understaffed by 2 people. I could say “YES” to everything that gets sent my way and be somewhat helpful but tremendously overwhelmed and burnt out. The power of “NO” for me right now is for preserving my sanity and making me a better teammate and employee all around.

Walker Laury
No is extremely freeing. I have a problem of not saying it, and doing a lot of things that I'd prefer not to do. Starting to use it gave me a bit of anxiety. I don't know why, but using it more and more gives me more time to do my stuff and things I would enjoy rather than help someone else's problem. Keeps people from abusing kindness.

What I have learned

The word NO is power. In the work place it can be used to protect your team from being overworked and yourself from being burnt out. You must be able to preserve time to do the important tasks and responsibilities you already said YES to. In the words of Corey McCarty, don't let unnecessary stuff rob you of productivity.

In your personal life, the word NO allows you to say YES to yourself. Even if it brings anxiety, your NO allows others to know your values and ethics. It allows you to focus on your priorities and get in a physical and mental position to say YES later.

Please help others learn by leaving a comment on the power of the word No in the tech industry. Thank You!!!

Code Connector is a non-profit that's organized tech meetups to help people start their journey into tech. You can join our daily conversations by clicking this link: Code Connector slack channel.

Top comments (0)