It can be super satisfying to say "no" to someone, especially when it's at work or towards a boss who forces employees to say "yes" all the time. These stories are the exciting stories of people who quit jobs, blew off co-workers, or got revenge on customers by just saying one little word--"no." The power of a no when someone expects a "yes" is huge--and can change everything. Read about how these people took control of their lives (and their jobs) with the word "no."
She Refused To Take That Lying Down
“I had been working at a restaurant for three or more years during my undergraduate education. During my last year, Mother’s Day fell on the weekend of my final exams and the weekend before I graduated. I told him more than three months in advance that I would need the day because I was going to need to study and write papers.
They told me that it probably wouldn’t be a problem, but of course, it was just a ‘request’ and for time off. About three weeks before Mother’s Day arrives, and of course, they tell me that they’re going to need me to work. I brought in my two weeks notice the next day and told him that I would not be working Mother’s Day or any day after that. It was extraordinarily satisfying to see the look on my manager’s face.”
I Have A Prior Commitment
“I hope I speak for many when I relay the utter satisfaction of refusing to cover a shift for someone who makes your life at work a living nightmare and has, unfortunately, landed themselves into a hungover pickle on a Sunday morning.
Telling that terrible manager or co-worker that I have an important commitment and then rolling over into my sweet, sweet bed, the only true thing I ever want to commit to…man, it doesn’t get better than that.”
A Well Timed Resignation
“I was a junior manager at a popular shoe store. My manager was a giant, evil witch. My then fiance’s father had just committed suicide while my fiance was in tech school and he was in shock and headed home. We are very much each other’s support and I can’t imagine not being there for him in a crisis. She had been there when he called me crying inconsolably the night he found out.
Anyway, when I found out he was coming home, I immediately told her I needed these dates off to be with him. She said I couldn’t because she had some minor thing planned or something else stupid. I just calmly said, ‘Okay. Well, I’ll have my resignation in tomorrow.’ She just stared at me like oh… darn. And of course, I got those days off. I made better sales than she did even though she stole mine all the time. There was no way she could have made it look like a rational decision.”
It Wasn’t The Future He Imagined
“Right out of college, I ended up working for Verizon. It was all commission but I’m from a family of sales-persons so even in a miserable two weeks, I’d average $1,000 a week and on good weeks, I’d hit twice that by Wednesday or Thursday and take Friday off. I hated the job. I felt dirty about doing it and I certainly wasn’t helping anyone. It was a long commute. There were these horrible ‘Team Motivation’ meetings. Everyone was 100% focused on like ‘Team Synergy Energy dollars Earnings for Cash Powers most important Dollar Wins.’
Either way, my boss knew I was good and called me into his office one day. He gave me this speech like ‘You’re a really good salesman, you train new employees well, you’re performing much better than expected, but I can tell your energy just isn’t here with us on the dollars synergy team. I can see you opening your own branch of money dollars earn enterprises. I’m fine with the work you’re doing, but I can see you doing more, Don’t you want that?’ He paused before saying, ‘Don’t you want to see yourself where I am in a few years?’
Which was really a life-changing moment for me. ‘No. I’m sorry Gary, but no, I don’t want that. At all. I’m gonna call this my two weeks notice and go get a job at a hospital or something. I’ll close out my territory and give any of my unresolved leads to someone else but you’re right – I am totally not into this.’
It was a cool moment that kind of threw my early-twenties stuff out into sharp focus, ended up going back to school afterward and I’m now working as an ICU nurse while getting my doctorate.”
Why Would He Stay?
“A couple of years ago, I was working for minimum wage in the IT field, so it was really unacceptable. I only accepted the job because I was on unemployment at the time and needed the experience as I was starting over in a new industry. Besides, that pay rate was supposed to be temporary, just until I proved myself. My boss was aware that I was unhappy with my pay, but didn’t seem to care, even though I was proving myself.
I specifically mentioned it every time he asked me to stay late for no extra pay. His reasoning was that sometimes things just need to get finished, and you have to put in your time as a grunt before moving up in the job.
Six months later, I had had enough and found another job where I was paid a MUCH more acceptable rate. I put in my two weeks notice and the next day, the boss calls me into his office. He asks me if I would stay if he doubled my pay. I acted like I was thinking about it and then I got to say, ‘No, they offered me more than that to start off with, so there’s definitely more room to grow with them. Thanks, but next Friday’s still my last day.’
I don’t think he realized what he was doing, but the offer to immediately double my pay made me even more annoyed that he undervalued me for so long, so I definitely wasn’t going to take his offer..”
Why Quitting Actually Made The Business Better
“My friend was scheduled to fly in from across the country and stay with me for a weekend. I ‘requested off’ three months in advance and when schedule time came around, they put me on the entire weekend and basically told me ‘tough baloney.’ So I decided to wait 20 minutes before my Saturday night bartending shift to call and say, ‘I won’t be coming in tonight. Or ever again,’ and quit. That job sucked so much, it was a perfect way for me to wash my hands of it. My friend and I always joke that I quit my job for her.
Me quitting most likely benefited them. The managers used to schedule eight bartenders a night. We only needed a max of five. We’d all leave there with maybe $85 a night after splitting it a billion ways and having to tip out to the kitchen and waitstaff…and a mysterious ‘office tip out’ that we weren’t allowed to question. This was another reason I wanted to leave. They always put way too many people on at one time and there were always the few bartenders on that wouldn’t do anything and we still had to split equally with them. So the way I see it, they all made a few bucks extra that weekend. I still speak to a few people I worked with at the time who all quit in a similar manner for the same reasons.
I was in college at the time and have since graduated. I now own and run two businesses. The job I was referring to in this post was one of the worst I ever had while in the service industry (nine years throughout college and high school). I credit jobs like that with motivating me to become my own boss and to treat my employees like gold. I took all of my negative experiences as an employee and tried to learn how not to negatively affect my own employees the way I had been messed over.”
She Blamed Her Bad Attitude “Wild Pregnancy Hormones”
“I left a job in management due to being severely under appreciated and overworked. My boss had a way with words to make things my fault and she would throw me under the bus at every turn possible and constantly undermine me. She chalked this up to her wild pregnancy hormones,’ but it was a pattern well before she started her pregnancy. I finally got the nerve to quit and told her she could obviously do the job better alone.
Fast forward to six weeks and she is calling me to offer the job back because she is about to go in maternity leave. She was unable to find anyone to fill my shoes. Meanwhile, half of her staff quit, the other half acted a fool because she has no sense of authority/discipline.
I was more than thrilled to decline.
I think back sometimes and feel kind of bad, leaving a pregnant woman on her own to run a busy business. But then I remember the countless nights I would feel so down on myself because of her, then I get angry and am very thankful I was in a place to quit when I did. Absolutely no regrets.”
They Both Had “Great” Excuses
“I had asked a girl at work if she could work late for me one day so that I could go to the only available psychologist appointment for months. She said no because she had to go and buy dog food after work.
A week later, she asked me could I swap a shift with her so she could go to the movies with her friends. It felt great saying, ‘No, I have to go and buy milk after work.'”
After Decades Of Service…
“I quit a job and I gave four weeks notice after the family-owned company became totally dysfunctional. I gave notice shortly after 21 years there. The breakdown started about three or four years previously.
In the last month, before I was to leave, I worked on a huge project that would push through a major price increase to customers.
Then, just before I was about to leave, they asked me to sign my name to the letter that would put a very substantial price increase through that I knew wasn’t justified by costs.
I called nonsense on my boss and told him to sign it himself if he wanted it. He wussed out, they didn’t get the increase they wanted, and they’ve lost millions in sales since then because they’ve lost focus on product development and customer service.
Fortunately for me, I’ve moved on.”
He Planned His Exit Perfectly
“My ‘no’ moment was when I quit a job. I hated working there and the manager was a prick to me even though I was always on time, never complained, did a great job, etc. What we were at odds about was my style of selling (it was a retail sales job), which was laid back and he wanted me to be more aggressive (even though I led the store in sales every month). He was relentlessly on my butt about this. He also always wanted me to work extra hours and do extra things and not get paid for them.
I went on a 10-day vacation I had scheduled and spent it looking for a new job. About three days in, I found a job so I went to the store to turn in my keys and tell the manager I was quitting. He was annoyed that I wasn’t giving notice. I said, technically, I am giving a week’s notice, I am just going to be on vacation during that notice.
About two weeks later, I went in to pick up my last check. He told me I was the best employee he ever had and asked me to come back to work for him. Telling him no and seeing the look on his face felt so good!”
The Job Was Going Nowhere
“My boss asked me to come back to work. It wasn’t a bad separation or anything, I was okay with everybody, but the job was going nowhere and was becoming annoying for what little benefit it had.
I quit without a definitive plan but it inspired me to further my education and land a job paying 2x for what is frankly half of the work. Having him ask me to come back was nice though. It was a genuine offer and I know it might have been an attempt to retain a schmuck willing to work hard for my pay, but you have to take a compliment when you see one.”
They Planned On Firing Her Anyway
“My last employer basically threw me under the bus with a client. For three months after that, they were laying the groundwork to fire me. I immediately went to find other employment.
The day that I handed in my notice (which was a one week notice), the director of my department snapped at me and in an accusatory tone asked me if I wasn’t going to work two weeks. I calmly looked at her and said in a quiet voice, ‘No.’
She then demanded to know why. In the same exact quiet tone and without breaking eye contact I looked at her and said, ‘If you had fired me, would you have given me two weeks notice?’
She looked as if I had slapped her into next month. I said nothing else and turned around and walked out of her office, quietly shutting the door behind me.”
A Close Call
“I’m a prison guard and I definitely had a good one about a year ago. I was working a housing unit with another officer and it was quite hectic. An inmate called out to the other guard that was working to open a cell door, and the guard was about to push the button to do so without looking and verifying who it was.
As I said, it was busy and he was new. I knew the inmate’s voice without even seeing him and knew that wasn’t his place to be, so I screamed to my coworker, ‘NO STOP!’ The inmate disappeared before I could catch him in the act (I was underneath the tier landing) and I heard a metal clang on the floor. I went up to investigate and there was a wire from a push broom head with a rag torn and tied into a handle, an obvious shank. So I like to think that telling my coworker ‘no’ kept the guy sleeping from only waking up one more time.”
Have A Great Day
“A few years ago, I worked in retail under a really abusive dolt of a boss who was very manipulative and unprofessional. One day I had enough, walked into the store, looked him in the face and said, ‘I quit. ‘
His reaction was gold. He still wanted to control me. He told me without missing a beat that, ‘No, you are not quitting,’ and that he will see me in the morning for my shift.
I got a huge grin on my face, and said, ‘Eric, I hope you have a good rest of your day.’ I’m proud to say I have not seen the prick since.”
Sweet, Sweet Revenge
“I was a manager for Circuit City. On my way to work, I was pulled over by a police officer because my license plate light was out. When the office asked for my driver’s license and asked if I was still living at the address that was listed, I told him that I had just moved. He asked how long ago. I said that it had been a couple of weeks. He wrote me a ticket for my light being out and for not changing my address on my license. What a prick.
Later that same day, I see some dingus arguing with one of my customer service associates about returning a printer that was six months past the return policy. As I approached the counter, I made eye contact with the guy. It was the same cop that wrote me a ticket. He knew immediately how this was going to go down. Could I have returned the printer? Yes. Was I going to? No.”
“This happened several years ago in a meeting at work. The CEO has the entire department in his conference room. He says I should do something concerning our status reports, which I thought was next to impossible to do. I said, ‘No.’
He insisted, ‘Yes.’ I repeated, ‘No.’ Others began saying ‘yes,’ as well, not understanding the difficulty of what he was suggesting. I said, ‘It won’t work. The software we have isn’t capable of doing that. I can try, but I know it won’t work.’
The CEO bent his head down and said quietly, ‘You will do it; make it work.’
I left the meeting. The department head came to me, said I had big, titanium balls to say ‘No’ to the CEO. He asked if it really couldn’t be done. I said it really couldn’t. I don’t think Excel was capable of doing it, and if it can, I have no clue how to do it, at least to where it won’t be a waste of time. I looked it up, and it couldn’t be done without wasting too much time that would be better spent on something more constructive. The CEO never brought it up again. He’s been a lot nicer to me since then.”