Say no, escape manipulation and permanent availability: absence as a status symbol?


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In our society it is considered chic to be constantly available - because it emphasizes your own importance. But what if unattainability suddenly becomes a rare luxury - and thus a status symbol? A paradigm shift!

Say no, escape manipulation and permanent availability: absence as a status symbol?


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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisher, German Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.

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Manipulation by the Chef: The fear of saying "no"

You probably also know the problem: The boss wants you to finish the project today, the important one eMail send it to the customer, sort the file and so on - and you just have the feeling that you cannot say “No” because the boss will get angry, maybe something negative will happen.

Or because you don't want to be a failure who doesn't get something baked. Or don't want to be selfish in front of colleagues. No matter what: In the end it turns out that you just do what the boss wants. Some bosses also take advantage of these fears and try to get employees to say yes through slight manipulations, such as pressure, defending themselves against a guilty conscience, overwhelming themselves or flattery. Of course, a “no” is particularly difficult.

Internet time trap: just don't get bogged down!

But not only the boss, but also the internet can be an unbelievable time-saver: When I think about how much time is spent tinkering around with my website or looking for automation tools. At the same time, modern technology, used efficiently, can also help save work and time.

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I see a big problem in the fragmentation of the various services, which forces us to act on more communication channels than we actually want. Because often these new services do not work properly with one another, are short-lived or lure their users with a free service at the beginning, which then becomes chargeable at some point.

Another problem and just as irrelevant (especially with regard to data protection) is the monopoly by Internet giants like Facebook or Google, who can then dictate their conditions to us. Or is it really the way Amber Case stated in a Ted Talk that we are all cyborgs?


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Simulated phone calls: emphasize your own importance with your mobile phone!

The fact is: worse than a crowded one eMail- For many people, mailbox is one in which yawning emptiness prevails. Because that means, for heaven's sake, that we are completely insignificant and nobody needs us! So maybe you want to feel that you are needed and are afraid of being superfluous? And maybe this even jeopardizes your job and your existence? A horror show!

No wonder that we keep coming across people who loudly emphasize their own importance at the airport or on the train with their cell phones. One in four mobile phone users has even simulated a cell phone conversation in order to stand better in front of others. Because those who are always stressed out want to suggest one thing above all: I am used by bosses, colleagues, acquaintances, friends, family, etc. I am important. I am valued, respected - and loved!

Absence as status symbol

Those who are clever, on the other hand, increase their reputation with occasional phases of inaccessibility. Because when everyone can be reached at any time, it becomes a rare luxury not to have to answer all the time. And whoever allows himself the luxury of communicative absence shows: "Look, I can afford it!"

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Absence as status symbol. An example: If you want to prove your leadership skills as a manager today, 10 weeks goes on vacation - and is simply not available! Apart from the fact that this is beneficial to his own health and performance, he also shows something quite different:

If you answer the phone: away money!

That he understands his job because he has organized the shop so well that it can go without him, while he is not only relaxing, but also developing good ideas for the future. If a manager, who is constantly on call, is no longer available for his actual leadership task and innovative thinking.

As a deterrent, the Harvard business manager even recommends: “Every time a manager calls his office during this period, his year-end bonus should be reduced by 20 percent. Every time an employee had to call the manager, 10 percent of his bonus would be deducted. ”

Whoever does not say “no” is doing bad work

That sounds funny, but it has a serious background, which also affects the quality of your own work. Those who allow themselves to be overwhelmed with too much work at any time not only compromise the quality of their performance, but also decrease in the reputation of their superiors and colleagues. A “no” at the right time and in the right tone is not a sign of laziness, weakness or defiance.

So you should say “No”. Because if you always just say “yes”, you might get bogged down at work and the boss is even more dissatisfied afterwards. And worse: you are also damaging your reputation in the company because you will soon be seen as a yes-man and a duck mouse.

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So just ask yourself realistically: What can really happen if you say “No”? Can you live with the consequences? What are the advantages or disadvantages of saying “yes” or “no”?

If you come to the conclusion that a “no” is not that bad, it depends on how you put your “no”: It is important that you make a very clear announcement - that is something that bosses and colleagues appreciate. And the sound makes the music: don't just blurt out violently and defiantly with the “No”, but bring good arguments that others also understand.

  1. Show understanding for the concerns of bosses and colleagues: A “no” is more acceptable if you appreciate the motivation of the others and at the same time formulate it well: “I can understand very well that you need the information for the interview tomorrow, but I cannot help you today. You should have told me this yesterday. ”
  2. Give a “no” to help others understand it better. But be careful: do not justify yourself, but make clear personal reasons: “With this budget, I cannot successfully carry out the project. ”
  3. Stick to the “No”, but offer your boss an alternative what you can do about it: “But I still have an idea ” or "Today I want to go on time, but I would like to do it tomorrow morning and it will be ready when you come to the office. ” Even small concessions can be helpful.
  4. If you are not sure whether to say “yes” or “no”, do not react too quickly. Allow yourself some time to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the next steps. This allows you to gain more inner clarity and collect arguments: “I'll let you know tomorrow. ”
  5. If the boss keeps coming up to you with small tasks that he could do faster and better himself, offer him help for self-help: “I would like to go through the filing system with you so that you can find the documents in the future even when I'm not there. ” or "I would be happy to explain this computer problem to you, and you will see that you can always quickly solve it yourself. ”

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  1. Pingback: An excerpt from "Naked in the net" in a course for Bavarian Fachoberschule: Permanent accessibility already soon out? | CHARACTER PICTURES

  2. Jessica - Static symbol mobile phone

    I really enjoyed the article. I can only very much support the idea behind it, but I doubt that managers can get involved. Think that many cannot accept the “inaccessibility” and constantly fear for their reputation and prestige ...

    • Simone Janson

      Hello Jessica,
      thanks for the contribution. ME there are different types of managers: the ones who feel quickly unused when they do not always receive any messages. And the others, who are more likely to be overwhelmed by many contacts and are engaged in the defense of contacts. ME a question of status.

  3. Pingback: Interview with me most read on ZEIT ONLINE: "You do not always have to be reachable" | CHARACTER PICTURES

  4. Stephan Lamprecht

    Myth of constant accessibility: absence as a new status symbol? #careers # productivity

  5. Carsten Lange

    Myth of constant accessibility: absence as a new status symbol? Right? :-) - Very interesting!5eBVB

  6. Bernd Leibold

    Myth of constant accessibility: absence as a new #Status symbol?

  7. Annette Mühlberger

    Myth of constant accessibility. When absence becomes a status symbol. RT @SimoneJanson #Working world #Career

  8. Elke King

    am just present RT @SimoneJanson Inaccessibility and absence as a luxury and new status symbol?

  9. Axel Haitzer

    … Right! RT @SimoneJanson: Inaccessibility and absence as a luxury and new status symbol?

  10. Christopher Funk

    Good idea RT @SimoneJanson: Inaccessibility and absence as a luxury and new status symbol?

  11. Simone Janson

    Unattainability and absence as a luxury and a new status symbol?

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