by Lisa van de Geyn
You’re doing yourself a disservice if you can’t drop the word “yes” from your vocabulary. Here’s why.
You’re an accountant at a mid-sized firm. A colleague, we’ll call him Ken, walks into your office, cursing under his breath. He sits down and starts rattling off his long list of to-dos for the day – back-to-back off-site meetings with clients, assisting on an audit, a business lunch and a conference call. You commiserate for a few minutes – your day also looks pretty packed – then suggest you two take a load off after work; you’ll buy him a beer at the pub down the street. He nods, stands up and starts toward the door, but before you can avert your eyes back to your growing number of unread emails, he says, “Actually, there’s something I wanted to ask you.” You swivel your chair back toward him. “I’m meeting with a potential client tomorrow and haven’t had time to review the file. I’m obviously too busy to do it today. Will you check it out for me? I’ll owe you one.”
Here’s the dilemma: you’re up to your eyeballs in work, including a new assignment the boss handed you yesterday. If you’re going to get ahead of your responsibilities to avoid working all weekend, you don’t see how you can fit Ken’s new client analysis in the mix. But, Ken is obviously treading water and needs you to throw him a lifeline – maybe he’s having problems at home that are taking his attention away from his work at the office, or maybe an overly needy client is monopolizing his time and he’s gotten behind. Ken is a coworker and a good guy and you don’t want to leave him hanging out to dry, but there’s already too much on your plate.
So what do you do? Agree to help out and put yourself in a pickle, or utter that dreaded two-letter word and risk disappointing a colleague?
From CPA Magazine, January 2016 issue with permission of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, Toronto, Canada. Any changes to the original material are the sole responsibility of EPR Canada Group Inc. and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.