Guest Post: Saying Yes

By Psykadamnit

Xykademiqz wrote a very important post on how vital it is to learn to say “no” to service requests.  I want to temper that with some notes on when you really ought to say “yes”.

You should say “yes” if you’re the person who stood up in department meeting and said “The department really ought to…”  If you follow that with “…but not me, obviously this should be done by [committee that you aren’t on]” then you are part of the problem.  So say “yes” to your own proposals.  And not just the fun part, where you come up with the reading list for the new class or the design for the cool new experiment.  Say “yes” to the administrivia, the part where you write long reports explaining (in proper Eduspeak) that requiring a course on statistical analysis of experimental data will help promote “Programmatic Outcome 2b: Quantitative Reasoning Skills””, and the part where you explain that you will assess these reasoning skills using gobbledygook that sounds an awful lot like grading assignments but is totally different from grading because it’s being done in Educrat Newspeak.  Or the part where you sit down with the department technical staff and figure out how to demonstrate to the campus safety officials that the Automatic Safety Shutdown on that shiny new piece of lab equipment will turn the device off when needed, and you do so without turning on the device so that the Automatic Safety Shutdown can turn it off (because turning it on before you’ve demonstrated that you can turn it off would run afoul of safety regulations).  If you refuse to do that, after being the one who spoke up in department meeting and said “We should buy this new equipment and use it in our lab class!” then you are part of the problem.

Oh, and if somebody who volunteered for a bunch of university service finds a way to deliver 95% of what the department wanted, including 95% of what YOU said you wanted during a department meeting, don’t gripe about the remaining 5%.  Unless you’re willing to join those university-level committees and spend a year fighting for it.


  1. Yup!

    You should also say yes if you’re being asked a reasonable request by someone who will be on your RPT committee. Saying no all the time…no good.

  2. Agreed…except that I still say you shouldn’t say yes unless you actually want to do the activity, and it fits with your long term career plans.
    Sometimes however this could be because you can’t risk having anyone else do it because they would screw it up, thus making your future life miserable!

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