Home » Higher Education » Learning to Say No: Boundaries

Learning to Say No: Boundaries

I am still learning how to say no at work and in my personal life. I am an energetic person and I like to do things and have a sense of giving back—be involved in the communities that I belong to. This includes on campus, off campus, both kids, and other communities that I engage with in my daily life. The only problem—there are only 24 hours in the day and I am not cloned, yet!

I am venturing into year three of working with my door completely shut at work. It took me a good six months or so to feel completely comfortable with that. I really thought that my previous open door policy was sound and important. Then, I came to realize that I had to get work done and that as an Undergrad Advisor I had students at my door all the time. The best advice was from a colleague who suggested that I shut my door. Now, I no longer have any issues with the door shut and establishing boundaries when I am available and not for office houring.

The virtual advising, though, is something that I’ve had to come to grips with, as students will email at all hours of the day and advising questions are important and in some instances time intensive. This Summer, like most, I was in California for a month and was not available for advising. I had the usual auto-email explaining my absence. I made a special point of acknowledging emails and directing most students to the department for the advisor of the week. And, this year I didn’t feel guilty about it.
This is an ongoing process for me, though. I find that I’m getting better at saying no and directing the student or other request to a more mutually convenient time. I have to say that most reactions are fine. No one is put out that I cannot make a coffee date for two weeks or that they have to wait a week for my office hours.

As a fan of sci-fi and fantasy I will admit that the cloning in #BSG intrigues me. I would have a clone to do certain work, but I would save the real me for enjoying life!

2 thoughts on “Learning to Say No: Boundaries

  1. I also found a closed door helped cut down on unnecessary interruptions from other faculty. I generally like speaking with my colleagues, and learned an incredible amount from them, but when you gotta get marking done, you gotta get it done!

    Also, clones? Very bad idea. They always get god-complexes, or take over your life, or some other weirdness. Best not to go there. 🙂

    • Yes, the best advice I got during my first month of the tenure-track job: close your door. It took almost a year to not feel guilty, but I was able to get stuff done. Now, it’s very natural. My door is open = I am available. When it’s closed, please email me! And, had to laugh about the clone. I know that my clone would try to take me over. She would just be like that…

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