Category Archives: Uncategorized

Just Say No

Having just posted on the value of proactive service (Don’t Wait to Be Asked), I now feel free to provide advice on declining to serve. Sometimes “no” is the right answer.

I used to think that I had to provide an explanation or excuse for saying “no”. Then I had an epiphany, and realized that this isn’t necessary. A simple “I’m sorry, no, I can’t do this” is sufficient. I’ve never had someone cross examine me on why I can’t.

Really a simple yes or no is all that the person who asked cares about. They don’t want to hear about how many papers to review you have stacked on your desk; they just want to know if you can do their review.

This realization makes saying “no” so much easier. Perhaps too easy. 🙂

Don’t Wait to Be Asked

Providing a resource can be “good and good for you”. In addition to the good it does for others, it can boost your visibility and advance your career. Most people are pretty good about taking advantage of service opportunities when they are asked to serve. But you don’t have to wait, you can make your own opportunities. You can:

  • Think about a resource that you’d like to have yourself that isn’t available.
  • Notice resource that other (research) communities have that yours doesn’t.
  • Look for applications of new technology, or of your specific technical expertise.

For example, you could start a blog! 🙂