ASG Perspectives

Blog > March 2021 > How to Say No to the Golden Ticket 

How to Say No to the Golden Ticket 

Saying “no” professionally is something many of us struggle with. Willingness to take on more than we should has become almost expected, but the ability to say “no” is a skill we all have to learn. When my professional golden ticket came my way, for the first time in my career, I knew I would have to say no.

My Golden Ticket 

I was 38 years old and riding high in my career. I was offered the role of EA to a Senior VP at IBM, and this was the golden ticket. The EA role at that time was a fast path to an executive position, and I could not have asked for more. I really liked the female executive that I would be working for, and there was literally nothing I could say that would make “no” a logical answer. 

Timing Is Everything 

I had made the decision to have a child by myself and to start the process that year. I knew that my biological clock was not going to allow my career to come first this time, and I had a whole other agenda in my plan. I struggled to tell my manager as I sat in front of him in the lobby of a Florida hotel at the end of a grueling event that my team had managed flawlessly. 

Sometimes, your work and private life collide, and this was my moment.  

I explained that my reason for saying no to the opportunity was that I wanted to have a child. In the absence of a life partner and the advice of my fertility doctor, I could not put this process off any longer – even if it meant that I had to pass up on the professional golden opportunity. 

Basic Blue Training Never Covered this Topic 

All I could think of as I talked to him was that manager training at IBM (Basic Blue) would not have prepared him to handle this one. Yet his response was so perfect and positive. He didn’t want to take no for an answer, and I already knew that, but he offered his full support and wanted me to think about it some more. He knew that I was passing up a unique opportunity. 

New Skills Not on My Resume

I acquired a whole new set of skills to get pregnant, and after two rounds of IVF, I got the golden ticket I really wanted – her name was Lola. 

Your career is a journey that you manage, and as women, there are times when we really have to make choices that don’t necessarily fuel our careers, but we would not have it any other way.