Here’s the flip side of yesterday’s discussion about saying lovely things that people want to hear.
That Guy In The Hat revealed the following bit of information about his role at work:
I am “The Department of No.” I’m the guy that has said to co-workers, “Reality is over here waving ‘hello’ to you. Come join us for a while and then you can go back to where you live.” I’m not a terribly popular person.
Just as it is exceedingly pleasant to deliver the good news that parking is FREE, it can be demoralizing to be forced to play the Messenger of No. I avoid doing it whenever possible, and I know I’m not alone. At the Fringe Festival, venue managers have to stand firm as they enforce the festival’s No Late Seating rule. Rumor has it that harsh words have been exchanged and tears have been shed over this simple regulation.
And yet sometimes “No” is a very useful thing to hear because it can focus your attention. When I was a high school freshman, I wrote a homecoming skit to represent our class at a pep rally competition, but after watching one rehearsal the faculty advisor refused to let us perform it. There was something about the tone and approach that was so wrong he said he would rather that we offer no skit at all than present the one we had prepared. It would hardly matter, he noted, since the juniors or seniors were bound to take first prize anyway. As writer/director, that ticked me off. I had one night to re-write and one morning to rehearse the cast and get approval before we performed our bit for the whole school.
We won, of course.
I doubt that would have happened without a necessary kick in the pants from the Department of No.
When has the word “no” been a blessing in disguise?