is it okay to say “no” at work?

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My mail at Ask a Manager is full of letters from people who want to say no to something their employer is asking of them, but feel that they can’t – that part of having a job is putting up with whatever’s asked of them, or that pushing back would forever taint them in their manager’s eyes.

But, contrary to a lot of convention wisdom, it’s often perfectly fine to say no at work or otherwise push back. I wrote a piece for Slate about why people fear saying no at

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