Written By Jason Humphrey

This video is so important for software developers I can't even tell how.

Saying no is one of the most important soft skills you can learn in your life in order to advance your career in tech. #tech #techindustry #programming

As soon as the urge for embracing the world starts to develop in you and you feel you need to say yes to job, side projects, teachings, etc., that's when your life starts to fly off the rails.

In today's video, we are going to discuss why you need to start saying NO if you really want to have a successful career in the tech industry.

Transcript Of The Video:

Jason Humphrey: Have you ever said yes one too many times? But specifically in your dev career, have you said yes too many times? I want you to take heed of this story that I'm about to tell you today of a student of mine who went from having nothing, to having it all, to ultimately nothing.

My name is Jason Humphrey. I help bootcamp students get their first high paying job as a professional software developer. And if you want to hear more about me, check out some of the links below, and let's get into the content of this video. Better yet, let's get into the story of this video.

I want to take it back about a year where this student who we're going to call Phil, about a year ago, had nothing to his name. Had been dumped by his girlfriend, had no money whatsoever to speak of, and was in debt from having to leave college two years too early, and didn't even have the degree to show for it.

We're looking at a situation that actually becomes pretty common for a lot of bootcampers, where there's a lot of things going absolutely wrong that it's like they have one lifeline right now they feel as though, and it's a bootcamp.

He joins a bootcamp. Everything's going great. He's going through the content, he's continuing to move through it fast. He does it all in about four months under their required amount of time they ask for which is six. So, he starts hosting different meetups where he can, he starts working part time on different areas in technology that people are willing to let him. He's hosting free code camp events. He started saying yes to everything he can. He meets somebody, low and behold that helps him get a job.

So, he starts then working at a company full time while still trying to do all this stuff he had just picked up from. So, now he has a job, he has this side work picked up, and he keeps looking for more. Because at this point in his life, he still had hardly any money. Yeah, you just got a job, but it's not like they drop a hundred Gs in your lap. So, the $1000 a week you might be getting is now more like an extra $200 a week.

And this is where you can start to cloud your judgment without stepping back and taking the 50,000 foot view of your entire situation. This is the first part in the lesson.

He got the job, he got what he was looking for, but he kept saying yes to everything from this point on, because he didn't take a step back and look at it. Because what was he desperate for? He was desperate for that comfortable living.

Low and behold at the job he's saying yes as well, too. So, what does he start doing at the job? Well, he starts taking on extra tickets. He starts taking on and joining extra groups. He starts staying later. He starts doing what it takes to be successful at the job, but ultimately then he shifts to a point where he goes, okay, well I need to also be learning. I need to go back and finish my degree now. So, I'm going to go to a local university and show up at classes weeknights.

Now, that's not where the story stops. The story keeps going here. As you can tell, Phil is very hungry for success. He's hungry really to satisfy that want to always getting out of that spot in life where he felt that he didn't have a high quality of living. Where's the time for his family? Where's the time for himself? Where is all this other time going? Right? Well, it's going to these four things, and this is where the story starts going down.

He took on too much, said yes too many times to ultimately start crumbling away. So, what happened is he sustained that for I think about six months. And at that six months mark is when he started to realize that holy crap. He had the money coming in. He had finally made enough from work. He had enough to live comfortably. He had got what he wanted, but now he was extremely unhappy, because he didn't have time for himself. He didn't play the long game. He played the short game. Don't ever play the short game, because the short game ultimately might burn you into the ground.

Now at this point he ends up dropping the job, dropping the volunteering, and almost, not dropping work, but he wasn't doing as well at work as he once was, and it was noticeable. So, now he's affecting the main parts of his life that he didn't want to.

But now what he's done, he's actually taken a step back, and looked at how he blocked his time, and he's gone back and had to say no to everything. But it also has burned bridges in this case, because that company he signed up to help out with might not want him back in the future, because he cold turkey cutoff doing anything for them. Also the volunteering opportunities he had. He had started to build a good network that all of a sudden he's non-existent and gone at.

He didn't have to say yes to everything. What he needed to do was take that step back, and look at his time and how he's allocating it to see if he was focusing on what was most effective for him in his life. Because what he came to realize at the end of all this is that he wasn't spending his time towards the goals and things he actually wanted to accomplish, because lo and behold, what he really wanted was a comfortable living. He wanted to feel like he belonged, and one of the ways he felt like that was a degree because he wasn't able to finish it before. So finishing that up was a big thing to him. And then ultimately being really successful at the job.

Some of these other things he picked up were just ways to get to the comfortable living, and it wasn't the best thing for him when he's looking back at it retrospectively. And ultimately he learned to say no out of this.

Out of everything said and done, he learned how to say no, because he started looking back at his time and where it's allocated on an everyday perspective in the sense of I go to sleep eight hours a day, I work eight hours a day. That leaves me eight hours left over. I want three here with the family. I want three there making sure I'm doing schoolwork. That leaves me with two. What do I want to do? Oh, I want me time.

And when you look at your time like that, you can learn to say no better. You can learn to say no to the things that ultimately won't get you to your goals.

Do we say no to this, because it's going to add to our goals or take away from it, because you could have avoided this whole situation of where it's a rocky roller coaster six, seven, 10, 12 months of the year with no time on Phil's hands. With nothing that really, truly made him happy except potentially the feeling that he was moving the needle when ultimately he wasn't moving the correct needle.

If you're interested on some of the things I teach bootcamp students, I have a bootcamp webinar called the Ultimate Bootcamp Success Guide so that you and your bootcamp can be successful through all the things I've learned over the last five years mentoring students in boot camps. And until next time, we'll see y'all later.