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Saying NO to Sh*t You Don’t Need

Blessings, Boss Witches!

Today I wanted to do a little extension on my post about releasing what no longer serves you. It’s all very well to say to let go of the sh*t in your life that you don’t need, right? Like toxic people – BYEEEE.

A person in red trousers and a black and white striped shirt dances on an empty road with a red scarf.

But what about when opportunities come up and it doesn’t feel quite right, but you’re tempted anyway? This happens a lot to me with work stuff. I’ve always had trouble saying no to work opportunities or exciting projects or anything to do with puppies or fashion or costumes. But there does come a time when we have to assess the ins and outs of opportunities and figure out whether it’s worth our precious time.


A GIF featuring Lena Dunham in “Girls” stating that her circumstances have changed and she can no longer afford to work for free.

In the film industry we joke about this a lot, but it’s not very funny. Basically, in all creative endeavours, people will try to take the p*ss by asking you to work for ‘exposure’. As in, “this is an unpaid position, but great exposure”. As we say, exposure doesn’t pay the rent. The phone company? Does not accept exposure.

There is a fine line between that point at the beginning of your career when you perhaps are new to your field and looking at work experience and internships and that kind of thing. That sort of experience can be great for your CV and for your knowledge. But after you’re qualified, there is only ONE reason to work for free, and that is if you WANT to do the project for the right reasons (it’s a charity project you’re passionate about, you’re saving puppies, you have a blast with your friends making short films, you’re collaborating with a fellow creative on something for fun).

EXAMPLE 2: Spreading yourself too thin

A person sits on a park bench with a laptop, a pile of books, a lamp and a cup of coffee.

THIS is my Achilles heel, everybody. I say yes to everything I’m asked to do because I panic that I’ll never get another opportunity like it, or I don’t want to upset someone by saying no. Well, that used to be me. I am slowly, slowly learning that sometimes you really have to say no to things. Even if the money is good. Even if it sounds fun. Because sometimes, you cannot work 7 days a week, 15 hours a day for months on end and not end up putting yourself to bed being miserable for a week. I imagine. Not a personal experience at all, that one.

EXAMPLE 3: Mate’s Rates

A hand reaches out of the water.

Right, here is where things get tricky. I am often happy to work for ‘mates’ rates’ for certain clients or for friends who need help. But this has GOT to be give and take. For example, do NOT work for a reduced rate for a company who does not pay you on time, or does not respect you at work, or treats you like sh*t. DO work for a reduced rate for a friend/colleague/collaborator whose work and energy you admire, and who you KNOW would do the same for you.

EXAMPLE 4: Party season

A person wearing a cardigan holds a lit sparkler.

Literally like 4 years ago, I loved a party. I loved going out, going for drinks, going for dinner, and being out every night of the week somewhere, even if it was just at a friend’s house for a glass of wine. Well, my friends, my body and taking my mental health seriously put an end to that. I no longer want to go to a party. Almost any party. Exceptions I will make: friends’ weddings, things to do with babies (e.g. baptisms or similar), coven gatherings (if anyone wants to invite me), tasteful dinner/lunch parties with people I love and care about, the ballet/opera, industry events which will be beneficial to me (I will meet interesting/helpful people, I will network, I will further my business), and celebrations for close friends like birthdays and things.

A person swims in a glass of wine.

Things I will not go to: a night out for a hen do / bachelorette party. Ten Christmas parties. A work party I don’t want to attend. A friend’s friend’s friend’s sister’s cousin’s house party. A band I don’t want to see. A night out where the only point is to get f*cked up.

A Conclusion

A lightbulb is burned out.

There are so many reasons for this, but the main one is BURNOUT. And burnout is the whole point of this post. You need to make a decision on every single thing that you take on and ask yourself these questions:

A dog wears a suit.

  1. Do I want to do this?

  2. Why do I want to do this?

  3. Will I feel good for doing this?

  4. Will my career benefit from doing this?

  5. What will doing this do to my bank account?

  6. What will doing this do to my mental health?

  7. What will doing this do to my physical health?

  8. Will there be puppies?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you will have a better idea of whether or not you should do the thing, say yes to the thing, and whether or not the thing is worth your precious f*cking time.

One more thing

A person wearing a hoodie takes a picture of a dog.

Sometimes, and especially in creative work, we commit to things that seem like they are worthwhile and then end up taking over our entire lives. So when you consider committing to a project, I want you to figure out your hourly rate, your materials, your fuel costs, your food costs if you have to go away, and the impact it will have on you emotionally, mentally, physically and financially. Weigh those things up before you say yes. If it looks like a sh*tstorm, SAY NO. Reject that shady, bloodsucking sh*t from your fabulous, abundant and well-balanced life.



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