When it comes to huge opportunities, I might be in the minority, but I believe that sometimes you can and should say No.
But this is not permission for you to cop out of stepping up to meet your opportunities.
You only have permission to say NO for the right reasons – for example, when you know you can’t do the job right now and what you need to learn or relearn/figure out will take a few months or years. Or if your life is a mess right now and you can't handle the load of a much bigger job, say NO so you can get your act together. For everyone's sake.
How do you say NO?
You say NO nicely, using a great excuse to preserve that first impression so that when you are prepared it is that much more impactful.
In the case of acting, it is not obvious to Casting that my singing needs a tune up – I don’t advertise it, after all. But… I am professional and seasoned enough to realize that I can’t fix a couple years of vocal neglect in 72 hours. And? I don’t want them to see me unprepared and unprofessional, and then decide to not see me for other projects. So I was kind and very sorry to not be able to audition, and above all, I was grateful for the opportunity.
Let’s go back to human nature: it’s not conscious necessarily, and it’s certainly not fair, but when you don’t put your best foot forward, someone will probably notice and it can stick with them, to the point that they won’t consider you again for a long time. There are casting offices where I’ve tanked auditions and then wasn’t invited back for five years or longer. That's life.
Is it right, is it wrong? Does it matter?
Getting a job in a corporate or any other professional setting is almost as tough as getting an acting job, especially nowadays with the hordes of overqualified and underemployed jobseekers running around.
Sometimes you’re not even looking and an opportunity will pop up, making you scramble to get your resume together, write a quick cover letter and find someone to give it all a quick edit. This quick effort may not get across the depth and breadth of what you can do and who you are as a professional but in a pinch… it’ll do.
Lots of people do this.
But… are you basing your next career move on what you can manage in a pinch?
If you’re thinking about moving on to a new position or entirely new career, I can help you. I design and write resumes, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles that are meticulously tailored to you and your career aspirations. My packages include varying levels of coaching depending on how much support you need or want and in our sessions, we work to figure out your next moves, how to access the hidden job markets amidst all the search sites, and more.
And if you’re a closet creative looking to get back in or finally transition into a professional acting or creative career from another career, I can help you with that, too.
Opportunities come and go and come back again. Next time, I'll work on being ready.
What about you? Will you be ready the next time a possible new venture falls into your lap?