Knowing When to Say No to a Project

As important as it is to ask for more work when you need it, it is also crucial to know when you need to back off and have enough time to make sure the work you currently have to do ends up being excellent. Quality is really important during an internship, and you don’t want to sacrifice that, no matter what kind of projects seem interesting or are offered up to you by your supervisor. You might get yourself into issues if you put too much on your plate, all at once. Here are 3 cases in which you can plan on saying no to a project:

  • You are not currently done with several assignments and would have to sacrifice quality to take on something new.
    • You never want to sacrifice projects you’ve already been put on in order to take something new. Everything that you submit will have your name attached to it and should be excellent. Quantity AND quality are both important, but completing projects at subpar quality in order to take on new tasks is counterproductive and might end up disappointing your supervisor.
  • The project would require odd hours or overtime that you are unable to commit to.
    • If you’re unable to do much overtime or work after your regularly scheduled hours, but a project requires both, you may want to say no to the project. Basically, just know that you will be able to fully commit to a project before you say yes. Always ask for more information, and if it ends up as not the right opportunity for you, remember that it’s okay to say no.
  • There are only several days left of the internship, the project in question would take several weeks.
    • Sometimes, you will be given a task or project that you just humanly cannot complete in the amount of time you have left in your internship. Make sure to ask and confirm whether it’s okay that you can start but not finish the project and voice your concerns over the amount of time you have if that is the case.

Remember to always be polite and courteous when rejecting or finding out more about a project. Do not simply say you don’t have enough time or do not want to, but definitely evaluate your availability, abilities, and other constraints when taking on new work, because if you’re not producing good work, it doesn’t really matter how much work you take on.

By Alina Minkova
Alina Minkova Creative Blog Curator Alina Minkova