SINGAPORE: An employee asked on social media if turning down menial tasks from his boss would be wrong.

“Is it bad to say no? Maybe he is giving opportunities for me to learn? But I know this project is saikang, and [I want to] ask him to give it to someone else so that I can work on [my] other projects,” the employee wrote on r/SingaporeRaw on Tuesday (Jan 6).

In the comments section, many Singaporean Redditors discouraged him from saying “no” to his boss.

One Redditor commented, “Did NS teach you nothing? Always say Yes, then keng your way through. Key is to choose your priorities, and just wayang, wayang for the saikang work. High profile projects will get a lot of scrutiny. Saikang projects will not. So the worst that can happen is nothing.

I cannot remember the number of times I get no recognition despite superhuman efforts on high profile projects, but get commendations and awards for minimal efforts on saikang projects.

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When it comes time for promotions and bonuses, you think people remember the high profile-ness or the commendations and awards?”

Another Redditor pointed out that refusing to take on the work will probably affect his appraisal. For example, his boss could say: “He/She can give lots of reasons, like not cooperating, not being a team player, not being willing to go the extra mile, etc.

Not sure how much you are overloaded with work. If that is the case, make it known to him nicely. Say something like, I don’t mind the extra workload but please give me more time to do it as I am currently busy with other outstanding projects.”

One Redditor also stated that it was very simple to know the answer to his dilemma. He said if he “needs the job” and “future promotions,” he would need to say yes.

So, when is it okay to turn down your boss?

You have way too much on your plate. If accepting the new project means putting your other work on hold, you can politely decline it. Just make sure to clarify why.

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Additionally, accepting too many assignments and participating in too many projects makes you “overworked” and may result in “burnout” and decreased productivity. The ability to say no is essential to your success and your company’s success.

You lack the necessary skills. If you lack the skills required to complete a project, you have no choice but to decline it. Ask your boss if you can get the training you need quickly so that you can work on similar projects in the future. It’s possible that they will agree and pay for your training.

How do you say no?

If you refuse to accept a project because you are overburdened with other work, be prepared to present a progress report on your other tasks or projects and the amount of time required to complete those tasks.

However, if you lack the necessary skills, be open and honest with your boss and avoid making excuses. Acting as though you are capable of something when you are not would be worse. Furthermore, it could put the project at risk and set you up for failure.

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Explain your reasons for declining a project in detail, and do not postpone it until later.

Informing your boss as soon as possible will give him time to find another person to take on the project.