Would You Break the Rule of Three Nos?
By Jacey Eckhart
My mother taught me to live by the Rule of Three Nos. Once someone has told you “no” three times, that is a firm, firm no. So stop asking.
Three nos to coffee means that person does not wanna date you.
Three nos to your offer to make a meal means your vegetable lasagna has a bad reputation.
Three nos from that program at three different schools means everyone can see you are a talker, not a listener. So move on.
But what about three and a half nos, Ma? Would you still keep trying?
Ordinarily, no. My mom knows I am not a character known for my tenacity or persistence. I can take no for an answer.
But I found a Next Door job I really, really wanted. I thought was a great fit for me—part-time trainer, military participants, chance for real meaning.
Then I got these three nos:
No #1: Applied online with cover letter and heard nothing.
No #2: Found someone in my network who knew someone in their network and asked for an informational interview. Which the potential employer initially said yes to and then cancelled and offered to reschedule during a less busy time of year.
No #3: Called back after the holidays to check on setting up another informational interview. Offered to drive an hour to meet at a Panera near her to make it more convenient. She said yes. Then when I arrived, I found an email that said her assistant called in sick and she could not drive up. She offered to do a phone call instead.
What would you have done? I wanted to cry. The third no almost always makes you want to cry. Instead I drove thru the Chick-fil-A next door because, hey, waffle fries = courage.
Sitting in the parking lot, I knew that, technically, I heard a third NO. The phone call was perfunctory. No one ever hired a speaker or a trainer they never met in person. To get the job I wanted, I needed to get in front of people so that they could see my energy. That’s what makes me a good trainer. I can connect right away in person.
So I sent one more note asking if I could drop by her office to say hello since I already had the sunk cost of the drive.
“Come on over,” she said. “But it is another 26 miles farther down the highway.”
Twenty-six miles? Screw it, I thought. I’m going. What’s 26 miles to a person with a Next Door burning in front of her?
I drove in and we met for coffee and…click…the Next Door opened. We hit it off right away. Because…click...I was right about the nature of the job. It is a good fit for me. And…click…the timing was suddenly right for her. She told me that she recently realized she could use another trainer in my area.
So she set me up with a formal interview. I don’t know if this door will open to me with a job offer, but I’m willing to drive a couple of hours to find out. I’m willing to swallow my pride and ask. I’m willing to gather all my courage from a Chick-fil-A. Because sometimes the third no is the last no you hear before the yes.