A Problematic "No"

Today, I listened to a friend at work talking about stress. The stress was exerted by the most common villain in the workplace, the manager. The reason is simple. There is an opportunity which fits her profile at a customer site. She went for the discussion with the client and they were impressed. The client is ready to offer her the position. This is where it gets ugly.

The client wants her. Her manager wants her to take up the position. But. Yes, there is a but! But she doesn't want the position. She is a mother of two and will not be able to do justice to both her domestic and work responsibilities as this position demands travel and time. She thinks about it and declines the offer. Now her manager is not ready to let her go. He calls up relentlessly trying to persuade her. He calls every day, vainly trying to convince her. The repeated calls and endless discussions upsets her. She breaks down and cries at her desk. She takes a week off as she can't handle it anymore.

A week off has cooled down things at both sides. The manager has backed out. She feels much better. Now, let us forget about the roles and generalizations. This can happen to all of us. Where did it all go wrong? Are we unable to say an emphatic "no"? Are we unable to accept "no" for an answer? In a professional world, we have to stand up and say "no" when it is not possible. Of course, we also have to say the reasons why we are saying "no". At the same time, when we hear a "no", we also have to ask for the reasons. If we cannot find a solution for the reasons(usually these are issues), then there is no point in progressing further.