BLOG: The perpetual “yes”

April 21, 2022

1 minute read

Disclosures: Rubin does not report any relevant financial information.

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“Yes. Of course. Of course. No problem. I got it. Let me help you. How can I help you? What can I do for you? I’ll manage. We can do it. I’ll do it. do. I would love to. Sounds great, thanks!”

My whole life has been about compliance. People like it. Pleasant parents, teachers, supervisors. Residence directors. Medical directors. Admissions Advisors. Compliance Officers. Nursing managers. Supervisors. In order to get to where I am today, I became the eternal professional “yes man”.

By dint of trying to please everyone, I became paralyzed, unable even to be able to say “no”. While this concept was something I worked on in my personal life, I found myself struggling with the ability to successfully give myself permission to impose the same limits in my professional life.

Elizabeth Rubin, MD

Elizabeth Rubin

Speaking with mentors, friends and colleagues, this problem is pervasive and insidious. It’s so easy to get caught up in the academic rigor of “doing more, with less, and quickly.” Accept committee assignments for “credibility,” not pay. Say “yes” while wondering if an honest “no” would have been the answer instead.

Is it because I feel privileged to be where I am? Is this a construct of how I got here? These questions left me struggling with the “post-decision” wheel of regret, fear, vindication, and acquiescence.

Read the full blog post on Women in Medicine Summit.

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Elizabeth Rubin, MD, is an attending physician in emergency medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center with an interest in simulation and quality safety.

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