The No No Rule

In two weeks I am on a career panel for a group of high school kids interested in technology careers. They sent a list of discussion questions they were going to use to get the conversation started and one of them was:

What does it take to be successful in information technology?

The answer to this question I always give is:

If you want to be successful in information technology and life in general you need to implement the no no rule.

The no no rule is extremely simple:  When asked a question your first response should never be no. 

The two none yes responses I use are:

1) Ask for more information or clarification.
2) Ask for time to research a solution.
In a lot of cases (especially in security) after you ask for clarification or time to research the answer may still be no but you will have given the question some real thought and understanding and the person making the request wont feel like you are ignoring them.  A lot of information technology professionals get a bad reputation because they say no to often.

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