Tell us about the time you threw down the gauntlet and drew the proverbial line in the sand by giving someone an ultimatum. If you’ve never handed out an ultimatum but secretly wanted to, describe the scene and what you would say to put an end (one way or another) to an untenable situation.
I’d been investigating a political corruption scandal. An exhausting job. I had to endure a lot of pressures and spend endless hours looking for information and evidences. But my bosses at the newsroom didn’t allow me to devote myself full-time to that, and kept asking me to do reports about other topics on top of it. I was really tired. One day when all the political scandal was public, two of the politicians involved already in jail, and I was still investigating about other possible culprits, my boss asked me to do for the next day a report and an interview not related with the matter. I told him clearly: “I can’t do all at the same time. I’m exhausted. If I do all that you’re asking to me I don’t know If I’ll resist any more.” He thought I was exaggerating and refused to negotiate. I obeyed. I didn’t want to lose my job.
But the facts proved that I was right. And that it was too late. I collapsed that day. I finished writing and I couldn’t move a muscle any more. I was unable to speak, to think, to decide the next step to take. I was dizzy, short of breath, crying, paralysed. Next day I was in a hospital diagnosed with a deep depression. I should have said “no” long time before that awful day, but I didn’t realise how serious my situation was. I was too focused in my work, in my investigation, in publishing my exclusive news. And everybody kept telling me I was exaggerating, that everybody get tired in a job like mine. I was a little tired, that was all. Now I know that when I get aware of my extremely tiredness I waited too much to speak clearly with my boss. It was a terrible mistake. I did draw a line in the sand. But it was useless. And it was too late.