The Nerve to Say, “Get Out of My Rice Bowl” (526 words)

To whom was this task assigned? You say it was assigned to me? If so, why are you meddling in a task assigned to me? This is a nice way of saying to a colleague, “get out of my rice bowl.” And you are thinking, “That’s what I should say to Jim or Jane.” However, you remain silent.

If the above scenario rings true for you; might I suggest that you answer this next question? What’s the price for not speaking up? Yes, what’s the personal, professional, and organizational price for not speaking up?

“But,” you say, “I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings.” Gosh, you think it is okay for them to put their nose in your business but it is not okay for you to suggest to them that they keep it out? How’s the logic of this working for you? For me, it’s not.

Conservatively, many organizations suffer from 20% productivity losses due to redundant efforts and organizational sabotage. With the above number, you can easily monetize the cost of another person getting into your rice bowl. Do these offenders deserve to squander that much of your company’s resources? I don’t think so.

What’s the personal price you pay for letting others get into your rice bowl?

  1. Immobilization; getting nothing else done because of your anger.
  2. Resentment; starting to take your frustrations out on others.

These prices are simply too high for any reasonable person. Since you are a reasonable person, what are you going to do?

No, going postal is not the answer. The answer is that you are going to learn how to stand up for yourself and be willing to tell others to get out of your rice bowl. You’ll be so much happier and more productive once you do. You start with admitting that you’ve been weak. People at work call you Matt, and walk all over you. That’s the past, not the future.

  1. Say this to yourself, “I’m done taking dirt from one hole and putting it into another, then another, and another.” Excellent! How did that fell? You say it felt good? It’s going to feel even better when you stand up to Jim or Jane and politely tell them to stay out of your rice bowl. Spinning your wheels is just no fun.
  1. Now say, “We’re done squandering resources around here.” Yes, when people in an organization are unwittingly conducting redundant activity—resources are truly being squandered. Adding insult to injury; too much opportunity has been lost.
  1. Say, “The days of lost productivity are gone.” Rice bowl invaders are saboteurs of all things good in an organization. You want to do better, you want to improve your situation, and you want the madness to stop.

“But,” you say, “Jim or Jane will yell at me if I tell them to get out of my rice bowl.” I guarantee you this, if you do nothing; they will continue to walk all over you. However, if you repeat the three affirmations listed above, several times a day for just one week; your self-talk will change—for the better. It’s now up to you…