By Tim Leeds
You probably can please some of the people most of the time. Maybe you can't please some of the people any time. But it certainly seems you can't please all of the people all of the time.
The manager of a retail store told me one of his superiors said if he didn't have some people unhappy with him and others suing him, he wasn't doing his job right.
If you fire an employee for doing lousy work, that employee will probably sue you for wrongful termination. If you don't, other employees will be upset because you kept the lousy employee.
If a customer wants a special discount in your store, he might be angry if you don't give it to him. If you do give it to him, other customers will be angry if they don't get it. If you do give it to everyone, you'll go out of business.
The same goes in newspaper work. Write about a controversial local issue and pretty soon the phone will start to ring. As soon as you're off the phone with someone saying you've portrayed them unfairly, distorted the facts and taken the other person's view, you might pick up a line with someone from the other side saying the exact same thing about the same article.
I don't know that you should try to always have someone unhappy and others suing you, but if you do your job conscientiously you're probably going to have something like that from time to time.
The Havre Public Schools superintendent and the board of trustees recently voted on a school calendar after they went to a lot of effort to find out what public opinion on the calendar was.
The superintendent recommended the school board vote in the calendar with the most support, and it did. Of course, the other two options also received votes. I haven't heard anyone say they're unhappy with the choice, but I bet there are some out there.
There's been a lot of press about the asbestos situation in Libby and the bill Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., supports. His supporters say he's trying to do the right thing for everyone. His opponents say he's supporting big business at the detriment of the people exposed to asbestos in Libby.
I don't know enough about law and the bill proposed to say who's right. I've heard pretty convincing arguments on both sides. Whichever side is right, I'd like to believe that Sen. Burns is trying to do what he thinks is the right thing.
Whatever your job is, you should try to act with your conscience. Whatever you do, from time to time someone will probably be unhappy with it.
I know some people don't act by their consciences. In this world, some will do things simply for their own benefit although it does hurt someone else, or even with that as their goal.
It's not fair to assume that's what's going on. The school board picked a calendar that would please the most people responding. No one should assume his choice didn't win just to annoy him.
Choices often have to be made with "the big picture" in mind, to use a clich. It might be best for the most people, but seem to be bad to you. Of course, once all the facts are known, maybe it's even best for you.
Don't always assume that. If you're not happy with something, find out the facts, all of the facts, and then decide. You may be right. Maybe somebody is messing with you and your needs. Just don't assume someone's doing you wrong without knowing the facts.
As the Rolling Stones said, "You can't always get what you want."
I'm fond of quoting that lyric to my son. He's not so fond of it, as you might guess. I often make choices that seem unfair to him. Of course, he's only 9 and often doesn't know everything that would happen with his choice. I'd like to think when he's older and knows a little more, he'll agree with me on most of my choices.
The Stones also said "But if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need."