Monday Motivator: You Will Never Make Everyone Happy

There are about a million reasons I would not want my boss’s job. One is that you have to actually understand statistics. Two, you have to write reports that don’t allow you to wander off into engaging stories. And three, you have to deal with complaints from not just one, but every division on campus.  But the main reason today that I would not want my boss’s job is that the VPAA is the one who gets the blame for the class cancellation decision on snowy days.

Now let me make one thing clear. I am an Alabama girl who rarely ever saw snow growing up. If I had my way, we’d close the college every time there was a snowflake in a 150-mile radius. I don’t like driving on snow; I know I”m not good at it. (And a note to all the other drivers out there: You’re not good at it either. You just think you are, which makes you much more dangerous.) I would vote for the words “winter wonderland” being stricken from the language.

But I am sympathetic with the folks who have to make this decision when the snow comes down and then freezes on the roadways. I have been in Nashville long enough to see schools and colleges make all kinds of decisions on snow days, from shutting down, to opening late, to closing early, to keeping to a normal schedule. And the one thing that all decisions had in common was that there were people who were vocally and adamantly opposed to the call. I remember one winter when Metro closed schools several times only to be ridiculed in the newspapers by community members who said that there was no good reason for the closures and the children would suffer from not being at school. Then came a day they didn’t close and a snowstorm swept in: Children were on buses for hours and parents complained that Metro didn’t care about their children’s safety.

So if there is anything to learn from a snow day experience, perhaps it’s this: Decisions that affect many people should never be lightly made. But you’ll never make a decision that will satisfy everyone. And decisions have to be made. If the decision is a bad one, we can learn from it to make a better one next time. But even a better decision won’t be without detractors.

So this week, if you’ve been putting off a decision because you think it’ll make you unpopular, go ahead and make it. And know it probably will make you unpopular with some. But despite that, it’s really the only way to move  forward.

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