someone ought to…   


I often hear from others (and shamefully myself) the phrase “y’know someone ought to ______.”

It is a very common occurrence and easy to say that someone else, some other organization, some government entity or some “power to be” ought to be doing something to make our lives better.

I am sure I will make that mistake again in the not-so-distant future but it hit me a few days ago, after talking to my neighbor about something going on in my neighborhood, that we can’t put our faith in the government and we can put our faith in an organization to make things better. This common human behavior also came up yesterday at another meeting where those I was with shared similar stories. Call it a slippery slope.


I agree I’m very frustrated at the impotence of government at (most) times and the lack of apparent action on behalf of organizations for which we contribute funds. I don’t relieve them of their accountability or culpability for their duties and responsibilities. It is a requirement they act on behalf of their constituency. Nevertheless, I found that the only way to make things happen is do it yourself. If you want to see change, you need enough passion, to generate enough energy to make the change you desire. This is how two women and I started AIA Pittsburgh’s Young Architect Forum back in 1997. I went on to co-chair it until 2003. This many years later it is a thriving committee in the hands of focused young professionals.

Now that I am in a different season in my career, that passion has shifted, but I have yet to put the appropriate time into the issues for which I am most passionate. I am hoping that changes soon. Even if I disagree with the thing for which you want to change, I say by all means pursue it and pursue it passionately.

We don’t have the ability to withdraw from the government’s jurisdiction so we cannot stop paying our taxes as a sign of a lack of support for their efforts. However, with respect to organizations and other functions for which we belong, we can withdraw our financial support or our attendance if, in our opinion, they fail to share the same mission or consensus on purpose. I’ve read much on this lately and I can respect your decisions regardless of whether I agree or disagree. This is not a direct critique towards anyone; it’s just a commentary on the spectators who want others to change things for them.

I currently have many frustrations with more than one organization that affects my life whether it be personal or professional and I am guilty at times of crying the blues or venting or being flat-out critical. I will be required to make a decision in the near future and I must choose how I will continue to participate or stop participating with an area of frustration.

Fortunately in our country, we all have some type of choice. The problem is we have so many choices that we don’t like any of the choices. So we want to swap them out, like trading in your Scrabble tiles. Sometimes the choice is a dilemma and neither option is desirable, perhaps neither option is pleasant. Most of us have choices where the outcome at worst is a minor inconvenience. Sometimes we have to do without, simple.


If you find yourself in a situation where someone is at the table or at the water cooler or whatever and they’re going off with the proverbial “you know someone ought to…”, ask them why don’t they do that very thing? If nothing else their reaction will be amusing.

If you wait for “someone” you will be waiting a long time.

photos are from Br0′s stock photo gallery on (used under the Standard Restrictions)

someone ought to…   

3 thoughts on “someone ought to…   

  1. Reminds of an old song which ends with these lines:

    I used to say, “Why doesn’t somebody do something about this?”
    I cried, “Oh, what about this need?”
    Then a voice said, “You do something about it”
    I said, “Oh woooow you mean me?”…

    from the album Doppleganger by Daniel Amos (1983)

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