The Employers' Association

The Employers’ Association (TEA) is a not-for-profit employers’ association, formed in 1939, with offices in Grand Rapids serving the West Michigan employer community. We help more than 600 member companies maximize employee productivity and minimize employer liability through human resources and management advice, training, survey data, and consulting services.

TEA is in the business of helping people. This blog is intended to address human issues, concerns and the things that impact people - be they self-perpetuated or externally imposed. Feel free to respond to the thoughts presented here, for without each other, we are nothing!

Thursday, April 29, 2010


We often hear the phrase "draw a line in the sand" in regards to putting one thought or course of action to rest before moving on to another. The drawing of such a line, however, tends to emphasize the end of something old as much (if not more) than the beginning of something new.

In an ideal world of "what if" (rather than our reality of "what is") I'd prefer to think that drawing a line in the sand signals the beginning of something new, different and challenging - being the springboard towards a reality that exists but within your imagination - rather than as the end of something negative. The craftsmen shown in this vacation photograph are clearly drawing lines in the sand to transform a vision that could only be imagined into a reality for the rest of us to experience.

The next time YOU decide to draw a line in the sand, think more about where you are going...about what new reality can be experienced because of the actions you take...than where you've been or what you'd prefer not to repeat. The future is made up of dreams becoming reality, not of actions taken to avoid negative consequences.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Some people teeter on the edge of their world – watching and waiting – as the reality of life passes them by. They join the throng of painted people living pictured lives moving through an empty existence, melding with other tortured spirits playing out a life they feel was given them without option or choice. They act out assigned roles – existing without purpose – immersed in a bleak reality of doing without dreaming.

Others seek reality within a world of possibilities – an existence restrained only by the limitations of their dreams – watching and waiting for what might be but has yet to become. They challenge the reality of the life they've been given rather than being held captive by their daily routines - refusing to blindly accept the burdens others would have them believe are reality. They celebrate the unfathomable while living life on the edge – always ready to plunge headlong towards a not yet determined destination.

For those who find fulfillment within the status quo, travel obediently upon the straight and narrow path to your destination – for the world needs individuals that will “do without questioning.” For those unwilling to be contained by another’s vision - refusing to be satisfied with another’s explanation of “why” when you’d prefer to seek “why not?” – the world is filled with endless possibilities that have yet to be imagined as we set the course for those unwilling to dream.

Monday, April 5, 2010


I recently observed an eagle circling his nest. Seeing the ease with which he captured the power of the wind beneath his wings, soaring effortlessly through the evening sky – made me understand why our forefathers chose the eagle as our national symbol. The eagle demonstrates the strength one can find in solitude – and the power of individuality that can be manifested when one lights out on his or her own, seeking success and independence while remaining above (rather than lost in) the crowd.

Upon my return to the office I saw another rather large bird that hesitates to venture from its flock, rarely (if ever) demonstrating independence or individuality. Even during nesting and visible displays of dominance, the turkey remains a flock bird – travelling through the fields seemingly without purpose or focus. Turkeys seek whatever sustenance becomes available to them – but often fail to see the benefits of individualism or the reward that singular risk may provide.

In life, we can choose to be either an eagle (soaring independently in search of our dreams, hopes and aspirations) or a turkey (travelling among friends to a common destination seeking security and comfort in what we find).

I’m glad that Benjamin Franklin was overruled in his choice of the turkey as our nation’s symbol. We can only hope our leaders demonstrate the independent agility of an eagle (rather than the flock mentality of the “other fowl” we chose to avoid) as they make decisions that define the future course of our country!