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, July 22, 2010


Time is seemingly in abundance when we have nothing to do – yet it flies as if on the wings of eagles when we would prefer it to stand still. Some tend to worry more about when they will finish the race than they do about the pleasure found along the way or the satisfaction of simply crossing the finish line. Many worry needlessly about things outside of their control rather than acting upon things over which they do have influence. Others feel they never have the time to appreciate the things around them so they dare not “stop to smell the roses.” Those individuals will often find themselves slaves to the very clock they so desperately sought to master.

Far too many people complain about their lemons rather than celebrating the opportunity to make lemonade. Instead of embracing their own individual gifts and abilities, they dwell upon the fact that others possess the things or attributes that they would prefer to exhibit. Rather than finding satisfaction in all they have accomplished, they see only what has not been finished due to a lack of time.

Whenever I become lost in time, chasing maddeningly after the tip of second hand as it races around the clock face, I remind myself that life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the number of moments that take our breath away.

Spend some time during the waning moments of summer to immerse yourself in the beauty around us – seeking solace in the cry of a gull or finding joy in the laughter of a child – then take your life back from the clock as it ticks relentlessly on. Then you, too, may find that time is but a measurement rather than the measure upon which we must base our lives.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Imagination is the ability to challenge the world of “what is” by relentlessly asking “why not?”

I was splitting wood for our furnace several years ago. A neighborhood child joined me and began asking questions with every swing of my splitting maul. “Could you hear that if nobody was here to listen?” “Why can’t you burn the wood without splitting it?” The one that struck home was “Why didn’t you start at that log?” as I finished the job. To a child, starting at the end made a lot of sense. He saw my work as having been completed with the splitting of that particular log – and had I started there the job would have been finished almost before it began.

A person can show great proficiency without ever exhibiting imagination. Conversely, an individual will never demonstrate imagination by simply accomplishing the work assigned without asking “why not…?” Accepting a standard response to a “why” question often satisfies those willing to do nothing more than the minimum. An understanding of what must be done as well as a verbalization of what might yet be accomplished is demonstrated when one researches enough – or is interested enough – to ask “why not?”

Given the choice between a “doer” and a “dreamer,” I would prefer to live within my imagination than within my reality. A realist accepts only what can be defined and demonstrated – content to accomplish the dreams and desires of others. I would prefer to live amongst those who imagine what has not yet been proven – has not yet been established – for they will accept nothing less than the great things they are destined to accomplish in this world.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Many people live within the memories of their past, dwelling in thoughts of the safe places that bring them happiness and security rather than seeking new beginnings - living comfortably within a sheltered world of accomplishments. When life is contained within established thoughts and dreams of “what is” and re-enactments of “what has been,” can one ever realize his or her full potential?

Some dream of what could be, casting off the limitations of “what is” or “what was” in defference to the promise and possibility of what has yet to be - of how things might be different than they have shown themselves to be - establishing that nothing is impossible. Can one live within a world defined by everyday reality when continually seeking one of unlimited potential and possibility?

We need but our eyes to see but casting a vision requires our imagination. We need but our ears to hear yet understanding the cause and purpose of a sound requires our mind.

While our memories are necessary to remind us of what we have accomplished –of the things we can do, our dreams provide an indication of what has yet to be – leading us to places not yet realized. As we bring today’s dreams to fruition, they become yesterday’s memories.

If one ceases to dream, can he or she continue to grow – or to even exist?

Friday, July 2, 2010


The Fourth of July…Independence Day…is once again upon us. We should pause to consider the leap of faith that others made to establish this country AND the sacrifice that our fellow Americans continue to make to preserve the freedoms we all enjoy.

Founded on the belief that an individual has the fundamental right of freedom, our country (and the concept of Democracy) has changed much over time. We have seen the rise (and fall) of many governments during our nation’s relatively short lifetime, yet our flag – and all it stands for – still waves proudly above us.

Many complain about our Government, its policies, and its practices – yet we are the only nation in the world to allow such open and honest dissent, objection and discussion. Rally behind the flag and all it stands for!

We recognize the poverty, oppression and lack of freedom that others experience and seek to offer equality to those held captive by an unequal world. Rally behind the flag and all it stands for!

We offer the lives of our sons, daughters, families and friends to preserve our way of life – a burden they readily assume as but a small price for maintaining the freedoms we enjoy. Rally behind the flag and all it stands for!

This year, let us put aside partisan politics, self-serving opinions, and criticism of individual leaders doing their jobs to the best of their abilities. Let us celebrate the greatness that our country has achieved rather than pointing out the flaws, faults and inadequacies of others. Let us foster and encourage our continued growth and prosperity rather than waiting for the world to catch up.

This Fourth of July, let us honor the memories of those that came before us whose sacrifice provides us the opportunity to bring our dreams to fruition and the possibility to build a future for those that will follow.