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!

Friday, January 6, 2012


Pogo (an early 1970’s comic strip) proclaimed, “We have met the enemy and he is us!” More than ever it seems the things we do to ourselves have a far greater impact on our lives than anything another might do to us. We live within a world of compromise – holding little as being absolute. We promote the faults and weaknesses of those around us because they allow us to look more favorably upon ourselves. We choose the path of least resistance when making decisions - being “right” or “wrong” becoming a secondary consideration to being “socially accepted.”

We once stood united in defense of country, philosophies and dreams – fighting selflessly to protect these ideals from any external force that might seek to change our way of life. We focused more upon how those “outside” threatened us – bridging the largest internal gaps with a common good – ignoring our differences to stand together. We fought to advance the whole by elevating all of its individual parts. All received their share of the harvest based upon their individual contribution to its existence rather than simply because they shared a need for the fruits of another’s labor.

Today it seems that more people seek to thrive NOT by elevating themselves but rather by bring others down. While some still seek to succeed on their own merit, far too many seek to rise to the top by climbing upon the broken dreams of others as if they were but rungs to a ladder. When did we begin to measure “right and wrong” through comparison and compromise rather than with an absolute yardstick or an unwavering moral compass? When did we begin to justify and validate our actions as acceptable by measuring them against the actions of those doing “worse?” When did it become OK to bend the rules to get what we want – when we want it – without regard to what others might want, need or expect?

What is it about our human nature that allows us to accept excuses rather than solutions – to lay blame rather than accepting responsibility? Rather than searching endlessly for external enemies, perhaps it would prove more profitable to beware “the enemy within the mirror.” The greatest threats to our existence lie not within what others might do to us but rather within what we might do to ourselves. If we choose to live within a world of comparative justification, how can we expect to find anything more than relative success?