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, January 31, 2013


Some people go through life without making waves. They follow the crowd and minimize the attention that making independent decisions or entering uncharted waters might bring. They take highly travelled routes to well known destinations, thereby avoiding unknown, unproven or untested territories. The compliant live a safe existence taking few risks while receiving occasional rewards. Seen by many as successful, these individuals act in a predictable manner to achieve accomplishments already reached and perfected by others. They are keepers of the status quo – willing to do whatever is required to maintain an existence offering much comfort with little risk. They establish a satisfactory and acceptable level of success while virtually eliminating the potential of failure. They rarely lose big within their sheltered existence – yet one might question how much can be gained if very little is risked. The world needs people willing and content to “do what is right and acceptable” as they fill defined roles and accomplish assigned tasks – but more than compliance is needed if we are to experience all that life might offer or fulfill the potential we all could realize.

I would prefer to associate with people willing to take risks – however calculated or intentional they may be – in order to accomplish new things and define new horizons. People who look at a sunrise as the beginning of an unknown adventure rather than the end of night’s darkness are visionary leaders. People who see what could be rather than live within what is – or what has been – have unlimited potential. I seek those willing to say “no” to what is acceptable and understood as they travel paths not yet paved while seeking destinations not yet finalized. I prefer to associate with individuals who recognize the crowd as a reality but refuse to be a part of it (UNLESS they choose to lead it to a new horizon). They see the sky as a possibility rather than as a limit. Theirs is a world of “what if” rather than “what is.” To these achievers, each new destination is but a resting place – a brief respite within a lifelong journey rather than a landing zone used to establish a permanent settlement. New beginnings are common to those seeking closure to what has been while seeking what might yet be. They are foreign to those finding comfort in what is – seeking shelter from the unknown within the well defined.

Life is a choice between two paths – one leading towards the sky, the other leading towards the valley. We can take the road most travelled and find comfort within the valley – find a proven lifestyle providing rich and predictable rewards – OR we can seek the rarified atmosphere of the mountaintops – find a new horizon in whichever direction we wish to look. We all choose which path we wish to travel – neither path being totally “right” or completely “wrong.” We live with our choices – hold fast to the possibilities (or the probabilities) that our actions dictate. Whether you are a seeker or a planter – a dreamer or a doer – if you invest all of yourself into your intentional actions you will receive back all that your choice allows – limited only by your own acceptance of (or refusal to accept) reality.