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!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I read a newspaper article the other day that portrayed an obvious truth yet it left out much analysis as to WHY the story might be real. The story was about healthcare, stating that Michigan employers had quit providing insurance to more individuals than any other state in the country during the past ten years. We led the country for many of those years when it came to unemployment so would it not make sense that many employees lost their employer-provided healthcare benefits? Implied was that more employers in our state are discontinuing employer-paid health plans in response to the Affordable Care Act than in any other – but a little wisdom would validate this reality as being the result of our state leading the country in unemployment for many of these years (resulting in a loss of employer-sponsored health insurance). Further, news that our state has bounced back and is replacing lost benefits with new plans was strangely absent.

Why is today’s news created for us rather than reported to us – sensationalized and editorialized rather than honestly revealed? News is but one example of a trait running rampant within our daily lives. What would happen if we all took time to look past the obvious when we see or hear information – to see what might truly be behind the curtain as we seek what might hide just past the frame our mind creates around the real story that is often hidden beyond the initial picture we visualize?

A lighthouse can be a powerful sight against a stark blue sky. Beauty upon the rocks set against a calm sea in the background – perched upon a solid foundation built to survive the test of time. We could stop at that image if we wished – or fast forward to the purpose served by a lighthouse during a storm. We could enjoy the beauty OR appreciate it for the lifesaving benefit it provides when serving as a beacon leading ships to safety.

A pier can be a support or a gateway. Many would walk upon the surface of a pier and find the stability it provides as a platform above the sea. Shops fill its surface or meals be caught from its edges. A dock is a foundation from which the world can seen – to which ships can be moored allowing visitors to come and go. Much truth can be found if a pier is examined from beneath its surface. Strong supports frame the world beyond a pier – supports that hold it firm against the power of the tides. Taking time to look beneath the surface of a pier can provide a new perspective to life – finding strength beneath the obvious that makes us what we appear to be.

A view from a seaside resort can reveal beautiful trees and the depths of a powerful ocean. It can show us rocky cliffs or sandy beaches – lush gardens or seemingly endless horizons. We can soak in the obvious beauty around us or frame it within our minds to capture it for all times. We can (as I once heard a fellow tourist say) “see as much as we can in an hour then move on” or we can take our time to soak in the beauty of our surroundings and find all that nature might reveal. We can hurry through life as we take pictures in our minds that might remind us where we were or we can take the time to create a masterpiece – painting each moment in time as if it were the beginning of an eternity (which, indeed, it is and should be!).
Life and relationships are much like the snapshots and thought fragments presented here. We can take what comes to us as it appears to be or we can find meaning behind the moments. We can accept what seems apparent or look beneath the surface to find what is being hidden by the obvious picture we see – what might be causing the action or creating the issue rather than focusing on only upon the results. Far too many relationships seem to be cursory affairs viewed like the news rather than a part of an ongoing continuum – brief instances that become history rather than a foundation upon which a future will be built. Let the circumstances of each situation serve as a platform from which to launch new experiences rather than a cliff from which to dive – a beginning rather than an end. Live each day as if it were the last you might be given rather than trying to end each moment in total and ultimate control. Seek not that which you know – strive to understand that which is a mystery. Refuse to accept the narrow frame that many build around their finite and defined reality. Reach for the picture beyond the frame – for the potential beyond the probable as you seek to fulfill the potential within each relationship you share.