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, August 15, 2013


Birthdays tend to bring with them a certain nostalgia – perhaps more as we experience “milestone” days growing older than when we were more carefree (and definitely invincible) during our youth.  Some see a birthday as a time of celebration – of having achieved another year of wisdom, maturity or success.  Others see them as signposts along the road to life – as bumps in the road.  A minority see them as mile markers counting down to “the end of the line.”  (Most probably view birthdays as markers that tend to grow closer together as we age but that are simply sign posts along life’s highway – a winding road with a definite beginning that has not yet been mapped to its final destination.)

While are not all given the same number of days, all ARE provided the same number of hours each day.  Some seem to find limitless ways to spend their hours while others seem to invest their limited hours in ways that seemingly waste their days.  We are not promised anything in life other than change itself – nor are we guaranteed any level of greatness other than what we establish by leveraging the talents and gifts we choose to nurture and grow.

It seems that this summer has been one of darkness – one in which far too many individuals have been plucked from this earthly journey to begin the next – leaving us sooner than we might have wished (or anticipated), often without finishing all they had started or starting all they had hoped to accomplish.  While we prefer the light of day, it is often the threat (or realization) of darkness that awakens us to the reality of our fragile existence – that makes us recognize that our days may be numbered but that does not mean that our accomplishments must be diminished or our contributions to life reduced.

How do you use YOUR gift of time?  Are you a productive and contributing part of life’s solutions or a disruptive part of its problems?  Are you a dreamer seeking new roads that have yet to be traveled or one content to rest on the laurels of past success and accomplishment – stifling all desire to identify new horizons? Are you a seeker of opportunity or an opportunist awaiting the next windfall?  Our perspective on life will color our reality, establishing the backdrop for all that we are AND a launch pad from which those we influence are able to move forward.  It is not the “falling” in life that is most significant; rather it is the “getting up” and the “moving on” (or the staying down and awaiting attention) that makes us who we are.

We tend to fulfill our potential – to establish and maintain control over where we are and what we do – when we intentionally act upon a thought or idea.  We allow ourselves to be controlled by another (thought, idea, individual or situation) when we choose NOT to act (either intentionally or inadvertently) upon the opportunities a new challenge might provide.  We choose to seek or to stand – to climb or lie down – through our responses to the opportunities we pursue.  We do not live upon the surface of a smooth and tranquil sea swept clean each night by a warm and welcoming  wind but rather within a mosaic built from the choices we make (or choose not to make) – formed by the experiences we choose and the relationships we have experienced.  I reflect, on this birthday, and thank those who have had a part of making me what I have become as I continue to seek what has yet to become of me.