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!

Monday, October 20, 2014


Fall seems to be passing quickly, burying the memories of summer under a blanket of colorful leaves that have become but a wet and slippery slope towards the coming winter.  The lake has taken on the cold hues of winter – covered with black migratory birds quietly seeking food and rest during their long journey south. Gone are the joyful sounds of children playing upon the beach and the throaty rumble of “go fast boats” as they glide across the surface of the early morning or late evening lake.  The mornings arrive later than before – and the night earlier – obscuring the beauty of the lake beneath a shroud of darkness.  The eerie sound of cool breezes moving the naked branches of trees having lost their leaves and of whitecaps crashing upon the shore replace the desperate cry of gulls swarming for food.  This time of year is hard for a “lake lover” for the cooling water serves as a reminder that a time of frozen life and suspended dreams is just around the corner.

Looking out the window this past weekend reinforced the reality that summer is behind us – a hard frost left
the ground blanketed beneath a delicate white sheet – far too thin to be snow but a harsh reminder of the transformation about to begin.  Plants that once thrived begin to wilt and trees that hid beneath an emerald green coat appear thoroughly dead rather than simply dormant.  Fall signals a time of change within our lives (for winter enthusiasts perhaps a happier tone than for me) but transition is in the winds and transformation will not be delayed.

Along with the weather, autumn signals another opportunity for individual change.  One of the greatest freedoms our country offers is the unrestricted right to express our opinion within the voting booth – an opportunity that presents itself on November 4 this year.  It seems that every time we turn around there is an election, whether for local, school, state or federal issues, giving us the opportunity to express ourselves often in this country.  Many feel their single voice does not make a difference so they chose to silence it by not voting – but when we do not speak, how can we claim victory (or complain when what we want is not implemented)?  Since our nation was founded on individual rights, freedoms AND responsibilities, perhaps we should make a concerted effort to be responsible this year by voting for individuals we deem qualified to lead our state and country rather than simply going dormant like the plants and trees of summer.

The opportunity we have to vote allows us to endorse the direction that our country (or state) is moving OR seek to change it.  This November offers us the opportunity to participate in a rare “mid-term election” that might truly make a difference in our daily lives.  Primaries throughout the country indicate that “the people” want change they thought they were getting in the last general election.  Whether an incumbent speaks for the people or not seems not to matter this year – it is a year of transition in which being in the right place at the wrong time may result in a “clean sweep” of those in office.  Advertising has become more negative than positive as candidates from both parties provide information that “has been approved” by the person seeking your confidence.  Truth seems created (rather than reported) during campaigns – with responsible advertising a hope rather than an expectation.

In order to participate in this opportunity to create intentional change, study to reveal reality rather than simply reacting to an emotional appeal.  Do not act on the suggestion or recommendation of another – be it a friend, a union, a church or a newspaper article.   Do not take your responsibility lightly – the power of individual opinion can still establish the course of a nation when concerned and educated people base their actions upon solid information gathered through individual research, voting with their heads rather than their hearts!

Whether you consider yourself Democrat, Republican, or Independent – Liberal or Conservative – we are
provided the right to express our personal opinions within the voting booth.  Far too many of us, however, choose not to exercise our right to voice an opinion.  Choosing not to vote is not a “silent protest” – it is a blatant disregard for the freedom we have been given to express our views within a system that, in many parts of the world, all too often closes out the opinions of private citizens.  When given the opportunity to speak this November, shout with your vote.  Do not remain a passive spectator to the action that is unfolding in front of you – be an active participant in the formation and implementation of life-changing agendas.