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, July 28, 2015


An axiom is a self-evident or universally recognized truth – a principle that is accepted as true without proof as the basis for argument.  As we go through our lives we constantly seek guideposts to “show us the way” so that we do not become lost within a detour while the rest of the world passes us by.  We seek to grasp onto the tail of a rising star in the hope that we, too, might be carried towards success.  We search for answers (often more than we seek to formulate questions) to explain away the “bumps” we experience while trying to find the smoothest path available as we move towards our destination(s).  Perhaps if we were to focus more upon the path we take – enjoy the journey as we move toward our ultimate goals – we would feel more peace and joy (rather than hectic tension) when we arrive.  Thinking about some of life’s “universally recognized truths” as we find our way through this world might help to focus our efforts on those things that are important – things or situations that can be controlled or influenced through our own devices and that truly have or result in significance.  Axioms often help us to understand what is important and critical to life (rather than what is wanted or desired) so that we can shrug off those things that do not matter while holding tightly to those that do.  Some of the axioms that have helped me navigate my journey (so far) would include:

INDIVIDUALS UNABLE TO SPEAK POSITIVELY ABOUT WHAT THEY DO ALWAYS RESORT TO SPEAKING NEGATIVELY ABOUT WHAT ANOTHER DOES.   Far too many individuals find it easier to bring someone down to their level than to bring themselves to a higher plain. We cast stones without thinking that our own glass house could be easily shattered.  We console ourselves by justifying that “everyone else does it” so it should be OK (even when we know what we are considering is wrong). Though elevating yourself is often far more difficult than pulling others down, we gain far more by lifting ourselves up – bringing others with us – than we could ever achieve by immersing ourselves within a pool of mediocrity.  Recognizing and understanding that “complainers” often have very little confidence in their own abilities or pride in their own accomplishments may not quiet their noise but it should help to minimize the impact it has on your life.

IF YOU CANNOT BE KIND, AT LEAST HAVE THE DECENCY TO BE VAGUE.  It seems that our society revels in the details of the fall – refusing to accept “what is” as being reality while seeking all the thoughts, rumors or information available (or fabricated) that might help to explain the “why” more than the “what.”  Many do not seek answers to unfortunate situations so they can avoid them – rather they seek all the sordid details to establish their own superiority.  They do not seek details so help might be provided – rather they seek to embellish the facts and broadcast their version to bring attention or importance to themselves while talking to others.  People often inquire because they are nosy - gathering details for personal gratification rather than empathetic consolation.  Perhaps we SHOULD try to help more while consciously trying to hurt less – seek to provide a cushion upon which others might land rather than an open abyss into which they will fall.  Unless we can constructively criticize then provide the tools and support necessary to help an individual initiate change, what do we accomplish when we tear down without lifting up – or even remain silent when we could have shed light upon an issue?

EVERYONE BRINGS JOY TO LIFE – SOME WHEN THEY ENTER, OTHERS WHEN THEY LEAVE.  OK, so this one is tongue in cheek – but so appropriate!  How often has someone interrupted you during the middle of a thought – as you were just about to solidify an epiphany that would surely change the world forever?  Sure, we need others to live life to its fullest, but we all have times when it seems that others might “do more good” talking to someone else than they do disrupting our thoughts!  Enjoy the variety that people give the world around you – if everyone thought and acted as you do it would be a terribly boring (or an extremely predictable) world!  Do not isolate yourself from those around you as their perspective (no matter how disruptive it might be) just might be the key that unlocks the door to our understanding.

Several within the novel “Atlas Shrugged,” Ayn Rand’s epic tale about how the “engine of the world” was silenced (whose fiction is hauntingly similar to the reality we see within today’s headlines) would include:

·         A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve – not by the desire to beat others.
·         The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident fact that everybody has decided not to see.
·         Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death.

Do you have any baseline “truths” upon which your lift has been built?  Perhaps you could find hope by not asking (or seeking) “who is going to let me” but rather living (and believing) “who is going to stop me?”  Do not become your own worst enemy by believing a dream to be impossible – abandoning it before the journey towards its realization can even begin.  Do not apply “blame” without accepting responsibility.  Do not look for reasons that would keep you from accomplishing something, rather seek ways that would allow it.  Do not refuse to establish goals for fear of failing – rather establish lofty expectations that require hard work and effort to accomplish so that you might be proud of your efforts when (not if) you do succeed.  Remember that all things are possible, some just take a little longer to accomplish as they require a bit more creativity, thought or planning. 

In the big picture, improbable does not mean impossibleEquality is not the same as equitabilityHolding back does not mean giving up UNLESS you fail to begin.  Life has many beginnings but only one end.  Make the most of your opportunities as you seek new and different ways to make life truly matter – taking the time to develop and hone the talent needed to equip yourself with the tools needed to transform who you are to the successful individual you wish to be (and know you can become)!