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, May 2, 2017


Why is it that people tend to rush to judgment, hurry up only to wait, and do ANYTHING just to keep moving rather than “stopping to smell the roses?” Though time is seemingly in abundance when we have nothing to do, it passes far too quickly when we would prefer it to stand still.  We always have time to do something over when we could have simply done it right the first time. We seem to worry more about how quickly we can finish the race than we do about the results that our practice produce or the joy found along the way. People far too often worry needlessly about things outside of their control rather than identifying the things over which they have (and are able to exhibit) influence THEN intentionally acting upon them.  Individuals too often fear they do not have the time to slow down so they can appreciate the things around them because of the expectations they have placed upon themselves for unrealistic or unreasonable results. We often find ourselves slaves to the very clock we so desperately seek to master as we keep ourselves busy to the point of exhaustion so that we can complete a journey in as little time as possible only to find we are too tired to enjoy the destination once we arrive.  We live our lives thinking that once we have achieved something we can move on rather than realizing that life is a series of “beginnings and endings” which overlap, run concurrently and exist in perpetuity as we move from one event to the next.  We must learn to value our time as we seek results or we will find that our time slips from us without our consent as we chase concepts rather than realizing dreams.

Many people complain about their lemons rather than celebrating the opportunity to make lemonade. The weather is too hot – or too cold – but rarely do we find it ideal. We are too busy to exercise but complain that we do not like what we have become. We do not find satisfaction in what we have accomplished as we tend to dwell upon only what has not been finished – refusing to acknowledge the progress we have made while moving towards an end goal until it has been reached.  We spend more time wishing we had something rather than being grateful for what we actually possess. We have become a nation of complainers and criticizers as we seem to derive more satisfaction from bringing others down in order to make ourselves look better RATHER THAN elevating ourselves in order to pull others up with us.  We must learn to accept that we ARE NOT equal in our gifts, talents or abilities so we should not expect equality in our results.  We must recognize that time spent wisely will lead to the accomplishment of great things while time wasted will result in doing what has always been done and achieving what has already been mastered.

Perhaps we should take the time to ask WHY someone acted in a way we might feel foolish or ill-advised.  Rather than expediting our condemnation while attempting to elevate ourselves in the eyes and ears of those beholding our ranting we should take time to see if OUR perspective might be the cause of exasperation rather than another’s actions – to look towards ourselves first to identify what we may have done to contribute to the problem rather than blaming others to cover up any role we may have played.  Think of how much our words might matter if we offered advice and counsel rather than critically dismissing another’s action as being worthless, wrong or misguided. Doing something for another or telling them how badly they performed because they may have done something wrong (or differently than you might have) provides a short term “fix” as it changes the immediate results BUT it does not alter individual thought processes or behaviors. Rather, telling someone what to do, how to do it and when to act creates dependency (rather than innovation) and compliance (rather than creativity) while creating an environment that caters to the cautious – to those willing to do what they are told – rather than rewarding those applying their experience to accomplish things not yet considered possible.  Removing the time that others might use to learn can resolve a problem quickly but does nothing to foster problem-solving by those directly involved.  Correcting a “wrong” by stepping in and taking over may expedite a solution but will not prevent the problem from recurring in the future.
When people rush to see how much they can do or see they often minimize the enjoyment of what they actually saw or accomplished – always thinking what else could have been done rather than finding satisfaction in what they did. We recently vacationed in the West Indies where people tend to live a different pace and find as much joy in their journey as they do in reaching their destination.  Houses are built from the top down (rather than the bottom up), living quarters being constructed upon “stilts” leaving the lower level open until it is needed for more housing, a business or enclosed storage.  People do not seem to “miss” what they do not have as they find joy in those around them and satisfaction in what they DO have.  Far too often we are unhappy with our lives and our accomplishments as we seek the things others have (only to find they do not satisfy us should we be able to claim another’s results as our own).  We can be far too quick to blame (and too slow to seek responsibility) should we choose to play the “hurry up and wait game,” often too busy assigning “fault” and transferring blame to seek a workable solution and ensure its timely implementation.

Though we cannot alter the seasons or slow life’s progress, we can stop chasing blindly the hands of time as they race relentlessly around the clock. The sands of time will not bury us if we become the master of our own universe by taking the time to appreciate not only where we are going but also how, when and IF we chose to arrive.  To accomplish great things we must recognize and reward progress – both our own and that of those around us – rather than simply focusing upon what did (or did not) happen.  When we value our time – and consider the time spent by others to be just as valuable – we are able to focus our efforts on not only the “ends” but also the “means” as we realize our dreams and make them our realities.