Welcome to the Gen Plus Blog

It's a backstage pass to info on jobs and life at 50+. Gen Plus, headed by Janet Wendy Spiegel, is dedicated to baby boomers and the plus generation of age 50 and older. Read up and speak out on issues affecting your future: jobs, income, life and respect.

About Me

My photo
Northridge, California, United States
Successful businesswoman, consultant, entrepreneur. I operate two businesses -- social media consulting, AND premium pet care services in the West San Fernando Valley. Love what I do, love life.

Gen Plus has relocated to www.GenPlusUSA.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

To Grey or Not to Grey? That is the question.

Jobseekers at Gen Plus often have questions about attacking the job market at 50 Plus. Interestingly, one question that keeps popping up has to do with dyeing their hair.

"I'm up for an interview at a corporation. I had let my hair go grey at my prior job. Should I dye it?"

Many of you blog-surfing are under 50. What advice would you give this candidate? (It is a woman.)

Monday, September 26, 2005

All Things China

I gather tidbits of info on China, because of the overpowering possibilities of the tidal wave of consumerism that is growing in leaps and bounds every day. I always look to the bigger picture and as Gen Plus is teaching me, aging isn't always old and might doesn't always have to do with size.

  • Did you know that, in China, there are over 103 million internet users on 45.6 million computers. In the USA it is estimated that 135 million people have access to the internet.
  • There are 1.3 billion Chinese and with an over 9% growth in the Chinese economy every year, internet usage alone is about to explode.
  • There are more than 360 million cell phone users, and over 350 million land line telephones. Mobile phone purchases are increasing by 8 million per month, or over 90 million per year.
  • There are 440 MILLION Chinese who will be over the age of 50 within the next 5 years, compared to 78 million in the US.

We ONLY have 78 million 50-plussers in need of employment or who can contribute to the economy. When you look at our small country in comparison to China, it is easy to see how the US, the greatest consumer force in the world, will soon be dwarfed by China's consumer power.

Blog bonus:

A great Chinese Gen Plusser!

Confucius, Philosopher, was born in 551 B.C. in Lu, China (now Shandong province) and died a the age of 72. This Chinese sage, aka Kong Fu-Zi, was a teacher and scholar (and minor political figure) whose practical philisophical teachings have come down to us as simple sayings (compiled by his disciples) on daily living and social and moral conduct. The majority of his wanderings and disciple gathering took place between the ages of 55 - 62.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Supporting Hurricane Recovery

Gen Plus is supporting the rebuilding efforts of survivors of Hurricane's Katrina and Rita by providing free memberships to Jobseekers and potential Employers.

If you are in touch with any Hurricane survivors who are 50-Plus and in need of a job, please email me. I will personally ensure they are given a free 90-day membership to post their resumes in our Job Bank.
As well, if you are an employer or know of any employers or Human Resource recruiters or headhunters who are willing to post jobs that can help any Katrina or Rita victims, I will ensure they receive free 90-day memberships to access our Job Posting feature.

Please contact me through
info@genplususa.com and reference the Gen Plus Blog.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Too Young for Gen Plus?

Our blitz is on. Interested Gen Plus JobSeekers are adding their resumes to our database. Employers are adding in JobPostings. And we're off to the races!

Ummm....well...not totally...

Of course, in beta testing, we fixed up the blips, the bumps, the bleeps. We were running smooth as silk. Of course, in the real world, our brand new, delighted Gen Plussers are getting...ERROR messages!

The server ain't happy, apparently. Errors should be fixed by tomorrow, so please try your login again over the weekend and job possibilities shall reign once again!

At the same time as recovering from the onslaught of new Gen Plussers Seeking and Employing, we're receiving requests to join Gen Plus...by those UNDER 50. I'm guessing this is a good thing. Having lived in Sunny California for close to a decade, I'm used to people lying their ages down...but lying up is refreshing! Flattering!

Unfortunately, the service is only available to 50-Plus...but if you are one of the young 'uns...then y'all come back now in a few years...the door will be open...y'hear?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Kill Grandma or Blogging Boomers?

Over the past year, the fear of aging has gripped the US. The panic over how to handle a dwindling Social Security fund and finance 78 million boomers is a telling indicator of how reactive, rather than proactive, the US is when it comes to social responsibility.

While Katrina has overshadowed much of the hollering and has overtaken the nation with this national tragedy, what has become very apparent is that we are not prepared, as a country, to handle an immediate emergency, much less one looming over our own horizon.

White elephant that we, the aging population, may be, BUT we aren't standing in the middle of the room hoping that government will notice us. They will...but too late. If 50-plus waits for help, it will never come and the ship that is Social Security, will have sunk!

What is happening is that companies like
Gen Plus, Home Depot, Target, and WalMart, among others, are investing in the older worker. More companies are joining the wave, using grandparents and older parents of their employees to test new software and website interfaces for user-friendliness.

A force of Blogging Boomers, Raging Grannies, Mouthy Matures and Demanding Dementias are unleashing...through the power of Internet and reaching, albeit karate keyboarding their way, into the workplace. Like it or not -- 78 million have arrived.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Looking for Testers

Gen Plus is looking for more system testers and we need you to be 50 or older! If you are over 50 or know someone over 50 who is considering looking for a new job or is currently on the job hunt, we need you to let us know how user-friendly our site is. As a thank you, you'll get a free 3-month membership to the Gen Plus resume posting feature.

Also, if you are an employer needing to post a job to the 50-plus demographic and would like to test our Employer site for us, we'd be delighted to thank you with a free 3-month membership to the Gen Plus job posting feature.

Send a quick email to info@genplususa.com. Put Tester in the subject line and we'll get back to you with your bypass code and instructions.

Friday, September 16, 2005

How long will YOU work?

Diane Stafford, a columnist for The Kansas City Star, hones in on the work crisis facing 50-plus. Her article, titled "Retirement 'as-is' can't continue" was republished on Third Age's site under "How Long Will You Work?"

Her two questions:

How long do you want to work? How long will you be able to work?

isolate very well the major issues of boomer and beyond.
So...how long do you want to work?

Among the many issues are whether you want to work, whether you need to work (financially or emotionally), and what obstacles you are willing to overcome (ageism, downsizing, downgrading) in order to do so.

And...how long will you be able to work?

This is the real question. For those who want to work and need to work, they may have a bitter pill to swallow when they are shut out after 50 in a marketplace geared to youth. Plus, with aging, comes health concerns, doctor visits, higher medical costs, older children and possibly grandchildren to help with, limited retirement funds, lower level jobs.

I follow the news rigorously seeking the rumblings about over-50 employment. When I see an article, like Ms. Stafford's, I take notice. She is speaking in Kansas, but Washington needs to listen. When she talks about the white elephant in the room, she isn't speaking about social security. She is talking about us, the soon to be axed boomers and beyond, who will need to work at any cost in order to make it to our 80's and 90's with some dignity.

The Gen Plus resume search is on. If you are one of us and looking for work, take 15 minutes of your time to pop into
http://www.genplususa.com/work.aspx and get your resume online. If you don't put yourself out there you won't likely get noticed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Re-engineering Imagineering

One of the biggest challenges I deal with every day at Gen Plus is changing the mind-set and perception of a nation of employers. In many cultures, past and present, the elders of the tribe were the sages. They were revered for their lifelong learning and their living experience. In the world of today, over three decades of marginalization of 50-plus stand between a secure next age or a fragile existence. Anyone over 50 can expect to live to 75, 85 and beyond and being one of them, I can safely say, most of us will not be able to live on our own means.

I love Disney. Not because of Mickey or Minnie or any of the wonderful characters that live in Disneylands and Disneyworlds in many continents. No. It is because Walt Disney had an imagination. And in his imagination he conceived of creating a forward-thinking fantasyland in a bit of desert in California. Most people thought he was a nut. Actually he was an imagineer. He was able to take his imagination and engineer a concept from the ground up.

Gen Plus is the concept of my imagination. I was raised in Canada and bred with an unavoidable sensibility for the support of community -- through medicare, through education, through social programs. As a result, even though I am now an American and call LA my home, I have an internal calling to social responsibility that compells me to connect (not cast), a wide net.

My wide net is the 78 million boomers that will all be in their 50's within the next five years.

The challenge: to change the perception of a strongly individually driven society and create recognition for a strong tribe of workforce-able 50-plussers,

The American Dream focuses on the accomplishments of the individual. But 78 million indivuals are "the many" and this tribe has particular meaning to and impact upon the fabric of what US society will be over the next 30 or so years. Canadians will easily "get" the focus of Gen Plus and the need to support the 50-plus tribe. There is a looming employment crisis -- not enough workers to support the jobs and an inbred ageism that stops employers from hiring 50-plus. Americans will need to come along with me more gently. I'll nudge and cajole until you (my tribe, my Gen Plus) is firmly understood as the champion of the 50-plus worker.

Come imagineer with me. It is a great ride.

Silver Surfing

If you are over 50 and have not yet posted your resume on Gen Plus, you are missing an opportunity to be seen by employers specifically searching for the 50-plus demographic. A whole new world -- Silver Surfers -- as 50-plussers are also being called on the internet, is surfacing.

Some companies are starting to use us, the Gen Plus tribe for beta testing (just as many of you have been doing for
Gen Plus!) new internet applications in order to ensure they are user-friendly...and specifically Gen Plus (50-plus) friendly. We are leading the market, paving the way for 50-plussers to continue to be happily employed.

On a side note, based on our beta testing and your feedback, we've enhanced our payment programming. It is now a seamless process, easy to navigate with no additional need to create a separate account for payment. If you were experiencing any challenges, simply log in (or create your new account) and you'll be easily walked through the process.

As usual, email us at
info@genplususa.com with any challenges you may find as you navigate the site.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Unplugged on the West Side

Gen Plus is doing GREAT! We've made some modifications that you'll like much better. Thanks to those of you who sent your comments and critiques. We're keeping it simple and clean -- getting right to the nitty-gritty needs of our tribe. In a couple of weeks keep watch for a beta code so you can try the service at no charge for a few months. Please pass the word along to your 50-plus friends. I've been hearing from 40-somethings who love the concept and want to take advantage of the job search. Well...they'll have to WAIT!

On another note and one that has NOTHING to do with Gen Plus, today LA came unplugged. Literally. From the San Fernando Valley, down through the West Side and down through Torrance. For those of you not in the LA region...that's a LOT of geography. All this due to worker error.

One worker. $45K
One false connection. $45M
No traffic lights for 4 million commuters. Priceless.

One day after a terror video. Needless to say everyone was in a controlled panic. Trying NOT to be overly worried. And then we found out it was a worker mistake. See? There is no need for us to be alarmed that terrorists will harm us here. Los Angelenos can do it all by themselves.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Tribal bonding

The other day I talked about tribe. The word tribe conjures up an image of many same people closely bonded working toward a common goal. As a dual citizen (Canada/US) with strong Canadian roots, my sensibilities always tend to the common goal, the higher social responsibilty, success of the many over the few. As a result, the notion of tribe appeals to me greatly.

For those of my tribe, the 50-plussers who have been following the growth of Gen Plus (www.genplususa.com -- where we are reinventing 50-Plus), we are in an unusual position. Many of us have money, choices and direction. Many of us have not enough money, fewer choices and little clarity. Our mid-life crisis is setting in at least a decade later than our parents'. Ours revolves around financial and job security at a time where we will no longer be found useful in business communities. At 50-Plus we quickly become irrelevant and financially powerless, unless we have socked away enough money for an early and easier retirement.

One of our directions with Gen Plus revolves around continued education. Our Learn link offers a range of programs specifically geared to creating new neural paths, stretching 50-Plus brain power. I'm determined to bring our tribe together to deal with the challenges of aging when we are far too young to be at "that" age. I've toyed with the concept of online education. Our programs are fantastic and it gives a great opportunity to reach many more Gen Plussers in need of some serious mind-stretching.

However, that will not allow our community, our tribe of sages, to join, commune and to reinvent with group support. I have noticed some online communities popping up and offering online education for hefty (and I think far overpriced) education on subjects without much depth.

But I am relentless in my curiousity. MY inquiring mind wants to know what MY tribe really feels. Considering the challenges in getting the blogworld to 50-Plus, I wonder if online education can benefit our tribe. I know it will be purchased. That isn't the challenge. Anyone can take money. But will the online education really deliver a message that can approach tribal bonding? I don't think so.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Cancergiggles published at last!

As you may have read in previous posts about a wonderful man, Cass Brown, I wanted to share an update.

A few years ago, after surpassing his EDD (Estimated Death Date) Cass started a blog. He commented and still comments on living life with humor and dignity in the face of a debilitating cancer. Not only is he ravingly funny and startlingly honest, he has racked up over 225,000 visitors and is increasing his readership now by thousands a day.

After much persuasion and encouragement by the loving, insane fans, Cass got his book together. Yesterday it hit the bookshelves. In support of his efforts and his incredible wit and style, I'd highly recommend a visit to his blog, http://www.cancergiggles.blog-city.com/cancergiggles_mountains_are_easy.htm to read about more than the story.

His book can be purchased in the US and abroad. I think once you visit Cass, you'll choose to make him your distant friend, over and over again.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Making Blogging Sexy for Gen Plus?

Ay. Ayayay. www.MySpace.com has erupted into the biggest traffic generator since Google. 78 million Boomers are about to be over 50 years of age. And the two shall never meet. MySpace has caught on like wildfire because 20 and 30-somethings were born and bred on the internet community. Eleven year-olds aren't reading books...they are text-messaging.

As I surf the blogs one thing becomes so very apparent.
My tribe ain't here yet. When I say "blog" to a Gen Plusser, generally their eyes glaze over with lack of understanding. They understand the web. They understand the general information gathering that the internet offers. But when it comes to Blog....they Fog.

So, as with many business owners, looking to steer my tribe, my niche, my 50-Plussers in need of reinvention, of "saging", or re-engineering...I find Blog. I LOVE Blog. Allows me to share the inner workings of a business on the rise in a fairly new medium.

Few political rants and raves, but some astute observations about life after 50, if I don't say so myself. An opportunity to follow the lives of those I might never have met otherwise. A chance to READ the rants and raves of discontented 20 year olds, disenfranchised stay-at-home mums, 40-something mid-life crisis dabbling professionals...in short, time to meet so many except for my tribe.

If you are one of the 50-Plussers that visits here from time to time, you are also one of the few that are in the "know."

So, my dear 20 and 30-somethings...please don't pass by so quickly. Help us time warp out of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (yes, we were the original audiences!) Forward the blog to your folks, the friends of your parents, your teachers, your doctors, your family lawyers. It is the only way to re-educate a generation raised on TV rather than Internet.

Form and function

San Francisco has a wonderful museum, the SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.) I'm not an afficionado of Modern Art, but I love museums. Especially when the building itself is a work of art (Mario Botta, architect.) I was particularly delighted to visit the museum in the company of my 5 year old daughter and my 69 year old mother. Both have an amazing ability to see the world with fresh eyes. Our docent, Gretchen, a biochemist by profession and an art lover by confession, started us off with the question, "What is art? And what is craft." My child offered 2 great answers.

"Craft is when you color something in."
"Art is what an artist makes."

The visit consisted of discussion about the line drawn between form and function and where that line blurred. The art was interesting, but what blew us all away was the attention to the building design. Blond wood in varying textures to contrast the black marble and white walls. Curves, arches and cutouts to feel form against the steel. Even the cafe was a marvel.

My daughter, with her innocent, untainted view of the world, was able to see the black and white...through to the base creativity of the artist. My mother, with her vast art knowledge, to provide the color commentary. One of the most important challenges of our time is, as we age, to push our minds to learn more, learn new, and to learn differently. This is what keeps our minds growing, creating new circuitry to replace old, keeps atrophy at bay.

I happen to be an older mother, however, visiting any museum with an innocent and a sage? I highly recommend it.