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

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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

Monday, October 31, 2005


Cass Brown is a regular contributor to the Gen Plus Blog. Take a minute and you'll draw several grins and possibly a few hearty chuckles.Cass' blog in the UK, the very popular, VERY funny, and very personal Cancergiggles, has drawn over a quarter of a million visitors over the past two years. In his words, "Cancergiggles is an idiot's guide to accepting, living with, laughing at and dying from cancer. The very, very last bit I can't be absolutely sure of, but then who the hell can? I could have written some beautifully crafted, grammatically correct essays but I hope you will understand, that when I say "I don't have a lot of time" I mean it far more literally than you do. I just wanted scribble a few thoughts to maybe light a spark in people - and then it became a book about Cancer, Life, Death, Illness and Politics". His book is available through http://www.genplususa.com/shop.aspx, www.lulu.com, or for a signed copy, directly through his site.

His job at 50 plus is,in fact, living with cancer, and though he's not sufficiently salaried for his skill set, has the insight of a Fortune 100 CEO or, for that matter, the Surgeon General.

I can't actually put a date on when I became what I am, but I'm pretty sure that it was around the time I was nearly dead about four years ago. There were no blinding lights or world shattering revelations - in fact I was so far out of my nut on morphine, that I think that this me crept in whilst I wasn't looking. Cancer is damn tricky.

The comic bit of me, to the serious annoyance of many, has always been pretty much to the fore because put simply, I have always preferred laughing to crying and have found that I operate far more efficiently when my ribs hurt. Since I nearly went to the big Comedy Club in the sky however, I have become far more analytical about the positive benefits of my somewhat ridiculous view of life. For a start I am still breathing, long after the medics had expected me to ART (Assume Room Temperature) and I put this down to exercising my lungs by laughing. Jogging or working out sure as hell aren't responsible for me still being here, nor is my lifelong chairmanship of the Temperance League. Having always treated my body as a temple (the drunken orgy, Walpurgis Night, ritual sacrifice, completely in ruins sort of temple), I could well have expected that by now I would have been having a seriously long snooze in a box. Instead I laughed myself silly all the way through the crap (just noticed I mistyped that as carp and that really wouldn't make a lot of sense even to me) and discomfort and giggled at what an amazing mess I am. My insides feel like they were put together by an extremely splintered committee and my outside looks like it was stitched together by a drunken Glaswegian welder. Stercus Accidit. (Ed. note: a little bit of Latin for you.)

What really made all this gel as a conscious way of life, was the unexpected response I got when I started to write about it in a blog. I instinctively knew that it was the best way for me and my family, but was honestly astonished that so many people already were or became adherents to the "don't take it too seriously" theory. I have been positively encouraged by the medics even though they have been on the receiving end of many a wicked comment, the sick and lame joined in the fun and what surprises me more than anything is that droves of normal, healthy folk seem to think it's a bloody good way to live. The last thing I ever expected to become is a preacher, because my only real qualification is that I've got a hat. I wonder what the odds are of succeeding as an evangelical TV comic?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Nothing to Fear, But Fear Itself

The greatest single thing about the US is that if you add determination to imagination, anything that you really reach for is achievable. Imagination is easy. You can go to a museum, read a good book, go for a walk, people-watch at a cafe, look at a child's play...any of these activities can stimulate the imagination. So, let's take searching for work after 50 years old. (And keep in mind that at 50, much of the work force is already delegating you to the category of "senior".)

You are currently in a position that you see coming to an end. Either by your choice, or your employers choice. Or you run a small business and not doing as well as you'd like and so need to find employment so you can support your living. So you know that you need a new job. You search Monster, Careerbuilder and any site you can find promoting 50 plus hoping for hope. You submit your resume to tens upon tens, if not hundreds of employers, but you can't get a bite. And the reason you won't get a bite is two-fold.

Reason 1: You are competing against everyone looking for work in your skill and experience set. The 20, 30, 40, 50, (and yes) 60-somethings.

Reason 2: You are one of possibly several hundred applying for each position. Plus you are being vetted generally by an HR recruiter. Job descriptions have parameters laid out to help a recruiter decide who to take a deeper look at and who to pass on.

Today we'll talk a bit more in-depth about Reason 1. First, you need to find a way to get to the top of the recruiter/employer's list. The only thing that your resume shows is exactly what you put on it. If you have a mind-bogglingly fantastic resume, you'll stand out. If your resume is tweaked to reflect the actual job you are applying to, then it is more likely that you'll stand out more. That is why job search sites generally give you the opportunity to add in several versions of your resume or to upload your resume. Take a look at some of the sites. Gen Plus, Monster, Careerbuilder are three good sites to start with as they allow you customization with your resume. Monster and Careerbuilder are targeted more generally to the 20 - 40-something demographic. Gen Plus (our site) is niched to 50 plus. The internet has changed the way job search is done so you need to work within this medium to attract recruiters.

So, in order to get noticed in addition to applying for jobs, is to post your resume. Many recruiters mine these job sites looking for applicants that THEY can approach. If you get contacted by a recruiter who has searched for you, you have a much better chance of having a full phone interview and possibly an in person interview. Why? Because if they are mining the sites, it means they are not satisfied with who they found from their job posting.

How do you get mined? You need a fantasic resume. Plain and simple. At Gen Plus, you can do the online interview, which also adds to creating a quick first impression. Bottom line, take the time to find the right words to drive your resume to the head of the line. Take a look at some of our past blog articles on job search to get an idea of how to fashion a winning resume.

Need a job at 50 plus? Here is how we do it.

Making your Job Search Sexy?

Where were you at 25 years old?

Action Word of the Day

A great resume will also help you in your applications to available jobs. However, you need to add another component. A top notch cover letter. Something that, in the first paragraph, compells the recruiter to keep on reading. You MUST convey how your experience fits their need in your first paragraph. Do NOT attach your cover letter without also pasting it into the body copy of your email. You need to convince the recruiter, in that first glance, to look further, to your resume.

You must ALSO both attach your resume as a file to the email, but also cut and paste it into the body copy, following your cover letter. Think like a recruiter. Do you want to have to click, download and print? Nope. You want a quick read that entices the recruiter to put you into their print queue and their YES folder.

(Next column we'll look at working AROUND the internet -- so get some walking shoes.)

Friday, October 28, 2005

Cancergiggles hits the press!

Guest Gen Plus columnist, Cass Brown, blogmaster (http://www.cancergiggles.blog-city.com/) par excellence and author of Cancergiggles hits the papers in Royston (yes...it is in Royston in the UK.)

Cass has touched over 260,000 visitors to his blog with his honest, funny, touching and brilliant writing. For the full article, click on the link.

If you are 50 and older, you will relate to Cass' physical struggle with Cancer (with a big "C") while keeping his humor and spirits high -- determined to live life to the fullest each day. A wonderful read and a must for the medical community (doctors, nurses, hospice workers, therapists) and anyone living with and managing terminal illness.

To purchase his book (limited edition and he's working on the next one, so get it while still available) visit our Shop page at Gen Plus. We're thrilled to distribute what we believe will soon be a bestseller internationally (especially when Oprah hears about it!) If you are from other parts of the world or would like a signed copy, visit the Cancergiggles site to purchase directly.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Where were you at 25 years old?

Before we tackle personal branding, you need to do a little research...on yourself. So I need you to think back to when you were 25 years old. Where were you? What decade was it? What were your favorite songs, haunts, restaurants? Who were your friends? What was your dream? The big plan? The thing that you were going to reach out and grab?

When I was twenty-five, I had moved from Montreal to Toronto, ready to grab the world by the horns and make my mark as a theater director. There were no limitations. I could do anything, be anyone, invent and re-invent myself as I needed. I wasn't afraid of risk because I hadn't faced any greater hardship than trying to figure out where the next month's rent was coming from. And it never occured to me that anyone would dare to evict me. Working from job to job, 18 hours a day for $150 a week, I was in heaven. Paying my dues but with a certainty that I'd make my mark and hit my dream.

Where were you?

What was your pie in the sky?

So think on that a bit...dust it off and hold it up to the light.

Now fast forward to today. Is that goal the same one you have today? Did you deviate from that path? And if so, was it a deliberate deviation or did life just take you somewhere else? Are you happy with that direction? If not, do you want to recapture your path?

Looking for work at older than 50 is tough. The market is tough, recruiters judge you on a resume...up against hundreds of other resumes, your potential bosses are likely younger than you. So you need to deliver a clear and consistent message -- your brand.

But before you can define your personal brand, you need to know where you are right now, and where you are heading. If you aren't sure of your goal, then before anything, you need to set a clear direction for yourself so that as we work to create that personal brand, you do not waver from your path. I'm a firm believer in manifesting your own destiny. The US and Canada are great countries -- anything you want, and are willing to really work for, you can attain. So before we set off on creating a map to your goal, take another day and make sure you are clear on what that dream was when you were 25 years old and how that fits in with your dream today.

Monday, October 24, 2005


Cass Brown is a regular contributor to the Gen Plus Blog. Take a minute and you'll draw several grins and possibly a few hearty chuckles.

Cass' own blog in the UK, the very popular, VERY funny, and very personal Cancergiggles, has drawn over a quarter of a million visitors over the past two years. In his words, "Cancergiggles is an idiot's guide to accepting, living with, laughing at and dying from cancer. The very, very last bit I can't be absolutely sure of, but then who the hell can? I could have written some beautifully crafted, grammatically correct essays but I hope you will understand, that when I say "I don't have a lot of time" I mean it far more literally than you do. I just wanted scribble a few thoughts to maybe light a spark in people - and then it became a book about Cancer, Life, Death, Illness and Politics". His book is available through http://www.genplususa.com/shop.aspx, www.lulu.com, or directly through his site.

If your invisible friend threatens to leave you because he/she is bored with you, then you know it's time for a rethink and equally, those without an invisible friend are in need of a major shake up.

There are two sides to being boring but they are inextricably linked. Firstly, if you are bored with yourself, life can be really, really dull. Waking up each day, knowing that you aren't likely to do, say or think anything of a non-boring nature, is the same as having your life support switched off. Why bother going through the whole rigmarole of living, if you are effectively a human cardboard cut out? Clearly there are two options here - leave the planet or start using the grey stuff. Ridiculous things are the best and easiest start because they make you laugh and laughing people don't bore themselves. When you can look at yourself as being ridiculous, it's even better - this is worth gold.

The second side of being boring affects those around you, and possibly more critically, those who may want to employ you. Given equal job qualifications I will always employ the person who comes to work on a camel, over the greyish blur of a creature who was in the same interview line. I can honestly say that the times when I have been the most productive and have really achieved the impossible, have been those when humour was in control. The reason for this is that the chemicals released into the brain by laughter are so much stronger and effective than those released by fear and they are also entirely positive. Have you ever noticed that after being seriously frightened, many people laugh hysterically? So why not cut out the middle man and go directly to the enjoyable bit.

There are obviously many other ways not to be boring, but these are all for advanced pupils who have already mastered the basics and they can be dangerous if attempted by novices. The first step in assessing your current level is quite simple. Go look in the mirror. If you didn't smile or laugh, you have a lot of work in front of you.

My quote for today
"I always keep a stimulant handy in case I see a snake - which I also keep handy." WC Fields

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Thinking Out of the Box?

The beauty of invention is that the inventor is able to look past the world he or she is in and see a vision of the future. Nothing about invention is based in the reality of the now. When you look at Einstein, the reason he is credited as being one of the greatest scientists is because he was a great thinker. He looked away from conventional understanding and wisdom and theorized. Couldn't do the math too well, but boy, could he think. As a 50-plusser, or a Gen Plusser, you know the history of Einstein.

He came up with a concept of ever-renewable, ever changing formula of the relationship between mass and energy. He envisioned the unthinkable...the black hole. Negative nothingness. And this crazy madness of creativity swirled out of him, like a dervish, in the space of four short years in his mid-twenties.

Science fiction used to be imagination of the impossible. But now, we can look at past fiction and see it converting itself into future projection. Sentient computers, for example, are going to be a thing of the future.

So when we think of job search or staff search, the roads we look to, as an industry, are fairly cut and dry. Staffing is still sitting in the 1990's and has not evolved sufficiently to keep pace with the demographic shift coming over the next 4 - 7 years. Forget thinking out of the box. We need to look at a new paradigm...a new box. Companies are already experiencing job crunches at the mid to upper management levels.

The way to filling the supply and demand of the job market and to employing 50 plussers is by looking to a new employment path. I'm going to call it personal branding. And it stems from self-confidence...a hard virtue to capitalize upon when the ego is, frankly, somewhat shattered from looking at the hard realities of a future where 50 plussers will be tapping into their savings at an unprecedented rate and far earlier than any market analysts will have antipicated.

First, we'll talk about the concept of personal branding. And then we'll start to tackle self-confidence, the mother of reinvention. Your homework until the next post: take a look at brands you know. Coke, Nike, Target, Mercedes Benz, Volvo, WalMart. See what messages come to mind when you think of them. We'll then translate that to the establishment of your personal brand.

Taking it to the (Cyber) Streets

For 50 plussers, job search in the 70's, 80's and early 90's meant creating a paper network, phone network and community network. What does that mean? You would create a resume, print it on a laser printer (or head off to Kinko's or the pre-Kinko's version of a print shop) on "Buff" or "Linen" or a lovely watermarked paper with a beautifully typed cover letter and send it off to the company or companies you had identified as your target employers.

When you were in active job search, you'd identify 100, 200, 400 targets and send different versions of your resume and cover letters to each one. You'd then sit back and wait for the phone to ring. If it didn't ring, you'd call the companies, one by one, and ask to speak to the Human Resources Director. Usually you'd get through to a live voice. Sometimes, you'd persuade them to let you come over for a quick chat.

You'd attend networking groups, small business breakfasts, city meetings, political and arts fundraisers. Basically, you'd try to create your own version of "6 Degrees of Separation." Within 4 - 9 months you'd land a new job. If you didn't have a copy of "What Color is My Parachute?" you were NOT in the know.

Job search and job posting has completely changed as of the late 90's. Instead of walking the beat, taking the subway, MARTA, BART or tube to the downtown core, we now surf the web. And this new form of job seeking is very scary for the 50 plus crowd. We built our job searches on relationship building and the new form of job search is all a matter of personal branding and blatant self-marketing, email and voice mail.

If you haven't visited Gen Plus yet, you need to take a quick look at the samples of interviews and resumes on our Work page. It will give you an idea of what Employers are looking for. Over the next few weeks, we'll explore the areas that you can control to give you an edge in your job search.

For employers that visit this blog, you too, will agree that finding the right candidate has become exceedingly important. Areas that are measured are time to fill, turnover, cost of training just to name a few. And getting the right person in quickly changes the way you are viewed as a performer in your HR team or company.

We've been attracting media attention in the heart of America (www.14WFIE.com) and through HR sites such as Interbiz. Gen Plus is a good place to start as we are targeted to the 50 plus demographic. While I'm going to be covering more specifics over the next few weeks, feel free to send your questions and I'll try to answer your questions on the blog so that other readers can benefit from the responses.

In the meantime, read the past few postings and get started on pumping up your resumes so that you can determine your personal brand.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Action Word of the Day

When you are looking for a job, your resume and cover letter are your pitch. If you are a salesperson, you'll know that automatically. But if you are like 77,999,548 of us, then you don't have the innate skill of the pitch.

So today, I'm letting you in on a bit of a secret when it comes to resume building. Part of your pitch lies in how you describe your responsibilities and accomplishments. Instead of having been "responsible for a $2M budget", you "drove" that budget. Instead of "managing 5 staff" you "mentored a dynamic team to success."

Your cover letter also has to be very active rather than passive. Great poets can spend months and sometimes years in finding just the right word to express an emotion or thought. If they can find a verb that gives them the right action, they will use that rather than an adverb that dilutes the meaning of the action.

Feel free to send me any particular paragraphs or sentences that you aren't happy with and we'll see what our readership can help you with. Post them in comments.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Making your Job Search Sexy?

Online job search can be just as challenging for Recruiters as it can be for Jobseekers. They will get hundreds of resumes for certain jobs and not a drop in the bucket for others. If they get many, they'll have to quickly whittle down the candidates for the best of the pack. How do they do that? By looking at your resume.

Think about when you go to buy a car. Most people do their homework. Perhaps compare models online, buy a couple of magazines, look up Kelly Blue Book and Consumer Report reviews on specific models. Then they go to the dealer and what do they do? They look at the car. They sit in the car. And they test drive the car.

Your goal, as a Jobseeker, is to get the Recruiter (if you are a Recruiter reading this, you'll agree) is to want to "test-drive" you, i.e. have a phone or an in-person interview. But online job searching makes you just one of many and for the Recruiter, a well-educated guess based on just how good a job you did on marketing yourself through your resume.

The Recruiter's goal, is two-fold.

  1. To fill the jobs quickly within a measurable and reasonable amount of time, and
  2. To hire the right candidates who will stay with the company long term (i.e. lower turnover.)

If you have joined us as a member at Gen Plus, you are either posting your resume for potential Recruiters, OR you are a Recruiter looking for great candidates. In either case, we want to make the job easier for you. We created the online interview (take a look at the sample interview to see how it creates a romance between the Recruiter and the Jobseeker) with two goals in mind.

  1. Help the Recruiter target good candidates for phone interviews. Our online interview gives wonderful insight into our candidates and reduces initial phone interview time, i.e. the Recruiter can more easily suss out who is and who isn't the right fit with greater accuracy and less time wasted.
  2. Help the Jobseeker get a foot through the Recruiter's cyber-door.

Normally a Jobseeker must wait for the phone call in order to make a personal impression. With the online interview, the Jobseeker has the opportunity to thoughtfully answer the types of questions a Recruiter wants answered in a first phone interview. Don't kid yourself. If you are older than 50, then your self-presentation, your personal branding and self-promotion has to be top notch. You are not competing with other 50-plussers. You are competing with 20 and 30-somethings and it is a challenging job market out there.

If your resume is full of relevant information, that equates to the research that you'd put into your car search. But the online interview...well that is the Recruiter walking into the dealership, seeing the car, and opening the door to get in the driver's seat. Do a good job with your online interview and they'll take you for a test drive.

We'll talk about resume building and personal branding in the next few days.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Need a job at 50 plus? Here is how we do it.

It is time to give some serious in's and out's of the job search. So here we go. In a later blog down the road, I'll take each of these sections and we'll have some fun with them.

The trick with attracting HR professionals, recruiters, employers to you is different at all ages.

  • At 20 you had the look of youth and no experience...only enthusiasm to get you that first job.
  • At 30 you started to feel your experience but couldn't make the leap from one "title" to the next. You had to do the job without the pay until you got the recognition and then hopped to another company to get the title.
  • At 40, you were in your stride, going places and feeling a sense of self and security.
  • At 50 plus, you are now in your game, but you need to move. You are either about to be laid off, you see the writing on the wall, you can't imagine continuing to do what you are doing for the next 20 years, or you've been looking for months and can't get a bite.
There are a few things you must do if you are over 50 and looking for a job.

1) Get current. Regardless of how great you think you may look, the reality is that you may not be as current as you should be. Get a good haircut. Get some new interview clothes that are fashion forward. Get new shoes and new accessories that are right for the season. If you don't know what is current, buy some magazines and see what the trends are coming up. Easier still is hop online and browse the fashions at higher end stores like Nordstroms, Bloomingdale's and see what is showing for the new season. Then buy the trends at whatever outlet you like.

2) Spice up your resume. If you are having challenges, use the Gen Plus resume builder. Hire an editor who specializes in resume building (Timesolvers is just one...there are many out there.) You've got about 5 seconds to keep your resume in front of the recruiter so make those 5 seconds count in your favor.

3) Apply to the right jobs. If you are a Bank Manager, don't apply for a position as a Film Accountant, unless your resume screams Film Accountant. Even if you have the skill set, unless your resume tells the story, you won't make it past the resume preview. A recruiter skims your resume, looking for the basic criteria on which the job hinges. Master's Degree required? If you don't have one, you likely won't be considered. But a Master's Certificate in an area might suffice.

4) Be seen. Post your resume. You can do that on Gen Plus (on our site you can also choose to post your picture or use an icon) as well as on other employment sites. But your chances of being noticed increase exponentially when you post your resume. HR recruiters "mine" job sites looking for their specific criteria, so make sure to fill in relevant keywords, appropriate to the types of jobs you are looking for.

5) Be ready. You need to be ready for an interview. Our online interview will give you an edge. We ask you many of the important revealing questions that take place in the initial phone interview. By answering those questions you accomplish two things: a) you have the time to give considered responses which prepares you for the phone interview, and b) you get your foot one foot closer through the door as the HR professional uses the online interview as a pre-qualifier.

6) Be a sleuth. Is there a company you want to work for and you don't see them posted on our site? Either go directly to their career section on the web, or stop in and ask for a tour of the offices. Usually an HR professional will be called to speak with you, which gets you one step closer to talking about a job.

7) 6 degrees of separation. There is a study that uncovered that usually within 5 or 6 contacts anyone can be connected to anyone else. If you know that you really want to work somewhere, within your personal contacts you may know someone who knows someone (etc.) who has a connection with the company you want to be at. All you need is an introduction to get your resume on a desk. We'll talk about this one in more detail in a later blog article.

Friday, October 14, 2005


Cass Brown is a regular contributor to the Gen Plus Blog.

Cass' own blog in the UK, the very popular, VERY funny, and very personal Cancergiggles, has drawn over a quarter of a million visitors over the past two years. In his words, "Cancergiggles is an idiot's guide to accepting, living with, laughing at and dying from cancer. The very, very last bit I can't be absolutely sure of, but then who the hell can? I could have written some beautifully crafted, grammatically correct essays but I hope you will understand, that when I say "I don't have a lot of time" I mean it far more literally than you do. I just wanted scribble a few thoughts to maybe light a spark in people - and then it became a book about Cancer, Life, Death, Illness and Politics". His book is available through http://www.genplususa.com/shop.aspx, www.lulu.com, or directly through his site.

There always seemed to be a common belief that as years attach themselves to you, your body has a tendency to begin causing problems. The fitness revolution has meant that this is no longer written in tablets of stone and the norm is that good health can be expected well into our allotted span. I don't do norms.

I opted for my own rebellion by going the major invasive surgery, radiotherapy, drugs and disability route and bizarre as it may sound, it was of the best things I have ever done. Resist, if you will, the temptation to call in my local nut doctor, whilst I try to explain.

As I approached 17,000 days, I was doing all of the things which were expected of a married man of my age. Hunting nuts and mushrooms, chopping wood and partying - just like you. The appearance of a tumour the size of a small goat, came as no surprise and the ensuing medical interventions provided some interesting distractions and novel experiences. The most interesting side effect however, was the discovery that there was still an enormous amount of laughing to be done. Having always been of a fairly cheerful and humorous nature, I discovered that becoming single minded in my stupidity, brought me a great deal of satisfaction and seemed to actually have positive benefits for those I came in contact with. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I found that I could communicate my attitudes to large numbers of people and I found to my utter astonishment that there were lots of folk who agreed with me. For the most part, these aren't chopped up people like me, they are just the ones who want to live - not exist - live.

I think that it is the realization that living does not entail bungee jumping or snowboarding that is the breakthrough. The grey stuff that does the thinking is the only really important bit and as long as you have an adequate exercise regime for it, it will let you enjoy pretty well everything. Let me give you an example of living. I used to get very frustrated if I was wasting time sitting in a waiting room with a magazine, but there is no need, because you can think of a pig. Making your head work out of context is great fun because nobody around you understands and as long as you can resist the temptation to make pig related comments to your fellow waiters it is fairly harmless. Pigs, like most things, are very funny indeed.
I think my point is this. At some stage in your past, you were conditioned to think in a certain adult way and that is where things became dull. Now you are reaching an age where you don't have to care, you can forget the brain washing and just think for the hell of it. Think what you like.

14 WFIE -- Tri-State's Newsleader Lends Support to Gen Plus!

Some wonderful media coverage today from Evansville, Indiana. 14WFIE writer Steve Burger gave Gen Plus a lovely write up. So thank you Steve! You can follow the
link to the article on their site or continue reading!

Over 50 and Need a Better Job? Click Here

Oct 14, 2005, 09:49 PM
(Editor's note: While we believe that Gen Plus is a legitimate company, as always, look at any agreements carefully and use good common sense in taking normal precautions when dealing with any new company)

By: Steve Burger

It's a much more common problem these days for folks who have put in many years of good service to an employer. You're over 50 years old, your company goes belly up and you're suddenly back on the street.

A national employment service is now in your corner. Gen Plus is a new company with a social mission: to re-invent the 50 plus marketplace in the minds of employers.

Gen Plus communications director Corinne Copnick says a group of people are currently investing their own money, and donating their time to get the project off the ground.
This is a a new venture. So new, that Copnick says their goal right now is to get as many people as possible listed in their job search bank who are there, in her words, "Because they want and/or need to keep working."

Copnick says the typical job seeker is 50-59 years old, has a wealth of job and life experience and is not ready for retirement, forced or otherwise.

As with any new service, you should check them out carefully before you commit any money. However, Copnick says because we contacted them, they're offering a free, three month membership in the Gen Plus job bank to Tri-Staters and Tri-State employers who want to try it out.

Job seekers and employers should go to the Gen Plus website

and use the promotional code GP-F90 when you enroll to get the free trial offer. You can also contact Corinne Copnick at ccopnick@genplususa.com. She says she'll let us know of any folks who get jobs because of the offer.

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Hush Puppies and Gen Plus

I remember Hush Puppies from when I was in University in the 1980's. They were ugly as sin and we all wore them. Then Hush Puppies just went Hush. All of a sudden when not a Pup was in sight, a group of trendies in Manhattan, bumming around the Village, rediscovered them and before long, without any work at all on the part of the owners of Pup, they were the rage of fashionistas everywhere. The resurrection of the Pup became a phenomenon that has been studied since and dubbed viral marketing.

But before Hush Puppies, there were (get ready for a blast from the past...) Clarks Wallabees. Wallabees.

Brown and Black. Oxfords.

Brown and Camel. Treks.

Also ugly as sin, but if you were in Grade 8, in 1971, if you didn't own a pair of Wallabees, you just weren't. (Treks were cooler.)

Like Hush Puppies, there was no marketing involved. Clarks were the shoes of our parents stylings...not ours! But combined with Howick's and Wranglers and Lee hip huggers, Clark's (and oh, please, don't make me revisit Frye boots again in 2006! And don't get me started on the Australian oilskin duster that got us all in a tizzy after the insanely popular Crocodile Dundee in the '80's....been there, done that..) were the uniform of 8th and 9th graders on the East Coast. I'm a proud Montrealer (now living in LA and an equally proud US citizen) but Montreal did have style. So if Clark's were it in Montreal, then they were just it...everywhere. We had our thing. That was pre-internet, pre-computer (!) viral marketing at its best. From Coke's "Teach the World to Sing..." campaign to "Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper, too..." the theme got us hooked, but we made or broke the trends, regardless of the advertising dollars being spent to reel us in.

Fast forward to 2005 and the flash viral spin that MySpace.com evolved into in under a year and it is clear that, still, the youth of North America create their trends without advertisers forcing it upon them. For those who are unaware, MySpace started as an online hangout to share small band, indie band music online and quickly evolved into the place to be if you were in your twenties in cyberspace. Surpassing site hits of ALL other sites (including Google) and gaining a membership of over 35 MILLION subscribers...and all by word of mouth (or word of email.) MySpace, IPod, Craig's List...really, all successes due to underground rumblings from a life force of youth.

I no longer wear Pups or Clark's. I'm a bit too old for MySpace (although I have to drop in there from time to time), I've got my IPod mini and I adore Craig's List for just about anything.

I recognize the power of any grass roots action. And grass roots is what I'm all about. So, I'm hearing my rumblings. Gen Plus (my company),which really is about reinventing what 50 plus is all about is rumbling in the Mid-West. There are a lot of 50-somethings and 60-somethings looking for their own MySpace. We're seeing the moves happening and feeling the pulse of our gang. You are finding us and we are finding you. For those of you in the middle of the US, reach out, spoke out, speak out and root outward. Visit us at Gen Plus. Take the plunge. Join us. We've made the room to give you your space.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


What is so amazing to me is how subversive the blogging world really is. This is a new world where relationships are built and shaped through blogs and comments. People are unafraid to state their true feelings and thoughts and even more interestlingly, that many more people are eager to read about them.

I'm no couch potato blogger. I work full time, am also a fulltime mom, and run a business...full time. So when I blog, I do it with gusto, with determination, and also at a bit of a disadvantage. The true traffic generator, as I'm starting to understand it, is via linking. (Duh...you are saying to me...we knew that in 2002... where have you been?) Finding other similar hearted, like-minded individuals who will willingly link to your site. (Yeah....duh again!) But the challenge for me and my kind (almost or past 50) is that there are not a whole lot of us out here. (Aha! Now you understand me.)

Lots of single moms blogging away...but most of you are well under forty. Lots of business entrepreneurs...but most of you are well under forty. Lots of active bloggers...but most of you....well, you get the picture.

Now, don't misunderstand me. I've met a few of you who are emphatically over fifty and proud to be so. But for the boomers and beyond, blog is an utter mystery. And so, I blog with heart. I surf ferociously, searching for the 50 and beyonds who have discovered this crazy little world, where 8 million strangers can join hands and build lifelong anonymous relationships while changing the way the world communicates in reality cyberspace.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Time to Quit

Gen Plus welcomes columnist Cass Brown to the Gen Plus Blog.

Cass' blog, Cancergiggles, has drawn over a quarter of a million visitors over the past two years. In his words, "Cancergiggles is an idiot's guide to accepting, living with, laughing at and dying from cancer. The very, very last bit I can't be absolutely sure of, but then who the hell can? I could have written some beautifully crafted, grammatically correct essays but I hope you will understand, that when I say "I don't have a lot of time" I mean it far more literally than you do. I just wanted scribble a few thoughts to maybe light a spark in people - and then it became a book about Cancer, Life, Death, Illness and Politics". His book is available through http://www.genplususa.com/shop.aspx, www.lulu.com, or directly through his site.

Time to Quit

by Cass Brown

So that’s it then. Yesterday, when you were 49, you were still part of a vibrant human race, but this morning you’re 50, so you may as well check into the funeral home now. Your body is falling apart and is only any use as spares and your brain has turned to mush. You are incoherent, incompetent and incontinent and you will probably need to pay to get towed away as scrap. Your ID is withdrawn, bank account closed, credit rating in minus figures and the only employment available to you is as a tour guide in the sewerage system. Who is to blame for this sorry state of affairs? You are Dumbo, because you let yourself get a whole 24 hours older than you were this time yesterday. More to the point – you let it matter.

When exactly was it that you stopped laughing? When did you start taking yourself so seriously? When did you grow up? Pinpoint that date (because it all happens at the same time) and I can guarantee to show you a life graph that heads steadily south. No need to worry – thanks to the wonders of modern medicine, you can probably hang on being a miserable waste of space for another 40 or 50 years. On the other hand, you could have a helluva lot of fun, fighting the bastards who perpetuate the system which wants to consign you to the garbage, and well, just having fun. It’s time to fix the problem.

I think I had my 50th birthday in about 30 years time. It says 1954 on my birth certificate, but that’s clearly a clerical error because my 11 year old daughter thinks I’m far more immature than her even though I’m better at telling silly jokes and pulling faces. Plus I can walk like a crab because the surgeons chopped me up a while ago. Plus I just took her camping in storms in the high Pyrenees in a very little tent even though I can’t really stand up for long without falling over. Plus I wear an outrageous hat. Plus I laugh. A lot.

If anyone would like to learn about how to do some of these things, just ask and I will explain further (apart from walking like a crab because that’s my trick). Soon, I will also tell you how to not let dates matter, how to have a riot (of your very own), how to un-mush your head and how to start laughing again. Until then, you could have a little go at doing this on your own. It isn’t dirty or dangerous and you may find that it is quite addictive. Trust me – I’m an addict.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The difference between 5 and 55

My daughter has become aware of money overnight. Yesterday, she took $2 from her piggy bank when we went to the store and decided to spend $1.13 on a lollipop and $0.50 on a merry-go-round ride. Today she wanted to give money to her friends, so we had to have a chat about money. I explained to her, that in our family, we don't just give money to people. That if someone is very special, you can buy them a gift that is thoughtful...or that you can save money for something very special for yourself.

She gave it a great deal of thought and then asked me if we were rich. We live in LA, so rich is quite common and also quite disturbing at times. We are not rich. But we live in an affluent LA suburb and many of her friends are, in fact, quite rich. With big houses, big cars, long staircases (we live in a small, comfortable bungalow), many toys and lots of Uggs.

What struck me was that at 5 1/2 she is suddenly aware of the power of money. She will explode onto the consumer scene at a speed that is terrifying. My Canadian sensibilities keep values in check...even in heady LA. On the other side, at 55 we become paralyzed by the prospect of the loss of the power associated with earning. And the realization that retirement income may not be enough to last us through another 25 to 30 years.

If I were a younger mother, I suppose I'd never make these type of associations. But as an older mum, they slap me in the face through the startling innocence of the questions of a young child.

Two of my married friends, also older parents (late 40's with a 2 year old and an adopted daughter on the way) just decided to quit their jobs, sell their home, pull up their stakes and their britches and move to Colorado. Just like that. Just like in my 20's, pulling it up and moving from Montreal to Toronto to find my path.

Their decision


solely based on wanting to lead an easier lifestyle without the pressures of money that is so hard to fathom when just moving to LA. This is a hard city where the divide between the haves and have-nots is increasing by the millisecond.


Where a woman driving a Hummer comments that if someone needs to worry about the price of gas, they shouldn't be driving a Hummer.


Where 3 million dollar homes abound and where there are people that can really, really afford to live in them.

Slap, slap, slap.

How will our 50 plussers survive in a world that is so divided? The only way that I see is to capture the energy of the 5 year-old that still lives inside of us and to boldly find our place in the work force, as producers, as a force to be reckoned with. To roll with the punches. To slap back, with hands on our hips, laughing, bellowing into the air. To take our 50 cents and take the merry-go-round back!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Gen Plus in the news!


Oct. 5, 2005
For Immediate Release
Wanted: Older Faces!
The Experience of a Lifetime

A national job search for older faces is on! Gen Plus,™ a web-based organization focused on services relevant to 50 plussers, is geared up to house the resumés and photographs of interested jobseekers 50 years and older in the US and Canada on its interactive site (http://www.genplususa.com/). A simulated online interview will accompany each resumé in the data base.

“It’s like a dating site for jobs,” says “Gen Plus™ spokesperson Corinne Copnick, “but you have to be over 50 to get in. And it’s a win-win situation. Gen Plus™ helps the mature jobseeker get one foot through the recruiter’s cyber-door and, at the same time, takes away some of the guesswork and valuable time spent by recruiters on initial calls to candidates. They can gain an instinctive ‘feel’ for the candidate.”

And recruiters will need the help. By 2010, the last of 78 million Baby Boomers will have turned 50, and the US and Canada anticipate a management drought unprecedented in recent history as hordes of Boomers retire. “Many companies hope to save money by filling the management ‘holes’ with younger workers who simply can’t bring the same experience to the table,” adds Copnick.

“But here’s the Catch-22. There is a disconnect between the expectation and the reality. While many Boomers are retiring willingly, an equally large segment of the 50 plus demographic still needs to work, but they are being pushed out (forced early retirements or squeeze-outs disguised as lay-offs) of their current jobs due to high salaries. Unfortunately, they face unspoken ageism or wages too low for their needs when seeking a new job or career.”

The Gen Plus™ national job search is aimed at reinventing the 50 plus marketplace in the minds of employers. Gen Plus offers both free and paid memberships. Jobseekers can scout job postings for free. For a small charge, they can post their resumés to the Resumé Bank. They can upload resumés or use the interactive resumé builder. Similarly, Human Resource professionals, recruiters and potential employers can mine the Resumé Bank for free. For a small charge, they can also post job openings.

50 plus jobseekers are invited to visit
http://www.genplususa.com/ now. Interested human resource professionals can follow the employer link. And displaced Katrina or Rita jobseekers over 50 or employers looking to hire them can post their resumes or job listings for a free 90-day membership by using code: GP-KR90.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A New Year and Many Voices.

Today is Rosh Hashannah - the Jewish New Year. What I love about this celebration is the marker of renewal. The old year ends, we spend the next ten days thinking about the rights and wrongs from the past year, and prepare to forgive ourselves and others to go cleanly into a new year.

The two strong symbols are the apple and the ram's horn. The apple to represent the fruit of life (dipped in honey to represent sweetness for the new year) and the ram's horn -- calling out to the world that the new year has arrived.

You see, it is all about the voice. The internal voice and the external voice. Speaking into our hearts and out to the world.

A silly comparison is the voice that you look for in the blog world. We look to hear the voices of others, to personalize, to get to know others across a void of cyberspace. But not so silly, when you draw the comparison to community. Community is what the New Year is about in the Jewish faith. Personal and public communing towards redemption.

In blog world we form community from our inner voices. To all my fellow Gen Plussers and visitors to this blog, a happy New Year in our little, big community. Happy New Year.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A Library for the People -- Malcolm Gladwell meets Carlos Leite

Sunday, Oct. 2. LA Times

Today's paper has a fascinating story. Times writer, Henry Chu introduces us to Carlos Leite (pictured with his partner Maria de Pena.) Two years ago, Leite, 51, an illiterate Brazilian laborer, saw value in six books that were being tossed from a construction site he was working at. He asked if he could keep the books and an idea sparked and held on.

In his community, there was no public library. He started collecting books from neighbors, friends, strangers. He now has over 10,000 books in his modest home...a home that has been christened the Community Library 19th street. He has moved his living space into the back room and the library is full with children, teens and adults every day, all day. For the full article, visit the link above.

The story is striking in many ways...but what struck me (always looking for connections) is how clever an illustration of Malcolm Gladwell's (Blink) theories on intuitive decision-making this story is. Gladwell talks about informed intuitive decision-making. The instant decisions that we make and why the ones that are right are right. Our common sense combines with our lifetime of information so that we know what feels right before we can reason what is right.

If Leite stopped to think about the six books and the logic or value behind a poor, illiterate laborer starting a library, the library would not have been. But because his instinct pushed him forward, he has brought literacy to his town in a way that politicians, money from outside sources, or planning could never have done.

I've written about Leonardo, Plato and other 50 plussers who contributed to humanity after the age of 50. Leite is 51 years old. If he lived in the US, he'd be a Gen-Plusser. Need I say more?