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

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Goodbye 2005 and Hello 2006

To all you from all of us at Gen Plus, thank you for your support in 2005. Here is wishing you and your families and friends a wonderful holiday season and all the best for 2006!

Wendy and the Team at Gen Plus

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Dear Wendy...

Q: I have an elderly friend who is trying to raise two granddaughters. He has recently lost his job and doesn't seem to be hirable anywhere. He does not have a computer. Is there any way you may be able to help him?


A: Dear K.S.,

I started Gen Plus specifically because of the type of tough situation your friend finds himself in. Many current job searches require the use of a computer because many applications are now expected to come in online. Your friend will have a bit of a challenge, but he can access computers for free at most local libraries and he may have to do so if he cannot use a friend's.

The Gen Plus system is an internet service as with many current services and job banks today. If he cannot use a computer at a local library, perhaps a friend, such as yourself can post his resume on the site and look for potential positions to apply for. There are many, many job banks that allow jobseekers to post resumes. There are very few that cater specifically to the 50 plus demographic, however, he should post his resume in as many places as he can possibly find, including Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com. He’ll have to do some legwork and call the HR department at any company he is interested in pursuing and ask to fill out a manual (rather than online generated) job application.

In the body copy, headline or objective of the resume builder, note “phone calls only please” or put your email address instead. That way recruiters will have a way to contact him other than via email.

In the short term and to secure some immediate funds, I’d recommend that your friend register with every temporary agency in the area (such as Kelly Services who have assignments across the US) so he can get quick temporary assignments. Also, retail outlets (like Home Depot and WalMart) can be very senior friendly in terms of immediate hiring.

Wendy, founder Gen Plus

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Coming soon to a PBS station near you!

Boomers and beyond are gaining steam with every passing day. Now, Mark and Nancy Mills bring their new series to PBS. Boomers: Redefining Life After 50, is a 13-part series of half-hour magazine style programs that examines the issues, challenges and opportunities facing Boomers as they contemplate their 50s, 60s and beyond. For a preview, visit their site

And for more on Mark and Nancy's personal insights into life after 50, drop by their blog at http://boomerstv.com/blog/ (also listed in our sidebar.)

Make certain to program your TIVO to capture this series. They are ahead of the trend and the preview shows a range and depth of definitions of 50 plus that is sure to be intriguing.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Turning 60

An absolutely wonderful article by Jerry Adler, Newsweek, on the first of the Boomers turning 60, published November 14th. Somehow I missed it! But follow the link and enjoy in it's entirety. An introspective retrospective that hits all our issues right on the head. Very well done.

You'll also note that Matt Thornhill (The Boomer Project) is quoted. Matt specializes in marketing for Boomers over 50, (see a link to his site on our sidebar) and I find his take on the 50 plus demographic is accurate and relevant.

Just a side note that is helpful in reading Mr. Adler's article: The Boomer population (between 41 and 60 years of age) is 78 million strong. There can be a lot of confusion over the breakdown of the market segments in the 50 plus group. But it certainly creates a lot of discussion! The over 50 population is broken into three general segments -- Boomers also liberally (though not entirely accurately) referred to as pre-retirees, who are usually between 50 and 62 (so it is like Boomer plus 2 years); active retirees, approximately between 62 and 75; and true seniors, the older old, 75 and above. And marketers work to define strategies to attract each of these segments specifically.

Where Gen Plus is a bit different is that we are not specifically targeted to just one segment...although Boomers (pre-retirees...what a dreadful term!) make up the bulk of our membership. We directly affect both the "pre-retiree" and "active retirees" because regardless of where your age "pegs" you, you work, want to work, want to produce, need to produce. I suspect that you will feel an instant connection with Mr. Adler's article -- he hits it just right.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Book release

Some great news for Cass Brown, author the Cancergiggles blog and the book by the same name. Tomorrow is the official publication and release date of his replublished book, Cancergiggles, in paperback.

A warm congratulations to Cass. He's a great writer, a great guy, and has a killer sense of humor.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Resolutions 11 & 12 Are Good New Year's Resolutions!

As posted yesterday, the WHITE HOUSE CONFERENCE ON AGING 2005 took place in Washington, DC on December 13, 2005

The delegates were asked to select 50 resolutions from a list of 73. The original list was developed in the weeks and months leading up to the WHCoA. That list can be viewed at http://www.whcoa.gov/about/resolutions/Resolutions.pdf

What is important about the resolutions is that they help form the strategy for lawmakers in developing policy going forward regarding and affecting Boomers and Seniors.

The site above lists all the resolutions and the issues behind the resolutions. The two that are vitally important for Boomers over 50 and young Seniors are Resolutions 11 and 12. These two resolutions deal solely with the issues of age discrimination and training for older workers. As you'll note, many of these topics and issues have been the subject of many of this blog's postings and is the focus of the Gen Plus work site. I've reprinted the issues in their entirety below.

Resolution 11

TITLE: Retention of Older Workers

An aging population in combination with a falling fertility rate diminishes the size of the national workforce. The impending retirement of the Baby Boom generation can have compounding effects, which destabilize the overall strength of the economy. Employers will lose many experienced workers, and likely face skill gaps in their workforce. Meanwhile, pressures on the Social Security and Medicare programs will increase while tax funds for the programs will decrease.

Currently, federal laws are barriers to keeping older workers in the workforce because they discourage employers from using flexible employment arrangements that encourage older workers to stay employed.

Furthermore, workplace discrimination involving Americans of older age and persons with physical, sensory, and neurological impairments related to chronic illness and disability is increasing according to published scientific research studies. Strategies to prevent age discrimination from affecting opportunities for older workers are needed. While the Americans with Disabilities Act outlaws discrimination in employment on the basis of disability, the labor force participation rate continues around 32% for people with disabilities and 81% for those without disabilities.

Remove Barriers to the Retention and Hiring of Older Workers, Including Age Discrimination.

Resolution 12

TITLE: Incentives for Older Workers

Available evidence suggests older workers receive less employment training than younger workers. While there have been successful programs targeted at older workers, more can be done to help workers remain in the workforce, particularly low-wage workers. Studies show that older workers with more updated computer skills may be less likely to retire and more likely to stay in the workforce. In addition, there are a number of economic, legal and institutional barriers to providing incentives to older workers to stay in the workforce. Some of these barriers could be overcome by including more flexible employment arrangements
like phased retirement. To expand the reach of programs like phased retirement, traditional thinking about older workers needs to change and laws that regulate retirement and employee benefits should be reexamined.

Older workers are valuable additions to the workforce. In the role of mentor to younger workers, and as invaluable sources of knowledge, older workers contribute significantly to a successful workplace. Employers need to be made aware of the value of older workers through education campaigns. They should also be educated about the impact of a declining pool of labor that can lead to prospective skill shortages.

Promote Incentives for Older Workers to Continue Working and Improve Employment Training and Retraining Programs to Better Serve Older Workers.


(excerpt from the report on the White House Conference on Aging 2005)
Washington, DC, December 13, 2005


Early tallies are in following Monday's voting by more than 2,000 delegates attending the 2005 White House Conference on Aging.
Delegates were asked to select 50 resolutions from a list of 73. The original list was developed in the weeks and months leading up to the WHCoA. That list can be viewed at
The selection of the top 50 resolutions is seen as vitally important in that the chosen issues will form the core basis for federal lawmakers and other government officials as they craft future policies affecting the nation's seniors.
While an official count is not yet available, preliminary results show the following to be the top 50 choices of WHCoA delegates who voted during Monday's balloting:
Res. 1: Provide Financial and Other Economic Incentives and Policy Changes to
Encourage and Facilitate Increased Retirement Savings.
Res. 4: Establish Principles to Strengthen Social Security.
Res. 5: Foster Innovations in Financing Long-Term Care Services to Increase Options Available to Consumers.
Res. 7: Strengthen Law Enforcement Efforts at the Federal, State, and Local Level to Investigate and Prosecute Cases of Elder Financial Crime.
Res. 9: Modernize the Supplemental Security Income Program.
Res. 10: Strengthen the Social Security Disability Insurance Program.
Res. 11: Remove Barriers to the Retention and Hiring of Older Workers, Including Age Discrimination.
Res. 12: Promote Incentives for Older Workers to Continue Working and Improve Employment Training and Retraining Programs to Better Serve Older Workers.
Res. 14: Expand Opportunities for Developing Innovative Housing Designs for Seniors' Needs.
Res. 15: Encourage Redesign of Senior Centers for Broad Appeal and Community Participation.
Res. 17: Reauthorize The Older Americans Act Within The First Six Months Following the 2005 White House Conference On Aging.
Res. 18: Encourage Community Designs to Promote Livable Communities that Enable Aging in Place.
Res. 19: Create a National Strategy for Promoting Elder Justice Through the Prevention and Prosecution of Elder Abuse.
Res. 21: Support Older Drivers to Retain Mobility and Independence through Strategies to Continue Safe Driving.
Res. 22: Ensure That Older Americans Have Transportation Options to Retain Their Mobility and Independence.
Res. 23: Enhance the Availability of Housing for Older Americans.
Res. 24: Enhance the Affordability of Housing for Older Americans.
Res. 25: Encourage the Development of a Coordinated Federal, State, and Local Emergency Response Plan For Seniors in the Event of Public Health Emergencies or Disasters.
Res. 26: Support Older Adult Caregivers Raising Their Relatives' Children.
Res. 28: Promote Economic Development Policies that Respond to the Unique Needs of Rural Seniors.
Res. 29: Promote Enrollment of Seniors into the Medicare Prescription Drug Program.
Res. 30: Develop a Coordinated, Comprehensive Long-Term Care Strategy by Supporting Public and Private Sector Initiatives that Address Financing, Choice, Quality, Service Delivery, and the Paid and Unpaid Workforce.
Res. 31: Apply Evidence Based Research to the Delivery of Health and Social Services Where Appropriate.
Res. 32: Evaluate Payment and Coordination Policies in the Geriatric Healthcare Continuum to Ensure Continuity of Care.
Res. 33: Promote the Importance of Nutrition in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and Management.
Res. 34: Improve The Health And Quality Of Life Of Older Americans Through Disease Management And Chronic Care Coordination.
Res. 36: Improve Recognition, Assessment, and Treatment of Mental Illness and Depression Among Older Americans.
Res. 37: Prevent Disease and Promote Healthier Lifestyles Through Educating Providers and Consumers on Consumer Healthcare.
Res. 39: Improve Health Decision Making Through Promotion of Health Education, Health Literacy and Cultural Competency.
Res. 40: Attain Adequate Numbers of Healthcare Personnel in All Professions Who are Skilled, Culturally Competent and Specialized in Geriatrics.
Res. 41: Support Geriatric Education And Training For All Healthcare Professionals, Paraprofessionals, Health Profession Students and Direct Care Workers.
Res. 42: Promote Innovative Models of Non-Institutional Long-Term Care.
Res. 43: Ensure Appropriate Care for Seniors with Disabilities.
Res. 44: Reduce Healthcare Disparities Among Minorities by Developing Strategies to Prevent Disease, Promote Health and Deliver Appropriate Care and Wellness.
Res. 46: Promote Innovative Evidence-Based and Practice-Based Medical and Aging Research.
Res. 47: Encourage Appropriate Sharing Of Healthcare Information Across Multiple Management Systems.
Res. 48: Ensure Appropriate Recognition and Care For Veterans Across All Healthcare Settings.
Res. 50: Strengthen and Improve the Medicaid Program for Seniors.
Res. 51: Strengthen and Improve the Medicare Program.
Res. 52: Educate Americans on End of Life Issues.
Res. 53: Improve Access to Care for Older Adults Living in Rural Areas.
Res. 55: Improve Patient Advocacy to Assist Patients in and Across All Care Settings.
Res. 56: Develop a National Strategy for Promoting New and Meaningful Volunteer Activities and Civic Engagements for Current and Future Seniors.
Res. 59: Reauthorize the National and Community Service Act to Expand Opportunities for Volunteer and Civic Engagement Activities.
Res. 61: Promote the Integration of Health and Aging Services to Improve Access and Quality of Care for Older Americans.
Res. 62: Develop Incentives to Encourage the Expansion of Appropriate Use of Health Information Technology.
Res. 67: Develop a National Strategy for Supporting Informal Caregivers of Seniors to Enable Adequate Quality and Supply of Services.
Res. 69: Implement a Strategy and Plan for Accountability to Sustain the Momentum, Public Visibility and Oversight of the Implementation of 2005 WHCoA Resolutions.
Res. 71: Improve State- and Local-Based Integrated Delivery Systems to Meet 21st Century Needs of Seniors.
Res. 72: Review Alignment of Government Programs That Deliver Services to Older Americans.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Boomer Plus, Aging Boomer, 50 Plusser, Young Senior

In the marketing and media worlds, there is a clear distinction between aging Boomers and Seniors. Boomers, born between 1946 and 1965 and now, at the end of 2005, range in age from about 41 to 59 years old. Boomers are a nice, chunky, easily defined group that is gaining momentum every day.

Our Gen Plus audience and members, are between 50 and 65, and so don't fit neatly into the classifications that are generally understood in the marketplace. Some of you are older than 65, but the majority are, in fact, Boomers. Those of you older than 59, from 60 - 65, are technically not Boomers. You are all 50 plussers but span two distinct, generally accepted, market segments -- Boomers and Seniors.

And therein lies the rub. The greatest challenge right now, in America, is in defining this niche. President Bush is convening a Conference on Aging as we speak, to help address some of the issues that Boomers are about to face. Yet at the same time, this small niche -- of 60 - 65 year old seniors are still marketable, interested in working, and largely ignored. I know how it feels -- being in the gray zone of 50 - 65. I'm a mid-range Boomer and my own mother, a Senior, is still working at just shy of 70. While the bulk of Gen Plus members are Boomers, our young Seniors will not and cannot be ignored. Being smaller in numbers doesn't equate to offering less to the world. Boomers over 50 and young Seniors are horses of a different color...but to my mind, they are both stallions ready to burst back onto the job scene if given the chance.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Hey 20-something. Hello 30-something.

Xmas is coming. Chanukah is coming. Kwanza is coming. The holidays are upon us and you are wondering if Dad can bear to get one more tie this year, right? Can Mom handle one more pair of fuzzy slippers, right?

Well, at Gen Plus, we'd like you to do something just a bit different this year.

Find that 50-plus someone in your life, who has:

  • written a book and never seen it properly distributed;
  • created a kitchen doo-hickey, manufactured 2ooo of them and has 1954 left in stock;
  • developed a line of clothing and has limited distribution;
  • makes handmade jewellery;
  • paints inspiring watercolors and would love to sell some of them;
  • has 35 solar-powered whatchamacallits sitting in the garage;
  • knits a mean fluffy scarf

And then point them to us. We are promoting, fostering, pushing, product created and invented by 50-plussers. We'd be proud to support their efforts. So get in touch. We're happy to talk about how to get their products featured on our site.

Cool present, don't you think?

Happy Holidays.

Getting Ready for 2006

Employers have new budgets for 2006, more positions open and friendly to 50 plussers, mature adults and savvy seniors. Gen Plus has a backlog of jobs that will be hitting Job Search over the next few weeks.

So keep visiting often and keep up your search.

Just because the year is winding down, doesn't mean that you should!

Quick tip: read the business sections for new announcement postings and that will give you a quick idea of which company has just lost a heavy hitter.

Interested in jobs at a specific company? Let us know and we'll work to get them on board!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

What's in the Works for 2006?

Keep your eyes posted on our Shop section. We've got some nifty new products coming out for 2006, all created by 50-plussers!

Also on the Gen Plus product end, a video/DVD that will knock your socks off. To get announcements and monthly newsletter, go to Gen Plus and sign up for your free general membership. We'll keep you informed. Promise.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

2 Plus to 50 Plus

It's a beautiful Saturday morning in LA. Nippy, fall weather with the promise of sunny lunchtime warmth. Falling leaves in the valley, crunching under my feet remind me of fall on the East Coast....sort of.

I'm watching my 2 year old niece this gorgeous morning, while her mother tests for her green belt. Her mother is 45. She plans on getting her black belt before she is 47. I suspect she'll be exhibiting at 50. Her other child, 7 years old, has his orange belt. It's kind of a mom-son bonding thing. Today she gets her black uniform...which puts her in the league of "serious" Karate students around the world. Personally, I'm impressed, that at 45 she decided to take up the discipline. I'm a bit older, approaching 50 plus, and seem to be afraid of getting hurt. But that's another story.

So, I'm here with this scrumptious 2-year old, still running all over the place with her baby fat holding on, making her precocious and adorable all at the same time. I am also realizing that, according to Ray Kurzweil (see Corinne Copnick's review of his book, Singularity), she is the first generation that has the possibility of living to 1,000 years. No, not a typo. 1,000 years. In my lifetime, I may have the benefit of a diabetes vaccine, certainly replacement joints that will fuse with my bones and become my new joints (hips, knees), and see the possibility of living to 125 years. But this little one, this 2-year old promise, may see 1,000 years. To me, mind-boggling. But as artificial intelligence evolves, so too, according to Kurzwiel, will integration with our biology. Remember the 6 Million Dollar Man? Apparently, no longer so far off.

And with the knowledge that I currently have, and the direction that I choose to take, I wonder, truly wonder, what could I accomplish in 1000 years if I had that long to unleash my dreams and energy? 50 Plus would become 700 Plus! Or 950-Plus. And I'd have 699 years to plan for my 300 year retirement.

I would, in fact, get to travel to every country in the world, and sign up for my chance to travel to Mars. I could write my book, direct my movie, write a 4000 page epic memoir. But that's OK...because those who purchased it, could read it over 10 years! I'd finally get to figure out how to solve a Rubik's cube. And I wouldn't mind, quite so much, waiting 30 minutes to speak to a Sprint customer service representative. Who would be 479 years old and, frankly, lacking in life experience.

Don't you love it? The promise of 2 years old.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Aging Workforce: AESC Members Respond

Reprinted from the AESC website

The Aging Workforce is a hot topic and one in which AESC member firms and their clients are actively engaged.

The Electronic Recruiting Exchange recently published an article titled "The New Generation of Older Workers". Please
click here to read the full article. Here there is reference to an article published in BusinessWeek titled "Old. Smart. Productive". Please click here to see this article.

In response to these articles, the AESC asked its members to discuss the issues surrounding the aging workforce and the implications that it has on executive search and future hiring. Here’s what they had to say:

I agree with the article. People do want to work longer. Those who have
retired are increasingly candidates for searches. I remind myself to track
down the best, wherever they are or whatever they are doing (overseas or
retired). The search firm does have to "make it happen." In a recent
case the candidate didn’t "have to" work; he was bored and missed the
camaraderie, and my client had a hard time with that concept, they wanted someone who needed the pay check. I was told recently that on Wall Street you are dead if you are over 55. So I believe that while I see "retired" people being
brought back in for top leadership roles that are hard to fill, it is only happening when there are less competent younger people around. The demand for temporary workers, at a senior level, will increase. The question for the buyer of the service is how to vet these candidates.

Linda Bialecki, Bialecki Inc.

I see Bridgestar's role in the future as seeking the right skills at the right
time to do the job to further the mission of a nonprofit. One tangible thing
that we're already seeing is that senior people sometimes want to build their
second career differently than their corporate/for-profit career. For example,
they may not want a 50 hour per week job - but perhaps the nonprofit needs very
high level CFO skills only 50% of the time and couldn't afford someone like that
on a 100% salary anyway. I hope that we'll play a role in helping organizations
figure out how to successfully integrate these people so that TOGETHER they
reach the organization's goals and potential.
Kathleen Yazbak-Chartier, Bridgestar, An Initiative of The Bridgespan Group

Brainpower is in short supply, which makes identifying, attracting, and
retaining it a core recruitment challenge. We've found no correlation between
brainpower and age. In our work, we look at values, brainpower, and ability to
lead and execute as the core criteria for selection. If you're fortunate to find
that combination in a candidate, who cares about what age they come packaged
J. Kevin Day, Day & Associates

Given that unemployment is low, it is fair to assume that there will be a
continuing demand for the skills of experienced and well educated boomers so
that they can work into what used to be considered retirement years.
There are two complicating factors which might make this less easy than it appears. These are:

Hidden age discrimination, especially from the high tech industry, where many of the industry leaders are very young. In some cases this may be as simple as not relating well to those of a different generation in their personal style and general outside interests. The trend to import bright younger employees into this field from Asia coupled with off-shoring of much IT work to locations where there is a large and growing supply of well educated and low cost technical skills, will diminish the demand for experienced baby boomers and reduce their pay potential through price competition.

On the other hand there are a number of opportunity areas:
Smaller firms who cannot afford to employ full time well-experienced technology managers, but need broader experience and judgment than might be available from raw recruits can be one opportunity area, especially for part time or consultancy work.

Interim management opportunities are often well served by such experienced people. They may be overqualified for the job, but often their broad experience and flexibility can be a great asset here. There are young professional interim managers too, but there is room for more including those who have kept their skills up to date, from the boomer generation, as this is a growing sector.

For those of an entrepreneurial bent, there are opportunities to establish their own businesses, to use their wide experience in consultancy or software development. If the latter is the choice, niche areas, less prone to off-shoring, need to be the focus.

Lastly, for those with high level experience as CEOs, or CTOs, there may be opportunities on Boards of mid-sized corporations or even larger firms, depending on their individual profiles. Many boards have age limits, but sustaining these is becoming increasingly difficult as the gray lobby is ever more powerful and discrimination suits more threatening.

The great news is that more and more firms are recognizing the power in this experienced talent pool. We are often asked to include more boomer candidates, as they have wide experience, and often work very effectively with less absences and distractions. The essential things for boomers wanting to work on are: to be
flexible, never stop learning and to maintain high energy and openness to new
ideas and ways of working.

Chris Clarke, Boyden Global Executive Search

Source: AESC Marketing