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, April 22, 2006

Disconnected and discombobulated

Aye, so here is the rub, as our good friend Bill would have said. We have a creeping Catch-22 on the horizon...or is it the elephant in the room?

It is already accepted by economists and sociologists that there will be a depletion of experienced managers to an unprecedented degree in the coming decade as millions of Boomers willingly or "unwillingly" retire. The willingly is less of the problem for the Boomers and more of the problem for recruiters and employers.

But in the "unwillingly" lies a complex dilemna of monumental proportions. Because of labor laws that were written to protect a growing work force decades ago, it is now impossible for an employee to both draw pension and work for the same company at the same time. By law, when an employee reaches the accepted age of retirement for that pension plan, they must start drawing from it. At the same time, they must no longer be employed by the holder of the pension fund.

What that has caused already and will cause to become epidemic, is that older workers will have to no choice but to retire from their current employers in order to draw pension and then either work for them on contract as independants, or, in a scarier model, work for competitors who would be able to hire them on as regular employees, or in an even scarier scenario, be cut from the workforce entirely taking their much needed savvy and experience with them...with no younger replacements in sight. And in the scariest model, not allow those workers who need to continue to work for income to remain in the workplace.

The problem is already here and in five years will start to become a workforce pandemic as Boomers start to turn 65 at a rate of one every eight minutes. That elephant is sure taking up a lot of space in the room. Wonder when legislators will really notice and take the immediate measures badly needed to bring law up to date with social advancement? When a mouse enters the room?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Jimi who?

My mother doesn't know exactly who Jimi Hendrix was. My mother, an intelligent, well-read, politically-savvy, insightful and articulate genius, really is not sure who Jimi was. Why? Because while Hendrix was reinventing electric guitar, my mother was raising four children under the age of five years old. While the sixties revolution was in full swing, my mother was coaxing us from Romper Room to the bathroom with barely a moment for self anything.

The essence of many 50 plussers was the effects of the sixties and seventies on our psyche, our motivations and our aspirations. However, I couldn't help but make a parallel with this next phase...the 50 plus phase. The information revolution is to Gen Y what the boomer revolution was to us. A new way of communication. New language, new fashion, new love, mind expansion. Gen Y also has a new language -- instant messaging and email. New fashion -- gang banger and vintage (that would be the 1980's vintage, thank you very much). New love --cyberdating, myspace predatation. Mind expansion -- information explosion.

But just as my mother isn't quite sure who Jimi was, we aren't exactly sure what Gen Y is talking about either. (And if you don't know about MySpace, then that would emphasize the point!)

When Jimi played, he couldn't read music, he couldn't write music...but he could play. With his teeth, behind his back, with waawaa pedals, with his mind. His fingers and the instrument were one.

When our youth is on the computer, their language is cyberspace. Their information is peer-driven. Their community is online. They email rather than read. And we just don't get it. But they are no different than we were. They are redefining communication for the next generations to come. Just like Hendrix defined music for a generation and opened a whole world of different possibilities.

You cannot be in the job market at 50 plus and stay in the past. And yes, the 80's are vintage. Dot com is dot done. The millenium is more than a half-decade done in. So if you are not up to speed on all things cyber, then it is time to re-educate yourself. Get on the job boards. Redo your resumes. Investigate what Gen Y'ers are doing to get themselves noticed. And do more. Get out your guitar and play your song. Jimi would nod. Gen Y would say "hey".

Monday, April 10, 2006

Human Resources Association Reports on Importance of 50 Plus Contribution

50 plus is heading up out from under the radar. With each passing week, more and more articles appear to point out the looming loss to society as we know it as our workforce continues to age. Beth McConnell, associate editor for HR News, the online magazine of the Society for Human Resource Management, penned an information-packed article on what the impact of loss of knowledge will have on the very fabric of the US economy over the next decade. For the full article, click here.

Ms. McConnell reports on a lecture by David DeLong, author of Lost Knowledge: Confronting the Threat of an Aging Workforce, at the second annual benefits symposium hosted by MetLife, held April 3 in Washington, D.C.

DeLong reports not only on those sectors that will be hardest hit by retiring workers (engineering, healthcare) but the loss of institutional knowledge that may cripple some companies. Additionally, he shares some great statistics on the 50 plus demographic, based on his study,“Living Longer, Working Longer", where he polled 2,719 respondents between the ages of 55 and 70.

Delong: “When we conducted the study, we found that mature workers are struggling to balance the conflicting pressures of income security, post-retirement-age employment and, often, age discrimination—perceived or real—as they look for a sense of security and meaning in their ‘retirement’ years.”

Some of his findings:

Working or looking for work -

  • 78 percent of respondents age 55-59
  • 60 percent of 60 to 65-year-olds
  • 37 percent of 66 to 70-year-olds

Drivers for the “working retired” -

  • looking for meaningful activity
  • try something new and different
  • financial necessity: 18 percent of baby boom workers age 55-59 report they expect to have no access to retirement benefits, such as pension or 401(k), when they stop working

A solid study and worth a look.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Boomer Moonlighting

A most wonderful article to share today. This one is from way back in November, but it is worth sharing, even several months later. Wall Street Journal news editor, George Anders, published an enlightening piece on...well...moonlighting at mid-later career. For the full article click here.

In our youth, looking at our parents taking on a second job, or a sideline, was almost always an evil necessity...a marker of lack of financial success in life. As we rushed through the 80's and into the 90's, we really gave definition to the aggressive desires and goals of Yuppie-dom. And now, in later career, and nearing retirement age, many of us are creating second, or adjunct, careers -- no longer out of necessity, but of desire.

Mr. Anders takes a good look at what it means to the ego to enjoy the freshness and boost of creating a business or taking on a second job in later life. A lovely read.