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

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Goodbye 2007 and Hello 2008

I always find myself conflicted at the end of a year -- nostalgic for the time that has passed and optimistic about the year ahead. This year is no different. So, to avoid nostalgia completely, I thought I'd go a bit off track for the end of 2007 and share some of my exciting resolutions for 2008.

Resolution #1:
Eat a lot of chocolate.

Resolution #2:
Find creative ways to burn off more calories throughout the day in order to eat more chocolate (for e.g., I sit on a yoga ball while at the computer, which makes me believe that I'm burning calories, while strengthening my core, and ergo, an extra 350 calories per day to indulge. Frankly, I think I'm only burning 5 extra calories for all the balancing, but what's 345 calories difference anyway?)

Resolution #3:
Eat chocolate in smaller amounts to allow for a higher frequency of consumption.

Resolution #4:
Make many more friends who love chocolate so we can indulge in our guilty pleasures guilt-free.

Resolution #5:
What the heck...just eat chocolate.

Hope you all have a great New Year ahead and thanks for sticking with me over the past few years. Your comments, emails and encouragement are what keep me focused on publicizing the challenges facing Boomers and 50 Plussers.

Off to eat some English chocolate now. Ta.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Gen Y reshaping the employment game

An interesting article by CNN writer, Anthony Balderrama, which shares some insights into how Gen Y is affecting employment practices caught my eye today, particularly in light of my post earlier this week on multi-generational workspaces.

A significant number of employers are looking at ways to attract and retain the always-on-the-move Gen Yers demanding higher salaries, work/life balance, job flexibility and top tier technology. The overall technological savvy of this generation is too compelling for employers to ignore. According to a recent Careerbuilder survey:

Fifteen percent of employers reported modifying their policies in order to
appease their Gen Y employees. Of those employers who made changes, 57 percent
implemented more flexible work schedules and 33 percent created new recognition
programs.


From what I can see, we are still a good five years away from employers realizing that they have a lot of transient talent, but little longevity, and even less in dependability, general management or supervisory skill sets. I'm looking for a hint of another 15% of employers who decide to aggressively and proactively target 50 plussers specifically for those experience-heavy requirements.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Looking ahead to 2008

I love, love, love this time of year. The air is crisp in California, life simultaneously speeds up and slows down over the week between Christmas and New Year's, and just like "spring clean", I go through a "year-end clean up."

Going through some old magazines, I pulled out one that had an intriguing article that I hadn't written about, but seems very appropriate going into 2008. The magazine, Icon, the magazine of the American Society of Interior Designers, focuses on the creative direction of designers, looking at trends and innovations in American design. In the January/ February 2007 issue, there was a solid article on redefining the workplace based on generational work habits and preferences. Creatives always tend to be ahead of the trend, because they invent and reinvent by picking up on change -- or a need to change or progress, which inspires their creativity.

I haven't been able to source a link to the article " Workplaces That Span Generations" by Michael Berens, but there were some creative observations that translate directly to the changing face of the workforce. Were these observations ahead of trend? Yes. Is the workforce slowly, slowly shifting in a way that recognizes these trends? Barely. But starting. Here is what Berens, director of research and knowledge resources for ASID, observed:

From Bureau of Labor statistics, the workforce is working longer and the age spread between younger and older workers is growing from 30 - 35 years to upwards of 40 years. In the next ten years the 55 plus age group of workers will increase by 50% whereas only by 5 - 10% in the younger age categories.

What are the age cohorts or demographics? Traditionals (my mom -- born and raised around the World Wars -- 1900 - 1945), Baby Boomers (me -- born between 1946 and 1964), Generation X (Gen X - my younger cousins -- born 1965 - 1980) and the Millenials (also called Generation Y or Gen Y, born 1981 - 1999...my daughter was born in 2000, but I consider her a millenial.) Each of these demographics enjoys very specific types of work values and styles of work. In a nutshell, the traditional is the typical "company" worker, who responds to power of position. Boomer is competitive (we know that) and values performance and symbols of recognition. Gen X distrusts institutional structure and heavily values work/life balance. Gen Y is "wired" but accessible. Wants to make a difference doing "value" work, expects good technology and likes to socialize.

The new direction in design is to create work space that respects these values and the drivers that push each group. So, for example, a private office wasn't as important to a younger worker as overall office design. Gen Y'ers find their privacy behind iPods and earbuds, but still crave interaction and direction. Traditionals and Boomers value office space. So the most creative designers are showing employees that they are valued by creating flexibility in the workplace design that reflects the flexibility that workers are looking for. Community area is increasingly important for interaction and workplace design looks for ways to integrate younger and older workers, who benefit from the best that each demographic has to offer. Some examples include wired breakrooms (think corporate Starbucks) where workers can work, meet and socialize with their laptops. Ergonomics (and privacy) are important for older workers, so ergonomic design is a choice -- including things like adjustable workstations, keyboards, lighting and surfaces...think good chairs, larger monitors and ways to address hand and neck problems.

Designers have recognized that they can do their best by bringing the generations together. Now it is up to employers to catch up and do their best, by proactively seeking out the 50 plus employee.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ignites.com Includes Gen Plus Among Social Networking Category for 50 Plus

TIAA-Cref Crafts Boomer Social Networking Site

Article published on Dec 19, 2007

By Hannah Glover

TIAA-Cref hopes to make a connection with its baby boomer clients by encouraging its retirement plan participants to make connections with each other.In February, the firm plans to invite 20,000 customers over the age of 50 to participate in a social networking site, Myretirement.org.Rather than focus strictly on investments for financial planning, participants will be invited to post their musings across various channels including family and life, health and fitness, travel and relocation, work and money, volunteering and social activism and “redefining retirement.”Each area will be moderated by a “Role Model,” or a retired TIAA-Cref customer whom the company has deemed to be an expert. About 500,000 of the 3.3 million TIAA-Cref customers currently collect retirement income, according to the company.And while TIAA-Cref compliance representatives will also monitor the site, none of its products or services will be advertised, according to Jamie DePeau, senior vice president of marketing at the firm. The goal, she says, is to help TIAA-Cref customers adapt to the ever-changing concept of retirement and to present a holistic set of tools.“We have a longstanding relationship with these people and we are interested in building a lifelong relationship,” she says.Building such relationships can also engender loyalty, analysts agree, potentially resulting in assets rolling out of the retirement plans into the retail product line. More importantly, analysts agree that the social networking site is a savvy use of the interactive marketing opportunities unique to the Internet, and they expect other firms to soon follow suit.“Consumers like to be empowered,” says Dennis Gallant, principal and founder of Gallant Distribution Consulting. Consumers’ expectations have been shaped by their experience in the retail market place, where the explosion of blogs and other online tools has created a forum for people to exchange their views on practically everything.The Internet has diluted the power of the consumer brand, says Ray Villares, interactive marketing managing director at Acquity Group, a Chicago-based digital marketing firm.Companies that provide a portal that speaks to consumers’ needs and offers objective or peer-generated advice will have an advantage, he says. “It’s about convenience,” Villares says. “Your website can subliminally communicate how customer-oriented you are.”The more complex the topic, the more assistance and feedback people crave, and there are few topics more nerve-racking or complicated than figuring out how to spend — and finance — the rest of one’s life, Gallant says.TIAA-Cref’s customer base lends itself naturally to such a community-driven mind-set, since the company’s 90-year heritage comes from delivering retirement plans at low cost to educational institutions and nonprofits, he says. To help engender that close-knit sense, TIAA-Cref plans to recruit heavily among participants in Lexington, Ky., Pittsburgh, Pa., and Ann Arbor, Mich., according to company spokeswoman Abby Cohen.TIAA-Cref has faced its challenges in attracting new assets, says Morningstar analyst Christopher Davis. Despite efforts to broaden its retail reach, most of the company’s $430 billion under management is locked into qualified retirement plans. Competitive pressures in the nonprofit retirement plan space from companies such as Vanguard and T. Rowe Price, along with outflows, subpar performance and the loss of some large state-sponsored 529 college saving plans programs, have proven to be difficult challenges for TIAA-Cref.Still, Davis notes, while the company has struggled to boost its retail brand recognition, its retirement plan customers consider the company “one of the good guys” and “an advocate.”By and large, asset managers have underutilized such Web 2.0 tools, says Lee Kowarski, a managing director at consultancy kasina.“The idea of community is so important, particularly around retirement planning,” he says. Although social networking may be most readily associated with the school-age set, Kowarski says those over 50 years of age are online too.In fact, of the 34.7 million Americans between 50 and 64 years old who went online last month, a whopping 20.2 million of them visited social networking sites, according to data from comScore, a Chicago-based firm that tracks online consumer behavior.On average in November, each of those boomers spent 142.8 minutes, or nearly two and a half hours, on such sites, comScore data show.Sites such as AgingHipsters.com3, GenPlus4, IRememberJFK.com5 and Saga Zone6 each testify to the appeal of social networking among boomers. Eons.com7, for example, has registered 600,000 users since it launched in July of 2006, according to a company spokesman.It’s not only boomers who are motivated by peer communication and online communities. FRC research shows that retirees and those over the age of 50 command about 59% of the industry’s marketing attentions when it comes to retirement income planning. Meanwhile only 12% of such efforts are geared toward those between 30 and 40 years old, and 7% at those under 30.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Amy Zuckerman profiled on CNN

Lots of hullaballoo this past week over the very important survey that Amy and I put together to get some stats on the virtual business trend and careers for Boomers and 50 Plus. We teamed up with EONS, who featured the survey on their home page over the weekend and now have it installed on my Eons group. I encourage you to make yourself heard...your voice counts.

And so does Amy's...she was profiled on CNN -- Living. To learn more about the concepts that are shaping and changing the workforce, read the article!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Blogging Boomers Carnival #50

Wow. BBC 50. How can a year have come and gone so quickly? Well, it is my honor (honour for my Canadian, UK and Oz readers!) to be this week's host site for the Blogging Boomers Carnival and bring you the last Carnival for 2007! When we started posting, in carnival format, last year, we didn't know what would happen. Most of the original group are still here (and still in fine form) and we've added in a few other fantastic bloggers to our carnival over the year. If you've never enjoyed a carnival before, then you are in for a treat this week. Lots of delicious posts from some of the most interesting, informed, and invested boomer bloggers around. Click on the links and see what is being written about. If you like a particular blogger, why not subscribe to their feed and get to know them even better? Here goes -- in no particular order:

Don't Gel Yet takes a peek at Manhattan travel costs and idiosyncrasies around the holidays. More smart-aleck than anything else...so enjoy it!


Life Two tells us that at times it may drive you crazy, but according to researchers, marriage can make you smarter.

With the Holiday season upon us, The Wastrel Show reminds us that getting back to basics just may be the low- cost alternative to gift giving we need right now.

Your Drum has a humorous video that pokes fun at baby boomers set to "Born To be Wild." You'll have a chuckle and sadly, wonder how much of it is true.

Can you believe that Dustin Hoffman turned 70 this year? How about Loretta 'Hot Lips Houlihan' Swit? Or Bill Cosby? Head over to Contemporary Retirement to see who else turned 70 in 2007 and to see if you can tell who's had a little 'work' done and who hasn't...

If you're planning on asking Santa for a little bling bling this Christmas then hop on over to Fabulous after 40, where The Glam Gals have all the news about the hottest trends in fine jewelry.

Despite boomers' claims of wanting to help society, is it possible most would rather retire to a life of travel and golf? So Baby Boomer sets us straight!

If you just can't get enough...did you know that there are a ton of websites dedicated solely to baby boomers? The Boomer Chronicles tells you all about them.

And finally, in Gen Plus news, two important items this past week -- the first is the excitement in the air over the Kelly Services pilot program with Gen Plus, targeting the 50 plus jobseeker; and second, an exciting and important survey in collaboration with EONS.

On behalf of all the Blogging Boomers, happy belated Chanukah, a Merry Christmas, festive holidays to all and a happy, happy New Year!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Amy Zuckerman and Wendy Spiegel join forces: New national survey on Eons

I'm very pleased to announce that after some serious trendwatching, Amy Zuckerman (of A-Z International) and I have put together a relevant survey on what our demographic is thinking regarding their future careers and the virtual business trend. We teamed up with Eons to get the word out and the survey is picking up interest. It features this weekend and over the next couple of weeks on Eons. Please stop by and make your voice heard. Here is the intro to the survey:

Millions of Americans work out of home or small rental offices utilizing technology to drive their work or business. How many are doing so is unknown as the U.S. Census Bureau has not changed its questions to track the virtual business trend. To do so requires a Congressional mandate, and to date no one in Congress has made public their aim to champion this issue.This may change soon as the New York Times Magazine and NPR recently put a focus on the home-based working population, with Times writer Matt Bai in early November challenging the 2008 presidential candidates to focus on the needs of the growing number of home-based business owners. What he missed was the larger trend – the rise of the virtual work place -- of which home-based entrepreneurs are just a percentage.
Working virtually means operating a business in a small-office setting with technology as a key support mechanism.Given that many people working virtually are Boomers, EONS has teamed up with Amy Zuckerman, the EONS Virtual Business manager and Wendy Spiegel, the EONS Careers for Boomers and 50+ manager, to develop a survey to gather data on the virtual work place and shed some light on Boomer career ambitions. Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey so we can collect missing data, and inform the public. Without data from you on your work styles and retirement plans neither government or service providers -- from homebuilders to broadband providers, health insurers to technology vendors -- can meet your needs.

7 year itch + social philanthropy = jobs for 50 plussers!

I've got the 7 year itch...that's right...I'm 48 1/2...turning 49 within a few short months. That is an exponential "7". 7 squared. 7 x 7. Am I going to buy a new car? Yup. Try to get into better shape? Yup. Make some exponential changes in my life this year? Yup.

I don't know what it is about 7. This past summer, on July 7, 2007 (7/7/7) more people chose to get married than on any other day in recorded history (on a Saturday, the seventh day of the week and many tried for 7:00 pm.) Lucky 7, tripled -- or even quadrupled!

So, this year, in July, I turn 7 x 7. One year away from the big 5-0 (which I am already celebrating in my advocacy of all things 50 plus).

The big question is where is the itch going to take me? Am I going to uproot myself and family and head to a new city for new adventures? Travel to China, finally? I'm not sure, but I feel the wave.

My most compelling itch lies in my desire and need to give back -- in my case, continuing my social efforts on behalf of Gen Plussers (Boomers and 50 plussers) and their need to find meaningful employment opportunities.

And it turns out I'm not so unusual. A colleague passed along an article that was in last week's Business Week, by Toddi Gunther, an interview with Marc Freedman's efforts through think tank Civic Ventures.

My take-away from the article was that, in Freedman's view, Boomers and 50 plussers are determined to continue to find meaning through their social philanthropy -- i.e. giving back to the community -- whether through the type of work they choose to do, the organizations they are involved in, the continued education they take onboard. Freedman has coined the term "encore" careers, which really means the jobs you take on in your continued stages of career choice/development/necessity (!)

How do you define an encore career?
It's when someone can earn income, find new meaning, and use accumulated experience in ways that have a positive impact on society. At the same time, encore careers fill a set of talent shortages that threaten to compromise our education and health-care systems. They represent the best use of the accumulated experience of the baby-boomer population.
Why do you use the term only in the context of
give-back jobs?

We know from surveys that a significant percentage of boomers is already thinking about working in an area of the social sector. Our challenge is to take all of those people and get them jobs.
This resonates with me is because of the efforts (and strides) Gen Plus has been making in connecting the 50-plus friendly employer with the 50 -plus jobseeker. One case in point is our new and very exciting collaboration with Kelly Services (head to our work site for more details or sign up as a jobseeker to look up the job postings!) Not only is Kelly Educational Services focusing in on substitute teaching positions as a viable option for transition or permanent career choices, but according to their Senior Recruiting Specialist:

We see many mature workers come to us because they want to feel that they are giving back and teaching fulfills that.

You may not realize it but you might already meet most of the qualifications to be a substitute teacher, and from folks I know who take on teaching as a career choice, they find it highly rewarding, both emotionally and financially.

If you live in any of these regions, there are jobs posted that may appeal to you:


Los Angeles
Philadelphia
Washington DC
New York
Denver
Chicago
Orlando
Dallas
Houston
Los Angeles
San Francisco
New York
We are highly commited to the success of this pilot program and need you to make your voice heard. So go online, register as a jobseeker (all of this is free, by the way) and if you are interested in one of the Kelly Services jobs, make sure to apply. The recruiters are waiting to hear from you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Al Gore, Nobel, Going Green and Finding Jobs at 50 plus

I was listening to a snippet of Al Gore's acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize. His efforts on advocating for green actions to reduce and/or adapt to global warming are quite exceptional. A few things struck me.

1) He had to reinvent himself after a particularly hard fall. Not much can be more humbling or devastating than to lose a federal election in the way he did.

2) He has dedicated himself to the cause of our global environment.

3) He is 50 plus (he's 59.)


I have an idea just circling around in my head. I'm not sure where I'm going with it yet, but it definitely has to do with connecting 50 plus jobseekers, global warming, and green action to address the planetary crisis we are finding ourselves in.


Just a few thoughts:



There is a connection here. I've got my antennae up.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Blogging Boomers Carnival #49

Contemporary Retirement is this week's unretiring host for the Blogging Boomer's Carnival. Hop on over for some of the most interesting boomer snippets being posted on the web in the past week.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Air Car

I've been looking for the right car for me for the past year. I drive a luxury mini-van that happens to be fairly fuel-efficient and would love to move to an electric, hybrid or some sort of vehicle that is more "green" and also gives me the versatility I'm looking for in a mini-van.

I've found it. Not here yet, but MDI in France has developed The Air Car...a car that runs on compressed air under 30 mph and switches to fuel for higher speed driving. It is cute as a button AND comes in a "van" style (pictured above left is the Mini-Cat -- the tiny city version) similar to the SMART car (above right, which I fell in love with in Italy), although I like the MDI family version of the car, too (pictured below). 2, 4 and 6 cylinder version and at a sweet, sweet price -- well under $20K for the fully loaded versions. Coming out in summer 2008 in France and India. I'm on the wait list for the US.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Welcome Kelly Services -- Hello Jobs for 50 Plussers!

After several months of communication and discussion, Kelly Services is piloting a partner program with Gen Plus (www.genplususa.com) to target the 50 plus jobseeker. Over the next few months we'll be trying to match up job openings that are decidedly 50 plus favorable with jobseeker needs and help get you back into the market faster.

One area of particular interest is that of substitute teaching. You'll start to notice more and more postings cropping up on the Gen Plus site and you'll also be surprised at how easy it is to become a substitute teacher in many states.

Kelly Recruiters also engage in passive search and this morning, in our conference call, one of the questions came up about how to access resumes of our jobseekers. So head's up. If you haven't signed up (free) as a jobseeker on Gen Plus, please do so asap (www.genplususa.com/work.aspx). As well, if you have not posted your resume, please do so asap. Every minute you are not making yourself available is another minute wasted in your job search.

Kelly is looking for you. Don't disappoint them (or me!) Get online and start applying to the jobs posted on Gen Plus this week. I'll be posting on specific opportunities as they come up.

It is VERY hard to find employers who will open their doors to the 50 plus market. Kelly has a division dedicated specifically to the mature worker and they get a big vote from me for proactively helping to get this program together with Gen Plus.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Chaa...ching. Money talk, for women

I was unable to take part in a blogger news conference last week on the Pax World Women’s Equity Fund with Sujatha Avutu and Julie Fox Gorte. However I was delighted to get a few of my questions asked in my absense and here is the link for any of you who would like to get some top notch education first-hand (or should that be "cyber"hand?) The purpose of the news conference was to brief bloggers on issues surrounding investing strategies for women, making policy-aware investments and the nature of a mutual fund committed not only to the financial bottom line but to the ethical one as well.

For those of you who do not stay on top of what goes on in the financial world, this is a must-listen. This is a lively discussion and filled with fantastic information on social investing, sustainability, micro-investing and on and on. This is named a women's fund because their is a service focus on the gender needs of the client and the type of information that women must be aware of as they invest, however, the fund is open to all. I love these types of e-conferences. Bloggers really offer an exciting form of new media (vs. traditional media) -- they are not beholden to anyone other than their own personal mission or direction -- and as such they are determined to source the best information they can get for their readers. This conference is no exception.

Chappy Chanukah!

A very happy Chanukah to those of you who celebrate this sweet holiday and the lighting of the menorah.  Sadly, I'm allergic to white potato starch...but this year...it will be SWEET potato latkes (no allergy!) I'm very excited.  Check out this recipe.  Yum.  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/105919

My new media penpal

Last night I had a great privilege.  I got to meet a fellow blogger.  For many of you who are 100% time-committed to blogging, you may attend blogger symposiums and conferences, meet niche bloggers at niche events, like BlogHer, or spend time with other writers, journalists or techies who spend the majority of their time in the new media medium.

 

But, for me, a single mom, corporate executive by day and super-blogger and champion of Boomer and 50 plus by night, most of my interaction is, necessarily, online.  I’ve had the wonderful good fortune to make many new cyberfriends and develop business associations with like-minded bloggers.  We see each other’s pictures online, have rapid-fire exchanges of ideas, and meet up through online vehicles.

 

So when I have the chance to meet a fellow writer, blogger, advocate, in person…I am beside myself.  Occasionally a blogger will head to LA and because I do travel in my daytime world, I am in many cities across the US, so I tend to meet up with kindred spirits on the road.  Imagine my excitement when I got an email from a fellow blogger who, at the last minute, was coming to LA. 

 

And so, of course, we met up last evening.  Although it was the first time we had met in person, we were like little girls, curled up on an outdoor sofa at a Beverly Hills hotel, exchanging our thoughts, ideas, sharing links and diet Coke with Mac on lap!  Cynthia Samuels is a wonderful writer, free spirit and a breath of fresh air. Her blog travels from  Costco to Vietnam and on to Randy Newman!  The few hours flew by and I felt just the way I had when as a young child, I had the opportunity to meet one of my penpals (except I was much younger and really had nothing to talk about at the time.)

 

Lately, I’ve been hearing from other bloggers who are looking to meet up if we end up in the same cities…and for me…what a wonderful way to mesh the daily world and the online world.  Two communities really converging in a new century way.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Blogging Boomers Carnival #48 is up!

The always fascinating Baby Boomer Chronicles is this week's host to the Blogging Boomers Carnival -- chock full of interesting, insightful and sometimes insufferable boomer insights of the week!

And on a side note spaces are filling for the Gen Plus Town Hall in LA on January 22nd -- if you aren't working, looking to change your job/career, or just looking for a meaningful strategy for the next decade, we'd love to have you join us. Click on the link for more info on this free event.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Late to the gate on the Kindle?

What is this thing? Reading my daily subscription from The Boomer Chronicles, I discovered something that I had not yet seen. The Kindle! An electronic reader that approximates the experience of reading a book - -but digitally. Kind of the iPod for the literati. So I headed over to read about Kindle and there are already almost 1000 reader reviews of the item...some great, some not so great...but wow. A great concept. Right now, they are running at $400 a pop...which means that like the Shuffle, the Mini, etc., within a couple of years we'll be seeing the Mini versions going for $50 - $99.

But if I had $400 to spend right now? I'd head right over. Step aside i-Phone. Reading is back in vogue.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Gloomy national forecast may not be so gloomy for boomers and 50 plussers after all!

Despite the slightly gloomy US national economic forecast that came out today (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16748091) not all the news is bad.  Unemployment is still under 5% and is anticipated to hold at about 4.9% next year.  So, even though you may be having trouble finding work, the good news is that there is, in fact, work to be had. 

The trick is in the finding it.  Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing some very solid and exciting information with you on the fields that are specifically starting to focus on the Boomer and 50 plus worker.  Another trend that is going to pick up steam over the next few years are multiple tracks in careering.  So you might be a virtual worker for one company, building a home-based business and at the same time, reporting for work 32 hours a week at a brick and mortar location.

If I look at this prime demographic, there are many people who, in addition to their daytime jobs, are building small businesses outside of work hours and even consulting in addition to that.  Our age group is looking to reshape and redefine what constitutes work as we move into the next third of our lives.  More to come.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Recession-proofing

It's that time of year -- time to buy gifts, time to make winter holiday plans, times to check out the old bank account. For a lot of us, this is a tough time. If you are a 50 plus jobseeker, out of work for awhile, it's a harsh time of year.

With words like "recession" hanging in the air, people tend to get scared. On one hand, prices are rising (gas, mortgages) and on the other home sales are falling. But depending upon who you listen to, things are about to get dire...or things are really going to stay pretty much the same. There is no way of knowing, until the economic climate settles in. One thing I do know is that there are some strong numbers that will indicate health in certain industries regardless of the economy.

We are an aging population, so everything to do with us (yes, Gen Plussers), will remain a fairly stable and powerful market. For example, we may not always be able to afford healthcare, but healthcare workers will remain in high demand. Teachers are retiring and there are not enough educators to take their place. Retail is having trouble finding Gen Yers to stick around a couple of months at a time. Customer service is in deep trouble...more often via phone, but where retail traffic is high and there are not enough staff on hand, I'm hearing customers complaining more and more.

But to allow for my flight of fancy in recession era thinking, I was chatting with someone the other day about what people really, really need to survive. In this consumer society, we want a lot, but how much do we really need? We need shelter, food, clothing, a means to afford the shelter and food, contact with other human beings. I can't help with shelter (other than emotional support), and I'm a mean cook, but can't send a plate of pasta through cyberspace, but there are jobs on Gen Plus for you to peruse, and a way to find some love in the right demographic .

From many of your emails, I know that a lot of people are finding money a bit tight right now. It makes me ask the question: what do I really need?

I took a close look at what I think I need and could certainly live without. I've embarassed myself with what I don't really need and so I thought I could share that with you (and I'm pretty stingy with myself...or so I think...and keep in mind that I'm still on turkey cloud nine, so not thinking that clearly yet...)

To start:

  • landline phone, a cell phone and a blackberry.
  • cable-connected internet (I believe that I can't live without my cable) a PC and a laptop and DirecTV High Definition (may daughter believes that she cannot live without the Disney channel)
  • spend money on my child and my dog
  • take trips at winter holiday, spring break and in the summer.
  • send my daughter to summer camp
  • have a van -- it's really old and I love it. My dad told me to sell it last year and I didn't heed his advice. Now it needs about $3K in repairs. I have to buy a new car.
  • shop at Target too often for my own good -- never, ever able to leave there without dropping $100
  • eat sushi too often
  • get home paper delivery
  • have magazine subscriptions for Bon Apetit, National Geographic and a few others
  • buy books often instead of taking out books at the library
  • pay a woman to clean my home once a week
  • pay a gardener to mow my lawn once a week
  • get a massage once a month
  • have season subscription to a local theater

Where do I try to save money?

  • dye my own hair and do my own nails
  • buy really nice clothes, but always on sale
  • ditto for shoes/purses
  • drive a really old van (stop laughing)
  • ummm....

So, honestly, how much money am I technically wasting here? Shocking, isn't it?

If you look at your own expenditures, what are you wasting money on? Might help you to find the extra bit of cash for the gifts you wanted to get. Or the "interview" suit you need to buy at the holiday sales!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Bye-bye Thanksgiving, Hello Chanukah and Christmas!

In order that my holiday shopping remains fun and festive, I search relentlessy for the new, the interesting, and the downright inventive every year. From atomic clocks to keychain tools to dancing dreidels, I search for them all -- and particularly if they are made by a 50 plusser.


The first item worth mentioning this year is the inventive AND preventive MenorahMate, an ingenious addition to the Chanukah celebration. For any of you who celebrate Chanukah, or who have been to celebrations at the homes of Jewish friends, you'll remember seeing the beautiful menorahs...with streams of hot wax...dripping down on the table...or as in many homes, on a sheet of aluminum foil!


Hello MenorahMate:


“We knew that there simply had to be a better way of protecting the table. And even more importantly, we wanted to create a renewed connection to the three traditional blessings, to encourage everyone at the table to participate,” comments the product’s creator Debra Wurzel (a Gen Plusser, of course) of Los Angeles.

What is MenorahMate? A smart concept -- a protective, d├ęcor-enhancing mat with a soft, non-skid backing, designed for use under the menorah combined with the Chanukah blesssing imprinted right on the surface in Hebrew, English, and transliteration.


In addition to protecting the tabletop, “This product is unique because it places the blessings right in the center of the holiday, where they belong,” says Wurzel.


I find it a great product and in addition to the contemporary design, I particularly like the fact that the wax just pops off the mat after a bit of time in the freezer.


Launched just in time for Chanukah 2007, MenorahMate already has generated excitement within the Jewish community and has popped up in stores across the US. Best of all, this product is manufactured in the US... in Los Angeles, California. For more information, a list of retailers or to order MenorahMate, visit www.menorahmate.com.


Lots of fun, not too expensive, great for a family or friend gift and also wonderful for office acquaintances and friends. I'll let you know about any other great finds as I continue on my merry shopping jaunts.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Feedblitz newsletter service

I'm giving some Thanks to technology! If you are a subscriber, you've been receiving double posts for the past month. When I changed the way in which I use my newsletter distribution service, somehow all my posts started getting sent as doubles. I think (believe, hope) the double email dilemma has been resolved.

If you are still receiving double newsletters, please shoot me a quick email at wspiegel@genplususa.com so I can continue to investigate.

Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving feasts. I'm triptophaned (sp?) and blissed out.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Just a warm wish to all of you for a happy Thanksgiving holiday. I have a lot to give thanks for -- my family (especially including my daughter!), my dog (who would be angry with me for not including her in the "family" category, but she is so special she gets her own segment), good health, a home, a car (that may or may not decide to make it into 2008) -- and you.

I'm very appreciative of your support, interest, sometimes really tough questions, and involvement in this ongoing exploration of the issues related to boomers and 50 plussers.

Hope you enjoy your Turkey, or Tofurkey, have a good snooze, relax with good company, and have mighty fine leftovers. I hope you are with family and friends that make you happy. If you are not, then consider this readership your cyber-support.

As a recent US citizen, I have to say that this is my favorite holiday of the year. LOVE it. Gobble, gobble!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Blogging Boomers Carnival #47

The always refreshingly remeniscent I Remember JFK is this week's host for the Blogging Boomers Carnival. Head on over for a snippet, a taste, a sampler, of some of the most interesting Boomer finds of the week.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Is Ladders crossing the line in taking on American Airlines? You tell me.

I keep tabs on what other job boards, recruiters, and social networks are honing in on, so that if there are trends or issues that pop up I can pass them along to you, my dear reader.

One company that I admire is called The Ladders. While I don't like the fact that they charge jobseekers to pay for access to their job bank and I generally take a stand against that practice, this particular brand has done a pretty good job in staying niche-focused and aims to attract the higher salaried jobseeker. (Personally, I don't want to charge a 50 plus jobseeker to pay for resume search when they are already quite worried about their pocketbook but his niche is highly targeted and a bit more flush.)

Well, CEO Marc Cenedella, had a bad week of travel and wrote about it. And this is what I'm talking about today. He's really gone out on a limb talking about the challenges of poor customer service and focused on one questionable American Airlines employee. Is he talking the right stuff? Or is this going a little too far? I'm betting we'll hear more on this particular newsletter. Feel free to add your comments by clicking on the title of this post and hitting the "comments" link at the bottom of the post. (No, you cannot comment directly to this newsletter if you are a subscriber. You do have to go through the actual web page.)

Here are excerpts from his newsletter (I've deleted some of the letter that is not directly relevant to this topic):

A grumbly Monday morning to you.

Folks, other people’s travel hell stories are about as interesting as other people’s "kids" or "new exercise regimen" stories, so I’m not going to bore you with one of those.


And as a matter of fact, my recent flight on American wasn’t uniquely miserable. It was just run-of-the-mill lousy.

But what really got me bummed out was my flight attendant’s outfit.

Katherine had gone to the trouble of wearing buttons with all sorts of sayings on her uniform.
You know, when you’re on a flight on one of the legacy airlines, you kind of hold out hope that somebody - anybody - will give a damn. And like a drowning man might, I saw Katherine’s buttons as a statement.


She cared! She was going to stand out against the ennui and mediocrity of her co-workers and let the world know that she, Katherine of American Airlines Flight 673 from Miami to New York, was taking a stand!

A stand for friendliness, and approachability, and caring about her customers.

Now, if you’ve been reading this newsletter for a while, you know I am a bit of a nut for our customers...

...So when I see somebody breaking out against the norm, standing up for customers, and daring to care, I can get pretty excited.


And so as Katherine approached me I strained to get my work weary eyes to read the fine print on her button.


It was a light blue button with dark blue writing, and I could just about make out the words:


"I"
"Have"
"No"
"Idea"
"Why"
"I"
"Work"
"Here"


And I have to tell you, that was just about the most deflating, disheartening, dispiriting, depressing thing to read after a relaxing weekend.


And I won’t share them with you here, but the rest of her buttons were of an equally sour-puss nature.


And you know, Katherine and her type stand for everything that’s bad in the world. For every one of us trying to achieve great things, there’s a Katherine standing nearby ready to tear it down. For each of us trying to make the world a better place today, this hour, this minute, there’s a Katherine in the wings sticking her tongue out.


And not only is there a Katherine, but there’s a company willing to hire her. Like American Airlines.


And while Mom said if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all, I wish the Katherines and the American Airlines of the world nothing but failure. Failure in their campaign to pull down the productive people, failure in their efforts to keep winners from winning, and failure in the marketplace so that better people and companies can serve American Airlines customers.


So don’t be a Katherine! As you go about this job hunt, don’t waste your talents or fall into the trap of working for a company that doesn’t respect you, in a job where you stop respecting yourself. You’re too talented, and forward-looking, and capable to waste your years away inside a rotting body like American Airlines...


...Whatever you do, don’t sell yourself short, and don’t let the Katherines of this world bring you down.


I’ll be rooting for you!

Warmest Regards,
Marc Cenedella, Founder & CEO
TheLadders.com, Inc.

Blogging Boomers Carnival #46

For this week's eclectic collection of what some of the best boomer bloggers are writing about, head on over to this week's host, Cafe Glam. From birthing twins at 49 (!), to pink flamingos, to a call for sexual re-revolution...inquiring minds want to know!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Finding a Job at 50 Plus...I Can't Sleep at Night

Just about every day, I receive emails from frustrated jobseekers, who at 50 plus, find themselves unemployable.

The question really is, are they truly unemployable? Or is it just really challenging to match them up with a searching employer?

Do I think the jobs are out there? Yes. I do. I wouldn't be pouring my heart and soul into the cause of 50 plus employment if I didn't believe, that at the end of the day, there would be a positive outcome for 50 plussers in need of work.

The trick...and the one that has me awake at 2:31 am (Pacific Time, for you early birds on the East coast...or on other continents), is finding the ways to match up the jobseeker with that searching employer. Every career site tells you to "think out of the box" in job search. But what does that really mean? I'm going to share my strategy for how I help every jobseeker who writes me, to identify their strengths for the job market.

  1. About half of all jobseekers look for their next job via the internet. That's great...and I encourage you to get your resume in good shape, relevent and clean (bullet-pointed and with easy to understand vocabulary), and a strong cover letter. That must be one prong of your career search strategy. The reason you are encouraged to limit your career history on a resume to 10 to 15 years is that employers are really only interested in your past 5 years or so of history...because it is relevent to the current skill set you bring to the table. So you have to identify, for them, what you are really good at.

  2. The other half of all jobseekers find their next job through networking, knocking on doors, and by using good old-fashioned fancy footwork. This means making everyone they know aware they are in job search mode, literally hand-delivering resumes to smaller businesses who are not likely to advertise on internet job boards, and looking for positions outside the scope of your job history. (If you are in or near LA, make sure to join us for our free Gen Plus Town Hall on January 22nd. Just email me and let me know you'd like to join us!)

  3. Identifying your strengths and your desires. This is the most important part of any job search. Finding out what you are really good at and what you want to do. Have you been in sales the past 10 years and can't get a job because you are perceived as too old? But you LOVE gardening? Why not try to get a job in a nursery? Find what you love and apply your skill set to your passion. Employers will sense your enthusiasm rather than desperation.

  4. Developing a strategy. If you have no idea how to set goals and timelines, get a copy of my e-book: "Keep Dreaming: Creating a Strategic Plan for the Rest of Your Life." Small investment, strong result. You can use it for a simple strategy definition, or use all of it and create an overall business plan for your life. Up to you, but a strong piece and created specifically for the 50 Plus jobseeker. Even if you delay getting the workbook, you need to identify your goals, a timeframe for getting there, and measure your own results (just like your former employer measured your contribution to THEIR strategic goals.)

  5. Don't give up. Your current job status is not a measure of who you are as a person. It is exactly what it is. A measure of your employment. You either have a job...or you don't. If you don't, then you will get one. Don't give up.

  6. Sign up with every temp service you can find and call in every day for a job. If you have not signed up with Kelly Services, do so. They are very committed to the mature worker. (More on that in the next few days.)

  7. Claim your space. Don't have a profile on Gen Plus? Linked In? Eons? If you don't have a web presence, get one. It's very simple to head over to any social or business network and put up a bit about you on the internet. The first thing a potential employer will do is google or yahoo you. So you need to be on the web in a positive way...i.e. a presence controlled by you.

  8. Just like learning to ride a bike? When you were a kid, did you give up on learning to ride a bike? Fell off a few times and said to yourself, "Nah. I'm not going to ride that bike." Not likely. It is more likely that you got on the bike twenty or thirty times until you got the hang of the balance. It may take you hundreds of job applications until you get your next job. But all you need is one person to say yes to your hire....right?
NOW, maybe I can get to sleep! Have a great weekend.

Aqua-Dots, Your Children, Your Grandchildren and Your Pets!

Just in time for the holiday buying season, another product recall...this one with deadly consequences. Revolution Health publicized a recall of Aqua-Dots, a children's craft toy that can cause fatal seizures if any pieces are ingested. Made in China.

Here is the link to the full article: http://www.revolutionhealth.com/news/?id=article.2007-11-08.1382984325&msc=a62593

Monday, November 05, 2007

Blogging Boomers Carnival #45

November is here and so is Blogging Boomers Carnival #45. Your host this week is The Boomer Chronicles. Head on over for the latest and greatest in all things boomer on the web.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What do Halloween, Love Search and Job Search All Have in Common?

Boo! They are all scary. So it seems most appropriate to make some parallels between a search for "Mr. or Mrs. Right" and the search for "The Ultimate Job" on this scariest day of the year...Halloween!


On one of my other blogs, Love for Boomers and 50 Plus, I posted on online dating and the sheer terror that many of us feel putting ourselves on the market for love.


"One of my ventures, Gen Plus Singles, is an online dating service, niched to 50 plus. Interestingly, women (who, incidentally, men are TRYING to find) will happily put up their profiles and browse amongst the men, but are incredibly tentative about actually signing up so they can email a fella. Men, on the other hand, are bold. They know what they want, they see it, they sign up, they email. If the woman doesn't write back, they move on to the next woman. So I always wonder, what is it about women (and, yes, I'm one) that makes us so fearful of putting OUR best foot forward? "


Well this got me thinking about the parallels between online dating and job search. About 1/2 of all jobseekers search for work online. (I wonder if 1/2 of loveseekers also search online.) And just as with online dating, it can often be a numbers game. The more resumes you send out, the more jobs you apply for, the better the odds of getting a call. Just as great jobs attract hundreds of resumes, great online profiles also attract many interested potential daters.


So, from my own experience, here is my approach to becoming less fearful in both online dating and online job search.


1) Have a great resume. Just as your online dating profile needs a good photo, a great smile and some compelling description of who you are, your resume needs to function as a good photo, great smile and a compelling description of your career accomplishments.

2) No one wants a fuddy-duddy. Take a look at online dating profiles. Haircut from the '80's? Pass. Glasses from the '70's? Pass. If your resume is simply an updated version of your jobs since 1982, then you are on the wrong track. The new format includes:


  • punchy, active, dynamic descriptors
  • results of accomplishments (not just responsibilities)
  • impactful action words
  • bullet points

3) You need quantity to get quality. If you only email once potential love match, your odds of getting a reply are very, very low. If you email 25 interesting candidates, someone will likely write you back and you may end up on a date!

Ditto for job search. If you are on a targeted job search (i.e. you need a new job...now), then you must apply for as many jobs as fit your talents. Look above the box, under the box, beside the box...but look out of the box. Just as you can't really tell the quality of the person from a picture, you can't tell a company from its job description. If you think there might be a fit?....well....there might be.


Again, from my previous post:
"Anytime I've online dated, the only true successes I've had is when I've paid for a membership, searched for the men I liked, and then emailed and emailed until I heard back from the ones I was interested in. Just as men prefer to choose, I prefer to choose. So, if you've been sitting on the fence (and this is for the men, too!), getting bored on your Saturday nights, take a gamble. Put your money where your mouth is, and start emailing. You won't know if you don't try. "

The scariest part of job search or love search is getting started. So get cracking. Fix up your profiles, show the world the best of yourself and say "Boo!" to the ghosts of Halloween!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Blogging Boomers Carnival #44

Hear ye, hear ye...read all about it. BBC 44 is up and running over at Life Two with a moveable feast of boomer bloggers tids and bits from the past week.

Choose 2 Lead Survey and Press Release

Many of you have already contributed your thoughts to the Choose 2 Lead survey I'm running on the blog (see the top of the main blog page). Shirley Clark, one of the founding members of Choose 2 Lead has passed along their recent press release detailing the goals of the survey. I've included a link as well as the body copy below. The survey will only run for two or three more weeks and your experience is vitally important, as survey results are being used as part of a commissioned report on jobs for older workers. If you've been meaning to take the survey, but haven't yet, please click on the link and take the survey. Takes about 3 minutes and the contribution of your information is valuable and needed.

Are tools available to help over-50 job seekers find flexible work?
2007-10-25

By Shirley Clark and Patty Reed

What is being done to help older workers find jobs that meet their needs? Choose 2 Lead is examining the tools available to the over-50 job seekers in a new study sponsored by the Sloan Foundation.

For_Immediate_Release:

Oakton, VA, October 24, 2007 –Workers over aged 50 are staying in the workforce longer than ever, due to desire or economic necessity. In fact, from 2000 to 2006, the proportion of the nation's 65- to 74-year-olds that remained in the labor force increased from nearly one in five to one in four, according to census figures. While looking for a job can be a challenge at any stage in life, it is difficult particularly when you are over aged 50.

“Finding a position that will utilize my talent and experience and allow some flexibility is my goal. While I don’t want a prospective employer to focus on the fact that I am over 50, I do want to be given the autonomy that I have earned at this point in my life,” said Susan during a recent interview. Susan, an executive in the financial services industry wants a full-time job, but needs flexibility in the position she finds, as both of her parents are ill. Just how realistic is her goal?

“There is a concern that employers don’t advertise flexible positions as they often equate “flexible” with “part-time” or “partially engaged”, said Shirley Clark, co-founder of the non-profit Choose 2 Lead. “The fact is that older workers, just like many women with children, want to work full-time. They may just need an element of flexibility or control to effectively tend to their personal lives.”

In fall 2007, Choose 2 Lead Women’s Foundation received a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to assess the information and resources available to older workers to help them find flexible employment.

As part of the study, Choose 2 Lead is conducting a survey of workers over the age of 50 who are currently seeking or have recently sought flexible employment. Wendy Spiegel, founder of Gen Plus, a website catering to the needs of the over-50 set, has posted the survey on her site and responses have been rolling in.You can access the survey by going to www.choose2lead.org and clicking on “Take our Survey Now!” or by visiting the Gen Plus blog at http://genplus.blogspot.com

Choose 2 Lead is a women-owned 501(c)3 corporation that advocates for personal leadership and organizational choices that lead to a more integrated approach to work, life and economic prosperity.

####

For more information:Keywords: Older Workers,FlexibilityContact us: P.O. Box 176 Vienna, VA 22183 703.395.6337

Saturday, October 27, 2007

THAT time of year...

If you are a single and working (or single and NOT working), then this may be the time of year that you dread...the holiday party season.

Hallowe'en to Thanksgiving to Christmas and Chanukah to New Year's...if you are alone, then this can be a torturous time of year. There are parties at friends, Hallowe'en invites, parties at work, New Year's Eve celebrations -- you name it...another reason to curl up on the sofa with a bag of chocolate chip cookies, a comforter and a good book or movie. I'm not married, but when I was, there was the pressure of all the festivities but in more of a performance anxiety way (but that is fodder for another post.)

Wallowing in self-pity never works -- hasn't worked for me and I'm sure it won't work for you. And there are several ways to move around the game. You can avoid or you can join. So let's talk about both options.

There is passive avoidance -- doing nothing (the curl up with cookies/book deal), but that is always so last minute that it can devolve into self-pity.

I'd choose the route of active avoidance. A couple of years ago, a good friend invited me to join her and her son for a family winter camp...that ran over New Year's Eve. Initially I resisted, thinking I wouldn't be able to bear being at a New Year's Eve party with having no one to kiss at midnight. But she convinced me that we'd hang out together and enjoy a bottle of wine withour kids.

It was a FANTASTIC idea. I went, had a wonderful time, went to sleep at 9 pm on New Year's Eve with nary a tear of self-pity within 50 miles of the place. That is active avoidance.Then there is the join in strategy, which involves a high level of proactivity starting now. You pull up your socks, get some good pics of yourself, some top notch copy, and start online dating. There are many sites out there, so make the investment of a couple of bucks and start dating. If you date aggressively for the next month, you'll have a date with a decent person (even if not the love of your life, you might be tempted to go for a NYE kiss) who will also be grateful to have someone to hang out over the holidays with. If you are over 50, I'll recommend my brand, www.genplussingles.com. Jewish? www.jdate.com Quick return on investment? www.match.com Slower process? www.eharmony.com

Keep on your toes to avoid the married guys and gals who don't disclose their status. And if you find red flags, move on to the next one. Have fun and let me know how you do. I really want to hear proactive avoidance suggestions!!!

Finding Your Bliss in Job Search or Career Change

One of the most frustrating challenges jobseekers over 50 face is finding a way to redefine who they are for the current job market. Without that redefinition, simply put...they can't find a job. This past week, Amy Z (A-Z International) invited me to take part in a phone conference on career change issues. One woman's dilemma particularly stood out and we had an interesting exchange that I'd like to share.


Emma (not her real name), from Georgia, was currently working as a sales associate and was very unhappy in her job. She didn't have a college degree to back up her resume and was considering going back to school in order to have additional qualifications to find a job. I didn't think she sounded too excited about that prospect (and going back to school certainly doesn't guarantee a job at the end of the day), so we chatted for awhile. I started digging in to what she loved and it turned out that she was a craft whiz -- she loved making cards, friends asked her for her creations -- and most importantly, when she started talking about this love, her passion, her voice became animated, you could hear her smiling and her vibrancy was palpable over the phone. Other experts on the call also remarked on this.


Our conversation focused, for a time, on how she could start a business, but I could sense that was overwhelming as a concept and not on track with her desires, so I suggested that if she had skill in sales, that she could look for a job in a craft store and start to build up a reputation and connections in an industry that she loved.


With a smile in her voice, she said that she had, in fact, just applied for a sales job in a craft store. But now, she felt proud of that decision and that if she could get a job in a craft store, it would act as a stepping or positioning stone for the next stage of her career.


Granted, we don't all have the luxury of spending an hour on the phone with several experts giving free advice, but there is incredible value in giving voice to your innermost desires. You need to write them down, talk about them, shout them to the world, and you might be very pleasantly surprised to see what ideas can really spark!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Too Many Newsletters or What?

I'm SOOO sorry. For some reason, when we upgraded on our Feedblitz news aggregator, instead of overwriting existing subscriptions, most of your email addresses were duplicated. Which means for every message I've been sending over the past few days, you are receiving TWO of the same message.

This will be fixed up over the next few days, promise. All duplication subscriptions will be deleted and that should stop the double emailings.

Danged technology. You gotta love it and you gotta hate it all at the same time.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fires are Raging

If you are one of the thousands affected by the fires in San Diego, Orange County (Buckwood Fire), Malibu or Stevenson Ranch, (Magic Fire) my thoughts are with you in this tough, tough moment.

I live in Encino, a suburb of Los Angeles -- in between the two major areas -- and looking to either the north or the south, all you can see is gray smoke covering both horizons. The smell of smoke has settled over into our neighborhood, and my sister (about 10 miles north) has ash falling on her community. The winds are very strong -- 2 trees on my street split and fell over the past few days, and my sister's neighbor is facing a split tree (about 100 foot) in jeopardy of falling onto his and my sister's roofs. My cousin, in Malibu, has been advised to be ready for evacuation, has her car packed and is minutes away from leaving and will likely end up on our doorstep in a couple of hours.

The danger with the winds is that when the trees fall, they land on power lines, which then arc and the embers quickly fly into the very dry brush. Once the fire ignites, the winds are fanning the flames extremely quickly. In one area 1 mile burned within 5 minutes...faster than a person can run away. If you are in an area that is experiencing very fast moving fire, you can get caught with a car that cannot start due to the lack of oxygen. Much better to leave before the fire is too close. It's a bad night in Southern California. A bad, bad night.

Blogging Boomers Carnival #43

Wow. Does time fly. This week's 43rd!! BBC host is Your Drum with an interestingly bi-polar look at all things boomer!

Community-Building Conference Call in a New Way!

Amy Z, of A-Z International, and fellow expert blogger on Eons, is hosting a unique phone conference tomorrow, Tuesday, Oct 23, and you are invited!

We all have a lot of concerns, issues AND suggestions for career and business. So, a few weeks ago, Amy hosted her first phone conference to members of her Eons group, and it was extremely well-received. In fact, the information that was shared was so valuable to the other callers, that she and I have joined forces for this one. Amy's expertise is in marketing and building virtual business, and mine is on career and job issues surrounding the Boomer and 50 Plus demographic and we are happy to share our information with you freely, because it is so darn fun!

The call starts at 5:30 pm PST (8:30 pm EST). To control the call, Amy asks that you email her directly for call-in number and password. You can email her at az@a-zinternational.com or me at wspiegel@genplususa.com and one of us will send you the coordinates!

So, if you want to hear what your online buddies sound like and share information in real-time, if not in person, then join us. Amy will be moderating and it should be fun, informative and interesting. The only charge to you is the cost of your long distance call in.

And if you can't spend the whole hour, no problem. Check in and then check out. Amy will be keeping the conference line open from 8:30 - 9:30 p.m. EDT.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Gen Plus Town Hall Forum

It's official. Our forum in LA in January has a home. Here are the details:

What:

A very different town hall/forum event than you'd expect and probably than you've ever experienced -- very informal in tone (open, friendly, accessible), but with a formal agenda.

Focused on issues that Boomers and 50 Plus are facing in job search, career issues and reinvention at this next stage. Experts will be there to provide a much needed resource. You will be expected to participate in the spirit of community.

All of us will walk away with value-added information and ideas to get you going for 2008. I'll follow up the email with an electronic recap of ideas generated for all who attended.

Fee:

None. (However, please plan on spending at least $5 each on a menu item to help the venue recoup their costs of supporting us with staff.)

How is that possible?

Because I'm donating my time in order to mobilize the energies of disenfranchised and/or frustrated jobseekers/career reinventors, to wake up employers, and to give a helping hand in the best way I can...by sharing resources with all of you. This program is a portion (but a good one) of a 1-day program that I do charge for.

Because I have the support of a local business who believes in this cause (our venue).

Because it is needed.

Because there are other communities who would like me to set something like this up for them, but I need to see what your voices need to share.

Because this is an election year and what you are experiencing is very, very important in shaping the next decade.

Because I really care about the challenges facing Boomers and 50 Plus in the job market...looking at another 20 -25 years of needed income and few willing to make the hires right now.

When:

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Time:

2:00 - 4:30 pm. We'll want to go longer, but that is the limit on the venue availability. I've chosen this time and this date because it is a light traffic day in Los Angeles. If you currently work and would like to attend, plan on calling in for an afternoon off and get proactive.

Where:

The very lovely Balboa Encino Clubhouse. We'll have the deli-style restaurant all to ourselves, along with table service, a very reasonable and yummy menu, and some 50 plus staffers, too! The grounds are lovely, so plan on a few extra minutes if you want to stroll along the path around the gorgeous Balboa Park or head over to Balboa lake for a visit with the ducks! (Once I have your reservation, I'll be forwarding you address and driving directions.)

How to sign up?

Quickly. I've started getting reservations and we've got limited space available in this venue. Simply send me an email at wspiegel@genplususa.com along with your name, correct email address and best phone number to reach you. Reservations are being taken on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you'll need more than one spot, please let me know in your request. We have very limited seating, but I'll start taking a wait list once we're full in case I'm able to get more space. If you plan on coming in from out of town, please let me know. I'll have slightly different instructions for you.

A big thank you to Balboa Encino Restaurant for their support and help. Can't wait to hear from you. Let's get going.

Friday, October 19, 2007

What is it about this time of year that turns your head to new directions?

Every year, just around this time, I get the urge to "Go West." One year, about 12 years ago, I heeded that advice and left my home in Montreal and headed to Los Angeles. I had a breaking point. One where I knew that I could no longer stay in current situation. There wasn't even a pivotoal breaking point. It was just that when the last straw came, my decision was made. It was very easy and at the same time one of the most challenging (I know, doesn't really make sense) periods of my life -- I chose to reinvent my life.

At this time of year, the same phenomenon happens in the workforce. Many companies have performance reviews coming up, bonus plan payouts, budget cuts or budget plans for the coming year...but a lot of employees get the urge to "Go West" or, in many cases, "Get Out of Dodge."

A terrific article in my favorite paper, the Wall Street Journal, by writer Jared Sandberg, Had It Up to HERE? Despite Risk,Some Say Quitting Is Way to Go. I'm not telling you to read this article and quit your jobs! An emphatic NO! But I guarantee the article will resonate with you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

How Long Will You Be Working?

If you spend any time talking to 64 1/2 year olds, you'll find out pretty quickly that retirement is not an option. Regardless of what their social security might give them, it will likely not be enough to live on. Offset the costs? Certainly. But be a fallback? Nope...not according to those I've talked to recently.

64 1/2 year olds are planning on working till 70 and even 80 if they think they can keep the work. On one hand, they need to continue to feel useful. On the other hand, they need to pay the rent.

I remember when my mother, at 50, set out on her own, after divorce. It never occurred to her that she might be considered unemployable. And after many, many, many attempts at finding a paying job, she realized she had to start her own business. Which she did. Quite successfully. At 71, she is still working...granted, not as much -- her energy isn't as high as it was even five years ago -- but she has a loyal client base, loves her craft and generates income.

She isn't the only one. Far from it. There is the gentleman I know who took a job as a night watchman, finally got a placement in a city job and is working his way up the ladder...at 62. Then there is the woman I've corresponded with, who after years of fruitless job search, finally landed a part time job with a non-profit -- and she is grateful to have the supplemental income.

Who else? The sales manager who had been unemployed for four years and recently was brought in as a top manager for a sales organization. A 57 year old corporate exec who went back to school to become a teacher and is now working his way up into management. And I could go on and on and on.

We are living much, much longer. It's a great thing and a very scary proposition at the same time. Our needs will be growing exponentially in the next twenty years -- for income, for medical support, for long term care, for acknowledgement and for a place to contribute back to the workforce.

The changes and support are not going to come about through government. By the time the bureaucratic initiatives (oooh..that's an oxymoron) on aging come into play, we'll all be dead and gone. So the time to act and work toward change is...well...now. I know I'm planning on being around for a long, long time if I can. And that means, I'll be working, whether employers want me or not, well into my seventies if not my eighties. What about you?

Don't forget to email me at wspiegel@genplususa.com if you want me to include you in our Gen Plus Town Hall Forum on January 22, 2008 in LA.