Welcome to the Gen Plus Blog

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

About Me

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

Gen Plus has relocated to www.GenPlusUSA.com

Monday, March 26, 2007

On Finding Employment After Fifty

A very frustrated jobseeker on my group on eons had this to say (not reprinted in its entirety):

I need to vent on this subject. I live in NC, have been here since June 2006. I have my resume posted on HotJobs, CareerBuilder, and Monster. I am signed up with five different staffing agencies, two of them nationally known. I have more than 15 years of accounting/bookkeeping experience as well as eleven years as a social worker and more than five years of customer service experince in the healthcare field. I have been trying to find work since I arrived here and still have not found anything due to the rentless presence of discrimination, age and other wise. I am educated, my computer skills are above par, and I present myself well at interviews. I am failing to understand why I am unable to land a job, even when applying for positions that I am more than qualified for.

Another pet peeve of mine is that after an interview, I send out a thank you note, why is it that HR personnel do not acknowledge the fact you came in except to send you a reject letter? Why don't they tell you the reason why you were not selected? If there is anybody out there that can clue me in, please feel free to do so.
Signed, Frustrated in NC

Dear Frustrated,

A lot of good comments and I understand your frustration. So I'm going to address as many of your concerns as I can. Here is the bottom line. It is very, very hard to find work over fifty. I have been working for over two years to secure employers for Gen Plus and it is very challenging to get them to declare themselves 50 plus friendly.

The reality is that you may have to apply for 500 jobs or more in order to gain employment. I'm not sure how you are looking for work, but in addition to posting your resume, you need to be applying for jobs every day. Many smaller companies will NOT pay the money to advertise online, but they may put an ad in a small local paper. At 50 plus, every jobseeker needs to be extremely creative -- even going business to business if you have to, in order to get your resume in the hands of the right people. I've been running a survey on my blog to see how long it is taking 50 plussers to find work. Majority seems to be a year or longer. Don't give up. Try temp to permanent staffing agencies and accountemps, too.

As for HR departments not getting back to you, with the current high levels of litigation in the US, it is rare that a company will put in writing any reasons that you may NOT have selected for a job. However, good manners goes a long way. Keep sending your thank you cards. You are on the right track.

Last note: in addition to looking for national searches on Gen Plus, try searches on www.indeed.com and www.craigslist.org for jobs in your area. Indeed is great as it compiles many online listings in one place. Craig's List offers employers a very inexpensive alternative to traditional online job posting.

When in Rome...Getting ahead on summer travel plans

A bit of a departure today. I was thinking back to this time last year as I was planning a trip to Italy...

A lot of 50 plussers take the time to get up and go when they have the time and financial resources to do so. In May of last year I took a trip to Italy, joined by my mother (a savvy senior!) and my other boomer sister. We are very arts-driven, so wanted to ensure that any tours we took would appeal to our needs. Fortunately, we discovered a small group, Context Travel, that specializes in small walking tours with exceptional docents. What I particularly liked was that in addition to their broad range of walking tours in Florence, Rome, Naples and Paris and you can also book museum tour tickets online, in advance, through their site (which saved us, literally, hours upon hours of waiting in lines.)

If you are planning your summer and want to get the most out of your travel, check into walking tours and services you can access ahead of your trip and you'll get to enjoy a side of the city that you might otherwise have missed.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Blogging Boomers Carnival #15 is up.

So Baby Boomer is this week's Carnival host. If you've never visited our Blogging Boomers Carnival before, we are a group of Boomer-based blogs with a range of interests and insights that appeal to Boomers and 50 plussers.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Spring is in the Air...What about Love?

I usually post on topics related to employment, but, heck, I'm a sucker for love. And ever since I first felt the rush of Spring, my mind has turned to romance and love. If you have a significant other (that you like!), I'm so happy for you. But, if like many of us, you are a single boomie, couple wannabe, head on over to our love section on Gen Plus or directly to Gen Plus Singles and find out if romance is waiting for you this spring.

OK. I know. At 50 plus, spring has already sprung at least once! But when the spring flowers push up from the ground, it might be nice to have a loving relationship around. Happy Spring! Have fun.

Is your Dream Job out there?

A warm article on finding your dream job on eons today.

Might give you some inspiration as you head into the rest of your week!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Blogging Boomers Carnival #14

A fantastic blog, I Remember JFK is this week's host for the Blogging Boomers. To read all about who says what about what, then head over to Carnival 14 and get in the know about all things Boomer.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Gelson's, Magic and 50 Plus

I witnessed a little bit of magic the other day. I had stopped into Gelson's, a higher-end food chain (kind of a Nordstrom's but for groceries) to pick up a bite for supper. Gelson's is a fantastic grocer for a few reasons. Great produce, great deli and take-out section, exceptional customer service. Prices are a bit high, but when you really want something special for dinner or guests and excellent customer service, it is a great place to go.

So, I picked up my sushi selection and went to the checkout line. There were two people working the bagging section. An older woman (late 50's) and a young, young man. The woman was teaching the young man how to bag properly. But it wasn't about the bagging. It was about the meeting and greeting of the client. Honestly, have you ever given much thought to how the bagger speaks to you? Well, this store does. And in this case, a more mature worker was training the new worker.

"Say hello to the customer. And ask what type of bag she prefers," said the trainer.

"Hello. Paper or plastic?" he intoned.

"No, dear. Not like that. I want you to greet the customer. Say hello. Then pause. Give them time to meet your eyes. Smile. Then ask 'Paper or plastic?'. Two sentences. Hello. Pause. Paper or plastic. See? That way you show the customer you care."


"Try it again."

"Hello." Pause. Smiles at me. "Paper or plastic?"

"Plastic please," I smile back at him.

He bags my small purchase.

"Do you see she has sushi?" the trainer asks.

"Uh-hunh," he replies.

"See if she's prefer a 'cold' bag to keep it fresh."

"Would you like a 'cold' bag?"

"That would be great," I replied with a big grin. "Thanks."

He gave me the bag. "Have a nice day."

"Thanks, you, too!"

The trainer gave him a big smile. "Good job. Now head over to this next register..."

The training continued. In that 60 or 70 seconds, that young man learned more about good customer service and how a good manager trains, than most people would learn in a year. That is the value of hiring 50 plus. THAT is the value.

Oh, and the sushi was spectacular.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Blogging Boomers Carnival #13

This week's Carnival host is Contemporary Retirement. From books, to job woes, to scandalous relationships, the Blogging Boomers cover it all! Enjoy.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

New on Gen Plus -- "Wendy's Place"...welcome.

One of the things that is awesome about being over 50 is that you have an accumulated bank of memories. That is one of the PLUSSES of being 50 Plus. Even if you are flat broke, you are rich with memories. So together, we can create a memory bank.

Welcome to this very special post, a category dedicated to you, the reader. If you are a 50 plusser, I'll bet you've considered penning your memoirs, at least once. But boy. What a lot of work. What are your memories? Happy, sad, inspiring, inspired, filled with love, promise, successes, humor, even loss.

Remember Alice's Restaurant in the 60's? This space, Wendy's Place, is your 2nd millenium spot for sharing your memories. Think of this as your online cafe. Come on in. Sit down for a quick cuppa or a long latte.

Imagine I'm giving you a slice of lemon pound cake or a homemade chocolate chip cookie (no sugar added, of course) to get your creative juices going. Aaaahhhh. That feels so good.

No charge, no tax, no calories. Just go to the comments link below. Give a click and type away. Whether you want to add one memory or a hundred, your remeniscences are welcome here.

Oh yeah...and you can have a cup of tea, or any other beverage if you prefer.

Your coffee clatch hostess,

Thursday, March 08, 2007

2005 to today. Where are the jobs?

There are jobs. But where? If you are 50 plus, how do you find them? According to the US Department of Labor, back in December of 2005, the jobs of tomorrow were going to be in some industry supersectors, primarily: education and healthcare, and professional and business services. To the tune of an overall 5.2 million and 4.5 million jobs respectively over the 10 year period from 2004 to 2014. We're in 2007 and there is no question -- the amount of job openings in education and healthcare is amazing. Great sectors to focus on. Doesn't mean you have to be an educator or a nurse or doctor. These are all businesses that have to be run and any type of position that you'd find in other business sectors pop up in both education and healthcare arenas. I highly recommend a strong focus in your job search on these sectors. 5.2 million jobs is nothing to sneeze at (pardon the healthcare pun.)

But how does that help our 50 plussers actually get hired? Sadly, we are still about 5 years away from employers recognizing the need to recruit specifically from 50-plussers. Most employers are still finding themselves drawn to the younger worker. I get many emails from 50 plussers who believe that they have fallen prey to ageism. I'm sure they have. Only I don't believe it is always deliberate, conscious ageism. For sure, there are some cases where blatant ageism has stonewalled someone from getting a job. In many cases, however, youth wins simply because it is appealing, less expensive and more malleable as a employee.

So it means you have to be that much more resourceful than the average job seeker. Get your resume posted everywhere you can so you can be seen. Network like crazy. Do your research and target companies that interest you -- particulary in the growth sectors.

A couple of other great resources to find out where the jobs might be in your neck of the woods:

Monday, March 05, 2007

Ask Wendy! -- A great question on age discrimination.

A great question was posted today on my Career Group over on Eons. Here it is, along with my response.

I have a question. If you are going on an interview and you are told you will be before a panel of people, can you bring someone to sit in on the interview with you? Also, if you ask permission to do so, can they say no? -- WykedJ.
Dear WykedJ,

You pose a great question. As a business woman, who has interviewed hundreds of jobseekers over my career, I don't see any value in bringing someone with you to an interview. When you have the opportunity to interview, (whether in front of a panel or an individual) you are
being offered the chance to put your best foot forward. If you appear to need someone for support (or to bolster a legal standing), how will that strengthen their view of you?

While I am not a lawyer, age discrimination is very tough to prove, so your best shot is to go proudly and confidently into any interview. Dress appropriately and in a current look. Make sure you have researched the company well and have your questions for them at the ready. If you are the best candidate, then a company will hire you. If not, then they didn't consider you the best candidate for their position.

But ask yourself one important question -- are the companies (or industries) you are interviewing for age-biased? If you are a creative, working in marketing, sales, fashion, programming, then age is a disadvantage. Make sure you are targeting companies that will appreciate what you have to offer them. You cannot force a company to hire you. You can only compel them to want you on their team.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Blogging Boomers Carnival #12.

I’m this week’s host for the Blogging Boomers Carnival, a group of popular bloggers dedicated to all things boomer and beyond. This week we welcome two new blogs to our group: www.cafeglam.com and www.irememberjfk.com .

So what is new and exciting in the eyes of our cyber-brand of carnies?

From I Remember JFK, Boomers remember the assassinations of the 60's, but many were too young to have been emotionally affected by them. But in 1980, John Lennon's murder hit them all hard.

Something must be in the air as some of our carnie-bloggers latch onto good looks, good health, and good aging:

Oscar winner Helen Mirren ("The Queen") appears on the cover of the latest issue of AARP magazine. Who knew AARP was so cool? Well, Boomer Chronicles sure did!

With this Spring's hot new looks being strutted down the runway by stick-thin models, how do you know which styles will work for the boomer gals? Find out from Deborah and JoJami at Café Glam - the fashion and beauty blog that helps women 40+ look and feel fabulous.

LifeTwo welcomes a new contributor, the Dating Goddess, who starts with a series of four posts on dating after 40. If you like that, then this post on Your Drum will probably interest you too...many women are grappling with the idea of having some plastic surgery procedure to become wrinkle-free.

Man-o-pause points us to two individuals who help us define and overcome a negative self concept. And because this is ALWAYS top of mind… So Baby Boomer points out that, basically, what is a heart-healthy lifestyle, is also good for erections.

Rearview Mirror explains Age Nullification ... and to keep us all going for another few days...here's an interview with a shining example of a contemporary retiree - Hazel Zwager - who, at 80 years young defies age...rocking the world of network marketing and has no plans to retire any time soon.

If you plan on Hazel-like career success and are looking for work, then head over to this post on great resources to get your resume pumped up and shiny-new.