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

My photo
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

Thursday, May 31, 2007

A big, big statistic

In a very insightful article yesterday, in the LA Times, writer Jonathan Peterson opens the window a bit wider on the employment picture for Boomers. Back in the mid-1980's the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 18% of those in their late 6o's still had jobs. Fast forward to today and that number is up to 29%. One in four boomers intends to want to work for a few reasons.

1) The biggest issue...money. Pensions are virtually a thing of the past and 401K savings plus social security provide too lean pickings for many.

2) Usefulness -- we're no longer dying at 40, or at 60 and often not even at 80. What to do over half a lifetime with no work? Work.

But many who want to work will not be able to find work. We're seeing that now through Gen Plus. Recruiters are often willing to put a 50 plusser in front of an employer, but the employer still prefers to hire younger, more technologically skilled (or at least perceived to be more skilled) workers. And this is even when they cannot find staff to fill positions. Of course there are those that will not be able to work due to illness or injury, but I'm talking about 50 plussers who want to stay gainfully employed.

Some of the advantages of keeping this demographic employed? Well, Boomers have typically been one of the biggest consumer demographics in the US -- if they have money, they are willing to spend it. If they earn, they contribute -- into taxes, into the economy, into their own retirement funds.

Am I passing along information that is new? To many of you...no. I've been posting on these issues for several years. But there are a couple of important markers. The first, is that the statistic has increased from 18% to 29% -- an increase of 62% over a 20-year time frame. The second is that this is front page news on the LA Times. The times...they are a'changin'. Slowly, but they are changing.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Critical Mass

This morning I was listening to a story on National Public Radio about NPR correspondant, Rob Gifford's incredible voyage across China and his resulting book, China Road. Because I am deeply interested in China's progression into capitalism, my ears perked up listening to him talk about the more than 100 million Chinese leaving rural areas and traveling across China to the big cities to find jobs. What I found particularly interesting was Gifford's recognition of the "critical mass" movement literally afoot. How can a government control the physical (and societal) movement into the 21st century? Simply, it can't. What will be uniquely interesting is to see how this huge nation evolves. The movement is forward and momentum is picking up. At some point, there will be a point of confrontation and no return. That is critical mass.

At the same time, there is a word that has cropped up at least 50 or so times in over 10 conversations over the past two weeks.


Re-tooling is the new term for reinventing, reframing, retraining, repositioning, retrofitting, re-entering, recertifying, re-educating...re-anything you'd like. It came up specifically (and for about the fifth time in the week) in a great conversation with a top notch recruitment manager who is looking for ways to connect 50 plussers with jobs. The conversation is for another post, but what was particularly fantastic was the use of the term "re-tooling" and what this concept means to 50 plus. Re-tooling is taking the skills that a 50 plusser has, but that are not applicable to open positions, and reshaping, retraining, and repositioning that applicant for success in a field they were possibly never trained in.

A couple of years ago, I brought up a Korn Ferry survey and my observation that there would come a time in the next five years, where employers would find themselves facing a serious lack of skilled workers without having established or created strong succession plans. We're seeing the start of that wave now.

Fields that are having real trouble filling positions are, in fact, in the industries I pointed out back then.

  • engineering (look at the postings on Gen Plus for HNTB, just as one small example),

  • education

  • finance (if any of you have posted your resume on Monster or Careerbuilder, you'll know how quickly you are inundated with B2B offers of commission only employment),

  • healthcare, healthcare, healthcare,

  • transportation,

  • science.

And that is just the beginning. So, after listening to the story behind China Road, I couldn't help but make my own connection: that in the next few years, the Gen Plus, 50 Plus, Boomer demographic will be marching their own road across the employment landscape. Our critical mass always has and will continue to re-tool the way business flourishes or flounders in the US and Canada.

Gen Plus -- Re-tooling 50 Plus?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Tower of Babel -- on a level playing field!

One of the features I LOVE on Google is the translation tool -- it opens up information from around the world! So, if you speak a language other than English, head over to http://www.google.com/language_tools?hl=en, simply type in our url, http://genplus.blogspot.com (or the url of any page you are interested in) in the "Translate a Web Page" box and you will have the text in your language of choice. (Works as a translation from another language to English, as well!)

Here is the above copy translated into Spanish:

Una de las mejores características que Google tiene que ofrecer es su herramienta de traducción. Si hablas una lengua con excepción de inglés, la cabeza encima a http://www.google.com/language_tools?hl=en, mecanografía simplemente adentro nuestro URL, http://genplus.blogspot.com en “traduce la caja de un Web page” y tendrás el texto en tu lengua de la opción.

And into Chinese:

一個最好的特點谷歌必須提供給他們的翻譯工具. 如果你講英語以外的語言 ,頭部交給 http://www.google.com/language_tools?hl=en ,簡單型的url , http://genplus.blogspot.com在"翻譯網頁 "信箱,你將有文在你所選擇的語言 .

How about a bit of French?

Un des meilleurs dispositifs que Google doit offrir est leur outil de traduction. Si vous parlez une langue autre que l'anglais, le chef plus d'à http://www.google.com/language_tools?hl=en, saisissent simplement notre URL, http://genplus.blogspot.com dans la boîte « traduisent page Web » et vous aurez le texte dans votre langue de choix.


Una delle caratteristiche che migliori Google debba offrire è il loro mezzo di traduzione. Se parlate una lingua tranne l'inglese, la testa sopra a http://www.google.com/language_tools?hl=en, scrive semplicemente dentro il nostro URL a macchina, http://genplus.blogspot.com “traduce nella scatola di Web page„ ed avrete il testo nella vostra lingua della scelta.

Or Russian...

Одна из лучших особенностей Google может предложить их инструмент перевода. Если вы говорите на другом языке, чем английский, на голову над http://www.google.com/language_tools?hl=en, просто введите в нашем сайте, http://genplus.blogspot.com в "Перевести страницу" в ящике, и вам придется текст на русском языке по их выбору.

Here is how you say Gen Plus, Boomer, and 50 Plus in all those languages -- see if you can figure out which language each one is in (although, like the language of love, they appear to be fairly universal terms! Isn't that nice to know!):

GEN más, Boomer, y 50 más
GEN plus, Boomer, et 50 positifs
GEN plus, Boomer und 50 Plus
根加, boomer , 50 plus
Рашид Plus, Бумер, и 50 Plus

Now go have some fun traveling the world over the weekend and let me know what you find!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Long, long weekend!

A very happy long weekend to my US readers. For those of you who are not American, Monday is Memorial Day, a holiday for most. I'm really looking forward to relaxing, planting, reading and enjoying time with my family. Hope you all have some lovely plans as well. Some interesting press releases have crossed my desk this week, so watch for a couple of eye-opening bits of info next week!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Blogging Boomers Carnival #23

Contemporary Retirement is this week's host of the Blogging Boomers Carnival. Click on, join in, learn something new today!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Introducing The Z-List to Gen Plussers!

Very off-topic tonight, but I think many of you will find this interesting. In the blog world, there is a concept, called a "meme", which is a viral marketing concept. Each meme is based on a theme. For example, there might be a meme on your top ten favorite cities of all time. The meme concept gets circulated to other bloggers and before you know it, you are aware of the top ten favorite cities of one hundred other bloggers. I have recently discovered a meme list, called the Z-list on Dosh Dosh, a great site for bloggers. Dosh Dosh credits Mack Collier from A Viral Garden with starting ‘The Z List‘ (the original list) in December 2006.

This is a list of "NOT A-list" bloggers, but rather a tongue-in-cheek reference to the wealth of fantastic, fascinating blogs that scoot around conventional popularity contests by producing great quality on the web. There are a lot of really interesting blogs here, although I've not had time to visit all of them, so I'm unable to personally endorse any particular blog that I'm not familiar with. However, I am familiar with quite a few of them. Many of these bloggers offer excellent, generous help about blogging, branding, and business in general.

These blogs are predemoninantly about blogging, business and marketing, but there are also quite a few that just offer great insight and info on specific subjects. If you are excited about hearing what other bloggers from around the world have to say, you might want to take a little trip through some of the links below. So, if you see a blog title that appeals to you, just head on over! I was very excited to see The Boomer Chronicles on the list as they are one of the very popular blogs on our Blogging Boomers Carnival. It is against protocol to put one's own blog as an addition to the Z-list. If you wish to add the list to your own blog, cut and paste the "source" code from the links below into your blog post and feel free to add my blog to your post. For more detailed instructions, head over to Dosh Dosh.

Shotgun Marketing Blog



Customers Rock!

Being Peter Kim

Pow! Right Between The Eyes!

Billions With Zero Knowledge

Working at Home on the Internet

MapleLeaf 2.0

Two Hat Marketing


The Emerging Brand

One Reader at a Time
One blogger’s experiment in building and engaging with online communities.

Ruminate this site
Reviews blogs and sites so that we don’t have to.

SMogger Social Media Blog
The ethical use of social media for bloggers and other web users.

Blog Consultant bringing the twin passions of business and blogging together.

Successful Blog
The legendary Liz Strauss, blogger extraordinaire and creator of the SOB award.

Troy Worman's Blog
Focus on writing, ideas and connections

Copywriter's Crucible
The importance of copy in corporate blogging

Copywriting Tuneups
How to measure reading effectiveness and why it is important in the blogosphere

Dipping into the Blogpond
Blogging about starting an Internet company in the Sutherland Shire.

Broad and deep insight into the branding process.

Own Your Brand!
Blog to help businesses re-imagine their brands.

The Emerging Brand
Corporate branding blog focused on leadership.

The Engaging Brand
Using technology and marketing knowledge to improve business communications.

What is Brand?
Japanese readers/speakers? Anyone?

Presentation Zen
(Site in English) Tips for great presentations, marketing, and business communications.

Dummies Guide to Google Blogger Beta
Complete help on the new blogger. Blogger Hacks, Blogger templates. Adsense. Search engine Optimization.

Bob Sutton
Discussions of “jerks” in business.

Health, wealth and the freedom to choose. Archived blog. New one is jugaad (

Ramblings from a Glass Half Full
Views on business life.

Simplicity Mary’s Blog
Business development, marketing troubleshooting

Funny Business
Wide ranging discussion on business with a funny and pictorial approach.

Creative Think
Fun Ideas to stimulate your creativity.

The Copywriting Maven
Marketing and SEO copywriting tips.

Brain Based Biz
Tips for stirring creativity in business.

How to create great customer experiences on the web and in the “real” world.

Creating Passionate Users

raving lunacy

Anne 2.0

Emily Chang - eHub

Darren Barefoot - Vancouver Technologist, Writer, Raconteur, Miscellanist

Liz Strauss at Successful Blog - Thinking, writing, business ideas ...

ALLIED by Jeneane Sessum

Presentation Zen

good to know


gillianic tendencies

Steve's 2 Cents

Listics - Frank Paynter's Voice and Vision

Escape from Cubicle Nation

Blog Sisters: Where men can link, but they can't touch

Designers who Blog

E-Commerce Blog by Solid Cactus

Brand Autopsy

Unconventional Thinking

The Boomer Chronicles

Renovate Your Life with Craig

I Dream of Kimchee

The Moronosphere


Paula Mooney

Inspiration Lane

me,myself & me

A Gota de Ran Tan Plan

How Can I do That

Bonnie Writes

Flee the CubeStarting up a small business in web design.

Community Guy
Online and offline community building tips and tricks.

A Free and Decent Blog Host
Technology news focusing on blogs and blog software

Billions With Zero Knowledge
Changing the world with little bits of knowledge

Connected Internet
All things to do with technology, mobile phones and gaming.

Tech news, writing and marketing

Focuses on the technology of the Internet and loves Google.

MapleLeaf 2.0
Tech news stories relating to Canada

Scott Burkett's Pothole on the Infobahn
Musings on technology, IT management, and online community.

Small Surfaces
Interaction design, user interface design, user experience, usability and social trends related to mobile devices.

Tech new and reviews written by 17 year old in India. Awesome.

Design and photography blog.

Through the Lenses
Travel/photography blog includes stunning shots and photography tips.

Travel And Vacation On Blog
Lightweight travel guide/destination information on selected cities. Needs more.

The Best Guides to eCommerce with Favor
Viral marketing tools, memes and SEO tips.

Web Metrics Guru
Web analytics, in particular for blogs

The Future of the Web
Use of new technologies for the web.

Social Media on the fly

Survey results...thanks for participating

In July, I posted a query - just how long does it take for a 50-plusser to find a new job? The reason I was interested was because of a 2004 AARP report -- that it took workers 55 and older 25.8 weeks to find a job, compared to 18.9 weeks for younger worker. It is now 2007 and I wanted to find out about the experience of 50 plussers (5 years earlier than the AARP study), so I set up a survey and asked the following four questions:

1) Over 50: How long did you search for your current job?

2) Under 50: How long did it take you to find your current job?

3) Over 50 with no job: How long have you been searching for a new job?

4) Over 50: What type of work are you looking for?

Well, at long last, here are the results of my very unscientific survey on job search. Details of the results are below, but just so you all know, question 3 was the one I was really interested in -- if you were over 50 and had NO job, how long was the job search taking you? As you can see, from the AARP report, it took workers 55 and older 25.8 weeks (just shy of 6 months) to find a job. My survey is unscientific because those who take it have come to my blog specifically because they are looking for employment or are employers interested in hiring this demographic. Nonetheless, my feeling was that it was taking most of the Gen Plus jobseekers a heck of a lot longer to find a job. Full results are below for those of you who like statistics, but the long and the short of it?

Of our survey-takers, 50 and older, who currently do NOT have a job, 42% have been looking for longer than 1 year and 21% have been seeking employment between 7 months and 1 year. That means that 63% of those who took the survey, 50 years and older have been searching for work at LEAST longer than 7 months. That, my friends, is a long time.

So, how to effect change and make it easier for 50 plussers to find employment quickly? For those of you who have been following this blog for a long time, you know that I am commited to changing the perception of employers in the US and Canada so that they will actively seek out (and post jobs on the Gen Plus site) 50 plussers to enhance their workforce. I'm just one person, but there are a few others like me out there, working every day to bring awareness to the challenges facing 50 plussers and if we keep at it long enough, the employment picture will change.

Here are the results:

1) Over 50: How long did you search for your current job?

Less than 1 month 12%
Between 1 and 3 months 3%
Between 4 and 6 months 12%
Between 7 months and 1 year 9%
More than 1 year 9%
Still looking 55%

2) Under 50: How long did it take you to find your current job?
Less than 1 month 27%
Between 1 and 3 months 12%
Between 4 and 6 months 4%
Between 7 months and 1 year 6%
More than 1 year 6%
Still looking 46%

3) Over 50 with no job: How long have you been searching for a new job?

Less than 1 month 9%
Between 1 and 3 months 9%
Between 4 and 6 months 18%
Between 7 months and 1 year 21%
More than 1 year and still searching 42%

4) Over 50: What type of work are you looking for?
Full time 72%
Part-time 4%
Contract 1%
Any of the above 22%

I'll be running a new survey shortly, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Dali Chuckle

Your Drum has a delicious post which includes a video clip of Salvadore Dali's guest spot on the TV show "What's My Line". Just click on the link for some great mid-week enjoyment.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Welcome to Blogging Boomers Carnival #22

I'm this week's host blog for the Blogging Boomers Carnival. For those of you who may not know what this carnival is all about, each week a different blogger introduces you to posts put out by some of the best boomer bloggers on the internet. In addition to our regular group of bloggers, we may include guest bloggers for a particular week to introduce you to new voices.

So THIS week, I'm very excited to host, because we have some really wonderful posts from around the US.

First of all, I'd like to send out a general call to any civil engineers, 50 plus and looking for work. On Gen Plus, we're saying hello to a
new employer who is looking for engineers across the US.

I'm so excited about Contemporary Retirement's post, I'm beside myself with cyber-glee. Now that I'm on My Space and text messaging, I don't understand the new lingo. If your kids or grandkids sent you a text message with the abbreviations 10Q or AFAIK in it, would you know what they meant? How about G2G or IKWYM? Struggling? Visit the Contemporary Retirement blog to discover
The Joy of Text.

Of course, you'll need to remember what the abbreviations mean. Well, you may be able to easily resurrect your fading baby boomer memory, according to a new study. Read about it at
The Boomer Chronicles.

Some memories are guaranteed not to fade, especially if you wax nostalgic at I Remember JFK! Generations of kids stretching back to 1923 grew up with wagons produced by the company founded by Italian immigrant Antonio Pasin. And they still do. Even Calvin would take his friend Hobbes on some harrying trips down hillsides in a Radio Flyer.

Rushing to present day,
So Baby Boomer fills us in that sales of second-homes to mostly Baby Boomers represented 36% of all existing and new U.S. residential real estate transactions in 2006.

Humans will do strange and unusual things, especially when cornered or when all the masks fall and we have to deal with what is. Over at
Your Drum, you'll find 25 of the most unforgettable public meltdowns, which either had you scratching your head, laughing or cringing.

But not to worry -- if you are feeling a tad stressed out...it might be time for a spot of tea, because Life Two has the perfect story this week as the weather begins to turn warm... "
Good news for tea drinkers; lowered risk of skin cancer"

And just when you thought it was only the stress... Are years of mascara and curling your lashes making your eyelids look a little bald? Then you might want to check out Café Glam to see what Deborah and JoJami have to say about the newest cosmetic procedure, Eyelash Transplants.

We have two guest bloggers this week:
The Budget Fashionista tells us about the Best Jeans for Older Women, and Healthy B.P.M asks the all important question: Are you as healthy as your mom was?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

HNTB Recruiting for Civil Engineers

A big warm welcome to a new Gen Plus employer. HNTB is recruiting for civil engineers (transportation, structures, architecture, ITS, traffic, etc.) across the country. With 65 offices across the US, and lots of work ahead in the coming year, if you are 50 plus and a civil engineer, or know a civil engineer, there may be some open positions near you! For more info head to our job listings via www.genplususa.com and make sure you sign up as a free member. If you would like to contact the recruiter, please call Howie Appel at (800) 889-8237, or email Howie at happel@hntb.com. Thank you to Howie for his resourcefulness!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Putting some Bend in your Stretch

I've started to notice a few creaks and squeaks when I get out of bed in the wee hours of the morning. Summer is almost here and there is nothing that can get my spirits up more than getting into better shape. I'm a big fan of yoga (which is much harder than it looks, by the way) and pilates (this IS as hard as it looks) for working both your body and your mind. Never in a million years would I have thought that I'd enjoy listening to a teacher, following someone else's moves and working up a sweat. But there you go!

I'm also a big, big walker. I love walking. There is nothing that I love more than getting up at the crack'o'dawn, and grabbing my dog and my daughter and greeting the morning. My daughter and I hold hands, talking, not talking, breathing in nature, listening to the birds waking up with the morning and feeling oxygen cascading into our bodies. Waking up. Aaaahhh. Without my 2 -3 miles a day, I feel it -- in my energy and in my muscles.

Doesn't that make you feel like going for a walk? Not a subliminal message, by any means, but I'd love to know if you end up going for a walk over the weekend.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Whose Space?

Well, I've done it. After so many emails about needing a My Space for 50 plussers I've decided to join the ranks. I now have my own My Space (although I'm not quite sure what to do there yet...) If you are brave, head on over there: http://www.myspace.com/genplus I'll let you know more as I figure it out. And I'll let you know if I find any 50 plussers out there!

If you figure out how to be my friend on myspace, you'll be one step ahead of me!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Blogging Boomers Carnival #21!

Our robust group of Boomer bloggers is at it again. Hosted this week at Man-o-pause, Blogging Boomers Carnival #21 (BBC) is chock full of Boomer tidbits to get your week going. Hope you enjoy it!

If you've never enjoyed a Carnival before, you are missing out on a lot of info/entertainment. This carnival is put together by some of the best boomer bloggers on the web and each week, we take turns hosting, ie. highlighting posts from our carnival members that came out in the prior week that are of particular interest to a wider range of readers -- or at least to us!

And hosting is just about as much fun as posting! We are on our 21st round -- if you want to follow any of the past carnivals, go to the Blogging Boomers Carnival category and you'll get a feel for our personalities and content very quickly. Yours truly is next week's host, so either add yourself on as a free subscriber (the Feedblitz box at the top), or check back next Monday for BBC #22.

Who do YOU want to hear from?

I'm very interested in what impact the 2008 presidential election will have on our demographic (50 plus). I'm also extremely interested in finding out what each candidate's position is on issues that relate to and affect 50 plussers.

Currently, I have questions out to Hilary Clinton's and Barack Obama's official sites. (Obama's is very cool -- a good use of the internet and the idea of social communities here.) As I make my way through the list of candidates, I'm just wondering who you particularly want to hear from? You can add a comment or email me directly with the subject line: 08 Campaign.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Did you know that May is Better Speech and Hearing Month? Can you repeat that?

Back in 1994 (oh, so long ago) I suffered from an acute bout of viral labrynthisis, basically a virus of the ear canal. I was bedbound for about 2 weeks, dizzy for months, and suffered some permanent hearing loss in my left ear after about a year's recovery. To this day, when the weather gets heavy, I find myself getting dizzy, I have to walk on the left side of someone if I'm going for a long walk, and I often can't tell where sounds are coming from.

So, imagine my excitement (and, I must admit trepidation) when I was contacted by Sherri Weiss on behalf for Phonak, a leading hearing aid manufacturer regarding their activities throughout "Better Speech and Hearing Month". They have a quick test on their Web site to help determine if you have a hearing loss and helps refer folks to hearing professionals in their local areas (http://www.hear-the-world.com/hoeren_und_hoerverlust/hoerverlust_erkennen.htm). I took it and discovered (though not to my surprise) that I should really go get my hearing checked again.

So, in celebration of Better Speech and Hearing Month (May), why not get YOUR hearing tested?

It's no surprise that 50 plussers lead active (and noisy) lifestyles. I certainly remember blasting my eardrums out at the unending stream of concerts and nightclubs in the 70's and 80's.

According to Weiss, it should also be no surprise that Baby Boomers suffer from a significantly higher degree of hearing loss than their parents.

She also passed along the following stats: From 1971 to 1990, hearing problems among those between the ages 45 and 64 jumped 26 percent, according to a National Health Interview Survey. There was also a 17 percent increase in the 18 to 44 age group. In California, where researchers surveyed 5,000 people, the rate of impairment jumped 150 percent between 1965 and 1994 among those in their 50s.

And how does that affect you in your job? Weiss mentions a study from the National Academy on an Aging Society (1999) found that labor force participation rates are lower for people with hearing loss than for others. Some 67% of the working age population with hearing loss is employed, compared to 75 percent of the working age population without such a loss. In addition, close to 13% of workers age 51 to 61 with hearing loss report that hearing loss limits the type or amount of paid work they can do.

Phonak also sponsors a worldwide hearing initiative, Hear the World (
http://www.hear-the-world.com/ueber_hear_the_world.htm) to educate the public about the importance of hearing, the social and emotional implications of hearing loss, and the available solutions for those with hearing impairment. Program ambassadors include: Plácido Domingo, The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Bryan Adams and Joss Stone.

Phonak US headquarters are in Warrenville, IL and Phonak will get back to me regarding how they promote 50 plus employment opportunities in their own company.

The most recent HEAR THE WORLD event occured in New York on May 1st, with two mobile audiology units (with audiologists on site to perform hearing tests) stationed in Manhattan.