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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.

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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

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?


Michael Wagner said...

I really like this thought provoking post.

The connection between China and the 50 Plus generation paints a vivid image.

I hear the term re-tool a lot as well.

And while I understand how and why it is used. I prefer a term I first encountered from Tom Peters - re-imagine.

Of course I will continue to use both. Grin.

Thanks for enlarging a meaningful conversation!

Keep creating,

Wendy, founder, Gen Plus said...

Thanks, Mike! I'm re-imagining as we speak. China has over 400 million people who will be over 50 plus in the next few years. More than the combined total populations of the US and Canada. What happens to their 50 plus demographic may have more impact on global economies than anyone can envision. Love to hear from you again. Stop by anytime.


Walter Akana said...

Hi Wendy! I agree with Michael, this is a thought provoking post – and an inspiring one too! I also rather like “re-imagine” for its Conceptual Age feel. Still, whether it’s “re-tool” or “re-imagine,” I think we’re facing an awesome opportunity for people to create fresh new futures for themselves and others!

Wendy, founder, Gen Plus said...

Thanks Walter. An interesting study was just released on 50 plussers continuing to work...I'll be posting on that later today or tomorrow. Our demographic will be the stone that gathers no moss. Look at how important personal branding will become over the next decade. It will be the brand of the person that will be employed...not necessarily the exact skill sets they possess.


Walter Akana said...

Hi Wendy! Now *that* is thought provoking too! I look forward to your post on it. Yes, personal branding is really taking shape as a critical career management tool. Having been through the process myself, I can tell you that it not only has outcomes that are significant for managing one’s career, but also for living one’s life in a more satisfying way!