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, February 25, 2007

Everyone Loves a Carnival -- especially #11!

This week's Blogging Boomers Carnival #11 is hosted at Man-o-pause. Enjoy!

Yours truly is next week's host, so stay tuned for some very interesting posts!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Help! My Resume Has Fallen and It Can't Get UP!

Recently a reader asked me to give her feedback on her resume. Rather than charge her for a resume redo, I made a few suggestions that she could implement herself to develop a winning resume.

Some of the suggestions included pumping up her Highlights and Qualifications section by really homing in on her strengths. Another suggestion was to use stronger action words in describing her duties and responsibilities in each of her positions.

The idea was that she could incorporate these changes herself at no cost and end up with a winning resume. Her challenge was that she really didn't know how to identify her strengths or how to find the appropriate action words to describe her job tasks.

So, for any of you facing the same challenge, here are a few easy tips to get you on your way. Don't spend the money on a resume re-do unless you really, really can't do it yourself.

1) Read this past "Ask Wendy" article as well as the articles linked in at the bottom of the article:

2) If you are having trouble identifying your strengths, ask your friends, family and co-workers if you have them, what THEY see as your strengths. Use those as your starting point.

3) There are MANY lists of action words to be found just by a simple search on the internet. Google the term "Action Words" and you'll come up with a slew of sites, such as:
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/pw/p_skilist.html; or http://www.placementmanual.com/resume/resume-02.html

4) If you need action words specific to your job responsibilities, do a more specific search. If you Google "action words, administrative resume" and you'll come up with sites like:

5) Need some sample resumes to use as your own template? No need to reinvent the wheel. About.com always has a wealth of information for you. Go to:
http://jobsearch.about.com/od/sampleresumes/a/sampleresume2.htm for oodles and oodles of resume templates and sample resumes. Or Google "sample resume" and you'll be amazed at some of the resources you can find.

Get your weekly dose of all things Boomer.

Blogging Boomers Carnival #10 is up and running at The Boomer Chronicles! Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Cupid's Arrow?

One of my favorite columnists, Anne Fisher (Senior writer for Fortune), pens a great column today on office romance and some statistical findings from several good sources. For more on love (or lust) in the workplace, check out today's article: Cupid at work: 3 tips for office romances

I particularly like Fisher's writing because she takes complicated financial issues and is able to bring them to the reader in laymen's terms and a lot of what she writes about is relevant to the 50 plus demographic. If you subscribe to her newsletter, you'll find it worth your read.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Some help and a cry for help...

On the employer side...

An eons group member passed this along:

For those of you who live in or near Yonkers, NY, there is a job referral service for residents 55 or over provided a service of Family Services of Westchester. Y-SPEC (Yonkers Senior Personnel Employment Council) offers assistance with resume writing, interviewing skills, and will refer you to jobs that fit your skills and interests.

Please contact me with any questions about accessing this service at smacdonald@fsw.org or by calling (914) 375-9154 and asking for Sarah. To find out more about Y-SPEC please visit us on the web at www.fsw.org/ Click the top tab for SENIORS and then the hyper link for SPEC.If you are a Westchester resident but not a resident of Yonkers there are services for you at our White Plains Office. Call (914) 948-8004 and ask for Bev or Emma.We are here to help you navigate your job search.

And on the jobseeker side...

We have a jobseeker in dire need of help, so if you are an employer, or know of an employer in NC, please let us know and we'll put you in touch with this member. It's almost Valentine's Day. Give the gift of a job.

Job Urgently Needed In NC
Hello To All,I am a 52 year old female who relocated to Johnston County NC from Florida in order to care for my elderly parent. Making this move required me to leave a job that I held for more than 5 years...so you guessed it....there went the health insurance, life insurance, 401k savings. I have been looking for a job since June 2006... My resume shows history from 1972-2006. I worked in MetLife's Corporate Accounting department in NY as an Accounting Specialist for 15 years...an Eligibility Examiner for Westchester County NY DSS for 11 years, and the last job before relocating, was an analyst position with a nationally known healthcare provider. I have applied for all sorts of clerical/administrative positions with no results. I am registered with four different temp agencies to no avail. At this very moment, I have 10 applications submitted for various NC State and county positions. I have had exactly one interview in eight months. I desparately need this community's assistance in locating employment.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Blogging Boomers Carnival #9

It's here. This week's Blogging Boomers Carnival, hosted at Life Two. Lots of great boomer info, plus some handy tips for understanding waht subscribing to these dang blogs is all about!

And don't forget to add your email address in the subscribe box to the right (if you are reading this through your subsciption, you are already in the system, so ignore this part) OR send an email to shop@genplususa.com with subject line: Contest in order to be eligible for Wednesday's Valentine's day award of 3 Gen Plus Fitness DVDs. That is my special thank you for all your support over the past couple of years.

I get lots of questions from those interested in finding work in Education. There will be an interesting post coming in a day or so all about qualifying as a teacher's aide.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Will YOU be my Valentine?

I just ran a fun contest over at my group on Eons (Careers for Boomers and 50 Plus). I gave a free Fitness DVD to the 400th group member and the sign-up frenzy it created was a blast.

I don't have my own special Valentine this year, and I'm sure a few of you may be on your own, so here is my offer. Out of all of you who subscribe to this blog, I'll pull 3 names and if YOUR name is pulled, I'll send you a Valentine's gift of a free Gen Plus Fitness DVD from me, to you. If you are already a blog subscriber, don't worry, you'll be counted. If you are NOT yet subscribed, simply plug in your email into the subscription box on the right. If you don't want to subscribe, but want to be counted, send an email with the subject line "Be MY Valentine" to me directly and I'll include you in the count. I'm going to limit the draw to 500 new names, plus the existing subscriber list, so if you want to win, get your email in quickly.

Now if you were hoping for chocolate, sorry. I'm committed to giving you a gift of wellness this year. But that doesn't mean I don't have a few See's candies stashed up in the cupboard, too!

I'll post a few reminders before Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I always knew my Liberal Arts degree would come in handy...

Always looking for connections. Always keeping my eyes and ears open to themes in the world of 50 plus!

This one is about the "new lifestyle concept." Well, you heard it here first. Several months ago, Campus Continuum asked us to help them with a survey they were running on "campus" retirement living. My article sent a lot of interested readers over to the survey. And results are in. More on that in a minute.

On a similar theme, a NY Times article by Alan Finder (Feb. 7, 2007) talks about three other campus communities (among quite a few more) that are being planned to bring 50 plussers in close connection with the vibrancy of young life and exploration, the energy and available education that lies in a college or university environment. Most satisfying seem to be trending towards smaller communities surrounding liberal arts colleges. (Think The Bob Newhart Show, with a roaring fire in the stone fireplace while billowing snow gently settles on the windowsills outside.)

A few weeks earlier, I wrote an article on the increasing move toward multi-generational living, reminiscent of family live in the 1950's. And that connected with my interview with AARP and their survey on creating multi-generational livable communities.

All that to say, is that according to Campus Continuum's survey (the one you took part in),on resident living at Juniata College out of 700 Baby Boomers surveyed, 86% of those ‘Very Interested’ in living on a college campus are ages 51 – 70. In multi-generational, friendly, engaging, intellectually stimulating, connected environments.

Other interesting stats?
  • 17% (119) of the 700 respondents are “very interested” in residing at Campus Continuum at Juniata College; 37% (259) say they are “mildly interested.”

  • The project is equally attractive to alumni and non-alumni of the College.

  • Unlike typical retirement communities, which draw primarily from their immediate area, 60% of the “very interested” prospects for Campus Continuum at Juniata College live 100 – 500 miles from the College. 18% live more than 500 miles away.

  • 86% of the interested prospects are now 51 – 70 years old.

  • Looking at the differences between those who express interest in living at the community versus those who do not, the main factor is whether they value the lifestyle (for example, access to courses and facilities, volunteer opportunities) that affiliation with the College offers.

  • The planned community is attractive to a very diverse group in terms of education and income levels.

The survey is ongoing. To participate in the online survey if you still want your voice to be counted, www.campuscontinuum.com/juniata (for the Juniata college campus).

Campus Continuum is conducting a similar market assessment for a project at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (Dartmouth, Mass.). To learn more about that community and to participate in that survey please visit

Blogging Boomers Carnival #8

A bit late on this post...I was flat laid out with the bug that has been sweeping the country! Back in full force...so, for the latest and greatest on all things Boomer, head over to this week's host, Your Drum and enjoy Blogging Boomers Carnival #8.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

NYU survey call for help

A New York University graduate Capstone team (Graduate School of Public Service) is asking as many 50 plus related blogs and resources as they can, to spread the word about a survey they are running. They are working with the United Hospital Fund on a project to engage Boomers in hospital volunteerism.

According to Sarah Dannan, one of the graduate students on the team: "the boomer generation is better educated and healthier than previous generations, and is also more culturally, economically, and socially diverse. With the first wave of boomers approaching the threshold of retirement in the next five years, many organizations hope to utilize the skills and experience that boomers possess.

To better understand what would motivate the members of the baby boomer generation to volunteer in a hospital setting we have developed an online survey."

I've taken the survey myself and some of the questions are very good. The survey centers a bit on the NY area, but you have the opportunity to respond no matter what area of the country you live in.

To participate in the survey, head to http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=327123133147.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Who is looking to hire?

Is the tide starting to turn for 50-plus jobseekers? Are employers starting to feel the crunch?

Maybe so. Home Depot, self-declared 50-plus friendly, has been advertising on the radio. They are aggressively recruiting. On AM radio. Who listens to the news/traffic station? Me, obviously. Typically working commuters over 45. Driving, listening for traffic reports and news on the world at large. And ads for jobs at Home Depot.

There is a tough trend happening in the work force. Gen Y'ers aren't sticking around. Costs of training and turnover are very high, but from what I am seeing in many businesses, the younger generation (Gen Y, echo boomers, boomerangs), used to growing up with the internet and a high level of information and media flowing right toward them, is, frankly, getting bored. After a few months of work, if promotions aren't coming quickly enough, they tend to leave and find another position that will afford them quicker growth opportunity, higher pay, more work-life balance (as in 70% life balance against 30% work balance -- not official stats, just Wendy observations.)

So Home Depot is looking. Really looking. For sales associates up to managers. If you are an out-of-work 50-plusser, looking to get your foot back in the game, I'd take a look for a Home Depot near you and find out who they need and if you can fit their bill. Lots of people are listening to their radio waves. Yup...I think the tide just may be starting to turn.