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, December 15, 2008

Migration complete!

Hello all. This blog has been moved over to the WordPress platform. All posts from this location are now available at www.GenPlusUSA.com. If you are a subscriber, there should be no interruption in your delivery, however, if you haven't been getting your daily dose of Gen Plus, just head on over to the new and improved site (www.GenPlusUSA.com) and sign up again. There is a subscription field on the upper right of the webpage. See you there!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Transparency

Listening to Barack Obama talk about transparency in this mornings news conference rang true with my own personal efforts at reinventing the Gen Plus website. Over the past few years I received so many questions about setting up a blog or a website and so I'm doing something a bit bizarre. I'm going to be transparent about how I build my new site. Rather than unveil the "finished" product with a grand launch, I'll invite you to watch the evolution of the site!

Although I blog on Blogger, I'll be setting up the website using WordPress and if you head over to www.genplususa.com, in fact, you'll see a blank WordPress template replacing the old site. Over the next few weeks and months, you'll hopefully learn as I build it. When I first started with my first website, the process was painful! There were no pre-built databases or shopping carts and my programmer, designer and I spent months on refining and building every aspect of the site. Now, of course, you can find most anything, so the learning curve is a lot less. If you have questions along the way, I'll answer them. If you want to try to build your own site, go for it!

But as a self-taught Boomer Blogger, if I can help you learn a thing or two along the way...why not? So, here is to transparency -- even if you don't understand what I'm doing right at this point.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

BBC 96

This week's BBC is up and running at So Baby Boomer, hosted by the always wonderful, John Agno. Enjoy.

Reinvention is....what?

What a week. Unemployment numbers are up...way up (6.7%) some predictions see us heading up to as much as 8% unemployment. I'm sure the actual numbers are worse. There are so many 50 plus jobseekers who won't even show up on the actuarial studies -- people who have tried for so long to find work and may have even given up. Because I've been a steadfast advocate for the 50 plus jobseeker for almost 5 years now, I truly and honestly try to look at the trends and the news AND the forecasts to see how a Boomer or 50 plusser can try to get a leg up in the world of job search. And it is mighty hard.

Back in 2004 I decided to build a job board specifically for the 50 plus market (Gen Plus), which I did, and subsequently had thousands of 50 plus jobseekers searching my sight for 50 plus-friendly employers. I had several hundred (if not thousands) of jobs posted, mostly with national companies who had openings across the country. This was in the market of the past few years, where recruiting was becoming difficult as many of the Boomers started leaving the work force and a bit of a panic ensued, looking for qualified workers with some level of business or management skill. So, my job site catered to employers specifically looking for a Boomer/50 Plus jobseeker because of a need for those skills.

Fast forward to today. High unemployment, globally, companies are laying off thousands of workers, and those companies looking to staff up having the pick of the crop of unemployed talent. Which means that a job board search will give you very slim chances (in this climate) of getting a call to come in for an interview. On top of that, as an "expert" blogger (on AllExperts.com and at Eons.com), the through themes of unemployment challenges have become very specific -- i.e. finding a job is going to require going back to the basics of networking 101.

Because of that major shift (and one that I suspect will last for many years), I've decided to temporarily retire the Gen Plus job board and reinvent my site to reflect the current needs of jobseekers.

(That is NOT the same as this blog. THIS mouthpiece will continue to speak as long as you are interested in what I have to say!)

If you head over to www.genplususa.com as of next week, you'll see a placeholder while I get the new site up and running. I decided early on that if a plan was not going to benefit the Boomer/50 plus jobseeker, then I would not continue on that path. So, bear with me as I redirect my knowledge to be more helpful to the jobseeker. I'll let you know as soon as the new site is up and running.

If the climate changes again and there is a need to ressurrect the job bank, then I will, and gladly. To the thousands of jobseekers who have trusted their career search to me, thank you.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Gen Plus Nominated for Award

It's always fun (and rewarding) to get a nomination in blogworld! So I'm very pleased to discover that my blog has been nominated on Divine Caroline! (See my new badge, visit Divine Caroline, and please vote for me! I'm very competitive and I appreciate the support.)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

What the Stock Market and my Menopause may have in Common!

If you are a male reader, don't be squeamish. Read on. For my female readers, especially those of you enduring never-ending hot flashes, you'll totally get it.

For some strange reason, I haven't found the stock market crash or the ensuing ups and downs of the exchanges, or even the imploding world economy, all that hard to relate to. None of it came as a surprise. Oddly, I have found that I relate to the volatile ups and downs that each new day brings. And last night (or through the night, shall we say), I finally figured out why.

Bear with me for another minute as I explain the menopausal process in MY skin. There are two major factors at play. One: my hormones are trying, with increasing fury, to force me to drop an egg in a last gasp at fertility. My hormones don't seem to realize that I've already had the child I'm going to have and have no plans on another. However, in this valiant attempt, every month, whether the menses arrives or not, my body puts me through torture as it tries to convince my tubes to produce and drop another egg. This creates hormonal surges which in turn reek havoc on my temperature regulators...meaning...hot flashes.

Two: Hand in hand with the hormonal fluctuations are mood swings, the likes of which I've never experienced in the past, and are absolutely, passionately horrific and have brought the worst out in me...actually worse than I could have thought possible. My general demeanor is calm, patient, infinitely kind and incredibly loving. This monster that strikes out from within is cranky, crabby, mean-spirited, angry and...yes...nasty. Just as the hot flashes surge, this nastiness, the other side of Janet, surfaces in full glory as my body tries to ovulate and then, crescendoes in a PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome)worthy of Hollywood.

The minute I get my period, my hormones immediately (as in within minutes) go back to normal and my true nature (or let's just say the one I'm more used to) comes back for another couple of weeks until the entire vicious cycle starts again. And may I add that you don't just hot flash for a day...no...it goes on for one or two weeks at a time...from when you "should" have ovulated, all the way through to when you "should" have had a period.

What no one tells you is that regardless of whether or not you have your period, your hormones will still cause the uproar...and riot and storm...until you no longer have eggs to potentially drop.

Which brings me to last night. For the last couple of weeks, the flashes have flashed again. Just last week, sitting at a friend's home, in the space of 30 minutes I put on and took off my sweater at least 4 or 5 times, wiped sweat off my brow and kept asking, "Is it hot in here???" Worst of all, is that when your internal temperature regulator is shot, you can get alternately very cold and very hot within minutes of each other...for hours, days, weeks at a time. (Aha...are you starting to see where I'm going with this?)

Last night was a killer night. It was about 65 in my house and when I went to sleep I was freezing. I put on a sweatshirt and socks over my summer PJs (shorts and T) and cuddled up under my covers. That was at 10 pm. 11 pm threw my covers off. 11:15 was freezing again and grabbed as much of the comforter as I could to warm up. Midnight? Boiling. Threw left leg out of the covers and arms up over my head. 1:30 am: FREEZING. Covered up again. 2:30 am: Sweat dripping down my forehead, ripped off the covers, the sweatshirt, but kept socks on. 4:00 am. Freezing once again. Put sweatshirt around me and covered up. 4:22 am: BOILING. Threw everything off except the shorts and T. Decided to call it an early day and grabbed my computer.

Covered up again and as the heat of the laptop caused, yet again, another flash, I realized that my volatility was strangely similar to the ups and downs of the STOCK MARKET. "Our economy is in the throes of MENOPAUSE!" was the big thought at 4:22 am. Of course. All the useless credit just like the eggs no longer worth anything. The readjustment of the economy to no more credit eggs is like a broken temperature regulator and the market is suffering hot flashes and cold sweats until it will rebalance at the other end. Unable to produce more offspring, but at least to make use of lessons learned...maybe?

It's 5:52, I'm suddenly cold and quite tired -- this surge is done for now. I'd say I'll be 3% up at day's end.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I'm an American-Canadian

It was an honor and a privilege to become an American citizen at the age of 45, in Los Angeles. I lived my first 36 Canadian years, in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa. In my duality, I cherish the inherent sense of social responsibility that forms a fundamental part of the core of any Canadian, and do my best to spread that moral responsibility to others. My sister, a Canadian now living in Vancouver, British Columbia, sent this to me, today. A bit late, but an MSNBC report I hadn't seen on Canadian solidarity that was aired on Veteran's Day.

The people gathering on the bridges are not saluting their country in exactly the same way Americans do...they are saluting the individual soldiers, one by one, who lost their lives in Afghanistan and supporting, through their numbers, the remaining mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children.

Monday, November 24, 2008

BBC 95 is here!

I am the proud host of the Blogging Boomers Carnival this week. We are only 5 weeks away from our 100th posting of the weekly carnival and I'm wondering if that means we'll be going into syndication?? Hmmmm....

Without further ado (or posturing...hehe) here is this week's lineup:

From Wes, at Life Two, it’s Divorce Math, where no matter what the story problem, the answer always come out to one. That said, here’s a list of some of the ways to make sure one is not the loneliest number.

Ron at I Remember JFK reflects on Orson Bean: "Orson Bean was born Dallas Frederick Burrows on July 22, 1928 in Burlington, Vermont. He had a cousin you may have heard of, Calvin Coolidge. But speaking from my own perspective, he is renowned for his quick comedic style and demonstrated on various episodes of the Johnny Carson Show which I viewed as a child."

Rhea asks: "I like newspapers. Does that make me old?" Read more at The Boomer Chronicles.

From Laura Lee, Queen of The Midlife Crisis Queen: How do you keep hope alive that the partner of your dreams might be just around the corner? Music is a great solution! "Without music, life would be a mistake!" -Nietzsche

Cindy at Don't Gel Too Soon tells us that scary economic times can really - uh - scare a person.

Staying with the theme of economics, Andrea at The Baby Boomer Entrepreneur notes that Baby Boomers are closer to retirement than younger entrepreneurs. As a result, we should be planning our business exit strategy now. Here's what you need to consider in your succession plan in this two-part post Succession Planning: Do You Have An Exit Strategy For Your Business?

But what if you still need to find a job? With the U.S. jobless rate hitting 6.5% in October, and many economists thinking it could reach 8% by late 2009, many boomers are or will be looking for a mid-life career change. That is why John at SoBabyBoomer.com is offering a number of online career transition resources for the involuntary retired.

But if you are able to ignore economic woes, you might be looking for a way out of the winter weather. Heading south and wondering what to pack? Check out Fabulous after 40 for some up to date travel wardrobe tips to make you look Boomer Beautiful!

Here's one to get you thinking! Ann asks: "What do snowflakes, the lemon wedges you get in bar-bought drinks and flight attendants have in common?" Head over to Contemporary Retirement to find out.

As for me, I'd like to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving celebration if you are a US reader. And to those of you in other countries, I'll be making a virtual place for you at my table!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What a Turkey!

Just when I breathed a sigh of relief that Sarah Palin had temporarily fallen off the media radar, I have been able to lose my appetite, once again, with her Turkey pardon interview. Good gosh. Sarah. Stop giving interviews. If you haven't seen it or heard about it yet, Palin pardons a turkey while a turkey slaughterer stands in the background grinning at the cameras while doing his job...slaughtering turkeys. Crikeys. Don't know how I'm going to eat my Thanksgiving dinner this year. Well, at least I can give thanks she didn't get into office.

It's disturbing to watch any animal get slaughtered, so if you have a weak stomach, don't watch the video (and DEFINITELY not for kids younger than about 17 or 18), but if you can handle it, the woman is more than just gaffe-prone...she's utterly clueless.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-kjM1asH-8

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Blogging Boomers Carnival #94

It's that time...the Blogging Boomers Carnival is hosted this week at the "home" of one of our BBC founders...Wes Hein at Life Two! Head on over and see what Boomer bloggers have to say.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Soft music of the 50's, and 60's LIVE Stream at BroadwayandVocals.com

Ken Noble, of Baton Rouge, LA sent a message the other day regarding their newly formed online radio broadcast. I checked it out and even though it isn't the music of MY generation, I found it wonderfully soothing in the midst of the wildfire destruction in Los Angeles. Hope it lifts your spirits.

"Soft music of the 50's, and 60's LIVE Stream at BroadwayandVocals.com


The popular standards format that ran for seven months on KDDK-FM in Baton Rouge, Louisiana was recently replaced with youth oriented programming. However, a live stream of that standards show can now be heard at www.BroadwayandVocals.com .

In addition to our core artists like Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Patsy Cline, Tony Bennett, Glen Campbell, Vikki Carr, Nat King Cole, Julie Andrews, Bobby Darin, Everly Brothers, and Elvis Presley, many of the significant instrumentals of the last 50 years are included in our playlist of 2,106 recordings by 660 different artists.

Fifty-one (51) Frank Sinatra recordings are in our playlist. During the first seven days of November we have had listeners from U.S.A., Great Britain, Canada, Philippines, Australia, Mexico, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Venezuela, Malaysia, Ireland, Croatia, Japan, Denmark, Belgium, Argentina, and Sweden. When you go to www.BroadwayandVocals.com , the music stream should start immediately."

Fires in Los Angeles

What a disaster in LA. Less than 10 miles from my home a huge part of the San Fernando Valley is experiencing an inferno. The sky is filled with ash, friends of mine are being forced to evacuate and hundreds of families are being displaced as their homes burn. My thoughts and prayers are with all of them.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

BBC 93

Geez -- the Blogging Boomers Carnival is almost at 100 weekly posts! Amazing that this group would not only stick together, but find it interesting, exciting AND that we'd continue to attract new talent to our group (with a wait list!)


This week's host is a woman who is a changer in her own right. Cindy Samuels has refined the art of e-news conferences and e-media roundtables like no one else I've met in the industry. Just to give you an idea of what this unusual and creative venue is, image a press conference...but via an internet roundtable. Cindy typically invites bloggers only, as she is very attuned to the types of questions we're bound to ask, the honesty we expect from the interviewee, and the immediacy of the response to our blog posts on the interviews. It is a very powerful press conference, but relies heavily on the moderator (in this case Cindy) to keep tight virtual control while ensuring the best of the interviewee is highlighted. I've been invited to a few of her e-conferences that are Boomer related and they are always uniquely interesting.

So, head on over to Don't Gel Too Soon for this week's BBC roundtable! And take a few minutes to read some of Cindy's past blogs if you never have before. Very insightful and heartfelt.

Butter. Real Butter.

As the economic disaster continue to unfold, I find myself turning to comfort foods. I had always loved a good baked potato with sour cream, but in my late 20's I became allergic to white potato starch and also VERY lactose intolerant.

As the years have progressed, my lactose intolerance has become less severe, so I can handle yogurt, butter and harder cheeses in reasonable quantities (and even a bit of ice cream), but not milk. But I never quite found a way to really substitute the glorious satisfaction of a bite of baked potato with sour cream...until now.
But first, I have to take you with me to last summer. When I was still a corporate exec, my company flew me to London, England to train the English (and some of the European) education team. While there I had the privilege of staying in a beautiful apartment in a small countryside town, just minutes walk from the local village shops. Fresh and Easy is a new concept of grocery store in the US, but it is the Trader Joe's of England. There I was able to pick up outstanding frozen Indian dinners, real farm fresh eggs and best of all... Irish butter. I thought I was just buying butter, as I'd gotten used to it in the US. But with my first piece of toast, with just a bit of butter, I was TRANSPORTED back to the breakfasts of my youth. It was the butter I remembered. Of course, everything I could get butter on after that was literally slathered. And so went my butter experience in England.

Last week, in the doldrums over the economy, but feeling a heck of a lot more optimistic over the outcome of the election, I decided to treat myself when I saw IRISH butter in the dairy section at Trader Joe's. Twice the price of US butter, but I thought...what the heck. I had the $3.69 in cash, so I went for it.

And when I got home, I baked up a sweet potato (not allergic to those) and slathered on the Irish butter and ladled on some 2% Greek style yogurt (ALMOST as good as sour cream) and found myself in a little bit of heaven. After a 20 year absence, I was able to capture, if not exactly, then almost, the glory of a baked potato with real butter and sour cream. Ah...blessed comfort!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

That one is The One.

America has spoken. Barack Obama, President -elect has broken racial barriers, voter turnout records, and shown the world that he, and his spectacular team, is capable of re-energerizing the nation. Tears in my eyes, my mother's eyes, and my daughter's eyes, as along with millions of Americans and countless viewers around the world, we witnessed history being made.

Congratulations Barack Obama. Looking forward to getting to know you.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

And if you need a break after voting...BBC 92!

This week's Blogging Boomers Carnival is hosted by the Glam Girls at the always fabulous Fabulous After 40. Check it out when you need to take a break from election coverage!

Today is the Election. Go Vote.

I spent a few hours yesterday at the Obama/Biden campaign offices for the San Fernando Valley, volunteering my time and my cell phone minutes to join hundreds of other people in calling eligible voters to remind them to get out and vote. Never thought I'd take part in a political campaign in any way, and yet, there I was, going through training and making calls with other interested valley dwellers! Surprisingly, it was a lot of fun and whether those I reached were voting for McCain or Obama, they were mostly planning on exercising their right and getting out to vote.

So...forget the polls. Forget the pundits. Forget the past two years (if you can). Today is the day that counts. Exercise your right to vote and do so today. Will there be long lines? Possibly. Might you have to wait a bit? Possibly. I don't know about you, but I've waited in line for a popular movie, to get into an exclusive club, and to buy concert tickets. Today is a bit more important.

Projected numbers don't mean anything. What matters today is that your vote, the vote that belongs to you, gets cast and is counted. So, go on. Get out and vote.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

BBC 91

My apologies to the wonderful Ann Harrison at Contemporary Retirement, this week's host of our Blogging Boomers Carnival. In my malaise, this week, I also forgot to post her Carnival blog! Please head on over and enjoy this past week's Boomer Blogger views of the world!

Which is scarier? Halloween or Nov. 4th?

What an odd Halloween this year. I've been planning on posting several times this week, but my heart was just not into blogging and I couldn't really figure out why. Well, now that Halloween has come and gone, I think I've got it. I'm a bit depressed. Just like the rest of you. No matter the outcome of the election on Tuesday (and I'm very pro-Barack, if you didn't know), we are in a mess in this country. All talk is swinging to the fears that college grads won't find work and my heart is, as always, all consumed with all the Boomers and 50 Plussers who, with the greatest of spirit and skills, will not be able to get a foot in any employers door.

This year, Halloween was odd. Very quiet on the streets, very subdued decorations. Pumpkins went moldy at the sellers because people didn't have the spirit to carve this year. Very few kids on the streets and lots of homes very dark. On the bright side, it seemed that many people pulled others into their homes with parties. (A psychological circling of the wagons?)

And parents meeting other parents on the street talked politics, the insanely high electric and water bill we all got in our 'hood, and the slowing of business all over. Not really about our kids, or holiday plans, or our own plans for the future.

On to Nov. 4th. A pivotal election. Obama is not the seasoned politician that McCain is, but Obama stirs hope AND can surround himself with an incredible pool of talent. After all I've seen, I'm convinced that he'll make solid decisions. I'm not worried about his support of Israel for one major reason. He is going to go full steam ahead on alternative energy sources. And who is the leading country able to turn desert into arable land? Who harvests water from the saltiest of seas? Who has had to rely on invention and the use of alternative energy sources and leads the exploration in that area? Israel. Nuff said there.

I have great respect for McCain, but I think he is better as a contrarian than the leader of the country. I could never trust his "on-the-fly" decision-making in light of his selection of Sarah Palin (and I was on the fence for awhile about McCain vs. Obama having been a true Hillary supporter). But our country needs his 'tude and I hope that if Obama wins he'll hold a pivotal role in that administration.

But the other thing that really got me this week, and that I've not quite been able to put into words, was my daughter's reaction to Obama's politi-mercial earlier this week. My 8-year old has been very interested in this election because my mother and I are tireless in our channel flipping between CNN, MSNBC and FOX to see as many perspectives as possible. And my child has been subjected to this for a very long time. She watched the CNN interview with John McCain with us and then the Obama infomercial.

She didn't understand all of the words, but she had a strong visceral reaction to both. The Obama infomercial was very well done. Slick, manipulative (ummm...not quite the right word...more like orchestrated and on point), and a very strong musical soundtrack. The music combined with Obama's review of his mom's situation struggling with cancer is what got to my child. She was sitting on the sofa, with our dog, Daisy, and started to cry. She asked me if I thought Daisy missed her mother. So the infomercial worked on an 8 year old.

After the two candidates were done, I asked her what she thought about each candidate. Her answer to me was based on two simple things -- the warmth of their eyes and their perceived caring for people. Of McCain she thought his eyes looked angry (he's a fighter, so that would be accurate) and that made her think he might not care as much for the people. Of Obama, she thought his eyes were warm and based on the infomercial, that he really cared for people and loved his mother.

So the polarization between the two camps isn't lost, even on an 8-year old. McCain is a fighter. And his style is to push past our borders and keep the strength of the US boldly fighting abroad. Obama is looking at the internal hurt in our country and believes we need to fix some problems at home, fast and furious, before we compromise our position as world leaders.

I take counsel from my child. I'm not against McCain. I'm just for Obama.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

3 discoveries on a Saturday morning.

Ronni Bennett, over at Time Goes By, one of the best elder blogs on the net (cutting commentary, says what others don't want to say, fantastic finds, elder gems), found this wonderful Google offering and shares it. A great way to figure out ways to save money and lessen your carbon footprint at the same time! Plus additional tips for the energy conscious.

In the theme of less is more, Rhea Becker, at The Boomer Chronicles, discovers the joys of barter. Back in the 1980's and 90's, there were barter clubs. My mother, who was talented and a bit on cash-strapped side, took part in barter clubs with great success. As well, one summer we traded houses with a Parisian family and enjoyed their beautiful home and car for 3 weeks while they explored Canada and the US with our home as their base and our station wagon! It was a great adventure, a smashing success and no money changed hands.

And my last discovery of the morning is that my very unscientific voting poll on my blog (with only 9 days left til the election) is giving Barack Obama 69% of the vote with 28% going to John McCain. Just a few days ago the numbers were MUCH closer together and now the spread is growing. Is it possible that many of my readers lean Democrat? Yup. Is it possible that many of you don't want to make your vote known? Yup. But I find it very interesting that the spread is increasingly so significantly the closer we get to the election.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A World of Opportunity to Reinvent Oneself

In July 2006, I wrote an article on what it was like to start a new career at 50 plus. Today, I got a comment in the form of a request from a reader at that particular blog post. The request is compelling, so it becomes the subject for today's post.

From JC:

I need help figuring out what I am going to do with my life. My wife has taken a job in a different state. I am selling my business and going to join her. I am so excited about starting something new or doing something different. My problem is figuring out what to do. I have a very diverse background. I think I might like to start an internet business but I am not sure what to do. I have been the President of a High Tech electronics company. The business I am selling is a Screenprinting and Embroidery business. I have worked for Japanese and German owned businesses as well. I have traveled internationally for both companies.

I tell you this because I want to explain that even though I have a diverse background I would be willing to do anything. I have even considered lawn care or pressure washing decks and I have always considered opening a pub or restaurant. So please guide me, is there an aptitude test for not so new folks like me?

All of us out here know who George Plimpton is or was. If not he's the guy who tried many many pro sports. I kind of feel like the George Plimpton of the real world. Seriously though I am looking for guidance .

Thank you,

JC

Dear JC,

I'm so impressed with the way you describe your dilemma. One thing that I love about what you are going through is that you have an opportunity to reinvent yourself. The experience you have sitting in your arsenal, will support the new direction...often in ways you can't imagine right now. You say you aren't sure about the direction you want to move into and that is fine. Sometimes you need quiet time for there to be space for an opportunity to present itself.

The important part of change is to allow the change to evolve. So as you move to your new home in your new state, unless you are really cash-strapped, then take the time to open your eyes and mind to your new situation. You indicate a desire to use your hands or to open a restaurant. What that means is that you want a real change from the situation you are now in and to move into something completely different. Since you aren't sure what you want to do, then you have an even bigger world of opportunity. Plan on taking one to two months to figure out a direction. There are a few steps that might be helpful.

1) You will find the direction by opening your mind to ALL opportunities. That means talking to people, everywhere, and being sincerely interested in what they are doing. It can be the person who owns the lunch truck, the handyman who comes to fix your sink, the manager at your local new favorite restaurant, the dry cleaner on the corner. After speaking with many, many people, something will hit a note with you. That is what you will explore next.

2) OK. For example, you find a spark in talking to someone like your gardener. You see that he loves managing a small team and building reliable relationships in the area. Find out more. What works for him. What doesn't. What is his business model (if he has one.)

3) Interview small business owners looking to sell their businesses and find out as much detail as you can about their business models. Eventually one will strike a chord with you. The best model is one that can be duplicated so that you increase your revenue potential by expanding your model. So, for example, a restaurant requires a lot of capital to get through the first two years. How much capital do you want to invest in a new venture? How will you live while you do that? Will your wife's income sustain the two of you? If not, you might prefer to look at options with very low capital investment.

4) Try it out. Maybe you've decided that since you are handy you are going to start a handyman service. You now need to get your first client. You'll get that client by marketing (using all the skills you used to build your other businesses, but at a very grass roots, field level). You'll get your first client, your second and your third. And you'll know very quickly if this is what you want. If not, you'll move to something else.

You don't need an aptitude test. All it will tell you is what you already know about yourself. But what you do need is to look at all opportunity and test it on yourself to see if you find a fit. All work is noble. Whether you are the president of a high tech company, or a small pub owner, or a lawn care specialist, if the fit is right, you'll know.

On-Star is Literally on the Money

OK. Here's a bit of good news for our pocketbooks. How many of you drive less than 15,000 miles a year? Well, if you do, here is a great perk from OnStar, the comprehensive in-vehicle security, communications, and diagnostics system that I have personally fallen in love with. (Just to give a bit of background, my new car last year, a Buick Terraza, came with a free one-year subscription to OnStar. I thought I'd never renew, but I'm now a huge fan and can't imagine not having the service.) And, no, this is not an ad for OnStar, I'm not getting paid by them to write this and I'm not receiving any type of perk. This just happens to be a really good program linked to a very good vehicle concierge service.

The full kit and kaboodle program at OnStar is about $300/year and because I am constantly in need of directions, really have gotten fond of the turn-by-turn directions. With real people answering the phones ("Thank you for calling OnStar. How can we assist you today, Ms. Spiegel?"...gotta love it) this is one concierge service that is very handy for me. Can't find a restaurant? I can call up and they'll do a search for me. Forgot to bring the phone number of the business I'm heading to? Call up and they'll access it for me. Every month I get an email diagnostic of my car's maintenance needs. Plus, plus, plus. It isn't for everyone, but for me, it is a win-win.

Now, OnStar has added in a Low Mileage Program that is sure to make a lot of 50 plussers pretty happy. If you drive less than 15,000 miles a year, GMAC car insurance will discount your insurance rate. Other insurance companies are apparently coming on board soon, and not all states currently offer the GMAC plan (like MY state of California...) but if I had OnStar and lived in a state that did offer the discount, I'd definitely look into it.

Here is a link to the OnStar discount program. I'm just waiting for it to come to California and I'm planning on offsetting my cost of OnStar with lower insurance. Win-win!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

BBC 90

An excellent post this week from our Carnival host, The Baby Boomer Entrepreneur for Blogging Boomers Carnival #90. Blogger Andrea Stenberg gives a wonderful interpretation of what the blogosphere community is all about.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Joe the Plumber

If you have been following the presidential debates then you'll know about "Joe the Plumber". If not, then here's the thumbnail. While stumping, Presidential candidate Barack Obama had a conversation with Joe Wurzelbacher (now dubbed "Joe the Plumber" by Obama and McCain), who objected to Obama's tax plan, given that he had hopes of purchasing his employer's plumbing business and would bring in over $250,000 annually in revenues (therefore subject to a higher tax under Obama's plan.)

Joe had no idea that he would become a central figure in the final debates and be used as an example of the middle American small business owner. Forget that Joe doesn't have his plumber's contractor license. (He works for a plumbing company under their license.) Or that he owes back taxes. (He probably doesn't earn enough money to make ends meet, much less pay taxes.) Or that he really doesn't have a solid plan in place to purchase a business. (But he can dream and plan, can't he?)

My point is that if I were Joe right now, I'd be ecstatic! Who doesn't need a good plumber? I'll bet his business is booming with millions of people who now know the name of a GOOD plumber! His business will likely explode with the millions of referrals from the debates alone. He'll be able to open Joe the Plumber franchises across the country. Then he won't mind paying a bit more in taxes at all! Listen, he brought up a good question and he seems like a good guy. If I lived in Ohio, I'd call him next time my faucets were leaking, my hot water heater was taking a tantrum, or my child innocently plugged up the toilet with half a roll of TP. When he sets up the California franchise, I'll be his first customer!

And I support Barack.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A little bit of CASH for hard times....

If you are a Johnny Cash fan, then you'll love this! Sony BMG’s Legacy Recordings released Johnny Cash’s At Folsom Prison: Legacy Edition, this past Tuesday, October 14th. This 40th anniversary 2-CD and DVD box was recorded on January 13, 1968, when Cash played two shows at Folsom prison.

The box set presents the entire unvarnished 65-minute first show on disc one – expletives intact for the first time (that's a draw!), and with seven previously unissued tracks; and the entire 75-minute second show on disc two, with 24 previously unissued tracks (out of 26).

Make sure to check out the new documentary DVD – it features exclusive footage from inside Folsom, interviews with Merle Haggard, Rosanne Cash, Marty Stuart, and former inmates who witnessed the concert, and unpublished photography by Jim Marshall. Watch the incredible trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rmve1IH7_bw. Or here:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Blogging Boomers Carnival #88

Here is the link for this week's Blogging Boomers Carnival -- this week hosted at The Boomer Chronicles. If you aren't subscribed to Rhea's blog, give it some consideration. Her daily finds and musings are guaranteed to keep you amused all week long. If you are subscribed, then, like me, you travelled with her for a week-long RV trip that helped you forget about the economic direction of our company!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Time Goes By

If you have not yet perused the pages of Ronni Bennet's blog (and award winning banner) "Time Goes By: what it's really like to get older", then you are missing out on a very sharp view from a brilliant elderblogger and more than that, the community of both like-minded and sometimes not-so-like-minded voices from the 50 plus demographic. With such a volatile economy and election ahead, on Sunday, Ronni aggregates submissions from different bloggers to showcase an assortment of views related to the election campaign and political battle for the Presidency. I'm honored to be among that group this week (many of you have already read my post on unemployment), but if you are not a subscriber, head on over and enter your email at TGB. It will open your eyes just a bit more. I include her in my group of pioneers "Who Changed the World at 50 Plus".

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Takin' It Back with Barack Jack.

A friend sent me this. Love it. I think you'll get a kick out of it, too.

$717.66...Just Pour the Salt STRAIGHT into the Wound.

Let me tell you about this financial month in my family. $1300 for new car struts and new tires. Yesterday, I received my house tax bills. "Camera" red light ticket ($380.00), my medical insurance bill and additional coverages (won't tell you how much THAT is...), the car's back tires went (better...only $147.00), car fuel ($400.00) and then...the kicker. My electric and water bill floated in...for $717.66.

I can deal with the other financial outrages...the tires needed replacing, everyone gets a ticket now and then and I need my medical coverage (although I'm eagerly waiting for SOME sort of federal plan to help with this sick, sick medical system)...but I have never, ever gotten a water and electric bill this high. Ever.

I live in a teeny, tiny house (1650 sq ft) on a 6,000 sq. ft lot with double pane windows, good insulation and limited grass watering. Don't run the air conditioning at an excessive rate, don't take super-long showers or even keep the water running when I brush my teeth! I have low flow toilets, keep my shades drawn to keep out the hot Encino sun and didn't do much different this summer than last. I've just lost (like the rest of you) a hulking big amount of my retirement income, I can barely afford to fill up my tank with gas (although I'm finding myself relieved to be paying $3.45 for a gallon of gas), or buy a single bag of groceries for under $25 - $30. My heart is cut wide open with the turmoil that is going on in the US and the City of Los Angeles Municipal Services basically just poured a full 8 oz. of salt (my preference would be Kosher salt, but that's another story) on my bleeding wound.

Gotta pay it. Need my lights, my computer and my water. Can't just decide not to pay it. Not even in protest. But this IS what I'm going to do. I'm only going to shower every 4th day. And only wash my clothes after I wear them 4 times. Oh yes, I'm aware that I'll smell. I'm counting on it! And maybe I'll be able to cut my electric and water bill down to $650.00! I'll turn off all my electrical appliances and only plug them in when I absolutely need them. Except for the fridge. And the computer. And the phone charger.

And when people wrinkle their nose in disgust, I'll tell them to blame LA Municipal Services and the deregulated economy. OK...maybe I'll shower every 3rd day...but I'm telling you, I'm gonna stink. Now I understand why people in Europe save their water. I get it. At least this is still in American dollars and not Euros.

If you start to notice a lot more smelly people coming from Los Angeles, you'll know that I started a silent protest and that it may be working. We can call the movement something like "Smelling Together for a Newly Clean America" (STINCA) or something like that. I know the politicians really aren't hearing the American people...but maybe they'll notice us if they start smelling us.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Is this true? ABC refuses We Can Solve It ad?



If you are a subscriber to We Can Solve It, the alternative energy organization dedicated to helping solve the fuel crisis, then you'll have received this message from CEO, Cathy Zoi:

Tell ABC to air the Repower America ad this Friday on 20/20.Take Action!

Dear Janet,

Did you notice the ads after last night's presidential debate? ABC had Chevron. CBS had Exxon. CNN had the coal lobby. But you know what happened last week? ABC refused to run our Repower America ad -- the ad that takes on this same oil and coal lobby.I sent a letter asking ABC to reconsider their decision and put our ad on the air, but still we haven't heard back more than a week later. I think they need to hear from all of us. Can you help?
Please send a message to ABC and tell them to air the Repower America ad this Friday on 20/20.

Just click here:http://www.wecansolveit.org/page/m/6733ae33f7b715d6/EZUWl0/VEsD/ We're working to get 100,000 public comments to ABC before 20/20's next airing.Our Repower America ad has a clear and simple message -- that massive spending by oil and coal companies on advertising is a key reason our nation hasn't switched to clean and renewable sources for our energy.

Here's the script of the ad:

The solution to our climate crisis seems simple.Repower America with wind and solar.End our dependence on foreign oil. A stronger economy.So why are we still stuck with dirty and expensive energy?Because big oil spends hundreds of millions of dollars to block clean energy.Lobbyists, ads, even scandals.All to increase their profits, while America suffers.Breaking big oil's lock on our government ...Now that's change.We're the American people and we approve this message.

You can view the ad on the ABC petition page, here.As our country faces deep economic problems, we need to be able to have an honest debate about the root causes of our problems. As Al Gore has said, "We're borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the future of human civilization. And every bit of that has to change."

As oil and coal backed groups outspend even major party committees in this political year, it's outrageous that ABC would deny our ad. Let ABC know what you think. Just click here.

Thank you,Cathy Zoi, CEO

http://www.wecansolveit.org/page/m/6733ae33f7b715d6/lQVGuo/VEsO/

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

What can I possibly add?

Please indulge me. Like you, I've got a lot on my mind.

Every pundit has made their comments on the state of the (now) world economic meltdown, the presidential candidates, their VP selections, and how Harvard and MIT graduates are afraid they might not find a job.

After 4 plus years blogging my little heart out on issues affecting the careers of boomers and 50 plussers, giving advice freely, and looking at creative ways to overcome career obstacles, I actually am not sure what I can possibly say right now. The elephant in the room was always the rampant age discrimination. But now...yikes...all of the next generation is going to be fiercely scrabbling for jobs and the out of work boomers and 50 plussers are really in a pickle.

I'm ALWAYS an optimist and even I'm having a tough time seeing past the next decade or so. What really made me laugh (that would be a sarcastic, cynical kind, not a haha kind) was listening to financial experts advising people to secure their next FIVE years of financial need by taking that money OUT of the stock market and putting it INTO the money market. I'm sorry...but are you laughing, too? Who HAS FIVE years of good, hard cash squirreled away anywhere?

There is SUCH a disconnect between those with oodles of money and the rest of us, that you don't even have to draw a line in the sand. There is a Grand Canyon between "them" and "us". I have literally received hundreds of emails over the past few years from people in their late 40's to their mid-70's who have used up their money reserves, have no health insurance, are losing their homes and with the best of intentions and incredible work ethics CANNOT find work. How will that play out now?

Some of you will remember living as a WWII baby, with rationing and little money for any extras. My mother had two skirts, 2 blouses and 1 sweater. She wore them through high school because her family had no money for clothing. When it was time for her to go to her first sorority ball and she had no dress, my grandmother used all the grocery money for the month to get my mother her first cocktail gown. My mom wore them with her aunt's shoes, too big for her, with newspaper stuffed in the toes so she wouldn't fall out of them. They had soup for a month.

Is that where we are headed once again? I mean TV is going digital in February and unless you have a converter or cable or satellite, you'll be out of luck. Well, I may be out of luck, because if I need the money, I'll be cancelling my satellite service. As will many, many others. The whole thought of needing cable because of HD signal just seems so...bizarre, given that I may end up wearing only sweater, 2 skirts and two blouses for the next 5 years.

I was always amused at the hoarding habits of my parents -- saving elastic bands and wire hangers, individual nails and screws, small amounts of leftovers, keeping old clothes from decades prior because they were "good quality" even though completely out of fashion. And now, here I am, using containers for my daughter's lunches instead of ziplocs, cleaning my own house instead of hiring someone to do it for me, planning my driving routes to conserve on fuel consumption, meeting friends for a coffee (at one of our homes) instead of a lunch out.

In my neck of the woods, just this past weekend, a father murdered his entire family and then killed himself due to the financial duress he was under. That child attended my daughter's school. And I can't get the story out of my head. People are generally very resiliant, so what is going on?

In my optimistic heart, maybe what will come out of this disastrous falling of an empire, will be better...closer families pooling resources, innovation and creativity as more and more 50 plussers start their own businesses (focusing on customer service more than product) because they can't get someone to hire them, more focus on limiting oneself to spending cash at hand than credit tendered.

Tonight is Yom Kippur -- the start of the day of atonement for all Jews. The next 24 hours will be a time of reflection, asking God for forgiveness, forgiving others and rejoicing in a clean slate for the year ahead. My day of fasting will be with a heavy heart, because the slate really can't be clean right now. We all know that we are heading into a tough, tough year ahead.

Blogging Boomers Carnival #88

With all the hoopla and hollering going on this week (and then falling asleep during last night's presidential debates...but that's a whole OTHER story), I completely forgot to post a link to this week's Blogging Boomers Carnival hosted over at Vaboomer.com. If you are a Sarah Palin fan, don't head over there, but if, like me, you are in "shock and awe" over this VP candidate choice, then you'll get a kick out of this website (and the link to Caribou Barbie). Have fun! Don't say I didn't warn ya.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Town Hall Debate

Well, I've now watched both Presidential debates and the VP debate. I've watched interviews, listened to the pundits, looked at the lawn signs and car magnets, read the papers, saw my retirement savings shrink by the second and, and....and.

Does McCain have incredible experience? Yes. Does Sarah Palin irritate the heck out of me? Yes. Does Obama have a commanding presence? Yes. Do I like Joe Biden? Heck, yes.

Although I am a declared Democrat, I was open to looking at what either party had to offer with a fresh slate of candidates. I was so bitterly disappointed that Hillary was not the Democratic nominee that it has taken me a lot of time to warm to Obama.

So, watching the debates, I was not too optimistic that the town hall venue of this evening's debate would add to my overall impression of either candidate. I was wrong. McCain, who should have excelled at this venue, came off like a career politician in touch with decision by committee and completely out of touch with the middle class. Obama came across as someone very in touch with the American middle class, small business owners and the rights of the people. I'm big on social responsibility so that appeals to me.

In the pundit aftermath, people are pouncing on McCain's "that one" faux-pas. I just thought it made him look petulant and cranky, but his overall inability to connect with the audience and his being so out of touch with the issues that are sitting at MY table, makes it impossible for me to see him in position of President.

But here's the deal. We have a mess on our hands in the US. Today the news broke that AIG spent over $400,000 mere days after the American people forked over close to a TRILLION dollars to free up the credit markets. 1 in every 200 homes is defaulting on mortgages. We don't just need a new President...we need a complete government overhaul. To go from a surplus to such a major economic catastrophe in less than a decade is unbelievable. If this level of mismanagement happened at a large corporation all the execs would be out. Fortunately, I should be able to weather this storm -- I have a close and caring family who pull together in crisis. But most of all, I'm very saddened that my daughter will still be paying for this government's major mistakes when she is my age and looking at her daughter sleeping beside her.

Friday, October 03, 2008

What a mess. 6.1% unemployment rate.

If you are a Boomer or 50 plusser then I can guarantee that you have not been burying your head in the sand about our economic situation. Let's take a clear look at the financial landscape -- both in the US and Canada and internationally.

We are about to experience possibly a decade of severe recession, which will reshape the entire way the US economy, job marketplace, and family structure functions. This morning, the unemployment rate is at 6.1% and will likely climb to 7% in the next few months. How does that impact a mature worker? Badly. Very badly. Not only have the financial markets have been hit, but small business, traditionally the kindest and most open to hire a Boomer or 50 plusser, is in deep trouble with a staggering credit freeze threatening to shut many more business doors. That means that the already struggling 50 plusser is really going to have to think out of the box in order to secure employment. In the short term, assume your credit will be cut. It is time for personal austerity measures, if you haven't done so yet. That means, no extraneous travel. Dinners at home, cooking from scratch, cutting your cable TV, no buying of shoes, clothes and all those things you can live without. If you have received any type of foreclosure or late notice on your home mortgage, you must contact your lender immediately to apply for loan modification due to hardship.

The austerity measures will in turn affect the small businesses even more adversely than they already are and the economy will shrink. So where is the good news in all of this? Hard to find, but there is a bit there.

If people can take a bus instead of driving, they will. Walk or biking instead of fuel-run travel? They will. Parents and children will live together longer, fostering the all important values of multi-generational information sharing. No more Cable means more reading, more library visits, more outdoor exercise. Cooking, sewing and knitting will come back into vogue (again) and heck, there might even be a resurgence of darning.

If you are 50 plus and looking for work, it will be a long hard haul right now. So that means you'll have to connect with and network with as many people and their leads as you can. If you are relying solely on the internet, think back to when you were first breaking into the job market. How did you find work then? By finding friends of friends of friends, literally knocking on doors, and meeting people face to face.

Is this US election very important? Yes. Canada is having elections prior to the US elections in order to avoid a strong US election impact on the Canadian voter psyche. When we are talking about the need for change in the US, this is not change as most of us know it. I am not an economist or financial advisor by a long shot, but anyone can see that any major strategic and financial reform (which is necessary) will take 8 or 10 years to have a positive, long term result on the overall economy. For those of you who remember living through the austerity measures of the 2nd world war, you'll remember food rations, material rations (shorter skirts), lack of silk, fuel, metals...you name it. I was brought up to avoid credit and only to purchase something if I had money in the bank. I was shocked at the mounds of credit that is offered to Americans (including my 8 year old daughter.) The days of living beyond one's means has to end -- and is ending whether we like it or not. Just try to buy something that takes you over your limit. You'll find yourself quickly declined. Tough for the consumer living on their credit cards and virtually impossible for the small business who counts on credit for cash flow. We're almost as frozen as a mammoth in a glacier.

This time the war has spread to within the US and within the economies of most major markets, and that means serious economic reforms in order to keep this particular, and very young, empire from falling.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Can't wait for Thursday

I've never been particularly excited by the presidential debates. The political rhetoric means nothing, really. It is when the leader is in the Oval office that his (can't even say his/her) true leadership style and philosophies really show. However, the body language and the words between the words always add a bit of spice. This year I must admit that I was actually looking forward to the debate. But nothing can surpass my anticipation of Thursday's debate between Palin and Biden. In fact, I can't think of ANYTHING I'd rather do (except, perhaps look at my dwindling bank accounts) than watch Sarah and Joe have at it.

I can't even imagine what might come up given the incredible and unbelievable campaigns so far. And I know I'll be glued listening to the pundits rip every word and nuance apart right after the debate ends. Gotta give her credit for something...Palin has certainly livened up this run for the white house.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Best wishes for the New Year!

Shana Tova to those of you who celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the celebration of the Jewish New Year. Wishing you all a sweet, healthy and loving year ahead.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's Carnival! Check out BBC 87.

A great week for us boomer bloggers...especially in the US. Midlife Crisis Queen is this week's host. Enjoy.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Less than $5?

Wisebread recently asked for submissions on what a person could do in their city for under $5 a person, so given the crunch on ALL our finances and with the turn to autumn, I gave it a thought and decided I'd post a few things that I love to do for under $5 in my city. Feel free to add your own. This will get linked to the post on Wisebread.

Encino, CA (Los Angeles)

I happen to live in a lovely part of Los Angeles -- ungodly hot in the summer, but fantastic weather the rest of the year. That means I can pretty much count on decent weather for an outdoor excursion on the weekends.

Right around the corner from me is the stunning Balboa Park. From my house, I can hop on my bike, get onto a bike path and cycle for about 10 miles through and around the park and Balboa Lake. To spend my $5, I stop, with my daughter, at the ice cream trucks dotted around the park and for $1 we can each enjoy a Superfudge and a SnoCone. If we're starving, we can find a hotdog vendor, which will top us up to our $5!

Another great local place is "The Stand". Every Monday night, hotdogs are free (or $1), and every Thursday night is free jazz in their outdoor patio. For $4 or $5 we can have a hotdog or mac'n'cheese and listen to some jazz in the great outdoors.

Last one -- throughout the summer, the Skirball Center has free jazz concerts in their outdoor hall. You can bring your dinner with you and eat out while listening to the sweet sounds of the multinational talent that comes in to tantalize the audience with their music.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Preserving America's Economy

"How did our economy reach this point?" That was the question President Bush asked for us tonight in his address to the nation.

Who remembers seeing the cookie jar up on the counter and, as a young child, not being able to reach it? Eventually, I figured out how to get a chair, climb up it, reach the cookie jar and reap the reward of chocolate chips melting in my mouth. My mom didn't put the cookie jar on the floor for me to crawl over and just stick my hand in the jar.

I've always been in awe at the number of credit card offers I received in the space of a week. This year, my 8 year old started receiving credit card offers, too. Wow. Free money. Pay no interest for 6 months, 12 months, 24 months. Refinance, spend, speculate. Fortunately, my dad always taught me to treat credit cards with a lot of trepidation. If I didn't have the money in the bank, I was not to put anything on the card. I still live by that rule. No money, no purchase. Do I have obligations? Yes. On a house. On a car. And in the past few years, the cookie jar was often and enticingly laid on the floor for me -- I could have refinanced my home 10 times over and redesigned my kitchen, my lawn, re-roofed, repainted, remodeled and even...re-chiminied. But I didn't. Taking on additional debt scared me after a lifetime of conservative spending. But I watched my friends buy into homes at no interest and inflated rates. And even with little debt, my cash flow is tight, as it is with many of us across the country. So I looked at all the junk in my garage, worth a whole lot at one time, and now, potential cash flow. Fall, back to school over...cooler weather coming...good time for a garage sale. And the influx of the $600 - $1000 I'll make on the items in my garage (which, when new, probably cost me $10,000), will help pay for my food, my gas, my electric bill and a magazine subscription from my daughter's school's magazine drive.

So now the US is having fantastic garage sale, too. $700 billion to buy all those overinflated mortgages at 10 cents on the dollar, but it will give some liquidity to the market. When the President says that we are experiencing a "serious economic crisis", it means we have no money. And the infusion of money into the market through purchase of unsaleable mortgages (and more) is really a massive garage sale. Depression era in the 21st century. Very bad. The money culture is over? I don't know...somehow the rich, rich seem to hang on.

Anyhoo....my garage sale is next Saturday, 8 a.m. Cash accepted. See you there.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Blogging Boomers Carnival #86 is up!

A lively carnival this week -- stop by host blogger, This Marriage Thing, and see how the financial market, Sarah Palin, and political punditry are faring in blogger circles.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Silent Rave

Today I learned something new. I learned about the Silent Rave. Most of us know what a Rave is -- it is a big old warehouse party -- often all night and in the past 20 - 30 years very often associated with drug use (remember Ecstasy?) Raves blossomed from smaller warehouse venues to full scale events hosting thousands of party-goers. Lights, sound, action, techno-pop, drugs, technology. Also known as "mobile clubbing" and not uncommon in Europe and Canada, it is now taking hold in the US.

As I listened to the story on NPR about yesterday's Silent Rave in New York's Union Square, I was captivated by the concept of all these people, coming together, at a planned party with a synchronized start time, but listening to their music of choice on their mobile players. I was imagining them dancing and laughing, but with the music only in their heads. And I wondered...what would happen if we had a silent presidential campaign. Would that be possible? Everyone gaining a good understanding of the issues and party positions and then coming together, as a group, and not saying anything. Just being there, in their own silent rave, listening to whatever they wanted to that expressed their political hopes and beliefs. Red, Blue, Democrat, Republican, Independants...all together and no talking. It would sound like this:















Would it mean that the candidates would really be able to talk, one-on-one, and heart to heart with Americans? On the ground, at silent campaigns, with hand-written signs asking "what are your concerns today?" Would we elect a president, then, based on what WE felt and thought and not what we were being FED to think?

I wonder. Silently.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I'm going to have to earn money til I'm 95...

I just had an epiphany as a result of today's Wall Street meltdown. I may have to change my focus. I've been spending years writing about Boomers and 50 Plussers to help express our voice and to creatively find ways for us to continue to secure meaningful employment as we hit the "50" benchmark for downsizing.

But, today, as Lehman Brothers went under and Merrill Lynch found new parents, and as 21st century, now under AIG and soon to be someone new, flounders....and as I'm just sitting here watching my portfolio plummet and wondering how many years until the rebound, I have to ask myself some obvious questions. How long will I really have to work until? My 70's? My 80's? My 90's?

I'm thinking (and let me know if you think I'm really wrong here), as I sit and watch 70-somethings working to make a few additional dollars, that I'll be working, whether I like it or not, into my late 70's, early 80's and possibly longer if anyone will have me.

So, I'm looking for a way to extend my writing career and may have to change the name of my blog to go along with it. How about "Gen Plus Plus -- Finding Work at 80 Plus". Has a nice ring to it, I think. And it ensures I'll have something to keep writing about for the next 30 years or so...wonder what Tina Fey would say?

Blogging Boomers Carnival #85

Ahhh...what is Monday without another week's installment of Blogging Boomers Carnival. This week, our host is Ann Harrison over at Contemporary Retirement. Grab your java and join our Koffee Klatch for awhile. (If you are younger than a Boomer, I'll be impressed if you know what a Koffee Klatch is.)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tina Fey Returns to SNL as Sarah Palin

If you didn't get to see the skit last night, here it is. I think Fey does Palin, better than Palin does Palin!

Sarah Palin, Tina Fey and a great Sunday morning!

Oh my! Such a great Sunday morning. Between the Saturday Night Live (Tina Fey vamps as Palin with Amy Poehler as Clinton) intro last night and an article on Sarah Palin by Michael Seitzman, I am just laughing!!! I'll also point you to a great article by Cynthia Samuels on what we should be looking at with regards to our candidates.

Ayay. Alienating 50 plus?

I support Barack Obama's candidacy and I'm not a huge McCain/Palin fan, but as an advocate for 50 plussers, I have to make a comment about the new Obama ad. Bad move. In the ad, Obama's camp attacks McCain for his inability to use a computer or send email.

First of all, McCain can't. Type. Raise his arms to a comfortable position. Comb his hair. Tie his shoes. That is due to war injuries. Regardless, if he had NO injuries and had trouble with computers, that still makes no comment on his ability to run the country. And I think that Obama will have to make up for some lost ground with the 50 plus demographic. Take a look at today's LA Times article and more importantly, scroll through the comments. A lot of 50 plussers are a tad insulted.

I still do not support the McCain/Palin ticket. But alienating 50 plussers who aren't computer savvy is not the way for Obama to go. There's a lot of power in the 50 plus market and we are expecting our concerns to be a priority of the Democratic party -- especially in terms of healthcare and employment.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tragedy in Chatsworth, California


Today's post was going to be about employment. However, last night, as Ike was devastating Texas, we heard the San Fernando Valley fill with the sound of sirens as we experienced our own devastation in Chatworth, California -- a tragic commuter/freight train collision in Los Angeles, about 5 miles from my home. Please join me for a moment to extend thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims, the injured and the rescuers. At this time, there are 23 reported dead and 135 injured on a train of 220 commuters. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-traincrash14-2008sep14,0,3660884.story

Friday, September 12, 2008

Natalie Cole...Definitely Still Unforgettable.

What could be better on a Friday night than slipping off my shoes, sipping a glass of rich red wine, munching on bits of cheese and chocolate and...listening to the newly released "Still Unforgettable", a just lovely album by Natalie Cole. The eight-time Grammy winner, who has recently revealed her battles with Hepatitis C, has come up with a wonderful showcase album for her timeless voice and incredible phrasing. This exploration of American Pop Standards includes a heartwarming interpretation of "Walking My Baby Back Home", once again, in a duet with her late father, Nat King Cole.

And to get your next few Fridays off to a great start, Rhino Records has sent me a give-away copy that I'm going to randomly select a winner from my subscriber list. If you want to be in the draw and you are not yet a subscriber, just add your email to the subscribe me box. If you don't want to subscribe to the email feed, then just shoot me an email and I'll add your name into the mix, too! I'll draw names and announce the winner next Friday for inclusion in the following week's Blogging Boomers Carnival.

For a preview, click on any of the Listening Party Links:

Quick Time
Windows Media Audio
Real Player

You can also purchase I-Tunes.


Official Site http://www.nataliecole.com/
Official MySpace – www.myspace.com/nataliecole

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, 2008

On September 11, 2001, my daughter was 18 months old. I lived 35 miles from my place of work, which in Los Angeles translated to a 1 - 1 1/2 hour commute each way, each day. I had to pass Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) each day on the way to and from the office and I was sandwiched between LAX and the Port of Los Angeles.

I remember being transfixed watching the news, watching the towers fall and then, actually leaving...for work. Against my best instincts that told me to stay home with my child. At the office, I was filled with angst, worried that something would happen in LA in concert with the terror-filled day in New York. I remember leaving the office mid-day along with many other parents, and returning home on eerily empty highways, as many other Los Angelenos had elected to stay home that day, following their instinct and watching the ongoing telecasts.

This morning, my daughter was adding the date to an overlooked piece of homework as she sat in the back of my car on the way to school. I heard her talking to herself, trying to figure out the month and date to put down on the piece of paper. July, 7, August 8, September 9! 9...11...2008. She was too young to remember that day, but hearing her so innocently say 9...11... and it having no real meaning for her...brought tears to my eyes on the long, short drive to her school this morning.

My heart is with those who lost families and friends on September 11th. My heart is with New Yorkers who cannot go through this day without reliving their September 11th.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Blogging Boomers Carnival #84

John Agno (So Baby Boomer) is this week's host of our Blogging Boomers Carnival. With such an exciting political week behind us, take a look at what our diverse group of boomer bloggers had to say!

Friday, September 05, 2008

What is McCain doing? Why, oh why Sarah Palin?

As a 49 year old woman, who climbed the corporate ladder, bumped my head against the glass ceiling many times and ultimately found a happy and successful career managing an operation quite a bit larger than the city of Wasalia, I have a lot to say about McCain's choice of Sarah Palin and a bit about the Republican Party.

I won't say it all, because I can literally go on for hours, and, frankly, I find the whole thing pretty interesting and fun just in terms of entertainment value (see this Huffington Post article from earlier in the week). There are a couple of items I am compelled to point out, even though they have been talked about in other media circles. (Great article by Gloria Steinem that has engendered a big response, btw.)

1) Executive experience. 75% of small business owners have more experience running businesses than many, many of our country's politicians. Who wouldn't want someone with P&L, multi-million dollar budgeting and large staff management and maybe some international business activity to bring that experience to the table. Heck. I have that. 20 years of it. Oh...and I've travelled to many, many countries and experienced diverse cultures so far. I have had a passport since I was a little child. And I speak French, a smattering of Spanish, and horrible Italian. Guess I could run...I've got the portfolio for it. And I'm a woman.
2) Foreign and national policy. The US is the mightiest consumer force in the world (or at least will be until China overtakes us in the near future.) With that might comes a tremendous responsibility to know and understand the nuances of our national stand against foreign issues and to be able to handle the pressure of making decisions that will ultimately affect the entire world. Palin does NOT have that experience. And no common sense, maverick (??) spirit, or spunk can make up for that lack of experience. Joe Biden does. A lot of it. Enough to support Obama through the in's and out's of foreign decision-making.

3) Representative of women. Not of me. That is for sure. I do not support the NRA. I believe in a woman's right to control her decisions and her body. Women fought long and hard to take the steps forward that I see embodied in Hillary Clinton's policies and career choices. There is no question that Palin has followed a fantastic career path, but there are many, many fine women Republicans who would have made much better VP candidates in terms of what they would have brought to the table as a potential president. I would not have faith in Palin's decision-making abilities if she had to take over the Presidency. Up until now, I had believed that I would use my voting right to support a female candidate regardless of party affiliation, because it would further women's advancement through the old boy's network. I could not vote for her because what she believes in overall is counter to my general belief system and that does not promote what I believe are women's rights. That fills me with sadness over a lost opportunity.

4) Representative mix: Did you watch the Republican Convention? Did you see any people of color? I counted. I saw 2 black men and 1 black male security guard, 1 black woman, and one latino male. That's it. It was a very white convention and if I were a black or latino Republican I'd have been a bit worried and a lot insulted.

5) What are the real reasons for choosing Sarah Palin? That is really what everyone is talking about. I'd also like to share another terrific article from Cryo Kid that takes an interesting look at exactly that question. I'll give you a hint. Russia. Alaska.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Company Stability in an Uncertain Job Market

I received an interesting question from All Experts (I answer questions about job challenges on their site) that is a good one to share. Often times the questions are very specific, but this one has come up a few times from different readers.

Subject: changing jobs

Question:

Hi Janet,

I am 52 yrs young and I am thinking about changing jobs to get closer to home. I am concerned about the "last hired, first fired" idea. What kinds of questions should I ask a potential employer to make sure they won't be letting people go after I start working or that the business isn't headed toward going out of business?

Thank you,
BJN

Answer:

Hi BJN,

You are right to be concerned, especially at 52 where ageism starts creeping into the job market. You can't really come right out and ask a potential employer what their hiring/firing practices are as that would raise a flag for them, however, there is nothing wrong with digging a bit into the stability of the company, it's 1 year and 5 year plan, and the general health of the business.

That way, you are asking about the business objectives and strategies and not specifically about your concerns for your own job stability.

Note: Make sure to do your own research on any company you apply to. You can use resources like www.Google.com , www.Yahoo.com , www.linkedin.com, www.indeed.com, www.zoominfo.com and sometimes www.wikipedia.com as a start.