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

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

President Hillary Clinton

You know, I'm not a political pundit. I'm just your average American/Canadian, 49 year old single mother and former corporate executive now turned pet care entrepreneur who would have really liked to see Hillary become the first woman president of the United States.

Did you see and hear her speech at the Democratic Convention? That was a President of the United States, looking fantastic, fashionable, eloquent, clear of eye, voice and spirit, telling us that she was not going to be President of the United States.

If I were a political player, maybe I'd have been able to swing enough additional support for her from our Boomers and 50 Plussers. But I'm not and I didn't.

So who will be our first woman president? Did I see the light shining in Chelsea's eyes? I think I did. Will I have to wait THAT long for President Chelsea Clinton to take the spotlight?

I'm delighted that Barack Obama has the charisma to sway the country and may be able to use that momentum to create the movement that needs to take place. We need a change and there is no question in my mind that the Democratic agenda is a good one. But when Hillary asked if we had voted for her in the primaries or for the Democratic agenda I had to pause...for more than a moment. Because I voted for her.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

It's HERE! Blogging Boomers Carnival #83...Hosted by Yours Truly.

It is my pleasure to be this week's host of the Blogging Boomer's Carnival. Each week, some of the best Boomer Bloggers share their posts with each of our audience's through the carnival. So, without further ado, here is what has been going on this week in bloggerland....

From Don't Gel Too Soon... Cindy's memories of the 1968 Democratic Convention, on the eve of this one 40 (!!) years later.

Speaking of 40 years later...ever worn a V-neck top, looked in the mirror, and been disappointed to see a your once youthful décolleté is now a wrinkled mess? What’s a boomer gal to do? Check out a clever new product designed to solve this beauty dilemma at Fabulous after 40.

It's a pleasure to offer today's I Remember JFK memory as a currently available toy, and NOT as something that disappeared while you weren't looking! (like the once youthful décolleté, perhaps??) Indeed, Slinky, and its manufacturer, Poof-Slinky, Inc.(a company owned by the family of Slinky's inventor) stand tall as triumphant survivors which have weathered harsh economic times, changing public tastes, and the relocation of American manufacturing jobs to third world countries.

With different childhood experiences (except for Slinky!), Baby Boomer, Gen X and Gen Y (the Millennials) have one thing in common today---they're in your workforce and they have disparate skills. For the boomer's guide to communicating with Gen X and Y at work, check out SoBabyBoomer.

And from Baby Boomer Entrepreneur: What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Michael Phelps

OK...we all have another thing in common. Moving on after divorce... literally. It can "cut right into your heart." See why over at Life Two.

And you'll love this post over at the Mid-Life Crisis Queen! Do women have midlife crises too, or do they just start doing inappropriate things with younger men who ride motorcycles, and blame it all on hormones or midlife? The Queen tackles this question today.

Which takes us back to aging...an article about the fact that fruit juices, such as grapefruit, orange and apple, can seriously reduce the effectiveness of heart, cancer and organ transplant rejection drugs, caught the eye of Ann at Contemporary Retirement this week.

Ummm...and if you wait too long...The Boomer Chronicles wants you to know about an amazingly easy and – dare I say it – fun way to plan your funeral.

Virginia Cornue of http://www.Vaboomer.com yearns for the simplicity (me too!) she found at the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Warm people and quiet beauty.

As for me? I was absorbed this week by the similarities between a new immigrant breaking into the workforce of a new country, and an aging baby boomer trying to break into that same market.

Have a great week!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

How the heck can you break into the market? ANY market?

One of the most frustrating aspects of being a mid-age jobseeker is trying to break into a new market...or actually...ANY market once you find yourself with a lack of experience, too much experience, the wrong experience, or...exactly the right experience, but the wrong age, wrong salary, wrong appearance, wrong connections, wrong smile...

The challenge is not only in the US, but in most of the aging countries -- those are all the countries that experienced a surge in population after the 2nd World War. We tend to think of the US as the only country to have to deal with the challenges of aging baby boomers, but most of the British Commonwealth countries, China, India, Japan amongst others. Because I provide support on many different websites, including Eons and AllExpertsi tend to get questions from jobseekers, not only in the US, but in other countries. The issues they bring to me are so similar to the ones boomers face that it is worth noting.

One reader, an immigrant to Canada, was having a lot of trouble finding employment as a new arrival to the country. The challenges he was facing echoed exactly the same challenges our demographic faces. He didn't have the connections to get a foot in the door. His past experience from his native country didn't hold any weight for Canadian employers. He couldn't get a recruiter to get him past the first stage of any job opening. He was running out of money.

Ayay! Sound familiar? I thought so. And the solutions to him finding employment were the same as the ones aging boomers need to employ to get a foot in the employment door in the US, in China, and in Australia! We've explored so many strategies over the past few years, but there are a few that bear repeating:

1) Connections -- who do you know? Doesn't matter how well you know someone, but all contacts know a potential employer. It means, smiling. Talking. Communicating. Asking. Telling. There is nothing to be ashamed about regarding needing work. So talk and ask and leave no stone unturned in trying to find someone who knows someone who knows someone at the company you want to target.

2) Groups -- Communities support community members. Find every community organization you "fit" into and make contacts there. There are physical groups (like religious organizations, community centers, neighborhood watch) and online groups (Facebook, LinkedIn, Eons) and it is in your interest to grow your networks by taking advantage of any group dynamic.

3) Repurpose. That's the big word for the first decade of the new millenium. You repurpose, retool, reshape, redefine your skill sets and experience into the newly desirable skills sets. If you have a tired, old resume, take some time and look at today's job descriptions. Last decade's business "drivers" are now measurable "metrics", so find out the catch phrases and make sure you include them in your descriptions. If you can't measure it, a company will be less interested than in your quantifiable results.

4) Know your competition. Who is your main competition? Is is the Gen Xer? Gen Yer? Or another boomer with a stronger skill set than yours. Do you know what each demographic's strengths and weaknesses are? If not, better brush up. In the information age, you'd better know how to text, IM and find just about anything on the internet. You also need to know who is interviewing you. If your point of entry is a Gen Yer, your age will absolutely be a barrier to entry. Focus on smaller companies who will value your experience bottled into one person.

Don't give up. Keep your eyes open to all opportunities because you never know what will tickle you or when. Opportunities don't always GRAB your attention...they might just set your spidey senses a'tingling and if you aren't listening, you might miss it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

BBC 82!

Hi all. This week's Blogging Boomers Carnival host is one of our Carnival founders, Wesley Hein, blogger of Life Two! If you've never had the pleasure, head on over PLUS you'll get to read contributions from some of our newest Carnies!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bend, Stretch, Yoga to the Stars!

It's all about online...and I missed out on a fantastic bloggers only conference interview of Anne Cushman, Yoga teacher and author, Enlightenment for Idiots. Not only has this book been described as “A hilarious take on the quest for truth” by Publisher’s Weekly, honestly, how often does a novel cover travel, India, pregnancy, motherhood, Yoga and the search for enlightenment? I may have missed the interview session, but I have the link to it for your listening pleasure. And it is fantastic. I took up yoga a couple of years ago and after I was finally able to touch my toes...well...just enjoy and see why us blogger types love these types of media confabs, especially when moderated by blogger conference guru and fellow blogger, Cynthia Samuels.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Very cool online interactive interview!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of interviewing Gail Rentsch about her new book, "Smarter Women Don't Retire—They Break Free: From Working Full-Time to Living Full-Time through my Careers group on Eons.com.

It was a novel idea, lots of fun, and if you missed it, head over to the Q&A and get a feel for the concept of the online interview yourself!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Online Interview...the New Book Tour Concept

Looking for something to do on Wednesday...around 11 PST or 2 EST? Then you might want to take part in the new form of online book touring -- the online interview. Yours truly will be interviewing Gail Rentsch, author of Smart Women Don't Retire—They Break Free: From Working Full-Time to Living Full-Time, live and online through my very popular and active group on Eons, Careers for Boomers and 50 Plus. To observe, simply head over to the group at: http://www.eons.com/groups/group/careers-for-boomers-and-50-plus

If you want to want to take part in the interactive component and ask a few of your own questions, make sure to head over to Eons in advance and sign up as a member (you can only post messages and replies, or to join groups if you are an Eons member.)

Gail's book take a candid, fact-filled look at the challenging transitions women face in their 50's and 60's and how that translates into real life. This promises to be a fun and lively exchange, so don't miss it.

So, how will it work online?

When you head over to the group on Wednesday., you'll see a message with the title "Janet (Gen Plus) interviews Gail (Smart Women) HERE!" You'll see my questions and Gail's responses within THAT message stream. At the same time, you can post your own question to Gail by starting a new message and she'll respond in real time, or if you are shy, just send me a "private message" and I'll ask your question for you through my message stream. We've only got a tight 30 minutes with Gail on her busy book tour schedule, but don't worry -- if you have questions that don't get answered in time, Gail will come back and answer them later that day.

What if I can't join you?

If you can't join us live, but have questions about your own transition that you'd like to have answered, feel free to send me your questions in advance (through private message on Eons or at wspiegel@genplususa.com ) and I'll do my best to get them included in our discussion.Should be fun! Looking forward to having you join us. Great book, great author, great group. Nuff said. Hope to see you on Wednesday at 11 PST, 2pm EST.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Blogging Boomers Carnival #80

Every week a wacky bunch of boomers...who blog...about boomers and boomer issues...put together posts from the past week to share with our readers...a Carnival...Online. So if you've never joined us before, head over to Fabulous After 40 for links to some of the best boomer blogging you'll find anywhere! As for me, I'm breathing a SIGH of relief. My Blog got blocked earlier this week by Google bots. Google did a great job getting me back online within less than a day, but as a self-admitting addicted blogger, a day without my online fixes is like a day without sunshine. After about 15 hours of sheer panic, my blog was released and I'm back in the saddle! I always appreciate the spiders and robots, but when you are the subject of their scrutiny? Uh...not so much. Glad to be back!

Janet, "LA Carnie"

Saturday, August 02, 2008

One Bank's Folly, Another Bank's Gain

I hate...HATE bureaucracy. Nimble business is my thing. If I have a choice, I'll deal with a small business any day, unless a "big boy" decides to step up to the plate on the customer service end of things. So, needless to say, I'm not a big fan of banks, insurance companies, healthcare (in any form in THIS country), humongous chains, etc...unless their customer service is top notch.

Who do I like? Vonage (phenomenal customer service...necessary to handle the challenges of switching to relatively new digital phone technology), Walmart (yes, I do...they provide excellent customer service), Washington Mutual (top notch customer service), Gelson's (food chain), Nordstrom's (although even their famous customer service reputation is starting to fall), and American Express for Business. And that, my friends, is about it.

So it is with a sad giggle turning to a flat out guffaw, that I point you to a terrific post on Corinne Copnick's blog "Cryo Kid" to read about a sad (and very true) look at dealing with the banking world as you see your dollar shrinking.