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.

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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, 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?


Rhea said...

Finding work at 80-plus. That sounds positively terrifying.

Gena said...

Naw, it isn't that bad. We will be working until 78 tops.

I think we have to let this thing ride out like ptomaine in the tummy.

Painful, disgusting and financially humiliating when you are caught with your pants down. But so be it, those that did this need to see the results of their actions. I wish some of them would wind up in jail instead of a golden parachute but I believe in Karma so who knows?

We just have to make like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz - we will be ok, we will be ok. Or the affirmation of your choice.

Janet Wendy, founder, Gen Plus said...

Rhea, I agree! Gena, thanks for helping me to see that 78 is more realistic. Very funny!

Glenn Palmer said...

We'll probably all have to do something to bring in money until we drop or can't remember how to put our pants on. Hopefully, we can all at least find an activity that we enjoy instead of snorting burger grease at Mickey D's.

Janet Wendy, founder, Gen Plus said...

Ah, Glenn, you say it so well. Although I'll hold onto hope that even if I can't put my pants on, I can still flip a burger...cuz I think I'm gonna hafta!

Anonymous said...

I realized that I was going to be in that position about two years ago when, in a period of 36 months, my wife died and I was downsized from a company that I was quite successful in for almost ten years. Prior to that, we had the same difficulties raising children and getting ahead as anyone else but we had cleared that and looking forward to fast tracking at our jobs and making up for lost time. It didn't work out that way. My wife died after a protracted illness so I decided to bury myself in my job. Good for the company but not for me. A year after my wife died,I found myself without a job. After 13 months, I found a job that lasted 5 months. The only thing I can offer are a few observations:

1- Life is not guaranteed to be fair. If it was, we all would be deciding where our beach front property will be in a few years. We need to be aware of the opportunities around us and take advantage of them.

2- If you think about, most of the "fun" we had was in getting there. Then we started thinking about "shutting it down" and got into a sense of security that was drastically altered. What we need to do, whether we want to or not, is to get the edge back when we were still getting there. Frustrating, you bet! And it's complicated by the fact that you're wondering what went wrong (you might be blaming yourself) and you might not be as physically adept as you were a few years ago. In my case, I've worked on my feet for over four decades and have a pretty good case of arthritis in my knees that I have to content with. None the less we have to play the game with the cards we are dealt with. Don't forget, we have years of experience to draw on to help us "work smarter instead of harder". Productivity is getting the most work done with the least amount of cost (aka overcoming one's limitations). I can get this done with a minimum amount of assistance. The only things that I look to the government for are: a solid social security plan, some type of guaranteed medical plan (not necessarily free), and a level playing field for seniors in the job market.

3- Never underestimate the value of friends and loved ones. They are the ones that make things worthwhile.

- Rediscover simple things. I think a lot of people blast through their careers trying to get somewhere and forget the little fun things along the way. As I think back, the most fun we had was in the small things. You hear that everywhere but it's true. My going out for dinner has virtually dried up but I can make something for myself or whomever I invite over for dinner that is very acceptable, more fun, and a lot cheaper. What started me thinking this way is that while watching a special on "hideaways of the rich" on cable, I realized that I can get the same type of satisfaction if I just alter some of the details. Not much on snob appeal but the results can be the same.

The biggest thing we have to overcome is the temptation to "shut it down" after a large loss either a career or a spouse. Been there, done that...and it doesn't help. You need to harness the determination and skill you had earlier in life and use it to get over the physical and other challenges you now have. It's not going to be perfect every day or even mediocre but it's moving forward. When you think about it, you have few options and you're better off tackling it with the same determination that got you here.

Janet Wendy, founder, Gen Plus said...

To anonymous: your story will resonate with so many readers. And your comments about harnessing skill and determination to continue to take it forward every day is especially meaningful coming from someone who has had to deal with a really hard double blow in such a short time. Thank you for contributing your thoughts.