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

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The new Canadian spelling of Boomer....Zoomer!

Canadian media mastermind, Moses Znaimer (if you are Canadian, you'll definitely know who he is, and if you are not, then keep your ears open...because you will...) has recently taken over as executive director of CARP (the Canadian version of AARP) and is shaking things up...in a positive way. Just as he reinvented the face of Canadian radio and television, he is going to add his golden touch to CARP.

For starters, he'll be renaming the popular CARP magazine "Zoomer" and hopes that Zoomer will become part of the Canadian lexicon as he rebrands and freshens up the 50-plus focused organization. Full press release...and worth a read.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Battle Within

In my twenties, I was fearless. There was no risk too great to take. I travelled to different countries, visited every nook and cranny in Canada and the US that I could afford to travel to. Took jobs for $150/week so that I could break into a new industry, stayed up all night, had lots of different boyfriends -- opened my arms wide to all new experiences. With no fear. Perhaps, in retrospect, there was a certain naivete that protected me, but nonetheless, I experienced a wide rainbow. As a result, my own career and life path were pretty rich.

I'll bet many of you can relate to that freedom to change, to risk, to fail. And we all did it without blinking.

Isnt' it so odd, that with so much experience under our belts, as we get to our late 40's, early 50's, and even well into our 60's and 70's, for some reason, the older we get, the more paralyzed we become. I know, for myself, life's responsibilities (child, home, dog) take front and center and as a sole breadwinner, I have to measure in the risk. But why, when in our twenties, we are so able to change, do we start to hesitate, falter and fear change as we age? We seek job security in a world where job security is no longer viable. We avoid change to stay secure in our own nests. Why? Is there some biological factor at play? Some holdover from the early days of mankind, when as a race, our lifespan only stretched into our late 40's or early 50's? Is there a pre-wired instinct to get ready to die?

Hold on. There it is again. That fear factor. We have it in job search -- as mature workers we are terrified that we won't find meaningful employment. There are services in cyberspace dedicated to helping us find work, but even that concept brings us more fear ("I need a career management service to break down a door?")

In this millenium, we can anticipate healthy, vibrant lives well into our 80's and even 90's. So at 40 and 50, we really are only at mid-life. That's a whole lot of living yet. So where does the fear come from? What a relief it would be -- to shed the nest, strike out for unknown territories and fearlessly reconquer the world. My recognition of my burning need for change started with my quest for a new car and realizing that the car of my dream did not fit into my current life needs. Did I still get a great car? Yes. Was it the car I would have purchased if I was free as a bird? Heck...no. But it underlined some major changes in my life that limited my personal freedoms. Do those constraints extend to all apsects of a mid-life?

You may have stayed in a job for a really long time and then left it. Do you remember the feeling of freedom when you made that choice? Even people who are downsized ultimately feel a great sense of relief and freedom to embrace personal change, even with an uncertain financial security.

What is the true emotion behind the "mid-life crisis"? An internal call of the wild? Maybe the mid-life crisis is mis-named. Maybe it is really just listening to ourselves for a minute or two and following our heart's desire.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Blogging Boomers Carnival #58

It's my turn to host the Blogging Boomers Carnival this week -- a collection of interesting, insightful blogger musings from our intrepid group of Blogging Boomers!

So Baby Boomer focuses on the notable differences between Generation X and Baby Boomers values. As a generation in the workplace, they have spent their lives managing their own small sphere of influence. Are they now ready to take on a leadership role as boomers depart for retirement?

There is no arguing the importance of brain health. LifeTwo has collected every post they've ever done on the
subject here.

Remember secretarial schools? Are they a thing of the past? The Boomer Chronicles wants to know.

Don't Gel Yet has this to offer: Visiting Jerusalem, thinking about the relationship between men and women in the city — and in observant Judaism. Perplexing but interesting questions I think.

Worried about your weekly grocery bill? The Wastrel Show brings us info on what families around the world are paying to keep food on their tables. You don't want to miss this.

From I Remember JFK: The Beatles' Rooftop Concert: In 1969, the dream wasn't over, but the closing credits were playing. However, as is frequently the case in the movie theater, the music that was playing during the closing credits was pretty wonderful stuff.

How many miles do you need to cover during the course of a day in order to be able to call yourself 'active'? Head over to Contemporary Retirement to find out.

Want to see one of the best Boomer Makeovers the Glam Gals have ever seen? Then visit Fabulous after 40 for before and after photos, and get top beauty tips from Oprah’s Make-over Guy Christopher Hopkins.

And over at Gen Plus, I stirred up a bit of discussion with "Find Someone Doing Something Right...Please" on how to stay on the top of your game at 50 plus.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Find someone doing something right. Please.

I believe in finding people doing something right. (Love Ken Blanchard's "The One Minute Manager".) Optimistic by nature and socially conscientious, I manage by finding people’s strengths and helping them find and develop the best in themselves. But have you ever found yourself working for a someone whose management style is to find someone doing something wrong? I suspect that there are a lot of nodding heads.

Blanchard believes that an effective manager is one who can master three key ideas and he positions them as one-minute management tools: one-minute goal-setting; one-minute praising; and one-minute reprimand.

So, first, because I'm just an upbeat kind of gal, I'm going to lavish some praise on bloggers. In one minute.

Bloggers have shaped what is now called Web 2.0, or new media. We blog at home, at night, on our laptops, from our cell phones, in transit, on flights, in trains, from across the world. We can draft at night and post in the day, build readership, build loyalty, build influence. No one edits our thoughts, and many can be affected by what we write. We are media without borders and writers from the heart. You can turn us on and off at will. You can comment, visit as often as you like, forward to friends. I'll stand by my support of Hillary, but I've got to express my deep admiration and wonder at how Barak has harnessed the power of internet through blogging.

And now, my one-minute reprimand:

The job market is changing. There are relatively few bloggers that address the challenges in the workplace for Boomers and 50 Plussers . And we see employees lose their jobs for small reasons. The question I get often is: are employers changing their definitions for some staff and not others? Will there be a lot of legal action by disgruntled employees taking place in a lot of companies over the next few years? Unless employers get with the change in workforce, I suspect there will be.

And my one-minute goal-setting?

I want to hear from you so we can continue to work toward the empowerment of the 50 plus worker. What workplace challenges are you experiencing? And what do you want me to address or explore on your behalf? Time-frame? Before I hit 55.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Who is Mrs. Hughes?

I subscribe to a great blog, Time Goes By, written by Ronnie Bennet. And I'm just falling off my chair laughing, so I have to share her post and the video clip with you. TGB interviews Mrs. John Hughes, a stand-up comic who becomes a "You Tube" celeb. If you've got kids, hot flashes, or a partner, you'll relate. The video clip takes a bit of time to load, but it's worth it.

Blogging Boomers Carnival #57...and much, much more...

Ann Harrison, over at Contemporary Retirement is this week's Blogging Boomer host. Head on over for some treats this week, including issues that affect more mature jobseekers.

I also wanted to pass along an excellent article by Scot Herrick, over at Cube Rules, who first chronicled his life at a Cubicle Warrior and is now sharing his job search efforts as an older jobseeker. He and his wife were both laid off at the same time and it has been both a shock and an exciting re-awakening for him. This article looks at the "interview gauntlet" -- the hoops one has to jump through to get through in today's interview process, and the particular challenges facing the older jobseeker. A good read.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Social Networking: Reality TV on the Web

Just a bit of something to think about to take you into your weekend.

What is it about social networking that is just so darn appealing? First it was www.craigslist.org, www.MySpace.com, then www.Facebook.com, www.LinkedIn.com, www.BlogHer.com, www.Eons.com, Google and Yahoo groups, Blogger, and Wordpress and Typepad... and almost overnight the concept of social networking and the organic nature of the internet outreach (you've heard of Web 2.0...that's what that is all about)is everywhere one googles. (Yes, "Google", "to Google", "I've been Googled", "Have you googled yourself?"...all now part of the new lexicon.)

People LOVE to peek into other people's lives. They like to support the good and they also like to nose into the bad. That is why reality TV has become so popular -- because we are being allowed to be the nosy neighbor. Social networking takes it all a step further -- by giving us permission to comment on, give advice about, opine, lecture, parent, and commiserate freely online. Anything that gets posted on an opinion board, in a social group, in a blog (like mine!) is free and open territory for anyone to chime in on.

I'll give you my opinion, however. Social networking will go the way of reality TV. We are now officially inundated with groups and far from just becoming "granular" or organic, we are now niching ourselves into oblivion. Looking for a social network on diapering techniques in Sweden? I'm sure there is a chatroom or social network somewhere with 27 members who all agree that a triangle fold is the way to go. As we continue to dilute even further, just like the "scripted" reality show, authenticity gets lost. What will remain? Certainly My Space, YouTube, Facebook -- those sites that are not only authentic, but evolve out of the group momentum. Just like American Idol will probably still be around a few more years.

But this is just the beginning. We are only scratching the surface of the power of this type of reach. Web 2.0 is the great, great equalizer. If you like my content, you'll read it. It won't matter if I'm 20 or 50 or 70. Doesn't matter if I'm tall, short, fat, slim, or whether I'm a solo operator, have 10 employees or 1000...my external trappings mean nothing on the net.

Since the creation of the internet only one thing has remained a constant -- delivery of free, valid, authentic information. Content Rules became the mantra of Web 2.0 for a reason -- authentic information was key. A social network that lacks authenticity won't survive, just as the scripted reality show won't survive over the long term.

So what is the next evolution?

What will the next stepping stone be on the net? Will it be the Gen Plusser finding alternative ways to create online business? Will it be large corporations enhancing their customer service (like Vonage is already doing using the Philippines as a very friendly and responsive workforce) and reaching out via the internet, one by one, to each individual consumer? What do you think? Where are we going?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Touched by the Stork -- a review of Cryo Kid

Just released Cryo Kid: Drawing a New Map is already picking up some attention. Over at Touched by the Stork, blogger Kathryn gives a revealing write-up of the book:

It's hard not to be touched by the story of a grandmother who has watched her daughter struggle with infertility and who finally sees a granddaughter born through the use of cryogenics. It's particularly hard not to be touched when you know that the story is true and that it's told straight from the heart.

Corinne Heather Copnick has published just this book called Cryo Kid: Drawing a New Map. And there is more to it than meets the eye.

Although the book is written from the perspective of the grandmother, it also adds in the voice of the granddaughter (the girl who was born through cryogenics.) And surprisingly, it adds in the voice of the sperm donor who made her birth possible, touching on the fact that this girl has siblings out there in the world. More importantly, it takes a very real and human perspective at looking at the issue of infertility and the technological treatment options that are available today.

Anyone who has gone through the struggle of dealing with infertility will benefit from reading this book.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Blogging Boomers Carnival #56!

Monday morning, bright and early. A cuppa coffee in one hand, a newspaper in the other, and the Blogging Boomers Carnival on the laptop. Aaaah. Satisfying. This week's Carnival is hosted by none other than the eloquent (and endearing) Rhea over at the astoundingly popular The Boomer Chronicles. Now, just add in a croissant, a 4-minute egg, and we're good to go!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Siblings, Donors, DSR and Oprah!

I have so many items to cover this week, but they will have to wait another day. I'll be sharing a brilliant start up, Brighter Planet, and the web-conference I took part in (all about carbon offsets, carbon footprints and conservation.) And I'll introduce you to an innovative new way to help boomers and 50 plussers get a virtual foot in the door through video-resumes at CV-Vision.

But all that is temporarily pre-empted today because of an exciting bit of news that flew into my email this morning...

As announced earlier this week, my mom released her new book "Cryo Kid: Drawing a New Map." One of the resources in the book is Donor Sibling Registry (or DSR). Headed by the dynamic Wendy Kramer, DSR evolved out of a desire and a need for donor offspring to connect and a desire from the anonymous donors themselves to contact their offspring.

I found out about Wendy after I'd had my daughter (by DI, or donor insemination -- long story, better buy the book!) I'd used the California Cryobank in order to find a donor, however, I hadn't had success finding out if my daughter had any siblings...or for that matter if her biological father would want to know about her. Out of the blue, someone mailed me a copy of an article...about the Donor Sibling Registry. I jumped online, donated my $40 for a membership, and searched out my donor. Imagine my delight when his number connected me to four moms and eight other siblings. The rest of the story is outlined in the book, but I contacted Wendy Kramer minutes after connecting with the first mom and we've stayed in touch from time to time.

I let Wendy know about the release of Cryo Kid, and coincidentally, she let me know that she was going to be on OPRAH (Friday, February 8th) specifically to look at donor fathers and siblings. My DVR is set up and ready to go.

The world is changing due to technology. No matter what anyone wants or believes, it is changing as fast (faster) than the internet changed our method of communication. I'm proud to say that I'm a supporter of DSR, one of society's changers. I'm proud to be connected to Wendy Kramer through her registry. She's a dedicated and enthusiastic warrior, and I'm delighted that she is getting the additional recognition this week.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Delegates, electoral college, popular vote...ayay.

As a fairly new American (I'm a transplanted Canadian), I am proud to take part in the election process. However, I'm used to the Canadian system, which is pretty straightforward (at least I think so!) In the Canadian system, you vote for your Member of Parliament. The majority of MPs who are elected then are the leading party. The leader of the leading party becomes the Prime Minister.

So, in my second foray into the election process in the US, I have to admit I've been thoroughly confused. Between the popular vote, the different rules in delegate apportioning between the parties, and the non-requirements of the electoral college delegates I'm in a tizzy. I realize that my vote counts/doesn't count, the delegates pledge or don't pledge their alliances and a heck of a lot of money gets spent in the process. 50% plus 1% of the delegates means what exactly?

Am I missing something here? Is it really a very easy system that my Canadian formed brain cannot get my thoughts around? Help. Puhleeeze. I'm fascinated, can't pull my eyes away from the news coverage, but I think I may need to pursue a PhD in Political Science. I mean...I get it, but I don't GET it.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Blogging Boomers Carnival #55 is up!

A great Carnival this week, hosted over at I Remember JFK. Hop on over for Blogging Boomers Carnival #55!


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Cryo Kid: Drawing a New Map -- a look at the human emotions behind the science of assisted reproduction

It is rare that I can proudly share a profound, pivotal moment in the life of my family. And even rarer that I can share it with the rest of the world.

My mother, an accomplished, awarded writer (who has also guest written on this blog), has just published her new book, Cryo Kid: Drawing a New Map. As someone who promotes the efforts of the Boomer and 50 plus demographic, it blows me away that my 70-something mother shares so deeply, so passionately, her thoughts and philosophies through the written word (and yes...I'm a character in the book.) Not only that, but with a zest for life, an energy for forward momentum that pushes me to my own forward movement.

I ask you, supportive readers, to extend your support to her efforts. I've attached the press release below (the public release goes out tomorrow) and for any of you in the Los Angeles area who would like to join us for the LA launch, we'd love to have you there! Email me and I'll put your name on the list so you'll get a reminder evite.

Corinne Heather Copnick invites you to join her in celebrating

the publication of her new book

Cryo Kid: Drawing a New Map

A seventy-something Grandma barely survives her career-driven daughters' quest for children and discovers a heartwarming new definition of family.
Thought-provoking, humorous and inspiring!

"...a remarkable job of demystifying the increasingly common experience of using a sperm donor." -- California Cryobank, Los Angeles

Author talk, book signing and refreshments. Please join us!

Sunday, March 9th
2:00 pm
Dutton's Brentwood Books
11975 San Vicente Blvd.
LA, CA 90049

Take a look, purchase the book for someone you know who has gone through assisted reproduction, someone who is thinking about it, or someone who is mother, father, relative or friend. It's a tough road and educating others about the changing family concept together with the emotional hurdles of going through assisted reproduction is vital as our technology continues to outpace our capacity to process the emotions that necessarily ride alongside it.

Sneak peek -- PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Publication February 3, 2008


An inside look at the human emotions behind the technology.

The little seven-year-old girl born to a single mother through an anonymous donor from a sperm bank never met her Daddy, so she doesn’t miss him. That’s what she tells curious people who ask. She is a cryo kid—the word “cryo” is short for cryogenics. As readers of CRYO KID: DRAWING A NEW MAP, a just published book by Corinne Heather Copnick, roller coast through the human side of technological ups and downs with the cryo kid’s seventy-something grandma (the author, who barely survives her career-driven daughter’s quest for children), they discover a heart-warming new definition of family.

From Grandma’s perspective, the author explores the exponential transformation that has taken place in families in her lifetime, as well as the infertility crisis currently being experienced by career women who waited too long to have children.

Against the backdrop of three cities, Montreal, Toronto, and Los Angeles and inspired by true experience, CRYO KID is, in fact, written from several perspectives: the voices of Grandma, her daughter, the grand-daughter (a gifted child who adds so much joy to their lives), and the sperm donor. Unexpectedly, eight siblings are discovered across the country, and the donor reveals himself.

Written with insightful humor and a sense of wonder, CRYO KID is intended to be educational, positive, and eye-opening. It asks this question: How do we maintain our values in an exponentially changing world? “Corinne Copnick does a remarkable job of demystifying the increasingly common experience of using a sperm donor,” attests the California Cryobank. “Her warm, caring account of her own daughter’s story provides a compelling introduction into the possibilities and responsibilities … as the field of assisted reproduction technology grows.”

Available at Amazon.com, bn.com (Barnes and Noble), other online booksellers, and ordered through major bookstores. Author autographed copies available through cryokid.com

L.A. Book Signing!
CRYO KID will be launched in Los Angeles at Dutton’s Brentwood Books, 11975 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049 (310.476.6263) on Sunday, March 9, 2008 at 2 P.M. (everyone welcome).

For further information, please contact Corinne Copnick by email or telephone (818.345.1531). Coverage and interviews will be greatly appreciated. The author is available for online or offline promotion.