Welcome to the Gen Plus Blog

It's a backstage pass to info on jobs and life at 50+. Gen Plus, headed by Janet Wendy Spiegel, is dedicated to baby boomers and the plus generation of age 50 and older. Read up and speak out on issues affecting your future: jobs, income, life and respect.

About Me

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Northridge, California, United States
Successful businesswoman, consultant, entrepreneur. I operate two businesses -- social media consulting, AND premium pet care services in the West San Fernando Valley. Love what I do, love life.

Gen Plus has relocated to www.GenPlusUSA.com

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Just another summer weekend in Los Angeles...

Looking for something to do this weekend? Well, if you are looking to stave off aging or find out the latest in biomedical advances in the "disease" of aging, AND you live in Los Angeles, head over to UCLA and join in on the conference: AGINGThe Disease - The Cure - The Implications(Aging 2008)

If you prefer a bit of theater to avoid all thoughts of aging and spend some time reconoitering with your own life path, then you might be interested in the short run in Los Angeles of Birth Story (if you like DefWest, you'll love this...). For a moving preview, click here. There is one show tonight and one more show has been added July 5th.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Who's driving the Postal Trucks?

Take a good look at who is driving US Postal Service trucks these days and you'll be pleasantly surprised. When push comes to shove you can always count on Boomers and 50 Plussers to deliver your mail..."Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these courageous couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Blogging Boomers Carnival #75

Life Two is this week's host of our weekly carnival and I'm posting early, so you can get a head start...because it is a really good one (at least WE think so!) Remember Penny Candy?? I do.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A bit of brilliance for Online Shopping

If you have never had your own virtual online model to "try" clothes on for you at an online retailer, then you cannot miss this. My Virtual Model brings you a fun, easy way to create, not only a fairly realistic personal model, but allows you to try on clothes from a good spectrum of online retailers (H&M, Land's End, Gap, Adidas, etc.)

A gentle way to discover that...uh...nope...that bathing suit? Not such a good choice. Or WOW, would I look fantastic in THAT! Guaranteed to lower online returns, and at the same time, lets you see yourself in 360 degree format without having to sweat it up in a changing room. Can you lie to yourself? Sure you can...but what for? Might as well see what you really look like in that tankini.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Where has my head been? Walking (wafting?) around in 110 degrees!

It's been a scorcher week in Los Angeles. For those of you who don't know, I run a pet care service called Pooch Buddies...that means I'm out walking (like the post office) in rain or shine, wind or hail. And this week the temperatures have been in the triple digits. Makes for some very unhappy dogs and some very sweaty dog walkers. All that to say, in my state of dehydration, I completely missed the boat on promoting Blogging Boomers Carnivals #73 AND #74. 74 is hosted over at The Midlife Crisis Queen. And #73 was hosted at This Marriage Thing! Both hosts celebrated their FIRST time as Carnival Hosts...and they did us proud!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

If you missed it, here is the transcript of Hillary's speech today -- ending her campaign and throwing her formidable support behind Barack. A great woman and I'm proud to have supported her in her bid for the White House.

"Thank you so much. Thank you all. Well, this isn’t exactly the party I’d planned, but I sure like the company. I want to start today by saying how grateful I am to all of you – to everyone who poured your hearts and your hopes into this campaign, who drove for miles and lined the streets waving homemade signs, who scrimped and saved to raise money, who knocked on doors and made calls, who talked and sometimes argued with your friends and neighbors, who emailed and contributed online, who invested so much in our common enterprise, to the moms and dads who came to our events, who lifted their little girls and little boys on their shoulders and whispered in their ears, “See, you can be anything you want to be.”

To the young people like 13 year-old Ann Riddle from Mayfield, Ohio who had been saving for two years to go to Disney World, and decided to use her savings instead to travel to Pennsylvania with her Mom and volunteer there as well. To the veterans and the childhood friends, to New Yorkers and Arkansans who traveled across the country and telling anyone who would listen why you supported me.

To all those women in their 80s and their 90s born before women could vote who cast their votes for our campaign. I’ve told you before about Florence Steen of South Dakota, who was 88 years old, and insisted that her daughter bring an absentee ballot to her hospice bedside. Her daughter and a friend put an American flag behind her bed and helped her fill out the ballot. She passed away soon after, and under state law, her ballot didn’t count. But her daughter later told a reporter, “My dad’s an ornery old cowboy, and he didn’t like it when he heard mom’s vote wouldn’t be counted. I don’t think he had voted in 20 years. But he voted in place of my mom.”

To all those who voted for me, and to whom I pledged my utmost, my commitment to you and to the progress we seek is unyielding. You have inspired and touched me with the stories of the joys and sorrows that make up the fabric of our lives and you have humbled me with your commitment to our country. 18 million of you from all walks of life – women and men, young and old, Latino and Asian, African-American and Caucasian, rich, poor and middle class, gay and straight – you have stood strong with me. And I will continue to stand strong with you, every time, every place, and every way that I can. The dreams we share are worth fighting for.

Remember - we fought for the single mom with a young daughter, juggling work and school, who told me, “I’m doing it all to better myself for her.” We fought for the woman who grabbed my hand, and asked me, “What are you going to do to make sure I have health care?” and began to cry because even though she works three jobs, she can’t afford insurance.

We fought for the young man in the Marine Corps t-shirt who waited months for medical care and said, “Take care of my buddies over there and then, will you please help take care of me?” We fought for all those who’ve lost jobs and health care, who can’t afford gas or groceries or college, who have felt invisible to their president these last seven years. I entered this race because I have an old-fashioned conviction: that public service is about helping people solve their problems and live their dreams. I’ve had every opportunity and blessing in my own life – and I want the same for all Americans. Until that day comes, you will always find me on the front lines of democracy – fighting for the future.

The way to continue our fight now – to accomplish the goals for which we stand – is to take our energy, our passion, our strength and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama the next President of the United States.

Today, as I suspend my campaign, I congratulate him on the victory he has won and the extraordinary race he has run. I endorse him, and throw my full support behind him. And I ask all of you to join me in working as hard for Barack Obama as you have for me. I have served in the Senate with him for four years. I have been in this campaign with him for 16 months. I have stood on the stage and gone toe-to-toe with him in 22 debates. I have had a front row seat to his candidacy, and I have seen his strength and determination, his grace and his grit.

In his own life, Barack Obama has lived the American Dream. As a community organizer, in the state senate, as a United States Senator - he has dedicated himself to ensuring the dream is realized. And in this campaign, he has inspired so many to become involved in the democratic process and invested in our common future. Now when I started this race, I intended to win back the White House, and make sure we have a president who puts our country back on the path to peace, prosperity, and progress. And that's exactly what we're going to do by ensuring that Barack Obama walks through the doors of the Oval Office on January 20, 2009.

I understand that we all know this has been a tough fight. The Democratic Party is a family, and it’s now time to restore the ties that bind us together and to come together around the ideals we share, the values we cherish, and the country we love. We may have started on separate journeys – but today, our paths have merged. And we are all heading toward the same destination, united and more ready than ever to win in November and to turn our country around because so much is at stake.

We all want an economy that sustains the American Dream, the opportunity to work hard and have that work rewarded, to save for college, a home and retirement, to afford that gas and those groceries and still have a little left over at the end of the month. An economy that lifts all of our people and ensures that our prosperity is broadly distributed and shared. We all want a health care system that is universal, high quality, and affordable so that parents no longer have to choose between care for themselves or their children or be stuck in dead end jobs simply to keep their insurance. This isn’t just an issue for me – it is a passion and a cause – and it is a fight I will continue until every single American is insured – no exceptions, no excuses.

We all want an America defined by deep and meaningful equality – from civil rights to labor rights, from women’s rights to gay rights, from ending discrimination to promoting unionization to providing help for the most important job there is: caring for our families. We all want to restore America’s standing in the world, to end the war in Iraq and once again lead by the power of our values, and to join with our allies to confront our shared challenges from poverty and genocide to terrorism and global warming. You know, I’ve been involved in politics and public life in one way or another for four decades. During those forty years, our country has voted ten times for President. Democrats won only three of those times. And the man who won two of those elections is with us today.

We made tremendous progress during the 90s under a Democratic President, with a flourishing economy, and our leadership for peace and security respected around the world. Just think how much more progress we could have made over the past 40 years if we had a Democratic president. Think about the lost opportunities of these past seven years – on the environment and the economy, on health care and civil rights, on education, foreign policy and the Supreme Court. Imagine how far we could’ve come, how much we could’ve achieved if we had just had a Democrat in the White House. We cannot let this moment slip away. We have come too far and accomplished too much.

Now the journey ahead will not be easy. Some will say we can’t do it. That it’s too hard. That we’re just not up to the task. But for as long as America has existed, it has been the American way to reject “can’t do” claims, and to choose instead to stretch the boundaries of the possible through hard work, determination, and a pioneering spirit. It is this belief, this optimism, that Senator Obama and I share, and that has inspired so many millions of our supporters to make their voices heard. So today, I am standing with Senator Obama to say: Yes we can. Together we will work. We’ll have to work hard to get universal health care. But on the day we live in an America where no child, no man, and no woman is without health insurance, we will live in a stronger America. That’s why we need to help elect Barack Obama our President. We’ll have to work hard to get back to fiscal responsibility and a strong middle class. But on the day we live in an America whose middle class is thriving and growing again, where all Americans, no matter where they live or where their ancestors came from, can earn a decent living, we will live in a stronger America and that is why we must elect Barack Obama our President. We’ll have to work hard to foster the innovation that makes us energy independent and lift the threat of global warming from our children’s future. But on the day we live in an America fueled by renewable energy, we will live in a stronger America. That’s why we have to help elect Barack Obama our President. We’ll have to work hard to bring our troops home from Iraq, and get them the support they’ve earned by their service. But on the day we live in an America that’s as loyal to our troops as they have been to us, we will live in a stronger America and that is why we must help elect Barack Obama our President.

This election is a turning point election and it is critical that we all understand what our choice really is. Will we go forward together or will we stall and slip backwards. Think how much progress we have already made.

When we first started, people everywhere asked the same questions: Could a woman really serve as Commander-in-Chief? Well, I think we answered that one.

And could an African American really be our President? Senator Obama has answered that one.

Together Senator Obama and I achieved milestones essential to our progress as a nation, part of our perpetual duty to form a more perfect union. Now, on a personal note – when I was asked what it means to be a woman running for President, I always gave the same answer: that I was proud to be running as a woman but I was running because I thought I’d be the best President. But I am a woman, and like millions of women, I know there are still barriers and biases out there, often unconscious. I want to build an America that respects and embraces the potential of every last one of us. I ran as a daughter who benefited from opportunities my mother never dreamed of. I ran as a mother who worries about my daughter’s future and a mother who wants to lead all children to brighter tomorrows. To build that future I see, we must make sure that women and men alike understand the struggles of their grandmothers and mothers, and that women enjoy equal opportunities, equal pay, and equal respect.

Let us resolve and work toward achieving some very simple propositions: There are no acceptable limits and there are no acceptable prejudices in the twenty-first century. You can be so proud that, from now on, it will be unremarkable for a woman to win primary state victories, unremarkable to have a woman in a close race to be our nominee, unremarkable to think that a woman can be the President of the United States. And that is truly remarkable.

To those who are disappointed that we couldn’t go all the way – especially the young people who put so much into this campaign – it would break my heart if, in falling short of my goal, I in any way discouraged any of you from pursuing yours. Always aim high, work hard, and care deeply about what you believe in. When you stumble, keep faith. When you’re knocked down, get right back up. And never listen to anyone who says you can’t or shouldn’t go on.

As we gather here today in this historic magnificent building, the 50th woman to leave this Earth is orbiting overhead. If we can blast 50 women into space, we will someday launch a woman into the White House. Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it. And the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time.

That has always been the history of progress in America. Think of the suffragists who gathered at Seneca Falls in 1848 and those who kept fighting until women could cast their votes. Think of the abolitionists who struggled and died to see the end of slavery. Think of the civil rights heroes and foot-soldiers who marched, protested and risked their lives to bring about the end to segregation and Jim Crow.

Because of them, I grew up taking for granted that women could vote. Because of them, my daughter grew up taking for granted that children of all colors could go to school together.

Because of them, Barack Obama and I could wage a hard fought campaign for the Democratic nomination.

Because of them, and because of you, children today will grow up taking for granted that an African American or a woman can yes, become President of the United States.

When that day arrives and a woman takes the oath of office as our President, we will all stand taller, proud of the values of our nation, proud that every little girl can dream and that her dreams can come true in America. And all of you will know that because of your passion and hard work you helped pave the way for that day.

So I want to say to my supporters, when you hear people saying – or think to yourself – “if only” or “what if,” I say, “please don’t go there.” Every moment wasted looking back keeps us from moving forward. Life is too short, time is too precious, and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been. We have to work together for what still can be. And that is why I will work my heart out to make sure that Senator Obama is our next President and I hope and pray that all of you will join me in that effort.

To my supporters and colleagues in Congress, to the governors and mayors, elected officials who stood with me, in good times and in bad, thank you for your strength and leadership. To my friends in our labor unions who stood strong every step of the way – I thank you and pledge my support to you. To my friends, from every stage of my life – your love and ongoing commitments sustain me every single day. To my family – especially Bill and Chelsea and my mother, you mean the world to me and I thank you for all you have done. And to my extraordinary staff, volunteers and supporters, thank you for working those long, hard hours. Thank you for dropping everything – leaving work or school – traveling to places you’d never been, sometimes for months on end. And thanks to your families as well because your sacrifice was theirs too. All of you were there for me every step of the way. Being human, we are imperfect. That’s why we need each other. To catch each other when we falter. To encourage each other when we lose heart. Some may lead; others may follow; but none of us can go it alone.

The changes we’re working for are changes that we can only accomplish together. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are rights that belong to each of us as individuals. But our lives, our freedom, our happiness, are best enjoyed, best protected, and best advanced when we do work together. That is what we will do now as we join forces with Senator Obama and his campaign. We will make history together as we write the next chapter in America’s story. We will stand united for the values we hold dear, for the vision of progress we share, and for the country we love. There is nothing more American than that.

And looking out at you today, I have never felt so blessed. The challenges that I have faced in this campaign are nothing compared to those that millions of Americans face every day in their own lives. So today, I’m going to count my blessings and keep on going. I’m going to keep doing what I was doing long before the cameras ever showed up and what I’ll be doing long after they’re gone: Working to give every American the same opportunities I had, and working to ensure that every child has the chance to grow up and achieve his or her God-given potential.

I will do it with a heart filled with gratitude, with a deep and abiding love for our country– and with nothing but optimism and confidence for the days ahead. This is now our time to do all that we can to make sure that in this election we add another Democratic president to that very small list of the last 40 years and that we take back our country and once again move with progress and commitment to the future. Thank you all and God bless you and God bless America."

Thursday, June 05, 2008

A Lean, Green, Driving Machine?

I had a great chuckle the other day. As I was driving back from an appointment with a client, I saw a Prius decked out in a very sharp skin. It was a car that belonged to Drivers Ed Direct. I'd never noticed the company before, so I took a good look and it appeared that this was the newest iteration of driving school. They are touting their "green-ness" which is great, and their safety standards, which is awesome. However, the entire left back bumper of the Prius was...well...badly dented.

Aside from the fact that the Prius is one of the most battered cars I've ever seen (knocked off side mirrors, dented bumpers, smashed trunks, etc.) it was just so funny to me to see a drivers "ed"-gy green car where a driving lesson had obviously gone so very wrong. I don't know...maybe it is just me.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Blogging Boomers Carnival #72

My mom is 72. And so is this week's Blogging Boomers Carnival, hosted over at I Remember JFK. Once again, a stellar read!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Book Expo of America...an example of the changing times.

In any big industry, there is always a big picture. The clearer the picture the clearer the vision of the forward momentum of the industry. Well, this past weekend was eye-opening. I went with my mother (Corinne Copnick, whose book Cryo Kid is doing very well at an early stage) to explore what literary agents, rights agents, publishers and distributors were bringing to the table in this new era of new media.

My big picture is not necessarily their big picture, but there is no denying the publishing industry is in a quandry and facing a dilemma -- how to sell books to a public that is opting out of buying books? Sure, we all pick up books, there are book clubs galore, and, of course, Oprah's book club has made a positive impact on reading across the US, but have you talked to a Millenium lately? Kids are going to the internet for information...so travel books, information sources, even dictionaries and thesauruses are in big trouble. They get their fix on what's new and trendy from both the internet and magazines...but they aren't curling up in bed with a book...they are more likely to curl up with their warm laptop for company. And you could see by the show demographic...it is an aging industry. Were there some GREAT professionals there? Yes. Absolutely. And the greatest of them were opening their minds to look for future trends in an uncertain future.

My thoughts were somewhat different. I walked around, lugging pounds upon pounds of advance copies, signed author copies, catalogues and promo items from literally hundreds of book reps and I kept wondering why there weren't docking stations where I could either download the advance copies to my iPod or to a flash drive, rather than shuttle the weight the length of the convention center. Many of the publishers look down their noses at books on demand that self-publishers choose (a book is printed as it is ordered) and I thought...wow...what an opportunity. Heck, if I could go to my local Barnes and Noble and while sitting enjoying my soy chai latte, the book I ordered was being printed up for me to take with me in 10 minutes....I'd be sold. Very curious to see what advances will come up over the next few years. There will always be a market for books, but how that market will reposition itself is the story.

An interesting dilemma -- how to make a career switch?

One of the many hats I wear includes answering career questions as an expert on AllExperts.com. I recently got a very interesting query on making a total switch which brings up a whole world of possibility.


Hello Janet,

I have been working in IT industry since last 3 and half years. However, now I don't feel anymore interested in this field. Can you please suggest if there are any other non-IT field jobs which I can get qualified for and still use my 3 years of experience. I know this is very little information for you to answer my question but please feel free if you need any more information about my job profile? Please help... M.

My answer:

Hi M,

It is always challenging to switch tracks because employers have trouble seeing how your skill sets can translate to new areas. However, employers are having trouble themselves with staffing and recruiting, so figuring out how to reposition yourself will be critical in making the switch. There is a world of opportunity, so to get started, you need to identify what types of jobs seem appealing to you and then it becomes easier to figure out the crossover. For example, a background in IT might help you get into an entry level position in recruiting, where the company uses a complicated job/applicant tracker program. Or you might find a smaller company with a chain of 5-10 retail outlets that have transitioned over to a POS program (Point of Sale)and would like to have someone on board who can make use of all the bells and whistles that come with the system (like pulling customer lists for marketing campaigns, analyzing customer quarterly purchases, inventory management, etc.) Feel free to send me more info on what appeals to you and I'll bet we can come up with a slew of ideas for you to get cracking on!

Best regards,
Janet Wendy Spiegel

If you have other thoughts, feel free to share. I'm curious what your perspective might be!