Category Archives: For Employers

Every single day

I’m a social butterfly.  One of those people who loves any sort of opportunity to chat with new people, experience exciting new things, see new sights.  Very socially oriented. 

As a result, and as a business owner, I LOVE networking events and social mixers.  Most of the people who attend are in business for themselves, or, if in big business, responsible in some way for building their networks to best benefit their employers.  I’ve gone to home-grown mixers, chamber of commerce, consulate events, alma mater brunches, political call campaigns,  Canadian expat events, and temple-created business mixers.  But I’d never been to a Jewish Chamber of Congress event. 

A week or so ago there was a big LA business mixer in downtown Los Angeles and at that event my companion and I happened upon a literal wandering Jew.  He had lost his booth!  With a little of this, a map of that, he was on his merry way and invited us to stop by as we did our rounds.  His booth?  The  Los Angeles Jewish Chamber of Commerce.  Not only had I not heard of it, but, as a Jewish woman, I’m automatically attracted to Jewish community-oriented activities because it feels familiar.  Of course we stopped by.  Of course we got on the mailing list.  And, of course, found out that there was a Jewish LA CC mixer just a few nights later.

We decided to go.  And I’m so glad we did!  An elegant little affair in the Millenium Biltmore in downtown LA (historic and lovely) and I have to say, I’ve NEVER had such a relaxed and wonderful time at a networking event as this one.  Everyone was truly delighted to be there and everyone was open to talking to…well…everyone.  The founder, Jeff Gurman, was all smiles and handshakes, welcoming everyone, introducing everyone.  He started the LA Jewish CC a couple of years ago and I think he’s onto something.  In any event, I’m definitely going to the next event.  Here’s a pic of me and Jeff mugging for the camera.

But here’s what I really want to tell you about.  I met a gentleman who was very understated and impressed the socks right off me.  We had a nice chat, standing at the bar, and I learned that he had left a large brokerage firm about 8 years earlier to start his own company with a partner.  Now a thriving asset management company, I was amazed at what he had been able to do in 8 short years.  From a tiny office he now had 12 asset managers (brokers) working for him managing a large amount of wealth.  He mentioned, in passing, that he had 100% client retention.  I was floored.  100%?  Over 8 years not ONE client has left him?  Not one.  The rest of his team was there wearing their power suits.  He wasn’t wearing a suit…just a nice shirt…and taking the time to have a chat with an unwealthy stranger. 

I don’t know that so many others would fall off their heels at the concept of 100% client retention in an 8-year span.  But my whole business life has been about acquisition of new business and retention of old business, marketing and delivering service, and, most importantly, building relationships.  His secret?  Of course…it was all about the relationships he had with his clients.  In 8 years, every single one of his clients got a call, every single day, to bring them up-to-speed on how their portfolio was doing.  Through ups and downs.  Every single day.  I don’t talk to all of my immediate family every single day, but imagine how much more connected we’d feel if we DID touch base every single day. 

Imagine how fantastic our business relationships would be if we talked to each of our active clients every single day.  Maybe we, too, would have 100% client retention.

That’s what I got out of my first LA Jewish CC mixer.  Now, go call someone.

Micro-careers

I subscribe to the newsletter put out by Weddle’s (a career consulting, research, and publishing firm), and today, a very good article caught my eye.  This one is all about micro-careers.  I’ve referred to the shiftin the past as “career-chunking”, but I like the term “micro-career” very much.  The concept is simple — we will have many careers over our employment lifespan, expanding upon our best skills and translating them to different fields, while continuing to accumulate knowledge and expertise.  The job market will not be the same one we grew up with — likely for the rest of our lives.  Give a read.  This article, by Peter Weddle,  is quite thoughtfully laid out:

Micro Careers

The common view has been that we have one career. Typically, it was defined by both our occupational field-we are an attorney, a salesperson or a logistics professional-and our employer-we work at IBM or at Coca- Cola. Although we were often told otherwise, many of us believed that we would spend our entire career working for that one or, at most, two or three different organizations. In other words, we were convinced our careers would be relatively stable and long lasting.

While that was probably not true in the past, it is definitely not true today. This Great Recession has changed the nature of our careers forever. I know you don’t want to hear that. It’s hard enough to find a job in the current economic environment without some putz telling you that the rules of the game have now changed. But they have. And sticking our heads in the sand won’t undo what has been done.

On the other hand, if we can learn the new rules quickly-if we can get our arms around them and figure out how to play by and win with them-we can turn today’s difficult situation into a much better one. We can capture the upside in a down economy. We can put these new rules to work for us so we can find the work we want and hang onto it.

Your ads will be inserted here by

Easy Plugin for AdSense.

Please go to the plugin admin page to
Paste your ad code OR
Suppress this ad slot.

So, what are these new rules? They are a response to the traumatic and wrenching devastation of business now underway in this country and around the world. From GM to Citigroup, from Hertz to Microsoft, employers are shedding jobs and the workers who held them. These are not, however, your father’s or mother’s layoffs. They are not reductions in force that will eventually be replaced by rehiring in force. They are, instead, reductions in structure. The American employer is becoming leaner and determined to stay that way.

This shift in organizational philosophy holds several implications for those of us in the workforce.

  • First, there will be far fewer permanent jobs available to us. Companies will shrink down to a relatively small number of core roles and hire very selectively to fill them. Gone are the days of offering a position to a qualified applicant. Today and for many tomorrows to come, only the best qualified candidate for each opening will get the nod.
  • Second, employers will increase their hiring for “defined outcome positions.” Unlike traditional contract or project work, these situations will have the look and feel of permanent jobs, but have a fixed duration determined by the accomplishment of a specific objective established by the employer. Defined outcome positions will have the same organizational prestige and seniority as core jobs, but without the commitment to long term employment.
  • Third, employers will attempt to be much more nimble and quick acting. The competitive dynamics of a highly integrated, global marketplace have shortened the life cycle of products and services, sales and marketing strategies, and the organizational staffing requirements that flow from them. The kinds of talent required to execute an organization’s business plan last year or the year before may be-indeed, often will be-entirely different than those it needs today or tomorrow.If those are the new rules, how do we play them?

    The answer is as simple as it is challenging. We will have to shift our own employment philosophy. We must change the way we think about our careers. We have to accept that they are no longer relatively stable or long lasting. From now on, our careers will be episodic and short. They will be “micro careers.”

    Micro careers are defined by two kinds of impermanence:

  • Instead of working for one or two employers over the course of a thirty year career, we will now be employed by 10-15 organizations over the course of a fifty year career. We are living longer even as the staffing needs of employers grow shorter and less enduring.
  • Instead of working in a single occupational field, you will work in 3-5 different professions. They may all draw on a common foundation of expertise, but each will require a specific and additional set of knowledge, skills and abilities.This continuous changing means that we can no longer aspire to be complete and fully formed workers. The old industrial era paradigm of moving from novice to journeyman to master is over. In today’s knowledge-based economy, only masters survive. So, our new strategy must be to act as “masters-in-progress.” We must never stop moving toward a better, more capable, more effective version of our best selves.

    Now, I acknowledge that such incessant self renewal is a new and potentially uncomfortable way of working for some, maybe even many of us. We worked hard to get to a certain point in our careers, and now, we would like to coast. We would like to sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labor. And that’s no longer possible. In the 21st Century workplace, managing a successful career is like riding a bicycle. We can coast for a short period of time, but we’re going to have to peddle and sometimes peddle very hard if we want to keep from crashing.

    While that may be difficult to accept, there are some advantages to this situation. It enables us to escape from the imprisonment of dull jobs and dead end employers. No employment situation is forever and as long as we keep preparing ourselves for what’s ahead, each new job is a chance to move on and up. We get to start fresh on a regular basis, so mistakes are less harmful to our progress and risk is less dangerous. We have, in short, more freedom and opportunity than we have ever had. That’s the key point we should remember. Because that’s the power and the promise of micro careers.

  • California unemployment reaches 11.2% in March

    Not since 1941 has California hit such a high unemployment number.  If you had money, now would be a great time to buy up properties, stocks, artwork…if you had money.  But in addition to the 11.2% on the dole rolls, there are another few percentage points of the unemployed who don’t show up on these records — part-timers, those who have given up, struggling new entrepreneurs. 

    What does that mean for California?  Well, for one, some people are just going to leave — move back to families in Minnesota, and White Plains, and Tuscon, where they’ll be able to recoup slowly while moving back in with parents, siblings, aunts, old friends.

    When there is a severely stressful event or period of time, there are two types of stress that affect us.  There is unproductive stress — that is the type of stress that causes night sweats, anxiety attacks, heart palpitations and feelings of being completely overwhelmed.  We all know those.  In this crisis, this type of stress over a period of time (like we are experiencing now) can be destructive.  It erodes self confidence and zaps creativity.  People can be overwhelmed by a sense of hopelessness.

    The other kind of stress is productive stress which causes a discomfort.  This productive discomfort has the opposite impact on us.  It provokes creativity and it can produce profound innovation.  

    The difference between the two is a very, very thin line.  If you are an optimist by nature, then you might stay more on the productive side.  If a pessimist, it may not take much to push you to an anxiety attack. 

    In this economy, which will continue to fallout for many, many months and years to come (likely to the end of 2010), the challenge is to push pride away.  If you are not embarrassed by your plight, then it becomes easier to seek innovative solutions.  It is a hard fall to be in your 50’s and be unable to find a job.  It is tough.  No doubt.  May take one or two years to find employment.  Possibly.  Probably.  However, if the jobseeker can push pride aside, it opens the door to conversations with everyone.  And if you can have a conversation with everyone you meet about your job search, then it is possible that someone will know someone who has a job opening for you to apply to. 

    I spoke with someone the other day who didn’t believe in resources like Twitter or Linked In or Facebook.  The reality is that these communication vehicles exist and denying their power just limits your own abilities to connect with others worldwide.  In the Great Depression, people no longer greeted each other with “Hello, how are you?”  Instead they asked, “Are you working?”  Over the past few months, every conversation with friends now usually starts with “How’s your business doing?” or “Is your job secure?” and more often than not the answer isn’t very good. 

    I suspect that within the next few months friends will start sharing innovative ideas that have arisen out of their productive discomfort and then we’ll see new businesses starting, that, as they grow, will start hiring the 11.2 or 12.6% unemployed.  The strength of the United States has always been with small business innovation.  It is just that the big guys got greedy.  But as that equalizes, I imagine great innovation surfacing.

    How high will unemployment go? 8.5% breaks 26 year record

    The fact that I’m old enough to remember watching my friends lose homes in the mid-eighties is scary enough.  But I wasn’t old enough then to understand global economic impact as I do now.  There are currently about 25 million Americans out of work and looking for work.  That is almost the population of Canada and equivalent to most of California pounding the pavement looking for crumbs.  If you’ve talked to your working friends lately, you’ll have discovered that being laid off no longer holds the stigma it once did.  The question is no longer, “How’s work?”  It is “Do you think you’ll be able to keep your job?”  or “How long have you been laid off?”

    I’m bursting with emotion and thoughts today, so better grab your home-brewed cup of coffee (sorry Starbucks, but you’ve been off my list of daily expenditure for about a year now!) or caffeine-free tea before reading on.  It’s a long one.

    The March unemployment rate was just released.  8.5%.  And April is predicted to be higher.  Because unemployment is the end result of an economic downturn (not the precursor), the fallout isn’t even close to settling.

    To put this all in a microcosmic perspective,  as many of you know, I’m a small business owner after a 20 year corporate executive career.  In addition to business consulting, I own a pet care company, Pooch Buddies.  And even with slower economic times, I have to add in one person to my team — because those who do have jobs are worker harder and longer to keep their jobs.  The job I’m looking to fill is part time, with entry level pay, and when I’ve looked for hires in the past, my free ad on Craig’s List brings me about 15 good candidates over a few days. 

    I placed an ad yesterday morning, and by the end of the day, had over 70 applications.  70 applications for one tiny, part time position.  If you were a small business owner,  imagine that your company has just placed an ad for onefull time (with benefits) opening.  How many resumes do you expect you’d receive?  I’ll tell you.  Likely up to one thousand.  For one position.

    As a jobseeker, how would you stand out? 

    Let me go back to my microcosm again.  Out of the 70 applications (so far), about 10 of them did not fill in all of the info I’d asked for on my feedback form.  They are disqualified right away.  About 3 gave far too much information.  They are out.  About 10 applicants live too far away.  They are out.  So out of 70, I’m now down to 47. 

    Those 47 are all pretty similar.  They all answered my questions with care and interest.  All live in the geography that I service.  About 20 of the 47 give a very similar answer.  Almost word for word.  Nothing to make them stand out. 

    So that takes me down to 27 interesting applicants (because I want the best I can get.)  Out of the 27 a few have a few time conflicts.  Some prefer only daytime work, some only evenings and weekends.  Means more work for me.  Out.  So now I’m down to 20.  Out of those 20, I’ll choose the 10 that appeal to me most.  Once I call them, I’ll interview the 7 best and choose 2 to background  and reference check.  If I don’t like either of those 2, then I’ll go back to my bigger pool and review the candidates I put aside from the “good” pool.

    But for a minute, let’s look at the 4 candidates that stood out.  They emailed or called me directly in addition to submitting an application.  One is a definite no.  She was so concerned with her own needs and was so rude that there is no way I’d ever want to have her on my team.  (Knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what TO do.)

    Two were very genuine in their approach with backgrounds in animal care and a true love of animals (well, at least on the phone). 

    And one called and emailed me before I’d ever put in an ad.  She found my site, called me twice, has a background with animals and coincidentally got in touch just a few days before I was planning on sending out the job posting. 

    Now consider the job search efforts of 25 million.  Each job they apply to likely has close to 1000 applicants.  That is like throwing an online resume into an electronic puddle.  How the heck is a candidate going to stand out?  Especially when most jobs are filled through knowing someone who knows someone, who knows someone.  And most of  the someones you know are unemployed, about to be unemployed or work for companies that aren’t hiring.

    It is critical to remember that even though so many are unemployed, there are still a lot of people employed.  There are not an excess of companies hiring…but there are SOME companies hiring.  This means any jobseeker must become a job detective or employment investigator.  Which brings me to an interesting concept put out in a book I just read, called “The Hourglass Solution: A Boomer’s Guide to the Rest of Your Life,”  by, Jeff Johnson and Paula Forman, both PhD’s.   Imagine our lives pictured as an hourglass.  Our midlife is the “waist” of the hourglass.  The concept is that at this pass-through point, we can get stuck.  The sand cannot pass through from the top of the hourglass to the bottom of the hourglass.  This especially rings true in this current job crisis.  Everyone desires and needs to work.  We’re all lumped together and now, effectively clogged up to get through this mid-point.  And unfortunately, the solution is NOT going to come from outside.  Especially for the Boomer and 50 Plusser, the solution is going to have to come from incredible creativity and ingenuity generated from a lifetime of accumulated experience, in order to find a job opening, get a job, or start a small business.  One of my guest writers, Corinne Copnick, read and reviewed the book for Gen Plus.  You’ll enjoy her viewpoint.  I think the concept is correct and certainly familiar. 

    Bottom line is that we aren’t at the bottom line yet.  Unemployment will climb even higher.  New job generation will not be there for some time to come.  Even though there are some glimmerings of activity and hopefulness in the economy, the situation is still pretty bad.  My tax accountant did not ask me this year what I was putting away in my IRA.  He asked me if I was holding onto my house.  Same question he was asking all his clients this year.

     The reality is that we all have friends who are one week away from homelessness.  Some of you may be one week away from homelessness.  They…you…are all talented, incredible assets to a company that can hire them.   

    These times of GREAT stress, call for GREAT ingenuity.  GREAT community and GREAT communal thinking and energy.  Remember the old adage: “United we stand, divided we fall.”  Our families and friends have moved across countries and continents over the past decades.  That era is ending.  Families are living together, again.  Sharing homes, sharing income, sharing creativity and business models.  OK.  So we’re at 8.5%.  We’ll go to 10% or even higher.  But maybe…just maybe…we’ll rediscover our internal resources rather than counting on external influences to keep us strong.

    Circuit City down for the count

    In case you haven’t yet heard, Circuit City is officially bankrupt and all 567 stores are being prepped for liquidation.  That’s about another 34,000 employees who have been given the pink slip.  Some staff will be asked to stay on as the stores shut down and most associates will be given a small cushion to get them through the next couple of months.

    As far as product goes, sales may be starting as early as today.  You cannot get any information online, but if you have a Circuit City near you, you may want to see if you can get it to pick up the electronic you’ve been waiting for.  I’m suspecting that lines will be next to impossible today.  Circuit City liquidators expect to have all inventory sold and final doors closed by March.  Here is the official announcement:  http://www.circuitcity.com/closed.html

    My heart goes out to the employees and families of Circuit City…a retailer who after 60 years in business can’t get through this crisis, either.

    Over 50 and Want a Job with NASA? Yes…THAT NASA!

    #1 — Login to your Gen Plus account http://genplususa.com/login.aspx
    #2 — Search for jobs and look for keyword “NASA”
    #3 — Apply to the coolest job opportunity for all — INCLUDING Boomers, 50 Plussers and retirees…

    Huh? That’s right. Our good friends at Kelly Services have passed along a spectacular opportunity and I’m spreading the word. Here is the job posting:

    NASA (yes, that NASA, the National Association of Space and Aeronautics) is looking for a few good people for an amazing job opportunity! Are you up to the challenge? Kelly Services®, in partnership with NASA Space Camp®, is now recruiting camp counselors! This is a long-term opportunity to work on the NASA campus and be a part of Space Camp, Space Academy®, and the Aviation Challenge®.

    What you’ll do as a camp counselor:

    • You’ll be supervising, motivating, and teaching young people (ages 9 – 18) as well as adults in a highly educational, exciting, and fun-filled camp environment!
    • You’ll lead a team of trainees through their weeklong camp experience.
    • When assigned to the simulations area, you will train the students in Space Shuttle mission simulators or jet fighter operations. What you’ll get out of it (aside from a really cool job):
    • Enhance your teamwork, leadership, and interpersonal skills.
    • Receive valuable experience in the areas of education, space science, and military science toward a future teaching, engineering, science, or military/aviation career. • Free room and board (dorm style) for out-of-town counselors.
    • $8 – $9/hour bi-weekly pay with direct deposit.
    • Supplemental insurance is available with prescription discount card.
    • Intensive paid training and NASA Space History lessons.
    • Paid time off.
    • Free meals.

    What you’ll need to apply:

    • Be available beginning in January/February through August (preferred).
    • Completion of 30 college credit hours (as a minimum) in any major! Or if you have related life experience (e.g., being in the military), that will work too!
    • A real desire to work with trainees ranging from ages 9 – 50 and over.
    • You must be at least 20 years of age. Retirees are also welcome!
    • Some experience working with children or young adults.
    • Two letters of recommendation.
    • Your most recent school transcript. [ed. note: your most recent may be from 1962…but that is OK!]
    • An interest in space and aviation, and the ability to learn fast and retain information.
    • Successful completion of four-week counselor training program (provided by NASA), and completion of required testing.
    • Must be able to walk long distances.
    • Must be able to handle the demands and rigors of long days and responsibility”

    This is a GREAT opportunity. If you currently have NO job, or are looking for a meaningful change, are looking to have an incredible career experience, give back to others, save a bit of money AND have one of the coolest job histories ever, don’t delay and apply today. Your life experience has a great deal of value. Go for it. And let me know if you become a NASA counsellor. I’ll want to shout it out to the world!

    How to make the most out of Kelly Services Job Postings

    Kelly Services has been listing a few jobs on the Gen Plus career board in order to bring some of their postings to the 50 plus jobseeker. This is a pilot program that will only work if you are actively applying for the positions.

    As a 50 plusser, there are two big, big challenges in the marketplace right now.

    1) Employers are not jumping up and down seeking 50 plussers to fill vacant positions — even if they are vacant for a period of time

    2) 50 Plussers are afraid to be pegged as older than 50 for fears of not getting a foot in the door.

    Where Kelly Services is a champion is that they have, literally, hundreds and thousands of positions to fill every day and they are looking for you — the 50 plus worker. Some of the positions are temporary placements, some are temp to permanent, and some are permanent placement. From my personal experience (yes, I was a Kelly Girl back in the 80’s), there is a great opportunity to gain permanent placement by starting in a temporary position and catching the eye of your employer because of your great attitude and work ethic. Just to give you an idea, Kelly puts a new employee to work every 30 seconds and every three minutes, a Kelly employee is hired permanently by a customer. That is a solid track record.

    So, if you are seeking work, please send your resume in through one of the Kelly Services listings posted on the Gen Plus site (www.genplususa.com/work.aspx). If your application goes into the wrong geographic location, the recruiter will forward it to the correct recruitment office. The role of a placement agency is to fill open positions, so in order to be seen, that means you must apply — for every open position you may qualify for. These recruiters are looking for you — every application you send in through Gen Plus is coded specifically so that you will not just drop into the pool of all other candidates.

    I’m not seeing enough of you take advantage of this great opportunity, so if you are serious about finding employment, please make sure to submit your resume to the posted positions so that you can be flagged for a Kelly recruiter. (You will not get flagged as Gen Plus through Kelly’s direct website…you need to go through the Gen Plus job postings.)

    I’d love to see this pilot program grow into something bigger so that you have access to job openings across the country, but you’ll need to do your part, too, and apply to posted positions.

    Gen Y reshaping the employment game

    An interesting article by CNN writer, Anthony Balderrama, which shares some insights into how Gen Y is affecting employment practices caught my eye today, particularly in light of my post earlier this week on multi-generational workspaces.

    A significant number of employers are looking at ways to attract and retain the always-on-the-move Gen Yers demanding higher salaries, work/life balance, job flexibility and top tier technology. The overall technological savvy of this generation is too compelling for employers to ignore. According to a recent Careerbuilder survey:

    Fifteen percent of employers reported modifying their policies in order to
    appease their Gen Y employees. Of those employers who made changes, 57 percent
    implemented more flexible work schedules and 33 percent created new recognition
    programs.


    From what I can see, we are still a good five years away from employers realizing that they have a lot of transient talent, but little longevity, and even less in dependability, general management or supervisory skill sets. I’m looking for a hint of another 15% of employers who decide to aggressively and proactively target 50 plussers specifically for those experience-heavy requirements.

    Looking ahead to 2008

    I love, love, love this time of year. The air is crisp in California, life simultaneously speeds up and slows down over the week between Christmas and New Year’s, and just like “spring clean”, I go through a “year-end clean up.”

    Going through some old magazines, I pulled out one that had an intriguing article that I hadn’t written about, but seems very appropriate going into 2008. The magazine, Icon, the magazine of the American Society of Interior Designers, focuses on the creative direction of designers, looking at trends and innovations in American design. In the January/ February 2007 issue, there was a solid article on redefining the workplace based on generational work habits and preferences. Creatives always tend to be ahead of the trend, because they invent and reinvent by picking up on change — or a need to change or progress, which inspires their creativity.

    I haven’t been able to source a link to the article ” Workplaces That Span Generations” by Michael Berens, but there were some creative observations that translate directly to the changing face of the workforce. Were these observations ahead of trend? Yes. Is the workforce slowly, slowly shifting in a way that recognizes these trends? Barely. But starting. Here is what Berens, director of research and knowledge resources for ASID, observed:

    From Bureau of Labor statistics, the workforce is working longer and the age spread between younger and older workers is growing from 30 – 35 years to upwards of 40 years. In the next ten years the 55 plus age group of workers will increase by 50% whereas only by 5 – 10% in the younger age categories.

    What are the age cohorts or demographics? Traditionals (my mom — born and raised around the World Wars — 1900 – 1945), Baby Boomers (me — born between 1946 and 1964), Generation X (Gen X – my younger cousins — born 1965 – 1980) and the Millenials (also called Generation Y or Gen Y, born 1981 – 1999…my daughter was born in 2000, but I consider her a millenial.) Each of these demographics enjoys very specific types of work values and styles of work. In a nutshell, the traditional is the typical “company” worker, who responds to power of position. Boomer is competitive (we know that) and values performance and symbols of recognition. Gen X distrusts institutional structure and heavily values work/life balance. Gen Y is “wired” but accessible. Wants to make a difference doing “value” work, expects good technology and likes to socialize.

    The new direction in design is to create work space that respects these values and the drivers that push each group. So, for example, a private office wasn’t as important to a younger worker as overall office design. Gen Y’ers find their privacy behind iPods and earbuds, but still crave interaction and direction. Traditionals and Boomers value office space. So the most creative designers are showing employees that they are valued by creating flexibility in the workplace design that reflects the flexibility that workers are looking for. Community area is increasingly important for interaction and workplace design looks for ways to integrate younger and older workers, who benefit from the best that each demographic has to offer. Some examples include wired breakrooms (think corporate Starbucks) where workers can work, meet and socialize with their laptops. Ergonomics (and privacy) are important for older workers, so ergonomic design is a choice — including things like adjustable workstations, keyboards, lighting and surfaces…think good chairs, larger monitors and ways to address hand and neck problems.

    Designers have recognized that they can do their best by bringing the generations together. Now it is up to employers to catch up and do their best, by proactively seeking out the 50 plus employee.

    Gen Plus Town Hall Forum

    It’s official. Our forum in LA in January has a home. Here are the details:

    What:

    A very different town hall/forum event than you’d expect and probably than you’ve ever experienced — very informal in tone (open, friendly, accessible), but with a formal agenda.

    Focused on issues that Boomers and 50 Plus are facing in job search, career issues and reinvention at this next stage. Experts will be there to provide a much needed resource. You will be expected to participate in the spirit of community.

    All of us will walk away with value-added information and ideas to get you going for 2008. I’ll follow up the email with an electronic recap of ideas generated for all who attended.

    Fee:

    None. (However, please plan on spending at least $5 each on a menu item to help the venue recoup their costs of supporting us with staff.)

    How is that possible?

    Because I’m donating my time in order to mobilize the energies of disenfranchised and/or frustrated jobseekers/career reinventors, to wake up employers, and to give a helping hand in the best way I can…by sharing resources with all of you. This program is a portion (but a good one) of a 1-day program that I do charge for.

    Because I have the support of a local business who believes in this cause (our venue).

    Because it is needed.

    Because there are other communities who would like me to set something like this up for them, but I need to see what your voices need to share.

    Because this is an election year and what you are experiencing is very, very important in shaping the next decade.

    Because I really care about the challenges facing Boomers and 50 Plus in the job market…looking at another 20 -25 years of needed income and few willing to make the hires right now.

    When:

    Tuesday, January 22, 2008

    Time:

    2:00 – 4:30 pm. We’ll want to go longer, but that is the limit on the venue availability. I’ve chosen this time and this date because it is a light traffic day in Los Angeles. If you currently work and would like to attend, plan on calling in for an afternoon off and get proactive.

    Where:

    The very lovely Balboa Encino Clubhouse. We’ll have the deli-style restaurant all to ourselves, along with table service, a very reasonable and yummy menu, and some 50 plus staffers, too! The grounds are lovely, so plan on a few extra minutes if you want to stroll along the path around the gorgeous Balboa Park or head over to Balboa lake for a visit with the ducks! (Once I have your reservation, I’ll be forwarding you address and driving directions.)

    How to sign up?

    Quickly. I’ve started getting reservations and we’ve got limited space available in this venue. Simply send me an email at wspiegel@genplususa.com along with your name, correct email address and best phone number to reach you. Reservations are being taken on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you’ll need more than one spot, please let me know in your request. We have very limited seating, but I’ll start taking a wait list once we’re full in case I’m able to get more space. If you plan on coming in from out of town, please let me know. I’ll have slightly different instructions for you.

    A big thank you to Balboa Encino Restaurant for their support and help. Can’t wait to hear from you. Let’s get going.