About Me

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Fishers, Indiana, United States
Brenda gained career expertise as a human resources leader at a global company before becoming an HR consultant. Her functional experience includes a variety of sales roles in the health care industry achieving success for over 30 years. She is currently in Consulting & Analytics Business Development for a health care firm. Her passion is participating in, writing about and observing the evolving workforce. For the first time in history four generations work together. It keeps things interesting. Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) are redefining retirement and what it means to age in the workforce. It is not just about money. Okay it plays a role! At 76.4 million members strong, Boomers are leveraging technology to continue their careers and the personal fulfillment working brings. Managing a late-stage career requires a strategy. There is no roadmap or one size fits all answer. This blog is about sharing, networking & finding your own right answer to working later, managing your career, redefining retirement, looking for work in your 50s & 60s and reinventing yourself.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Good News for Working Baby Boomers

I am tired of bad news. The anchors on my favorite business channel seem delighted to report our retirement accounts are plummeting. Violence rings out around the globe from riots in London to shocking hate crimes in Mississippi. And, the weather? It’s just weird—the snowiest of winters, the wettest of springs and now the hottest of summers.

Aging in the workforce? I know millions of experienced people struggling to find work and even more mature workers are exhausted trying to stay relevant in their careers. Others, isolated, depressed and discouraged, have simply dropped out of the job market. What is going to happen to them long-term? It is frightening.

Where is the coming labor shortage that is supposed to make Corporate America lure Baby Boomers back to work with high salaries and workplace flexibility to save the economy? While we wait, there is a silver lining and it is the late bloomers, comeback stories and reinventions by ordinary and extraordinary people. I’ll focus on names you know well. However, for each of the celebrities, there are 10 ordinary people in communities everywhere being resilient. We can all make the choice to either sit on the sidelines or just run with what life has given us and see where we end up.

The most famous late-bloomer and comeback story is Harlan Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. After many careers, some more successful than others; he franchised his first KFC at age 65 years old. Nine years later (in 1964) he sold it for $2 million dollars. Sanders pioneered branding. At age 70 he began only going out in public with the white suit & string tie. He did public appearances for a fee well into his 80s. He died at 90 years old.

Clara Peller was “discovered” at age 80 by an ad agency. The next year, she delivered the iconic line, “Where’s the Beef” in the famous 1984 Wendy’s commercial. Before her death she appeared in movies, made more commercials, managed to get sued by Wendy’s and appeared on Wrestlemania.

Betty White at age 89 years old is everywhere! Many people remember her in the Golden Girls. Maybe you are like me and remember her from the Mary Tyler Moore show. Her May 2010 appearance on Saturday Night Live (with musical guest, Jay-Z) garnered the show’s highest ratings since November 2008.

Diane Rehm is a 75-year-old NPR host with an internationally syndicated radio show reaching 2.2 million listeners a week including Armed Forces Radio and Sirius satellite. Despite an illness that sidelined her career in 1998 when she was diagnosed with a voice disorder, she persevered to win a 2009 Peabody Award.

A few other notables include the U.S. Senator from Indiana, where I live, Richard Lugar. He’s 79 years old and is the state’s longest serving senator. Actress, Writer and activist, Ruby Dee won a Grammy for Best Spoken Word album when she was 83-years old in 2007 and she still books speaking engagements.  Actor Morgan Freeman, 72, was honored with the AFI, Lifetime Achievement Award this summer. This year, Suzanne Somers turns 65, along with Dolly Parton, Donald Trump, former President Clinton and Cher—they are all keeping busy in their own right. So What’s Your Next Chapter?

Remember, there is plenty of time to find your passion and bloom, to reinvent yourself or even to make a comeback. This week—Smile and Stay Encouraged.


  1. Thanks! I will print this out as a reminder for the manic Mondays.

  2. Great article. Very timely, especially as the future of our SS benefits seem to be waving in the wind.My husband and I took early retirement (62 and 58) and decided to reinvent ourselves using the skills we had traded for salaries for so many years. We now live in Panama,spend our time traveling and working from our computers, living the life we love.

  3. I remember being laid off from a pharma sales job after 21 years. It was my first job out of college and at 42, I felt washed up! I went to work for a smaller drug company as rep and when it was purchased the entire sales team loss their jobs. I was 50 then. The job search was long and frustrating. Money was tight with 2 college tuitions to pay. With my severance that time, I invested in myself. Along with two other former drug reps, I opened a franchise of a temporary help agency. We've weathered the recession, we are profitable and it fells good to take control of my career. I wake up everyday excited to work at 56 years old with plans to work until at least another decade.

  4. What an inspirational message! I have forwarded to the other nurses I work with and some good news is needed for everyone. I work in the health care setting with mostly adolescents and depression is starting younger all the time. We are beginning to see elementary school pupils with stress and anxiety disorders. We often treat their parents for depression. People have to reach out and get the help they need if it is more than maintaining their perspective as your post indicates. Talk to aphysician, your company EAP, call the social services emergency number in your community or a local hospital.

  5. Thanks, I needed that.

  6. I hope to be active well into my later years. Hopefully, I will work at something I desire to do and not just for income by then. Perhaps, I will finally travel and begin to see more of the world while I can still get around.

  7. This is so great. It shows you are never too old to get out there and make changes in your life. I never even used to think about people in their 70s & 80s doing anything except going to the doctor. As I get closer to 60--in two more years--it doesn't seem as old.