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.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Where Did My Confidence Go? I Know it's Around Here Somewhere

Monday Morning Pep Talk--July 30, 2012

Sometimes in a long career, you begin to lose your confidence. It starts around the time you can't remember where you put your keys. A misstep or two may make you believe it is time to get out of the game. Your co-workers and managers are decades younger, and you begin to minimize your accomplishments and focus on your flaws.

Loss of your confidence as an employee, entrepreneur or job-seeker in your 40s, 50s, and 60+ is the beginning of a downward spiral you have to address and reverse. Losing your confidence at work feels like rejection, paranoia, and excessive worry. You may have seen this in others on the job. As a human resources consultant, I have worked with clients that have lost their confidence and lost their way (and almost lost their businesses). While coaching was never a primary line of business in my HR consultancy; loss of the leader’s confidence had a disastrous affect on the workplace (and that was my focus). Well-meaning business professionals turned into tyrants. It showed up as micromanaging, bitterness of the business owner/leader toward their staff; lack of trust in their team; poor business results and increased turnover (of the wrong employees).

If your confidence needs a boost, try these three things this week:

(1)  Watch what you say when you talk to yourself. Admit it—you do have those private internal conversations. We all do. As self-confidence wanes, our imagination runs wild. We begin to speculate instead of waiting for the facts. Every time disruptive negative thoughts enter your mind or internal conversation this week—counter it with a positive thought or affirmation. “I have done it before; I can do it again.” One of my favorites, “When you are young, you learn; when you are old, you understand.” (I am not calling you “old” think of it as wise).
(2)  Give Yourself Credit for What You have Accomplished. The 40+ crowd is a lot different from the group I call the “T-ball generation.” In the “T-ball” world everyone was a winner, they played sports where no one kept score (except parents/grandparents on the sidelines) and it developed a sense of entitled narcissism—they have now moved into management jobs-hiring 40+ workers. We, on the other hand, easily forget our successes and dwell on our failures. When faced with this dichotomy, remember the accomplishments of your past are the foundation of your future. So lighten up, already!
(3)  Get Support if Needed. Confidence at work is essential and if you need help looking for yours, don’t be shy in reaching out. Whether is it calling that positive, affirming friend, joining a job club or hiring a licensed, certified professional (psychologist, life coaches and career coaches do this type of work)—do it this week.

Reclaiming your confidence is like re-igniting a fire inside you. Confidence fuels your energy. The boost you feel will increase your effectiveness as a leader, entrepreneur or in your job search.

You’ve got 168 hours! Make it a great week.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Monday Morning Pep Talk: July 23, 2012

(The Monday Morning Pep Talk is another new occasional feature for the blog. If you are interested in providing a "Pep Talk" of less than 500 words, I'm open to guest writers. Contact me!)


It is Monday morning somewhere and what lies ahead is a week of possibilities, 168 hours that can shape the rest of your life. The intent of our first pep talk together is to motivate you to keep the week in perspective (especially the challenges, obstacles and delays). Initially, this inaugural installment was about setting goals. Then, Friday there was the mass murder during the Batman movie premiere in Aurora, Colorado. It was a startling reminder about the importance of perspective. Who wouldn't approach the week differently if we knew it were our last?

When a tragedy happens like the incident in Colorado—it reminds us that while we are in the hustle and bustle or working, looking for work or trying to move up at work—our occupations (though incredibly important) are just one facet of our total lives.  The most recent data says the average life expectancy of a woman in the United States is 80.8 years and for men it is 75.6 years. The fatalities in Colorado are not of people who reached those ages. Whatever happens this week, keep it in perspective—how important is it in a lifespan of 75-80 years?

Whether you are working at the job of your dreams this Monday morning or just trading your time for money to pay the bills; remember it is a job—not your life. Take some time to enjoy your kids before they go back to school.  Call your friend you’ve been meaning to talk to instead of communicating by Facebook or text. Let them know you are thinking about them even if you just leave a message on voicemail. Compliment someone at the store or gas station and make their day. Smile for no reason.

Maybe your Monday will be dominated by looking for a job— it could have been a while since you’ve worked or since you have earned the kind of money you’re accustomed to and this week you are searching for a career upgrade. Just because no one called you back last week-doesn’t mean the same thing will happen this week. And if no one calls you back, maybe it is time to change your tactics and your job-search strategy—join a job club, start a job club, update your LinkedIn profile and network with someone new or volunteer for something short-term to shake up your routine and meet some new people.

Ultimately, we are the authors of the story on how we spent our 168 hours. Make it a great week!

Life expectancies by countries around the world (as of 2010) :

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Best Free Retirement Advice You Will Ever Receive

 "In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield. " Warren Buffett

After reviewing the financial literature on retirement, interviewing 60 to 80-year-olds retired from two to eighteen years and observing the national and global economic and political landscape closely; I can distill my retirement advice to you in one word: DON’T. And while, I am sharing advice you did not ask for and may not want to hear, there’s more. Remember the financial advisor who told you that once you stopped working, you would need 60-70% of your working income to live in retirement? My 70-year-olds said, “Fire that guy!” Between out-of-pocket health care cost, fluctuating gas prices and having lots of time on their hands to go places and do things; the 70+ crowd tells me their expenses are the same if not more than when they worked.

If you have a job you enjoy, stay there. If you have a job that is tolerable and you have health benefits and a safe work environment, hang in there. If you like your work, but not the people running the company---stay there too, unless it is family-owned; your senior leadership team will probably get promoted or recruited away by some other unsuspecting firm. If you hate your job, have pangs of anxiety on Sunday night thinking about the week ahead or are planning to fake your own death because you are running out of PTO; then by all means start networking, post your resume on LinkedIn and look for a new job.

The Case for Staying Put

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) numbers for June 2012 were released last week and fewer workers 55+ were unemployed (6.2%). The summary from BLS says, “Recent history has shown greater employment stability as age increases.” Don’t believe that for a minute! The truth is—those workers 55+ gave up looking for a job because no one would hire them. Remember the unemployment numbers count people actively in job-search mode and receiving unemployment compensation from their state. I know people 55+ that piece together a living working 2-3 part-time jobs unable to afford benefits at any of them. They are not technically unemployed and not reflected in the BLS data. What happened to the 55+ workers not in the labor force?  Some participate in the “underground economy” working for cash, others start their own business, and some are supported by their families until they reach age 62 and begin collecting a reduced social security benefit while others tap into their 401(k) accounts incurring early-withdrawal penalties if they are not 59.5 years old. In February 2010 nearly half (49.1%) of the 55+ workers were unemployed over 27 weeks. Now, it takes over a year for workers age 55+ to find a new job (approximately 56 weeks).

So you are younger than 55 reading this and thinking, this does not apply to me. Think Again! Are you 45-54? 6.3% of your age group was unemployed in June 2012. The BIGGEST LOSER of my readers? The 35-44 year old suffered 7% unemployment. It may be partly due to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) defining workers  40+ as a protected class---so in job actions (i.e. downsizing, lay-offs, reorganizations, and reductions in force) an adverse impact analysis is performed by the company or their third party consultant to minimize legal action. The 35-39 year olds are not protected and it may skew the 7% number.

Take a look at these newly released numbers from the Federal Reserve: From 2007 to 2010, the wealth of the average American family plunged by 40 percent, taking it down to the levels of the early 1990s. That's not just for 40+ people-that impacts everyone!

Here’s my point: The employment situation is similar to a game of musical chairs right now. If the music stops, you want to have a chair (job) and if you are left standing and you are older---your time on the sidelines becomes a lot longer.  AND, when you do get back into the game; it may be in a part-time job; 1099-contractor employment situation or as a temporary worker. Most experienced workers at 40+  find their salary drastically reduced after a period of unemployment. BLS economists call it underemployment.

I have a friend that just started a fabulous new job at age 60-great salary, company car and all the perks. That is the exception, not the rule. She networked and found an organization that valued experienced workers. Even then, it was an ongoing process. My friend met the guy who recommended her for the job several years ago and when this position became available recently; he thought of her first.

What is an experienced worker to do? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. You may comment anonymously, if you prefer. And remember to "follow" the blog and receive automatic notification when there's a new post. Follow me on Twitter: @workingover40. I'll follow you too.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Buying A Franchise: Is it Right For You?

This post is the first in an occasional series, “What Are U Doing After Work?” that explores options for reinventing yourself and beginning second and third careers when your “legacy career” ends.

I was just reading about all of the professional athletes moving into franchising. Former NBA player, Jamal Mashburn along with a group of investors that includes Rick Pitino, his former UK coach, operates 37 Papa John’s, 34 Outback Steakhouses, 3 Dunkin’ Donuts and the largest Toyota dealership in Kentucky. Venus Williams and her business partners are opening five Jamba Juice stores in the D.C. area. NFL star, Reggie Bush and a group of athletes have franchised Panera Bread stores throughout Coastal California.

If it is right for all of the sport stars, could franchising be the answer for the former stars of corporate America? I decided to interview an expert. Jim Gleason, General Manager, FranNet of Mid-America, a franchise business consulting company. Jim shares his perspective on franchising.

Even though the economy remains uncertain, Jim says over the last several years interest in franchising has increased. In his role, Jim’s company acts as a matchmaker between the potential franchisee and the over 100 franchises his company represents. “We have a one-to-two hour interview with the person and try to understand their goals,” says Gleason. FranNet offers an assessment that includes the person’s psychological aspects, how much money they have to invest and their skills sets to help find the franchise each person will have the best chance of success in operating. The process is free to the potential franchisee because FranNet is paid by the franchisor that is happy to have a high quality candidate with a higher potential of success.

Jim says a common misconception people have is that “franchising is either food or retail.”  There are many types of franchises including lodging, home services, Business-to-Business, Children’s Related, “Green” Energy Related, Senior/Home Care and Health and Fitness among others. According to Entrepreneur Magazine there are over 3,000 franchise opportunities in the U.S. and Canada. Gleason says, “People can make a good income in a franchise that is outside of food or retail.”

A second misconception Gleason cautions prospective franchisees about is the hard work that comes with operating a franchise. He says, “You still have to realize this is a start-up business and just because there is a system in place, it is not plug and play.” He advises potential franchise business owners that there are long hours and ‘sweat equity’ that have to be invested to be successful.

What are some of the knowledge, skills and attributes of successful franchise owner/operators?  Gleason says, “You have to be willing to follow someone else’s system and you have to be self-motivated.” Other than that, Gleason advises that leadership skills, customer service skills and having the legal, moral and ethical mindset of becoming a business owner are important.

After you leave your corporate job will you become the next Junior Bridgewater? After his twelve-year career with the Milwaukee Bucks he now has annual revenues of more the $500 million owning 162 Wendy’s units and 121 Chili’s restaurants. Even if your goals are more modest—remember these three tips, (1) always read (and understand) the company’s legal documents; (2) consult with an attorney and an accountant; (3) talk with current and former franchisees. I also recommend reading, Become a Franchise Owner by Joel Libava (aka The Franchise King) 2012.

Jim Gleason also recommends this link: