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, August 19, 2012


Monday Morning Pep Talk

The Coming Jobs War is the most important business book you have not read. It is by Jim Clifton, the Chairman and CEO of Gallup, the annoying pollsters who call you during dinner to ask a few questions. Generally, I am suspect of books published by companies where the author is the CEO or any other executive, but this 2011 tome had me hooked by page ten.

This is the point where I should mention to you that I was not sent a complimentary copy of this book since that happens now nor did I buy this book. I checked it out of the Fishers (Indiana) Public Library. For the audiobook-obsessed, I didn’t find it on audible.com, my favorite book download or as an audiobook. This book is a quick read at less than 200 pages and for my time-starved friends in the Human Resources profession—just read Chapter Eight, High Energy Workplaces, then I’ll bet you will read the rest.

Why this book is so important?

The subtitle is “What every leader must know about the future of job creation.”  For the age 40+ employee to redefine retirement and continue to work past what was normally considered standard—65 or maybe 62---there has to be jobs. We all know there are fewer jobs today and the decline began before the recession of 2008. Job creation has been an issue since the meltdown in 2001. That is when the perfect storm of the dot.com bubble, the September 11 attack and the implosion of Enron (which a year later would infect and destroy its accounting firm that had existed for ninety years) forever changed how senior management viewed headcount and FTEs. What this book does brilliantly is explain how to create jobs.

Why is this book vital to workers in their 40s and 50s?

You have read it here before; it has never cost more to retire. According to AARP, the “average” retiree is paying $300-$400 a month in Medicare supplements and co-pays. Even the best retiree health plans do not cover vision or dental. Then you have companies that cannot fund their pension obligations (read up on the city of Stockton, CA filing bankruptcy to learn more about this issue). Clifton explains why you can’t count on Medicare or Social Security (pages 33-35 for the skimmers). I’m not the chicken little-type or a survivalist building a bunker in the backyard—but as a realist, you have to surmise that both of these safety nets have big holes in them.

One of my dearest childhood friends resides in the suburbs of Detroit and Clifton uses the Motor City as a cautionary tale for where America is headed. While the book may have a United States orientation—there are global indications too. (Yeah! if you’re reading in China and not so smiley-faced everywhere else). For my dear friends in the health information management profession, chapter eleven was written to motivate you to keep fighting the good fight with EHR, EMR, e-Rx, and the other e-initiatives you are advocating to modernize health care.

I read the book and ran out to support small and medium-sized businesses (the future of job growth) this weekend; had the local bookstore order copies to send to my 2 good friends- the 55+ mayor of his town and the encore-career entrepreneur. Let me know what you think of the book--you can leave your comment anonymously.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Innovation, Disruption and YOU

Monday Morning Pep Talk

Innovation is a good thing, right? Companies win awards for their innovations and it is the buzzword of the moment in business. It drives profits, market share growth and top line revenue. Innovation solves problems we didn’t realize we had with products and services we didn’t know we wanted that now we can’t live without. It is the reason my home is filled with gadgets that start with lowercase, “i”.

Everyone at their company wants to be known as an innovator. It is an honor. The lucky sap that is viewed as an innovator can show up anywhere in an organization, but generally innovators reside in R&D, marketing or I/T. The innovator’s reward is a big salary, a title on his/her business card as Senior Director of Something No One Understands and Teflon status during corporate reorganizations. Innovators appear relaxed and smiling in a sea of nervous chaotic types when senior management enters a room.

Innovation leads to disruption. Disruption leads to....job loss. The innovation of ATMs made bank tellers nearly irrelevant and the ones that remain work as slowly as possible to remind us of their fate. Other innovations led to the demise of the switchboard operator, the ice man, newspaper print setters and manual street sweepers. Because of innovation, there are fewer jobs for radio announcers, executive administrators, general manufacturing, parking lot attendants and a broad spectrum of other positions. It is all automated.

Since innovation is not slowing down and it leads to disruption and ultimately job loss; what is a 40+ worker to do? First, we have to acknowledge that with innovation and the disruption is produces there is going to be change. Jobs will be lost and other jobs will be created. For every milliner, bookbinder or pinsetter that isn’t needed today; there is a job for a Director of Digital, a Patient Advocate, Social Media Strategist or Interior Design Stager. A couple of years ago, there was an uproar about the Karl Fisch video clip reminder, “The jobs in highest demand in 2010 did not exist in 2004.”  Today we accept that premise. As experienced workers have to think ahead about problems that don’t exist yet—we have to anticipate, stay flexible and embrace continuous learning. There is no guarantee the job you do today is going to be done the same way with as many people--there is no guarantee your company will exist the same way it does today. Technology will somehow impact every job we are doing in 2012.

Innovation is a good thing, and we have to start by innovating ourselves. Create your own disruption—learn a new language and become bilingual. Take a vocation vacation. (Check out: http://vocationvacations.com) to learn more. Brush up on your technology skills or take a class to learn about social media. You have 168 hours—make it a great week!