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.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Improve Your Career in 21 Minutes

21 minutes. Seriously.

I’ve included the link that will improve you career or enhance your job search. If you are the suspicious type and a certain percentage of you surely are, I will also provide the most effective terms for your favorite search engine.

Most professionals consider themselves good communicators. In my LinkedIn profile, I profess my skill in written and verbal communication as expected. A couple of recommendations vouch for my ability to provide a valuable yet entertaining presentation. Among some in the resume-writing community, listing communication skills on a resume is a non-no. At a certain job level, writing and speaking well are expected and now considered wasted resume words.

There is a communication gap that seriously affects many professionals and the busier you consider yourself the more likely you are to suffer the affliction. It is ineffective nonverbal communication. Your words say one thing, and as your eyes dart all over the place, down to your cell phone; your message is lost. There is no connection with the person in front of you and you can’t get it back.

Business literature on the subject of body language and nonverbal communication is extensive. Bad behavior in nonverbal communication is not only an issue for younger workers though they are the usual suspects. According to the Center for Global Leadership, “Gen Y has developed less skill than previous generations reading nonverbal cues…” The article goes on to elaborate that due to undeveloped communication skills younger generations are not well-equipped to cope with navigating the political dynamics in the workplace.

How many businesses equip their managers to facilitate cross-generational communication styles among Baby Boomers, Gen X and the Millennials (aka Gen Y)? Even though business continues to increase electronically, work is still a personal experience. BBC Capital reported, “millennials would rather send an instant message than walk a few feet to speak directly to a colleague.” Their report goes on to explain that workers in the 22-35 age range lack the face-to-face interactive experience and failed to learn how to present effectively, listen attentively and read body language. In response, business schools are beginning to require communication courses. Experienced workers are on their own unless writing courses, presentation skills and nonverbal communication skills training are provided by their employer. Employees who have been in the workforce for many years may think they are beyond communication skill training, but like a classic car—tune-ups are necessary. Maybe it is time to download the 1990s classic, How to Read a Person like a Book.

Spend 21 minutes with Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on Body Language and Nonverbal Communication. It is the most watched TED Talk since 2014 with over 27 million views. You can search Amy Cuddy TED talk or copy and paste this link:


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Career Management IS Urgent

I am often asked what is career management. Career management is the steps you take while you are employed to insure that if you are suddenly unemployed or in an unacceptable situation, you can bounce back quickly with a great new job. Those steps include face-to-face networking with key contacts in and outside your organization; updating your resume, managing your profile and presence on LinkedIn, actually attending local meetings of your professional organization and maintaining certification. At that point, most people tell me that with their family and home to manage, kids, grandkids, pets and aging parents, they don’t have time to do their job at work and do that career management stuff.

The comment bubble over my head says, “well, join the club!” What comes out of my mouth is, “wow, you’re really busy.” 
Could you manage being unemployed six months or more? That’s the question you have to answer for yourself if you decide not to proactively manage your career. The situation for 40+ workers is that it takes longer to rebound from an unexpected career transition. That’s how it happens-suddenly, unexpectedly, shockingly fast. Here’s what happened to me.

Memorial Day weekend 1997, I was enjoying a cook-out with family in the Chicago suburbs. A family member came outdoors and said, “Don’t you work for Boehringer Mannheim Corporation?” (badly butchering the Boehringer part) “On CNN they said the company was just sold.” As a member of the human resources leadership team my manager reported to the CEO and I worked closely with the executive team. This made me confident my relative heard it wrong. So, I went inside to listen since CNN cycled the same stories repeatedly on the slow news days of a holiday weekend.

“In a deal exceeding 11 billion dollars Roche Group of Switzerland purchased the German entity, Boehringer Mannheim GmbH in a move that caught industry analysts and experts by surprise.” Everything said after that was a blur. What did it mean? How was I going to be affected personally? Where is my boss? I called his home, no answer. (No cell phones or texts back then.) Finally I reached an HR colleague on the phone. We were both stunned.

My story ultimately had a happy ending. The acquisition was an opportunity to learn a lot about HR very quickly since I had just come to the function from sales a year before. There were more opportunities to learn about global issues. Four years later, because of contacts made and experienced gained, I was able to launch an independent human resource consulting firm. It didn’t have to work out that way and many times it does not.

Managing a career does not have to be a time-consuming activity. You can exchange resumes with a friend and share critiques over a quarterly face-to-face catch-up. Once a week I spend 10-30 minutes managing LinkedIn connection requests, deleting connections trying to sell me anything, hiding inappropriate posts, reading articles and using the “settings” feature to prevent connections from being notified of my maintenance. Once a quarter, I try to enroll in a free webinar, attend a workshop or attend a professional talk. Arizona State’s, ASUx has free courses online and MOOCs (massive open online courses) are offered by many colleges. Over the course of a month, it is a couple of hours at most.

Proactive or reactive, it’s your choice. It’s your career.