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, May 23, 2016

3 Tips to Manage Your Midlife Career

Have you been on your job more than 4.6 years? If the answer is yes, you are bucking a trend.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.6 years is the avearge job tenure in America in 2014—the most recent data available. The combination of midlife + career in search engines results in page after page of “changing you midlife career” and “midlife career crisis.” 

One career expert, Alison Doyle, estimates the average person changes jobs ten to fifteen times (with an average of 12 job changes) during his or her career.  Many workers spend five years or less in every job, so they devote more time and energy transitioning from one job to another. 

Whether voluntarily changing jobs or being forced to find a new career because of circumstance, stress is inevitable according to experts. Rather than making a move as often, try these three tips maintain your job as an experienced worker:

1)   Maintain your perspective
We all have tough days, bad years and challenging co-workers or bosses. When you have 20+ years of experience, you can look back on how you handled the less than perfect times previously. One medical device employee told me, “I had a boss who was a nightmare and he was rapidly advancing through the company. I knew he wouldn’t be my boss for more than 2 years at most. He spent most of his time managing to higher ups-we rarely saw him. Me and my co-workers decided we would focus on doing our jobs excellently. Fortunately, in 15 months he was gone.” The next department manager was markedly better according to the worker who now has been with her company for 11 years. As long as your manager is not abusive or harassing, remember your survival instincts. Do your job exceedlngly well and and seek internal opportunities first. It also helps to develop a strong network of positive people inside and outside work, Remember: This too will pass.

2) Keep learning
Never utter the words, “this is the way we have always done it.” Just because you run a report one way doesn’t mean the information could not be processed differently. Even if you have to learn on your own—go online, take a workshop, find your own mentor or coach, watch YouTube videos to update your skills or knowledge. If your company sponsors courses or training—remain open. One manager discussed his employee’s change in attitude, he’s coachable and it is great working with him. It was a pleasant surprise.” Remember all the information, processes and technical information you’ve learned over your long career. You’ve got this!

3) Attitude is Everything
U.S. life expectancy is 80 years and moving up annually. So those of us born in 1957, the largest year of the baby boom, have at least 21 years ahead of us if we remain healthy. Experienced workers may work longer due to economic necessity, a desire to remain productive or  for the social interaction. According to an American Psychological Association study, 80% of the people 55+ say they’re remaining on the job with their current employer because they enjoy the work they do. Many mature workers want to extend their careers and cannot because of health reasons or changes at the company. Optimism is a learned trait. Remember, if you work in your later years by choice, foster an attitiude of gratitude. You choose to work, found work and have an opportunity to expand your horizons.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Letters from the Mail Bag

You have questions and I have opinions. These are the top 5 questions from the last few months. If you have ideas, you are welcomed to share.

Why are  Boomers expected to conform to Millennials at work and not the other way around?

Dear Boomer:

While more Baby Boomers (born ages 1946-1964) tend to be in leadership roles and management; the Millinnials are responsible for doing the work. In 2015, the Millennials (born 1982-2000) became the largest generation in the workforce. 28% of millennial responded to a recent survey saying they are already in supervisory/management positions. A full two-thirds say they expect to be in management by 2024 according to a recent study. And yes, there are often generational stle clashes. I hear of more issues when Boomers report to Millennials than the other way around. The oldest GenX members turned 50 in 2015. As long as everyone stays focused on the organization’s goals, you both win! It is important not to label people—this answer was filled with descriptions to define the generations.

How can I update my LinkedIn profile without all my connections, including my co-workers seeing that I am improving my profile? 

When you are on your LinkedIn profile, go to your photo in the upper right corner and tap. In the drop down menu, choose “ manage privacy and settings.” Under Privacy Controls, Choose whether or not to share your profile edits. Voila you are ready to fully update your LinkedIn profile to draw the attention of recruiters. Make sure to add a professional photo. If you need more LinkedIn assistance, I can confidently recommend Wayne Breitbarth’s book, The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. He’s a good guy, the book easily will become a reference book and he offers a lot of free online information.

Where can I find Social Security projections?     

Dear Pre-Retiree:

I like to go to the source: https://www.ssa.gov/retire/estimator.html is an encrypted site from the Social Security Administation.

There is also a social security calculator on the AARP.org site:

Talk to a certified financial planner about what is best for your personal situation in claiming your Social Security benefits.

Now, I hate long-time job and I am scared to leave because I am not sure I can earn the same salary if I start somewhere new.

Dear Unhappy Employee:

I always go back to the old Tony Robbins quote, “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” You have to ask yourself what about your job do you now hate? Maybe that will change and you can stay as long as you like the work. Is it a new boss, new company owners, something change in your personal life or your job duties? If you are actively job-hunting, there are ways you can research the salary if the time is not right to discuss it with the recruiter or hiring manager. There is salary.com (I hear groans from the HR readers), glassdoor.com is another site to explore and your professional organizations may have offer salary ranges based on location. You might also consider finding a local career coach to help you manage your next step.

How can I have enough money to live through retirement?  

Dear Future 90-year-old:

Can you imagine being a vibrant 90-something? If I knew the answer to your question, I’d be very rich or in a minimum security government facilty somewhere warm. Outliving our retirement savings is a concern even for those of us with defined benefit pension plans to supplement social security. If you read the blog posts, you’ll see that I am a proponent of “encore careers” and doing something you love after your primary career ends. I have a friend who started a successful winery, Chapin Family Vineyards in Temecula, CA after a 25-year career in medical sales. Another friend brings in extra cash during retirement as a photograher focused on weddings and babies. Some work part-time a couple of days a week.

Share your responses!