Hello and welcome to THE FEISTY SIDE OF FIFTY,™ the site that celebrates a truly remarkable generation of women. We alpha boomers, now fifty plus but nowhere near matronly, are rockin’ on and still flaunting our famously bodacious spirit and style.
When you come to think of it, we boomers are doggone amazing! In a single generation, we gals came together to achieve previously unimaginable triumphs in the name of womankind. And today there’s little reason to think that we can’t or won’t continue our mission for reform and mount our battle to redefine the role of being an aging female in the culture.
Actually, rather than promoting a redefinition of what it means to be an older woman, we can simply call for society’s language to return to the hallowed insights of the ancients. They revered the wise women of their villages and used the power words to prove it. Yet, if you look up the definition of the word “crone” today, you’ll find a list of rather disheartening descriptions. Two of my personal favorites are “withered” and “half-witted.” But this wasn’t always the case!
The word “crone” was originally used in reference to the word “crown” and referred to the wise woman matriarch crowned in honor of her wisdom. Another favorite, “hag,” came from the Greek word “hagia” and meant Holy One who possessed sacred knowledge. Therefore, Webster’s irrefutable reputation aside, there can be little doubt that “withered” and “half-witted” represent a demeaning denigration of two words that had previously shown great reverence and respect.
So, my fellow female boomers, in the name of our own fair gender and maturity, how can we not continue our generation’s pursuit of justice and social reform and seek to banish such humiliating descriptors for women of a certain age?
It is our unique and proud history to have questioned, battled, and overcome enormous and deep-rooted inequities. It remains our destiny to continue. The crown of the crone has been tarnished for millennia and the ancient goddess is most likely getting a bit grumpy by now. It falls to the boomers to embody the wise woman archetype, give her a much-needed makeover, and renew her presence to its former reverence, grandeur, and glory. After all, that’s not only fighting for social justice… it’s the feisty thing to do!
Now that the fireworks have exploded, the parades have wound down, and the picnic basket is back on the shelf, it’s time to put your job search on hold, relax in the hammock and start sipping those mint juleps, right? Not necessarily.
Even though you’re looking for work, you may have decided to take the summer off—or, at least, reduce your job search schedule. After all, people in your network are on vacation, new contacts are hard to come by, and it’s difficult to get appointments with key people you’d like to speak with. Rather than spin your wheels, you’d rather wait until fall when people return from their trips and business starts gearing up again.
However, if you make that decision, you’d be misguided. Despite the above realities, summer can be one of the most productive times people can look for work. And, as a jobseeker over fifty, you’ll want to make certain to make the most of every advantage.
There are two main reasons summer can be so productive:
#1 Your competition levels drop.Many people choose the hammock over the networking meeting so there aren’t as many active applicants during the summer months.
#2 Your networking is more productive.Although it’s true people are more difficult to reach, your meetings are likely to pay off in a big way. Early fall is one of the strongest hiring periods of the year because new projects are put in place after the summer slowdown. Therefore, the more people you connect with during the summer, the more likely you are to be the one called in for an interview.
So make the most of this special time! I invite you to check out Land the Job You Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers Over 50. Drawing on my twenty years experience counseling midlife jobseekers, the book gives older applicants the insider techniques they need to turn their age into their advantage. You’ll learn how to:
Emphasize your special skills to set yourself apart from the competition
Use the best resume format to highlight your experience as an older applicant
Move your search forward and get in front of key decision makers
Ensure you make a dynamic first impression, ace the interview, and much, much more
Being called “high maintenance” was a huge put-down in our younger years. That particular descriptor led folks to believe that you practiced extreme self-care, placed your needs in high regard, and weren’t easily talked into overriding your own wishes in favor of those around you. How dreadful!
But, thankfully, we feisty gals have turned the corner on that one. It’s about time that we catered to our SELVES. In fact, it’s both healthy and necessary because—whether we like it or not—our bodies require extra self-care. And, at long last, we’ve earned the right to treat ourselves well.
So take a little time to consider the ways that you can turn into the high maintenance gal you deserve to be. Here is a brief list of four ways to get you started.
Your health: For physical, mental, and emotional reasons, you need adequate rest, nutritional food, and the right amount of exercise. Pushing ourselves too hard, skipping meals, or spending too many hours sitting in front of the computer or TV won’t cut it anymore. We have to be vigilant about self-care because our health underlies every other aspect of our lives.
Your relationships: In midlife and beyond, friendships and family become even more important. We’ve learned from loss (either through the death of a loved one or by cutting ties with an old friend) that we can’t take our precious relationships for granted. We also know that we seek authenticity at our age. So those friends who love us just as we are (faults, foibles and all) are treasures indeed.
Your work: Our values shift in midlife and we have a greater yearning to leave our mark upon the world. The way you express yourself through your actions becomes your ultimate legacy. Therefore, as a high maintenance woman, you’ll want to insure that—whether or not it’s paid employment—your actions are true to your inner voice. You want to manifest on the outside the beliefs you hold on the inside because we know now that our time is precious.
Your self-TLC: If you feel good about yourself, it will show in the way you interact with others. So treat yourself with loving care and give yourself those extras that make you feel great. If you want something and can afford it, why not? Today is the day to eat off of the good china; today is the day to buy that great dress even though it’s not on sale, and today is the day to get that massage and facial at full service spa.
So claim your right as a high maintenance woman and go after all that you deserve. After all, if you don’t do it now, when were you thinking of making yourself happy?
If you are a fan of sweeping stories that engage you from page one, you are going to want to be sure to catch this show!
Our guest, Renee Linnell, has a fascinating background. She graduated magna cum laude with a double degree, traveled to nearly fifty countries on her own before she turned thirty-five, was a surf model, a professional tango dancer andstarted five companies. Nevertheless, with all of these achievements to her credit, she is here to share about a very different experience.
Boomers grew up before “handles” meant names and half the products were marketed with acronyms and abbreviations. We also grew up before texting. We know how to spell the number four, we know how to write in complete sentences and we know how to communicate in general.
Nevertheless many of us have taken the English language for granted and have failed to realize how difficult it must be for those who are not native speakers. Here are just a few examples of the bewildering twists and turns of the complex language we call our own:
1) The bandage is wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert..
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
Let’s face it – English is a crazy language so we need to cut non-native speakers some slack… and that just might include texting, too!
In order to present a polished and compelling first impression, you will need to impart a combination of positive verbal and nonverbal messages. The following three steps will help you create that powerful first impression—one that shows you as the strong, attractive and valuable candidate you are.
#1) Your verbal message: Begin by crafting a personal brand that highlights your strengths and distinguishes you from the competition. Creating your unique brand is a great way to build a cohesive, targeted message that will present your skills and experience at their best. The following are several features you’ll want to include.
Identify your strongest technical/ knowledge-based skills. How will your specialized training, educational background, and specific technical skills benefit a potential employer?
Pinpoint your special strengths. What makes your personal style, work ethic, ability to get along with others, etc. create added value to an organization?
Determine what makes you different. What distinguishes you from other candidates? Do you have a unique combination of cross-functional skill sets? Does your breadth of experience set you apart? Which attributes and talents make you an exceptional candidate? How can you contribute in ways that others could not?
What is your core message? What is the key impression you want people to take away from meeting you? Why would they want to meet with you again? What makes you the best person for the job?
#2) Your nonverbal communication: Once you have your brand in place, you’ll need your nonverbal messages to complement and enhance what you’re saying about yourself. Your unspoken manner should exude your confidence in the skills and added value you bring as a candidate of experience, your enthusiasm for the opportunity and what you can contribute, and your youthful energy and can-do attitude.
You’ll want your confidence to show by the way you carry yourself, a firm handshake, open body language (nix the crossed arms) and eye contact.
You can display your enthusiasm through your vocal tone (warm and sincere) and a ready smile.
Your youthful energy and can-do attitude can be shown by your overall appearance. Make certain your dress is up-to-date, well pressed and clean, your eyewear and accessories are likewise current and conservative, and your hair is styled fashionably and befitting the position for which you’re applying. By keeping your look stylish and current, it shows that you care about yourself and the image you project to the world. Also, make certain your smile is an asset and (if necessary) whiten your teeth.
#3) For an extra powerful presence, consider this: There’s exciting research coming out of Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley around the dynamics of confidence and power inherent to certain forms of nonverbal communication.
It has long been accepted that our nonverbal messages affect how others view us. But new research is confirming the fact that we affect our own thoughts and outlook by the way we hold ourselves. In other words, our bodies can affect our thoughts just as much as our thoughts will affect our bodies. Take a look at this fascinating TED talk by Harvard University’s Amy Cuddy and her findings in power dynamics and nonverbal messages.
Presenting a powerful and polished first impression is, indeed, a combination of factors. So craft a compelling brand that plays to your strengths; augment your verbal statement through empowering nonverbal messages and set yourself apart. Most of all, anticipate success. A confident, warm and upbeat attitude is the best first impression of them all!
Deciding to spend your retirement and senior years under the roof you bought and helped keep up over the decades is an excellent decision, even though there is nothing wrong with moving to a senior facility either. As a vibrant, healthy, and self-sufficient boomer, you can adapt your living environment and design your home for aging in place.
However, it’s important that you take the necessary steps to actually optimize the interior of your home instead of believing that the current design will serve you just as well in your senior years. Today, we’re going to go over all of the key points of designing a boomer-friendly kitchen that will help you live out your silver years in health and happiness. Here’s what you should do.
Designing a boomer-friendly layout
First things first, consider revising the current layout of your kitchen. Ask yourself if the current floorplan offers enough flexibility, maneuverability, and safety. Remember to analyze the layout not by your current standards and living requirements, but your long-term needs. When you age, no matter how fit and able you might feel, there are numerous safety precautions you need to take in order to prevent a nasty fall, for example.
This begs the need to adapt the floorplan so that it allows you to reach everything with ease, adjust the height of all amenities, widen the doorways to allow for wheelchair use, and install the right kind of flooring. Consider safety rails as well and don’t forget to cover all sharp corners with foam coatings.
Flooring considerations for extra safety
Flooring, much like the lighting (more on that in a bit), should be one of your top priorities when designing a functional, senior-friendly kitchen. The floors should be easy to clean without you needing to kneel down or bend over, and durable enough to withstand the test of time. Most importantly, though, your kitchen floor should provide enough traction to prevent slips and falls.
Avoid floor coverings of any kind, including rugs and carpet tape, and instead choose non-slip tiles, or wall-to-wall low pile carpet. These options are easy to clean and maintain, and they will provide more safety and protection, thus supporting healthy aging in a very literal sense. If the time ever comes that you need a wheelchair, then vinyl and linoleum are your best options.
Creating the perfect lighting scheme
The lighting scheme you currently have in your kitchen might work just fine for now, but as you age you will notice an increase in safety risks, as well as an increased need to illuminate certain parts of the kitchen even more. Don’t worry, it’s completely natural, and it’s something that Australian baby boomers have been working with for some time now, so why not follow their example.
Down in Australia, senior residents will work closely with their preferred electrician from Inner West to create a new, more functional lighting plan for their kitchen – one that includes task lighting and light strips, and programmable overhead lighting to illuminate the space as much as they can. But it’s not just about the brightness of the setting, it’s about designing the lighting scheme just right so that you see what you’re doing at all times. By doing this yourself, you will have prevented many a nasty cut while cooking, and more dangerous scenarios as well.
Eliminating all potential hazards
While we’re on the subject of functionality and safety, it’s important to identify all of the potential hazards in your kitchen in relation to your future needs and lifestyle, and then eliminate them one by one while you’re still a young boomer. So, you’ve rearranged the layout, you’ve updated the flooring, and optimized the lighting – what else is there? Here’s a quick list:
Place all knives in covers and knife stands.
Put your essential dishes, pots, and pans, in the lower cabinets.
Put non-slip tape in the cabinets and on other surfaces where items could slip.
Place a 911 emergency button in various locations throughout the room.
If you’ve decided to age in place, then you need to adapt your living environment to suit your needs in the years to come. Start with the kitchen and use these tips to make it a safer place where you and your family can keep making lifelong memories filled with happiness and zeal.
This guest post was graciously provided by Robert Clayton. Robert is a blogger with a degree in engineering based in Sydney. His interests and passions include DIY, green technologies and home improvement. He also loves good food, music, dogs and enjoys spending time by the ocean. He’s a regular contributor for Smooth Decorator, An Australian Home improvement website.
We boomers know that one of the best ways to keep our minds active and sharp is by learning new and fascinating information. That’s why I’m especially looking forward to speaking with our guest, Betsy Mason, and her topic: ALL OVER THE MAP.
In addition to being a map enthusiast, Betsy is an award-winning science journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She was the former science editor for Wiredmagazine and is currently writing a science column for the Contra Costa Times.
Betsy joins us today to share all about one of the most beautiful and fascinating books I’ve ever seen. It’s called: ALL OVER THE MAP: A Cartographic Odysseyand is published by National Geographic… so you know the book will be both visually stunning and filled with all sorts of interesting information.
We boomers have definitely made our share of prognostications and other pronouncements we’d like to take back. Perhaps our most famous slip of the generational tongue took place when we fervently declared that we shouldn’t and wouldn’t “trust anyone over 30.” Yet there were plenty of other cringe-worthy statements that sprung forth from our youthful mouths.
But before we get too down on ourselves, the good news is that we weren’t the only ones to make declarations that, from the viewpoint of hindsight, look more than slightly ridiculous. Here’s a list that should put a smile on your face:
“Computers, in the future, may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949.?
“I think there is a world market for, maybe, five computers.” Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.?
“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp.,?1977.?
“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously?> considered as a means of communication. The device is, inherently, of no value.” — Western Union internal memo, 1876.?
“The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?” – David Sarnoff’s? associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s?
“The concept is interesting and well-formed. But, in order to earn better than a ‘C,’ the idea must be feasible.” A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)?
“Who wants to hear actors talk?” — H.M. Warner on ‘talkies’, Warner Brothers, 1927?
“I’m just glad it will be Clark Gable who is falling on his face and not Gary Cooper.” Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in “Gone with the Wind.”?
I’ve saved the two best ones for last!
“We don’t like their sound and guitar music is on the way out.” Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962?
“64K ought to be enough memory for anybody.” Bill Gates, 1981
Has your job search stalled? If you’re like millions of middle-aged jobseekers, you’ve been out there for awhile and have likely run into your share of unforeseen roadblocks and discouraging near misses. According to figures cited by the AARP Public Policy Institute, most mature applicants can figure on about 12 months’ time to find a new position.
But there are several variables involved in job search success and these unfortunate statistics don’t necessarily predict the outcome for your individual experience. How you conduct your job search—and a bit of luck—have a far greater impact on your results than numbers cited by the media.
Therefore, why not ramp up your search by employing techniques and strategies that make a real difference to your chances for success? Why not eliminate time-wasters and maximize your potential impact? Why not make small changes that will achieve big results? Here are 3 simple, yet powerful ways that you can put energy and momentum back into your search:
Turn off your computer! This statement sounds like “luddite speak” to most jobseekers. However sitting for hours in front of your computer is the biggest time-waster of them all. Despite all of the job boards and company websites, fewer than 15% of positions are obtained through online postings. And, if you’re spending much of your time answering ads, you’re guaranteeing yourself one result: maximum competition! If the job looks good to you, it probably looks good to thousands of other people, too.
Instead of amplifying your competition levels, limit your computer time and use it strategically. Treat the ads for your line of work as research tools. Identify key skills and industry buzzwords that are currently in demand and make certain to speak to these while networking as well as cite them liberally throughout your resume. You’ll also want to back up your claims with solid examples of how you’ve used these skills to create value for your former employers—quantifying your results whenever possible.
Utilize social media to connect with people on a personal basis. Your goal is to spend most of your time in face-to-face meetings and personal phone calls. Email and text messages are great for passing information along, but nothing beats the impact of a personal connection. A friendly face and a professional demeanor will build a far stronger rapport, and this personal relationship will serve to motivate others to want to help you.
Maximize your first impression. We all know the importance of making a dynamic first impression. Moreover, these first few moments of personal impact are especially critical to your success in a job search. Of course, your goal is to present yourself as someone with the knowledge and skill to do the job. Yet equally as important, you want to let people know that you’re someone who is committed, responsible and pleasant to work with.
Make sure you’re sending the correct nonverbal messages through your dress, demeanor, and energy level. This is especially true for mature jobseekers. Take care that your wardrobe is up-to-date and do the same for your accessories—including eyewear. If needed, whiten your teeth, as you’ll want to be socializing—and smiling—at every opportunity. Also, follow the suggestions in my article, 4 Surefire Tips to Power-Up Your Branding Statement, to ensure that you’re articulating your strengths with skill and confidence.
Organize your search. Few employers out there are seeking unreliable, disorganized employees. Therefore you’ll need to take extra care to be on top of your game. Make certain to return messages, follow up on commitments, and keep information to and from your targeted companies in order. You can do this by purchasing a 3-ring binder, printing out all of your correspondence, and labeling it according to individual companies. You can also create a spreadsheet where you track and monitor your connections and commitments. Additionally, there are free online sites like jibber-jobber that will help you organize the various aspects of your search and keep them in one convenient location.
In addition to the various organizational tools, you’ll want to write out a daily and weekly list of goals. The job search is notorious for requiring vast amounts of effort—yet oftentimes producing a negligible return on your investment of time and energy. By the very act of writing out your to-do list and then checking items off, you are creating a tangible way to track your progress. This simple act can help you feel motivated and wanting to move forward.
Most of all—don’t let the statistics discourage you. It may be true that most mature job-seekers can expect a long, slow process. But, if you commit to putting in 8 to 10 hours a day, work your network, and present yourself as a winning candidate, you should be able to minimize your search time and start seeing offers.
Luck, circumstance, and economics certainly play a role. However employers are looking for strong, effective candidates and, if you match their needs, you’re going to be hard to beat. So do whatever you can to keep yourself motivated, get out there and network at every opportunity, follow through on your contacts and commitments, and make that great first impression… your next job might be just around the corner!