Friday, January 30, 2009

Retirement Work for the Over 55 Community

I’m delighted to report that I am quoted in a recent ABC News article about job search over 50.

Over the last few years, I shifted my focus away from career counseling and job search towards retirement life planning. There is an overlap between them, but it is different. Because of all the lay-offs and change in the economy, I’ve decided to incorporate more job search information in my blog and other writing.

I was reading the comments to the article and one woman lamented she’d been without a job for six years, had applied at ‘every site on the Internet,’ but had only had a handful of interviews.

I know what it’s like to be unemployed, to feel like you’re doing everything you know how to do and keep coming up short. It becomes so easy to feel like a victim under those circumstances. At some point in time, you have to also to evaluate yourself and the situation and say, “Something’s got to change.”

I don’t know this woman’s specific situation, but my first advice would be to focus her job search energy away from the Internet for awhile. She obviously is not conveying what she wants to communicate on her resume. Take it to friends, former colleagues and have them honestly review it. Call or email friends who are employed. Tell them you’re looking for XYZ type of work and to keep their eyes and ears open for suggestions. Be willing to do things differently.

As people get closer to retirement, jobs become harder to find. There are many activities seniors can do to improve their job search. Retired jobs a now very much in demand as retired seniors watch their retirement income security disappear.

We’re going to spend more time exploring what the over 55 community can do to create and find retirement work.
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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Goals: The Key to a Happy Retirement (and Life)

I was reading different blogs last week (I don’t remember which one), but the author of one wrote, “I don’t want to have goals right now.” I certainly know how she feels. Especially when most goals are centered around all the things we should be doing; losing weight, exercising, getting organized, etc. No wonder most people break their resolutions and goals soon after the new year.

As I wrote recently,
I made a commitment to write my goals down this year. The goals I listed are mostly about the things I want to have in my life. One thing I want to do is enter my paintings in more shows this year. I submitted two paintings and one photo in the Thousand Oaks Art Association Open show this month and had the photograph and one painting accepted. I’m so delighted.

I’ll never know whether or not I would have submitted the art work to this show had I not written down my goals. All I can say is I had intended to enter more shows for the last two years and didn’t. I also hadn’t written my goals down.

There is three things I can say about goals. The first is to select goals that make your heart sing and are worth working for. Second, attach your goals to specific behavior. Don’t think, “My goal is to get more organized.” But instead, “I’m going to get more organized by spending one hour a week organizing. I’m going to organize my paper, bedroom closets, photographs and kitchen cupboards.
My art goal reads, " I will enter at least four shows this year. " Finally, identify the hour a week you’re going to organize. It helps if it’s consistent, but often that’s not possible. Finally, write the goals down.

We know baby boomers retirement is going to be different. The senior new to retirement can quickly fall into a dreary abyss with out a plan. Retirement goals become the foundation to how to retire happy. Share your goals for the upcoming year.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Time to Commit

In addition to honoring Reverend Martin Luther King today, there has been a call for volunteerism. My local paper encouraged people to pick up trash or donate food to a homeless shelter. These are noble and honorable ways of giving your time.

As this new administration appears to include service as an important part of its agenda, I hope people nearing or in retirement will expand the vision of their involvement. Older people are looking for ways they can make a difference that are both personally meaningful and fulfilling.

As I have expanded my own quest to get involved, I’ve found we don’t always know where to put our energy. I’ve read countless stories of new retirees who had great intention, only to be rebuffed by the very people they were want to help. Some have not been able to find the right fit that is a good balance between their skills, interests and the needs of the community.

As Retirement Life Matters expands, I hope it will be a place where people will share both their successes and struggles at making a difference. We will provide ways to explore options and resources people can use to get into the community.

Yes, there are many baby boomers that will need to continue to work and retirement is being reinvented in a number of different ways. There is still opportunity for us to feel like we are contributing members of society.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

So this is Retirement?

My husband took a shower and shaved this morning. Not an every day occurence since retirement. I had a doctor's appointment, so decided to actually put on make-up this morning. Not an every day occurence. (It was a new doctor.)

The appointment went faster than expected. When I got home, I suggested we go out to lunch. After he said, "Sure, where?" there was the silence as I raced through the options. We ended up going to a cafe, where we could sit outside and overlook a pond at the Westlake Inn. The idea was we'd sit outside, enjoy the spring like weather, have some good food and come back home to do more work.

It hasn't happened that way. We both have been useless this afternoon. My big accomplishment will be writing the blog.

So, maybe that's why retirement is after work...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Staff of Life

I’m not a big bread eater. I don’t eat much because the stuff you get in stores is tasteless paste. I love to travel to other countries and reconnect to what bread is supposed to taste like.

I used to make bread, but I don’t have time for all the mixing, kneading, rising and baking that has to take place. In addition, I end up with two loaves of bread that will most likely get moldy before my husband and I can consume it. Because I make a big pot of homemade soup every week, it would be so nice to have fresh bread or rolls to go with it once in awhile.

A few weeks ago, I was listening to a NPR show, The Splendid Table as they replayed a show where the host discussed the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking

Oh my gosh, this is the most amazing thing I’ve encountered in years. The artisan bread is easy to make and you only have to bake as much as you want for your meal. On top of that, there is no kneading, so it only takes a few minutes to make.

You combine the four ingredients; flour, water, yeast and salt together. Let it rise in a warm place for a couple of hours, then put it in the refrigerator. Anytime you want bread over the next two weeks, cut a grapefruit size chunk from the bowl, shape it and throw it in a 350 degree oven and in thirty minutes you have a little slice of heaven; piping hot, full of flavor and substance.

I’m only on my first batch, so I don’t know if it works with whole wheat flour and I’m haven’t considered the extra calories that I’m consuming. For a special treat, it certainly has been a pleasure.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Pedometers and Paintings

I’ve never been big on resolutions per se. They just always seemed negative, a set up for failure, and I have enough of those that I don’t need to go looking for more.

I do love the whole New Year thing of a clean slate, new dreams, goals, clearing clutter and starting over. That is something I take advantage of.

I started writing my goals down in earnest ten years ago. I missed a couple of years, but with my husband retiring, I felt that, not only did I need to set my own goals, but we as a couple needed to establish mutual objectives. That was interesting and I’ll share more about that later.

As with most Americans, I want to get more physically fit. I hurt my shoulder a while back and haven’t been able to do much yoga or strength training. I want to walk more this years, so we purchased two pedometers yesterday. The goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day. First, I need to find out how many steps I’m actually walking a day. That should be interesting.

I have not been pleased with my growth as an artist. It feels like I’ve been stagnant for the last couple of years. Somehow, entering shows raises the level of the work, so my commitment is to enter at least four juried shows. I have the paperwork all filled out for the first and will hopefully be accepted into the show. I’m submitting two paintings and one photograph.

This brings us to a bit of advice. If you do establish goals for the year, set yourself up for success as soon as possible. Long term goals are fine, but break them down so you can feel like you are a master of your destiny.

Another goal I have this year is to do a better job of linking to other blogs. The first blog I want to tell you about is Ask Allison at Women Bloom. The site is dedicated to middle-aged women. That used to be a death sentence, but Allison makes it sound oh so chic.

In a recent blog, Allison discussed identifying guiding principles for 2009. These become the foundation for all the other goals. She starts by talking about how the world feels so out of control right now. As we look around, we know there is no business as usual. Whatever is going on in the world, there are some fundamental changes that are occurring. As Dorothy so profoundly stated, “Toto, I don’t think we are in Kansas any more.”

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll share my goals with you, hope you’ll share with me and let’s see how we can make this a great year. Regardless, of what is going on around us.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sneak Peak at the New Website

It started as a silly conversation. A younger friend was interested in SEO and I was ready to build a website for my coaching and counseling work. One thing let to another and eightteen months later, we're ready to say, "Come on over and take a look around."

This is the first official announcement that Retirement Life Matters is ready for viewing. I'm looking for a few brave people to try filling 'My RLM Page'. I'm the only one up there right now.

Read some of the articles. If you'd like to contribute articles to the website, let me know. If you have a book you'd like to promote, I'd love to talk to you about becoming an expert on the site.

I know there are a lot of sites dedicated to retiring baby boomers. I'm sure there are some that are similar to ours. I have a vision that baby boomers can redefine aging as a time to be vibrant, fulfilled and meaningful. My vision is to create a website that will support that journey.