Category Archives: Over 50 and Unemployed

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I Will Vote On Tuesday

I will vote on Tuesday. 

US Presidential Seal

How does one decide?  Some say choosing the lesser of two evils or least frightening is the way to choose, but is that a wise basis for a decision?  Keeping up with the news is impossible if you eat and sleep, let alone work.  The best I can do is consider what the candidates “bring to the table”.  I will vote based on my own opinions and analysis.

This is what I consider important when researching candidates:

Key Elements / Sources

Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump

1.      Past performance Senate Voting Record

GAO Reports

House Committees

Senate Committees


Trump:  The Art of the Deal

The America We Deserve

Donald Trump Investments




2.      Money trails Federal Election Commission

Top 10 Contributors

Federal Election Commission

1995 Tax Return

3.      Transparency Read from your trusted sources.   How much information are they willing to share?
4.      Company they keep Any mainstream and special interest media outlet.   These days it is a free-for-all.
5.      Policies Candidate Issues and Policies


Candidate Issues and Policies

100-Day Action Plan


Other sites to consider:  Be warned, every web site has an agenda that may not support your views.  Though they read “non-partisan”, they will report with an agenda in mind.  Read carefully and you decide.

  1. Brookings: 2016 Election
  2. On the Issues
  3. Where They Stand on Foreign Policy

I review sites like for Clinton’s voting record.  I look at the GAO reports from the Inspector General regarding issues during Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.  I’ll read and reread “Trump:  The Art of the Deal” and “The America We Deserve” to fill in the blanks for Trump.  Did you know or remember he ran for President in 1999?  I’ll pay attention to the trail of money into their campaigns to determine influences.  I’ll read and read some more between the lines to understand just how consistent and timely are the statements they make.  I’ll visit and revisit their campaign web sites to check on their current policies; both Clinton and Trump have changed their stances on issues over the years.  Changing ideology is not a bad thing, it can be about growth.  As we learn, accumulate knowledge and skills, we change.  I hope it is good change for political candidates.

I also support Article V for a Convention of States.  I consider it a backup plan.  And, of course, I pray and keep praying.

Best wishes!

Is YOUR Town the Best Place to Thrive?

You know your town best – is it a great place for someone 50 and up to live a good life?  There are tons of reports on the Internet about the best places to live and retire.  Sites like Sperling, Money magazine, Forbes, Huffington Post, and so on use similar scoring techniques primarily based on health, economy, and access to cultural activities; but is that all we care about?

By the way, I’m not sure why these studies differentiate between LIVE and RETIRE as if once we RETIRE we don’t LIVE anymore.  Personally, I don’t want to survive … I want to thrive!

I think the most important aspect of a place to call home is that it supports our passion for living, our purpose.  I’m not talking about climbing mountains; I’m talking about the things that make us feel ALIVE – feel joy!  Maybe you love pottery; or perhaps your passion is refinishing furniture; or you just like to sit on the porch and read a good book while enjoying a cool summer breeze; or maybe you do like climbing mountains.  Whatever makes you feel ALIVE, the place you live needs to have the resources and geography to support your passion.

Is your hometown a great place to thrive?

Sperling’s America’s Best Cities
Money’s Best Places to Retire
The World’s 12 Best Places to Live or Retire in 2016
Retiring?  Don’t Use a ‘Best Places to Retire’ List to Pick Your New Home
The Best Places to Retire in 2016
America’s 10 Best Cities for Retirement
The Best Place to Retire Isn’t Florida



Skill Upgrades That Pay You Back

Recently, I read the typical spring article on home upgrades that add value to our homes.  As I read the article, I realized, it depends on the location and the amount of money we spend on the upgrade.  For example, a below ground pool may not be the best add-on for a home in Iowa, but it is a great idea for Florida.  More insulation may be a perfect upgrade for Maine, but not for Southern Alabama.  Same goes for jobs.

The closer we get to retirement, investments in skillsets requires careful consideration.   Not only can training and education be costly compared to the return, they can be extravagant.  Extravagance is not something we can afford in an economy that does not value seasoned employees.  There are a few skills that everyone can use, regardless of age or impending retirement, but where will we get the most value?

My rule of thumb regarding skills is to revisit old skills first.  Keeping up-to-date on skills that serve us well is more important, in my mind.  We need to stay current in our areas of expertise, or get left behind.  Think of it in terms of home repair and must-have upgrades.  If we want to sell ourselves, we need the current upgrades.  It doesn’t mean we have to undergo a complete redesign, just a refresh.

Other skill sets are important, for example communication, but if training budgets are limited, go with your areas of expertise.  We cannot be everything to everybody, and if we try, we will fail to be what we are needed to be most at critical times.  You’d also be a better resale value.  This is not to say avoid training and education in other areas, but consider more cost-friendly options for additional skill sets.

Many public libraries, colleges and universities subscribe to online learning sites like and, and they are free with your membership.  You don’t have to attend a public institution to get a library card in most places.

Believe in yourself, and thanks for ‘listening’.


Take Care of Yourself First: A Conversation

Do you spend more time caring for others than for yourself?  Are you working sunrise to sunset without a break in the day for yourself?  Do you have one or more family members who require your dedicated attention to ensure their medical needs are met on a daily basis?  As a typical caregiver, you prefer to give than receive, and this can result in diminished capacity to continue to give of yourself – you are on the track to burnout.

Bench Under Tree

This is a typical conversation with caregivers.  I know, because I’ve been on both sides:

You’re looking tired these days; are you taking time for yourself?

     Myself?  When do I have the time!  I know, I’ve heard it before – take care of yourself first.  But that is not who I am!  We boomers do what we must to care for our family! 

Admirable, yes, and I love the selflessness behind it, but you could get sick or hurt yourself or your family in the end.  Is that what you want?

     That’s the last thing I want to happen; I’m too busy worrying about my parents and family.  I don’t have time to worry about myself, and it’s just plain selfish if I do.

Selfish?  Depends on how you look at it.  If you want the best for your mom and dad and family, don’t you need to be at your best?  Take a little time for yourself.  Sit and have a cup of tea; or call someone just to chat.  Maybe you could organize a day trip with other caregivers, sharing the caregiving along the way; that could be fun. 

     I want to be a good person, to take care of my family.  This is my responsibility, not someone else’s.  If I stop for myself, who will take care of mom – my dad?  Who will take care of my family?

You’re not alone.  Even if you are the only caregiver, you are not alone.  There are folks out there who care about you and don’t want to see you suffer.  No one is asking you to stop; just asking you to pause every now and then; take a little.   There are groups out there that can help too, especially if you don’t have enough time.

     I don’t need to be greedy; I don’t want to be greedy and pass my responsibilities on to someone else.

You aren’t greedy; you’d be smart.  Taking care of yourself means you can stay healthy, in mind and body!  Don’t you need energy to face this every day?  If you leave it up to fate, hoping you’ll find time for yourself, it won’t happen.  You need to plan events that make you happy; bring yourself a little joy.  Schedule the time to be with yourself or with people you want to be with.  It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, just ‘you’ time.  Like the time we went to see that movie you like and had dinner.  That was great!

     I had fun too, but I did worry about what was going on back at the house.

That’s ok – normal worry stuff.  You could say it was canceled out by the good time we had.

      Mom did say I was in a good mood the next morning.  She was happy too – for me, I think.

So, I guess you should do this more often.

I think many of us try to make time for ourselves, but we really aren’t committed to it.  We don’t plan events or schedule time that will help us re-energize.  We believe it’s okay, because we are being selfless, but as time goes by, we become drained and tired and sometimes ill.  We get grouchy and resentful.  I’m sure the people we care about don’t want to see that!

How do you take time for yourself?

Are you a caregiver?  Share your story or a photo!

  1. Join other caregivers – here.
  2. Download the handy sign
  3. Post your story-sign here.

Believe in yourself; thanks for ‘listening’.

Daily Practicum for the Unemployed: Appreciate Our References

When was the last time you checked in with your professional references?  Regardless of your employment status, we need to keep in touch with the people who impact our careers – our lives.  If they are not friends, they are at least good contacts.  I love reaching out to my references throughout the year.  I consider them friends, and I am grateful for their efforts on my behalf.  Perhaps I can be of assistance to them as a way of showing my gratitude.

So, today’s activity is to reach out to your professional references.  Ask them how they are doing and offer your assistance.  Unemployed or employed, it is a nice break in the day and a great way to lay down tracks to keep moving forward.

Believe in yourself, and thanks for ‘listening in’.

Daily Practicum for the Unemployed: Life Reimagined

This is a great program provided by Life Reimagined through AARP. I strongly encourage you to consider joining AARP to access this and many other programs that can help provide direction in your life, especially if you’ve been unemployed for a long time.  If you need financial assistance, contact the AARP Foundation first.

Life Reimagined helps us make better decisions about relationships, work, purpose, and our general well-being.  You could join them directly for a fee, but your best bet is to join the AARP first to gain access to other programs and discounts.  Either way, the program takes you through a decision-making and exercise process, one step at a time. 

I recently started the program, Get an Edge in Your Job Search, and it provided access to an abbreviated version of the Strong Interest Inventory.  This tool enables a person to compare their interests (strong interests) to others who have high job satisfaction in their field.  For example, if I am someone who likes research, analyzing, and calculating, I may be a good candidate for a job in science.  If I really prefer writing, design, and helping others, I’d probably be a good candidate for a job in communications.  There are additional tools as well, so I’ll be going back to complete them soon.

Combined with new techniques in neuroscience, these are powerful tools, so please give Life Reimagined through AARP a try.

Life Reimagined Institute

Photo courtesy of Modern Farmer, Picturing Women Farmers by Audra Mulkern

Daily Practicum for the Unemployed: Trust Building as a Job Applicant

Trust is an important part of our lives, including at work.  We need to be able to depend on each other to be successful.  Recently, I reviewed a course on, Building Trust, by Brenda Bailey-Hughes of Indiana University, to check out new material, and I wasn’t disappointed.  The presenter suggested an exercise, which I pass along to you here; write an action plan to build trust. 

In the case of job hunting, the plan is to establish the beginnings of trust during the interview.  We can do this by being prepared to present business cases that support our qualifications and professional experience. 

Of course, it goes without saying, but I will, to:

  1. Be honest on our resumes.
  2. Demonstrate honesty during the interview, especially when it comes to weaknesses and responsibility for failures that show how you’ve grown and learned from the experience.
  3. Present a demeanor that shows you are dependable – despite what you see on the tube, shenanigans are not the order of the day.

Back to the script.  It should be tailored to the job requirements.  If the posting indicates the applicant needs to be ‘quick on their feet’ or ‘tech savvy’, this indicates the need for urgency and ability to make decisions as well as to work with technological tools.  It does not necessarily indicate you need to be an IT guru or leader. 

A good business case example for the script if you were in manufacturing (this is also a good answer to the question, what did you do at ABC company?):   I was accountable for quality control on the first assembly line, ensuring defects were caught before they arrived at final assembly.  I was required to safely operate the MAG54 punch and post unit by ACME company.  I had X number of defects pass through my line in five years, and I received a Quality Award for my performance.

This may be an idea for a sales job:  Follow-up customer service was my primary responsibility with ABC company, and I was required to ensure all customer complaints were resolved before final billing.  ABC trusted me to make decisions to resolve issues quickly.  I had to work with the IT department on a daily basis at times to keep on top of installations and updates and explain these to the customer. 

The idea is to be specific to their requirements.  As you move through each new script, customized for each job interview, you will find just how qualified you are for the job, gaining confidence in yourself and the ability to sell yourself at any interview.

How to Get Your Job Application Noticed Every Time

If You Want A Great Job, Tell a Great Story

Pet Peeve: Crazy Drivers!

It’s not women over 50 who are the worst drivers; it’s the drivers who are totally unaware of their surroundings and other drivers, regardless of age, who are most dangerous on the road.  These people are, plain and simple, clueless and self-centered, and will most probably find themselves in an accident sometime soon.

I didn’t used to be so sensitive to crazy driving.  Maybe it came with age, or maybe it came after two years driving a major interstate 70 miles an hour, 70 miles back and forth for work.  After two years, I noticed I was becoming an edgy defensive driver, so I began to look more closely at the drivers and situations that prompted the most defensive of my driving responses, and this is what I discovered.

There are all types of crazy drivers out there.  The worst of the worst drivers were those who:  drive from behind; drive with excessive speed; talk or text on cell phones; change stations or otherwise fool with the dashboard; and fall asleep or become incapacitated at the wheel;  generally speaking in that order. 

Driving from behind and speeding more than 10 miles over the limit are by far, in my opinion and experience, the most dangerous situations, as it happens often, and often go hand in hand.  Driving from behind involves a driver who is more concerned with what is going on behind them rather than paying attention to what is going on in front of them.  They slow down and speed up for no apparent reason other than to deliberately obstruct traffic and annoy the driver behind them.  When I first noticed this unique behavior, I thought drivers were responding to tailgaters, but I noticed they’d slow down to allow someone to tailgate them just to piss them off (or at least I thought that was the intention).  It was a type of passive road rage. What’s that about?  Often in response, the person behind would quickly change lanes and speed up to pass, ignoring the rest of us and their surroundings, instigating other driving dangers.

Speeders are almost as bad, especially when they tailgate as a plea for you to get out of their way.  I’m always surprised to find someone tailgating me, because I keep pace with traffic.  I will pull over to let tailgaters pass, but sometimes that is not possible.

One time, there was a car in front and to the side of me, so I could not get out of the way; you may have been in that situation. The speeder was relentlessly tailgating, as if he couldn’t see past his own dashboard; talk about crazy!  I became angry at the driver in front of me, and I began to inch my way forward.  After a mile or so of that, I came to my senses and realized it was the typical domino effect.  It wasn’t the fault of the guy in front of me – he was in the same situation.  So, I took a few deep breaths after I said a few choice words about the guy behind me, kept a safe distance, and just waited it out.  I’m sure that aggravated the guy behind me, which brought me some satisfaction as well as a bit of concern, because that could have gotten way out-of-hand.  Unfortunately, I’ve seen more and more truck drivers engaging in this kind of behavior as well; now that is scary.  And that is not all.

I once saw a driver who suddenly slowed down to take a cell phone call or text a message.  And there were others too!  That’s right, they go from 70 mph to 50 in a heartbeat, sending the rest of us scrambling to find a safe spot and speed to get out of their way.  Add trucks to the mix, which is often the case on interstates, and it can get ugly fast..  Maybe these are the same drivers who divert their attention from the road to their dashboard, and who swerve onto the shoulder and back onto the highway at break neck speed.  In my experience, this more often involved trucks than passenger vehicles. 

One morning, I saw a truck driver swerving back and forth, and I decided to pass him on his port side swerve.  As I passed, I noticed he was nodding at the wheel.  I quickly sped up to get past the danger and, yes, pulled out my cell phone and called the highway police; it was necessary in this case.  He was either falling asleep at the wheel or suffering from a health-related issue, and was a danger to himself and everyone near him. I honked my horn to get his attention, but I don’t know if that worked.

Of course, there were other times I should have called the highway patrol; when I saw drivers smoking something other than a cigarette.  Ninety percent of the time they’d be in the right lane, driving slower than mainstream traffic.  Sometimes they’d look over with that look on their face as I passed.  You know that look!

As you can probably discern from this rant, one of my pet peeves in life is dealing with irresponsible drivers.  I only noticed how much worse it had become out there on the roads when I started a daily traverse on an interstate for work.  These drivers are selfish, self-centered, and dangerous.  Probability is not on their side, which means if they keep driving in this manner, they will have an accident and could kill themselves and others.  I’m hoping if you are one of these drivers, any driver for that matter who reads this blog, you will become a more aware and safer driver.   

By the way, most of those crazy drivers I encountered on the interstate were men.

Believe in yourself, and thanks for ‘listening’.

Obesity and Processed Foods

OBESITY, obesity, Obesity!  We are a fat nation, and we know it.  Yes, genetics has much to do with being overweight, but it must be something else as well, because I don’t remember so many of us being overweight when I was a teenager!  I definitely need to lose a few pounds too.  So what is the cause?obesity map

As a person who believes issues are usually an accumulation of smaller issues, I don’t think it is any one reason.  I believe we’ve become more sedentary as we’ve moved from the industrial to technological and into the information age; and we boomers can cover that gamut.  But I also believe it has to do with what we eat and drink. 

There are so many new processed food and containers to hold them, and we have been the guinea pigs all along.  I think it is the boomer generation that will suffer the most in the end.  Thank goodness our children are demanding accountability for the foods they eat.  And I love the idea of urban gardening.  What are we boomers doing about it?

I came across this article, Obesogens:  Hormone-Related Weight Gain, by a Dr. Stephen Sinatra, and it just rang true to me.  I think it is definitely one of the causes of our obesity epidemic.  There are so many chemicals in our food stream!  I for one will be much more careful about eating fish from fish farms; and no more creamer in my Sunday coffee.  I’ll endeavor to avoid other toxic habits too, but I’m sure the years of eating processed foods has taken its toll. 

I recall a book I read quite a while ago, during the days of Adelle Davis; it was titled The Rotation Diet.  I recall a recommendation for eating apples and apple cider vinegar for clearing out the system.  I remember it, because my country aunt always told me how good apple cider vinegar is for cleansing the body.  Who remembers Adelle Davis?  Who remembers those country remedies?

On that note, a great day!

Obesogens: Hormone-Related Weight Gain – Dr. Stephen Sinatra

Obesity Prevalence Map, 2014 – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Daily Practicum for the Unemployed: Acknowledging Grief

bench under treeI think it fair to say that we get angry and sometimes depressed if we are unemployed.  Maybe we get angry and not depressed, but we do experience a variety of emotions for obvious reasons.  For myself, I noticed I was angry and did nothing; I denied my anger and as a result, I was easily agitated.  This did nothing to help me focus on job hunting; and though I realized I wasn’t getting anywhere with this frame of mind, I couldn’t just stop being angry.  And then it came to me – I was grieving!  I was grieving the loss of my job.

According to Kubler-Ross (in her later years) and others in her field, we can experience grief in response to any great loss and uncertain situations, and that grief is a very personal process.  I believe unemployment, especially long-term unemployment fits the situation.  And I think the key to moving forward is to acknowledge and permit oneself to grieve.    

Once I allowed myself time to grieve, I wanted to take the next step – outside my grief; just one step.  For me, the next step was to share my experiences and read about others in similar situations.  Following that, I started this blog.   With every step I took, I felt more confident in myself and my abilities to take the next step, to define my future.  What is your next step? 

If you are stuck, consider career counseling or psychological counseling even.  Sometimes, we need a new perspective to be able to see the path ahead.   

Have a great day, and please feel free to share!