Category Archives: Over 50 and Unemployed

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Affordable Teeth Cleaning

Healthy teeth and mouth are critical to our well-being, so why is it we spend so little time on our oral healthcare compared to the rest of our body?  Think of it – the first contact anything we eat has with our body is our teeth and tongue.  The older we get, the less sensitive our tongue becomes, the dryer our mouth, and the faster plaque and tartar build up.  Our smile is also a major factor in a first impression – and what do people see when we smile?

Just like the rest of our bodies, the simplest approach to good health is preventive measures.  Getting our teeth cleaned twice a year is so worth it.  Not only is the cost a great value compared to dental procedures, it serves as a dental checkup, much like an annual physical.  The average cleaning costs around $75 without insurance.  Not a bad investment, really; but sometimes even this is out of reach.

When the economy dropped through the basement, and I lost my job, I spoke to my dentist’s accountant about discounts, and I was able to save $35 on teeth cleaning.  She also recommended 0% financing on any procedures I needed, and the use of coupons for future X-Rays – yep, my dentist issues coupons in some of the community money saver packets.  I went with the cleaning discount and the X-Ray coupon, but I’m looking for a good dental plan to manage anything more complicated than a teeth cleaning.

One approach I like is to use my university dental college.  When I was younger and just making ends meet, I contacted my state university’s dental college.  Like many colleges, they have community outreach programs, and I was able to get a much needed crown for a huge discount.  I still have that crown after 30 years – most dentists today are quite impressed with the workmanship, and there are no signs of needing a replacement to this day.  I think I’ll give them a call.

There are web sites out there to help me find a good dental plan when I’m ready. Of course, during open enrollment, I may be able to find a dental plan on my state’s healthcare.gov site.  But I want a plan now, so I’ll visit a few of the clearing house type sites to find a few to review.  I listed some of these links in the ‘links’ section below for your consideration. 

As always, I asked my dentist what health plans they accept, and what they found to be the best plans.  Keep in mind, they probably like plans that reimburse more, but cost me more as well, but they will be able to advise you.  In the end, I am responsible for the choice I make.  I must compare plans and costs based on what I can afford and my dental health.

The American Dental Association is a great place to get information about a ‘healthy mouth’ as well as how to find a dentist.

Have a great day!

Recommended Reading:

Mouth Healthy, 40-60

Mouth Healthy Over 60

AARP Dental Insurance

Periodontal Disease and Heart Health

Dental Plans

eHealth Insurance

1Dental.com

Daily Practicum for the Unemployed: Early Morning Odd Jobs

Start getting up earlier, at least three days a week.  Get a jump on the day and tackle those few odd jobs needing to get done.  It is an accomplishment.  Being unemployed can get us down, so we need to do whatever it takes to get us up, even if for only a short time or to generate more good mojo.  The more mojo, the better!

What odd jobs do you like to tackle in the early morning hours?

Temporary and Contract Agencies – Give Them Another Try

This is a revisit from the WG Facebook site a month ago.

I thought to share this as many of us are still members of the ‘long-term unemployed’. I am working as a temporary with a local agency. If you have not tried with an agency recently, please try again; business is seeing a slight rise in hires, as funding has become available with the new year. Albeit budgets are slimmer, but it is worth a try. Budgets will start drying up again in June.

Six months ago when I sent out several cover letters with my resume to agencies, I did not receive a single response. I repeated this several weeks ago, and I received several replies with solid offers for temporary assignments. The pay is half what I used to make in my career, but it is income. I’m considering this to be a vacation from worry.

If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, they may not be as helpful, but a good next step is to visit the unemployment office and research a grant on a new career. Medical coding is the way to go, I hear – rather ironic.

Wishing you well, and please let us know how you are doing.

Job Clubs in Your Neighborhood

The Department of Labor established a program, Job Clubs, in 2014 to address the issue of the long time unemployed.  The program collaborates with community and religious organizations to help the unemployed find and manage new jobs.  Community organizations include your local colleges and universities or in rural areas, agricultural extension agencies.  Check with your faith-based center as well.

If you can’t find a local job club, consider starting up a Job Club through a local agency.  Check with your local economic development organization.

More information

Frustration-Free Job Postings … A Myth?

Job SeekerWhen it comes to hiring, it is important to understand and translate the necessary KSAs into a job posting.  This is more important than using keywords to create the meta tags to find resumes that may match.  My reasoning is that if we create better job postings, we will be able to accurately identify people with the KSAs we need.  My assumption is the goal is to find the best match as quickly as possible without frustration.  I don’t focus on the best talent.  There are lots of people out there who can fit the job; besides, in many cases we can’t afford the best talent.

Some think we do that now, but by far the majority of job postings still use a quick list of responsibilities and duties alone or with very little skill bullets or situational details.  If we want the best fit, we exclude a large population.  I don’t propose to remove these areas, rather I propose we get better at detailing them.  I also propose removing preferred qualifications in favor of the actual qualifications.  We use the term ‘preferred’ without qualifying what that means, creating ambiguity.  As a result, we are overwhelmed with resumes that have very little to do with the jobs we post, and that is frustrating for everyone on both sides of the process.

What about job titles?  We change job titles like changing shirts.  I don’t think we do this to get more closely aligned with the actual job, we do this to compete with other job postings, but is it working?  How are applicants supposed to find the job if we keep changing job titles? I’m confused about the logic here; it does not make sense to me.

Writing good job descriptions takes time and effort, but it is not difficult.  The ideal job posting includes lots of action words and situational details.  In the past, I inherited job descriptions that had been rehashed for years.  They included a job title and a list of responsibilities and duties.  The title often changed, but the content did not; at least not enough to reflect the job at that point in time.

Aside from a formal job analysis with the employee, I applied a bit of a project management approach to creating a job posting that works well:  identify the stakeholders, the tools and tasks used on the job, the processes and procedures required of the job, and finally the environmental factors – situational details.  Presenting the job description in this manner helps applicants to quickly and more accurately gauge their fit.  It reduces frustration for both sides, I think.

My job posting template includes the job title, company information and culture, job environment, stakeholders, tools (all of them), tasks required to be completed along with ‘other’ tasks as required, required processes (not procedures), minimum (forget preferred) professional credentials, compensation range depending on experience, and finally benefits.

Generational War or Poor Planning?

MentoringWhen did we go from workplace mentoring to generational war?  Wherever I go on the Internet to find information about employment and the workplace, the most talked about issue is millennials vs. baby boomers.  According to a recent 2015 study conducted by Harris Poll for Workfront, there is a huge discrepancy between millennials and baby boomers regarding workplace ethics and perceptions; but is this something new?  Sounds like a normal workplace to me, though with the influx of information and attention on baby boomers retiring, you’d think it was the end of the workplace as we know it … well, from my perspective, I guess it is!  Is this normal?  Yes.

This is normal workplace conflict.  The reason it makes headlines is because baby boomers have made up the majority of the workforce for so long, and companies fear their mass exodus (retirement) will wreak havoc on their business.  It is not a generational issue, it is a planning issue; or more accurately, a failure to plan issue.

Succession planning has been the HR Call to Arms for years.  I know this because I was one of those who kept preaching and hiring to replace myself.  The recent decade of recessions sped up the retirement process, voluntarily or involuntarily, putting pressure on companies who didn’t have a succession plan to engage emergency measures … boot the boomers and hire the hackers.  Not the smartest approach, but people in reaction mode take the path of least resistance, and it is too often the path to easy money.

So where are we now as a result?  We are in a world in workplace flux.  We are trying to fit square pegs into round holes (or vice versa).  The boomers who ARE left in the workplace are overloaded and under supported, with very little time to mentor new employees.  When they do mentor the younger generation, conflict often occurs because of these pressures and expectations for this tech savvy group to become the next startup phenomenon.  This environment does not breed innovation AND loyalty.  Anecdotally based on my own experiences, people want to be appreciated, so they will stay with a company who values their contributions, regardless of age.  It’s not true that Millennials are not loyal to a company; they’ve just developed different workplace survival tactics in response to what they’ve seen happen with their parents (Gen Xer’s) and grandparents.

Should and can we do anything about it?  To start, develop a balanced succession plan.  It is never too late to plan, and a balanced plan follows the adage, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”  A good succession plan not only plans for the future workforce, it plans for the current working environment.  This includes training and development, benefits, flexible work hours and work platform.  Baby boomers have the tribal knowledge, the knowledge to get newbies up and running and effectively engage their talents and ideas to help transform and adapt the company for future success.  Generation Xer’s, lest we forget them, are in a perfect position to serve as the cornerstone for an organization while Millennials are transitioning into the workplace with the Baby Boomers (too many pigeonholes).

Millennials are not deadbeats looking for entitlement; they are a lost generation looking for answers in an uncertain workplace.  We raised their parents to challenge the status quo, and they raised their kids to BE the status quo.  Now we need to meet the challenge as only baby boomers can.

Reading

Boomers and Millennial Workers Trash Each Other

Millennials in the Workplace:  A Hot Topic for Comedy Writers

Share Job Postings

Please share your job postings and recruiting contact information as a reply here.  We ask you to please list your job posting as a comment in a similar format per the following:

MEDICAL INFORMATION ANALYST NEED ASAP  *** EXAMPLE ONLY ***

Job Title
Experience Level
Brief Description
Contact Information
Closing Date
Medical Information Analyst
Min 2 years experience
Temporary to direct hire for person who has experience in busy physician’s office handling patient records…
First Last – email@email.com / 555-555-5555
Respond no later than 1/30/2016

Daily Practicum for the Unemployed: CareerOneStop

Your local CareerOneStop is a great resource for anyone who is unemployed or underemployed. This organization has been around for a while now. I’ve worked with them on a professional basis in the past, and I see they are picking up the slack where our unemployment offices leave off. I highly recommend a visit for anyone who is unemployed. I’m off to my local office this week!