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Archive for April, 2009

Work for When You Don’t Work

Monday, April 27th, 2009

by Mary Lloyd, CEO Mining Silver LLC

Steve Juetten’s personal finance column had an interesting review of Supercharged Retirement today.    Steve notes that planning for retirement involves some work–at least if you are going to do a good job of setting yourself up for a great life.  (He also says that Supercharged Retirement is a big help in getting on with that work.)

But don’t let that word “work” chase you off.   This is the kind of work that’s fun–the kind that helps you learn what you really want and figure out how to make that happen.   Retirement might last a long time.   Put the effort into making it good before you step into it.

When we plan vacations we don’t mind the effort it takes.  When we plan a party, we don’t groan with what we have to get done.  We just get on with it because the result of the effort is worth what we are putting into it.  Same deal with planning for retirement.  You want to get this RIGHT.  And that takes some thought and some work.  FUN work.

Free Online Seminar Series — Boomers and a New and Healthy Revolution

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Posted by Mary Lloyd

Pam McKeen and Healthy Boomer Online are presenting a series of interviews with experts who have great information on how baby boomers are creating a New and Healthy Revolution.

The series starts on May 5, 2009,  and it’s FREE!

I’m one of the speakers, so sign up and hear what I have to say.  You’ll want to hear what everybody else has to say, too–all twelve of us.  Sessions will run Tuesdays and Thursdays starting May 5, 8:00 PM Eastern Time.

Check it out:

  • Learn how to fight “aging.”
  • Get the newest boomer info on Health and Wellness
  • Explore how to change lifestyles
  • Look at new versions of retirement–or how not to retire at all
  • Plus EIGHT more–and they are all FREE!

To learn more go to  ==>  http://www.healthyboomeronline.com/

Veterans in the Talent War – Using Older Workers Well

Monday, April 13th, 2009

By Mary Lloyd, CEO. Mining Silver

There’s an old story about a farmer in South Africa who sold his farm so he could become a diamond prospector.He never did find his mother load.But the guy who bought the farm, who was paying more attention to what was going on around him, did—in the creek bed that the would-be prospector had crossed every day he’d owned the farm.If you’re not paying attention, you can miss seeing treasure that you already have.

For many companies and the culture in general, this is true of older workers.They are a gold mine of experience, knowledge, and well-honed skills, yet we politely move them to the sidelines—and then out of the picture entirely and into “retirement” simply because they’ve reached a certain age.Why do we keep doing that?

I can hear the clamor of defense already.Older workers don’t want to work as hard.Older workers want to retire and are just treading water until they can leave.Older workers get sick more often.None of these things are true across the board.What’s even more important to realize is that even if they are true for your company, you may be causing them.

If senior employees aren’t offered new challenges, if their experience isn’t appreciated and relied on, if they aren’t given effective opportunities to learn new technology, you’re stacking the deck against the company—and them.Without positive challenges, appreciation, and a viable chance to learn, it’s hard to enjoy your work no matter how old you are.And when you don’t like your work, you think about leaving, especially if you can retire.

You may be applauding this exodus.It “makes room for fresh blood.”You’re reducing salary and benefits expenses.But that’s like using a gold mine for cold storage.You’re not really getting the best use out of what you have.And when you “throw them away” for younger workers, you lose a lot that the company needs to know.

Why not be smarter about how you use them?

LEVERAGE WHAT OLDER WORKERS KNOW AND CAN DO.The “old pro” who can calm the most irate customer should be the role model for new hires.She might make a great mentor or even a trainer.Even if she doesn’t want those roles, concrete examples of how she handles things make it much easier for younger workers to learn how to do the job right.And she just might perform even better for being noticed.

ADD A SEASONED PERSPECTIVE TO DEVELOPMENT TEAMS.Get your older talent involved with projects that will be enhanced by their viewpoint.What are you trying to do that might run into trouble for lack of a reality check?What needs to be linked carefully to what you are already doing to be a success? Cross-generational teams should be our “secret weapon” for business success.We think of them as battle grounds.Yes, there are generational differences.There always have been.Effective managers—both of companies and projects–capitalize on them.

USE WHAT SENIOR EMPLOYEES KNOW STRATEGICALLY.Too often, we tell older workers how valuable they are and then relegate them to work that doesn’t take advantage of it.This isn’t a matter of “making them feel good.”This is about getting the most bang for your payroll buck.Even so, higher motivation is a usual side effect.And that, in turn, leads to even better performance.From them.From the company.

TEACH TECH IN WAYS NON-GEEKS CAN LEARN.All too often, technical training for older workers is a geek speaking Greek and a jumbled effort to remember stuff that never did make sense.This is not the learner’s fault.This is bad teaching.But older workers are quick to belittle themselves about their inability to learn this stuff.So poorly designed training stays in place and needed skills remain unlearned.If you were teaching your Russian subsidiary how make widgets, would you do it in French?

STOP THINKING “40-HOUR WORKWEEK”.If a senior worker wants to throttle back, explore whether they can get the essential work done on a less-than-fulltime basis.Thinking of full retirement as the only alternative to a fulltime position makes as much sense as thinking the only place you can get to from Chicago is Cleveland.Explore the possibilities. If your company has a defined pension plan especially, include HR. You may create a part-time or project-based slot that gives you more than you would get from a fulltime new hire for less money.

What we are doing with older workers is a senseless waste—to the culture, the company, the person.Grab the competitive advantage by using them to their fullest potential.You will probably be amazed.

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Mary Lloyd is the author of Supercharged Retirement:Ditch the Rocking Chair, Trash the Remote, and Do What You Love. She offers seminars on how you can create a meaningful retirement for yourself and consults to help your business attract and use retired talent well.She is also available as a speaker.For more insights on how to better use the talent of those in the last third of their lives go to =>http://www.mining-silver.com.

Benefit of the Downturn — Learning Resilience

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

By Mary Lloyd, CEO, Mining Silver

This article appears in the April 2009 issue of Barbara Morris’s online newsletter Put Old On Hold.

The current stresses have a lot of us feeling like we’re pushing bus-sized boulders up the Matterhorn.The trauma of having so much change so fast for so many is truly numbing.But we still have to live it.So the question becomes:How do I do this well?What can I change about the way I’m going at it that would make it easier?

Well, I’m not sure a major upheaval can ever be “easy.”But the thing I most need to change–and am least inclined to alter–is the idea that “this should not be happening.”So that’s a first step.Let’s work on getting past that.It doesn’t make any difference whether it should be happening or not, it is happening.The first step is to accept that.

That leads to the next question:If it’s happening, am I doing what I can to deal with the new situation?Your answer may be as simple as “I’m eating at home more” or as extreme as “I’m living in my grandmother’s basement while I look for another job.”But in every case, the change you make needs to be on target with your changed situation.

But is it?Sometimes we change things just to feel like we are doing something. When we do that out of panic instead of based on a planned effort, we waste time, money, and momentum at a point when we need to conserve all three.

This week started for me with a string of losses.Nothing from which I can’t recover, but quite a load for one morning.I’ve put a lot into getting people to value the talent and experience of older workers.I’m committed to this mission and passionate about the need for change.But as I struggled with my Monday disappointments, my thoughts suddenly turned toward going back to school.To study nursing!

That might be a great strategy for some of you.But I don’t do well with the sight of blood.I do not belong in nursing, even if nurses are in such short supply they can find a job in a day.But the “sure thing” seemed like the right call for a few hours there.

Don’t do it.Don’t grab at something just because it seems like the “sure thing.”Especially if it’s got nothing to do with who you really are.Sure things don’t stay that way.Just ask the bankers.Or the folks who were relying on Enron pensions.

What should you change?Change your strategies.Maybe it’s time to take it up a notch at work so people know how valuable you are.Maybe it’s time to spend less of your evening in front of the TV so you can work on things that can help your dreams take flight.Maybe it is time to take well-developed skills into a new industry or new direction in the same industry—or to learn new skills.

You’re the one who knows where things are starting to pinch personally.But to see a better way to address them, you need to stay calm.It’s hard to be calm when they’re announcing layoffs like they usually to announce Saturday night football scores on the ten o’clock news in September.

Be calm anyway.Prayer helps on this.Or meditation.Or just listening to your breath.

It also helps to regularly brainstorm other ways to deal with your current situation. Do this often.I’m always surprised with what comes up.And even more surprised with what comes up when I do it again a few days later.Once I started brainstorming, nursing disappeared from the radar, incidentally.I found some new ways to approach the challenge that I’m so passionate about.More options to try.More “next things” to get to.

Does that solve the problem?No.Having more to do is just, well, more to do.But Edison’s 1000 attempts before successfully inventing the light bulb does hold strong truth.Looking for another way is the way to get through this gracefully.

Learning how to do that gives you something you could never have gained with uninterrupted prosperity.You will gain resilience.And that’s priceless because it will serve you every time something doesn’t go your way.Being able to bounce is a very good thing.

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Mary Lloyd offers seminars on how you can create a meaningful retirement for yourself and consults to businesses on how to retain, attract, and use older talent well.She is the author of Supercharged Retirement:Ditch the Rocking Chair, Trash the Remote, and Do What You Love, released April 2009, and is available as a speaker.For more on better ways to use the last third of our lives go to =>http://www.mining-silver.com.