Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Be Prepared for Discrimination in the Workplace after 50

Several months before I decided to leave television news for good in 2006, I was passed over for a promotion by a woman nearly half my age. She became my boss. Although she was physically attractive, she left much to be desired mentally. She constantly sought help from her subordinates who, because they were hot-blooded males, were more than happy to oblige. I, on the other hand, wasn't into information sharing. I figured if she was getting paid double my salary to do what I had already been doing, then she needed to figure out on her own how to do her job.

What happened to me is indicative of what is happening to many of my fellow baby boomer buddies in the workplace today. We are being shoved aside for younger, but not necessarily brighter, employees. It's a disturbing trend that is bound to make matters worse as businesses look for cheaper way to run their operations.

Corporate America must take some of the responsibility for pitting the young against the old. Many companies don't want to pay for experience. They would rather hire someone with the ability to do the job for less money than pay top dollar to a more experienced older employee. Some businesses aren't as interested in quality as they are in the bottom line: PROFIT.

Young people, eager to get a foot in the door, often times will accept less money and learn just enough to move on. What some businesses fail to realize is knowledge and years of experience go a long way in keeping them from making the same mistakes over and over again.

According to a researcher from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, potential employers are more likely to discriminate against older workers. Johanna Lahey sent out 4,000 resumes, of people between the ages of 35 and 62, to firms in Boston, MA and St. Petersburg, FL. Her findings indicated younger workers were 40 percent more likely to be called back for an interview than an older worker, defined as 50 years and older. Furthermore, she cited the top ten reasons why employers said OTHER employers might be reluctant to hire older workers:

1) Shorter career potential
2) Lack of energy
3) Cost of health and life insurance and pensions
4) Less flexible/adaptable
5) Higher salary expectations
6) Health risks/absences
7) Knowledge and skills obsolescence
8) Block career path of younger workers
9) Suspicion about competence
10) Fear of discrimination lawsuit

The truth of the matter is baby boomers are living longer, healthier lives and need to make ends meet just like their younger counterparts. Corporate America must be willing to recognize the pool of talented applicants no matter who old they are.

As a boomer who has returned to the workforce, it'll be interesting to see how this all plays out...AGAIN.

In case you're wondering what ever happened with my younger boss…well, after I left the company, she decided she wanted to be a stay at home mom.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Returning to Work After 50

In September of this year, I made a tough decision to return to corporate America after a seven year hiatus since trying to make it as an entrepreneur didn't quite turn out like I hoped it would.

When I left the news business I was in my late forties. Now that I'm four years shy of 60, I see that so much has changed and I am having to learn how to adapt. I chose not to return to my chosen career of "established media" because, quite frankly, I no longer have the stomach for "breaking news" that starts out with A LOT of half-truths and stations always trying to out do the competition. Furthermore, I was no longer interested in going toe-to-toe with younger, less-talented journalists who always seem to have the advantage because of their "blondeness" and desire to work no matter how little the pay.

I prefer not to say where I'm employed but I will tell you it is a position that is totally out of my comfort zone. As I travel through this leg of my journey I am learning a lot about getting back in the game.

Here are some things for you to consider if you are considering returning to the workforce:

HAVE A CLEAR OBJECTIVE: Know why you are returning to the workforce. To make ends meet is one thing but you should also be thinking about what you would like to accomplish while in your position. Just going through the motions of working from 9 to 5 (or whenever) will ultimately make you unhappy and could lead to your untimely termination.

Once I was hired for the position I'm in, I decided to set a goal and am now striving towards it.

Understand this: THE JOB MARKET HAS CHANGED: Not only are many of the employees half our age, but some of them may end up being our supervisors. That is the situation I am currently in. My managers are just a few years older than my 24-year-old daughter and, honestly, it is hard to appreciate and to see them as my superiors but THEY ARE and if I am going to succeed I am going to have to accept that fact and act accordingly.

LEARN TO BE HUMBLE: I've always been a take charge person so it isn't easy for me to sit back in a subservient role as I am currently having to do. Quite frankly, humility as an employee is something I'm still working on but I do keep my devotional reading with me at all times to remind me of WHOSE I am so I don't get it twisted and end up saying things I will live to regret.

If you have aspirations beyond the job, you will have to learn to swallow your pride, know-how and "I can do it better than you!" attitude sometimes for the greater good.

BE WILLING TO ACCEPT LESS MONEY: The job market today is what I call an "employers' market." They can get away with paying less money for employees because the market is saturated with young, hungry professionals who just want to get a foot in the door so they can begin to navigate their way throughout the company. For many baby boomers, like myself, we have been accustomed to the nice, comfortable salaries that afforded us the opportunities to have beautiful homes, a sizable bank account and take fabulous vacations. That is no longer the case. You must be willing to accept the going rate but I would caution you to NEVER accept minimum wage because it devalues your skills and abilities---especially if you have 20 to 30 years of talent and skills to bring to the table.

HAVE A CLEAR EXIT PLAN: Going back to work is serious business for those of us who are more mature than the average employee. Know why you are returning and have a plan for an exit. Working indefinitely without a plan or purpose only leads to frustration.

In my next post, I'l talk about what it's like to work for younger bosses and how you can use the experience to your advantage.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

What Did Oprah Have that I Did Not

During these boomer years of my life, I have often thought of the success of Oprah Winfrey. I wonder what she had that allowed her to climb the ladder to become the phenomenal business woman and media icon she is today. Umpteen years ago, we both started out on the same path as aspiring journalists. I'm sure we both had drive and determination and, yes, we had to have a self-confidence about our talents and abilities. Although affirmative action opened up many doors in the 70s and early 80s, it wasn't a sure fire guarantee that you would climb the ladder of success once you got your foot in the door.

Unlike Oprah, I wasn't molested as a child and didn't have a baby out of wedlock. I didn't grow up poor with a single mother in the deep south. (Maybe we were poor in Ohio but I never felt it). I wasn't fat either. So how does a young woman with plenty of "perceived" advantages in the Midwest fail to accomplish her goals and dreams nearly 40 years later?

Well, I wouldn't call myself a total failure because I did accomplish many of the things I set out to do and I refused to allow my dark skin color hold me back. But unlike Oprah, I didn't have a true mentor---a white male who recognized my gifts and talents and was willing to mold and shape me into the vision I had of myself. Perhaps it's because I was too radical at an early age. I wasn't going to allow "the man" dictate my road to success, especially since he had no clue of my struggles or ambitions. Plus, I was hell bent on presenting the stories of black people in a favorable light---not as criminals, thugs and poverty-stricken bums.

Unlike Oprah, marriage slowed me down. When I met the man of my dreams, I thought I could have the best of both worlds: a career, husband and family. After all, if Claire Huxtable could do it, why couldn't I? Of course my first marriage turned into a nightmare and I lost some of my drive and determination in the process. On the other hand, When Oprah met Stedman she was content to just have him around when she needed (or wanted) him. And her baby was her dog.

So what did Oprah have that I did not? Oprah, with the help of some good folks along the way, was able to achieve her goals and dreams, along with her undying perseverance, drive and sheer will. I had some of those same characteristics once but no one to help guide me.

If you're a baby boomer woman over the age of 50, it would be easy to live on the would've, could've, should've and to compare yourself to the likes of Oprah. But at this stage of our journey, we must face the hard core reality that time is getting shorter by the minute and it really doesn't make sense to travel down the memory lane of disappointment. While it’s natural to make comparisons, the problem is you end up unhappy, even when you have a good life, marriage, and family. The comparisons make you begin to question what you already have.

No, I didn't achieve the kind of success Oprah did according to the world's standards, but today I am able to look at my strengths as a mature, seasoned woman and see my true value. I will continue to do what I can to make a difference, using the talents and abilities God has blessed me with to help others shine.

It’s actually one of the keys to my success because without it I would have a hard time waking up each day.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Becoming an Entrepreneur After 50 is Challenging

“Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away. Move on to something else that’s more productive.” – Donald Trump

Walking away from anything is never easy. It wasn't during my first marriage, although I knew it was the best thing for me. It wasn't when I walked away from television news, although I was totally burned out. The same holds true now as I prepare to walk away from my consulting business.

Seven years ago, I had a passion and a vision. Although the vision wasn't in clear focus at the time, I knew I had a media/communications expertise and I wanted to share it with others. I was convinced the "how" part would come over time.

I spent a lot of time networking and trying to get my name out there. I automatically assumed that once people talked to me and looked at my credentials, they would know I was the REAL DEAL and light years above any other competition around.

Initially, I made some great contacts which led to business. That business generated referrals and life was good. I just assumed word of mouth and my hustle would provide a steady income but that would not be the case. Here are some of the lessons I've learned:

Know Your Market: This means knowing more than the people you want to sell or provide a service to. You need to understand the community you live in and what the trends may be for what you offer. Being black and female is definitely not an advantage in the South. A few "tokens" get through but unless you're truly connected, you will find yourself operating in the red more often than the black. How ironic!

Network in the Right Circles: This may take some time because when you first get into the networking game, you'll find yourself going to many different events to find your perfect fit. I spent way too much time networking in the WRONG circles, only to discover that someone else who offered similar services was being heavily promoted by someone who was highly respecting Inside our 919 community.

Don't Sell Yourself Short: Often times business failures results from the sales of goods and services below cost price. Sometimes in business, cash crunch, fierce competition or economic factor make businesses sell their goods below cost price and this can ruin your business. It certainly did mine.

Be Adaptable to Change: Change is constant, so you either you align your business with the trend and ride to the top or you remain stagnant and eventually fold up. You also need to constantly upgrade your technological strengths as swiftly as possible.

Lack of True Entrepreneurial Skills: When an entrepreneur lacks the necessary skills such as leadership skill, cash flow management, sales, persistence and self belief and so on; such an entrepreneur is bound to fail. An entrepreneur is the head and pilot of the business. I had the leadership and persistence skills but lacked a steady cash flow and sales.

When you know the odds are stacked against you sometimes the best thing to do is walk away but DON'T EVER GIVE UP. I don't want to make the excuse that aging, race, or sex had anything to do with my failure to succeed as a boomerpreneur. After all, I'm Beverly Mahone--a boomer woman on the move and making a difference at midlife.

I have moved on.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

What Happens When Your Entrepreneurial Light Starts to Fade After 50

My last day in a television newsroom was March 26, 2006. I decided to take a huge leap of faith and do what I love on my own terms. Plus I was totally sick of “breaking news” and the sensationalism and inaccuracy of the news business.

Three months later, my first book was published: Whatever! A Baby Boomer’s Journey Into Middle Age. It told my life story as a 40-something year-old woman dealing with subjects like working for younger know-it-alls, being back on the dating scene after 40 and suffering through menopause---all kinds of drama. With the book came a book tour, television appearances and speaking engagements. All of a sudden I was a go-to gal for baby boomers and I became a baby boomer expert. Life was good. PLUS the book became a best seller on Amazon.

From there, I created Boomer Diva Nation and started connecting with other women in my age group who were doing wonderful things to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others. I also became an entrepreneur and formed a consulting start-up known as BAMedia. As a media consultant, I offered my expertise to my fellow boomers to help them get a leg up in their businesses. My motto was: “If it’s your time to shine, I can help you turn on the spotlight.”

I was networking my behind off. If there was an event, I was there trying to be seen AND heard. I wanted others to see my gifts, talents and expertise. I wanted them to know I had what they needed. I wanted to help them.

Two things I know FOR SURE about me: 1) I am a natural when it comes to being able to communicate. 2) I love helping others shine and helping them tell their own stories.

I was so sure this was the journey I was supposed to on. But as they say, a funny thing happened on the way to.....
In my case, a not-so-funny-thing-happened-on-the-way-to-success.

I thought I had an entrepreneurial spirit that was shining so brightly that people around me would have to wear sunglasses just to be in my presence. But little did I know, spirit is not the same as heart.

So what went wrong? Stay tuned for the next post.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

A Boomer Review of the Movie The Internship

The Internship is a movie about two middle-aged men who suddenly become unemployed and end up at GOOGLE as interns, along with dozens of younger, technological geeks.

Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson portray the two middle-aged men who were watch salesmen and lifelong friends. Without warning, their company shuts down because, as the owner says, "mobile phones have replaced watches as the best means of telling time."

As "Ngooglers" Vaughn and Wilson are teamed up with a group of perceived misfits who must compete in a series of challenges, with the winning group being offered permanent jobs at the company.

Despite other not-so-flattering reviews I have read about this movie, I actually enjoyed it. As a middle-aged woman, I clearly understand the challenges my fellow boomers face when trying to re-enter the workforce. We did not grow up with computers, so when trying to re-enter corporate America or simply changing jobs, there are, in many cases, technology demands we may not be proficient in. And then there is the ribbing (or behind-the-back insults) we may get from our younger co-workers.

The Internship shows how wide the generation gap is when it comes to technology but also demonstrates the value middle-aged folks still bring to the business world. Case in point: Vaughn and Wilson are able to convince another middle-aged small business owner the importance of using technology to grow his business with a sales pitch AFTER the younger team tried to do it with a computer-laced chart of bars and graphs and a lack of understanding of how to effectively communicate face-to-face.

One reviewer calls The Internship "tired and predictable." I totally disagree. While it may not be realistic for middle-aged folks who are unemployed to believe they can get an internship at a place like Google, there is no mistaking the fact that boomers have an edge when it comes to wheeling and dealing without having to use an app for that.

If I had to point out a negative in the movie, I would have to say it's the lack of diversity, especially when it comes to young black males. It seems as if Hollywood has written off young black men as technological geniuses. Having a biracial young man in The Internship does not count especially when he shows no sign of color other than his hair.

If you're a baby boomer, I recommend you see The Internship and keep hope alive.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Solar Shades are Hip for Baby Boomer Divas

Recently, I was invited to try a new style of sunglasses offered by Solar Shield®. The sunglasses are designed to be worn over your own prescription frames and provide ultimate sun protection for eyeglass wearers. There were more than a dozen to choose from. Since red is my signature color I chose the designer temples.

I tried them on first without my eyeglasses and knew I was looking cute! Then I tested them with my prescription glasses. Sadly, they did not fit over my Michael Kors. That brings me to this point: When shopping for sunglasses, it may be wise to actually try them on instead of purchasing them without knowing specifically if it will be the right fit and style for your face. I'm sure if I had purchased them, the Company would've reimbursed me or allowed me to select another pair.

If you are planning to make a purchase of the solar shades, my recommendation would be to contact the Company directly FIRST to make sure you are ordering the right size for your prescription glasses. And they make it easy for you on their website:

Customer Service: 800.959.9038
Live representative available from 8:00am-5:00pm EST

Even if you don't get the sunglasses, you can also buy some Solar Shield® ClipOns and they also have a sizing guide on their website to help you find the correct fit.

I still absolutely love the solar shades I received from Solar Shield® and I will be sporting them while hanging out in the sun. No one has to know whether I can truly see or not. I just want to look like a cute and hip baby boomer diva!

Please note: I was offered compensation for my review of this product as a member of the Vibrant Nation Influencer Network.

What To Do When a Loved One Dies

Death is one of those subjects many of us don't like talking about but the older we get the more necessary it becomes, especially if you have a husband, children and siblings. I've written about this subject before (Have You Had the Death Talk with Your Spouse Yet) In this post, I'd like give you some tips shared by Paul Finkelstein.

Request copies of the death certificate. Depending on where you live, you have two or three places to turn to for this document. You can phone, email or personally visit the office of the county recorder (or county clerk, as the term may be). You can alternately contact your state's vital records department (sometimes called the state registrar or department of health), though it may take a little longer to get the document this way. In addition, some large and mid-sized cities maintain their own registrars of births and deaths.

Call advisors, executors & business partners as applicable. The deceased's lawyer and CPA should be quickly notified, along with any business partners and the executor of his or her estate. You must have a say in the decision-making that follows. The goals of protecting family assets, carrying out your loved one's bequests, and determining the next steps for a business will follow.

Call your loved one's current or former employer(s). Notify them even if he or she left the work force years ago, as retirement savings or pension payments may be involved. As the conversation develops, it is perfectly appropriate to ask about pertinent financial matters - say, 401(k) or 403(b) savings that will be inherited by a beneficiary or what will happen to unused vacation time and/or unpaid bonuses.

Funds amassed in a qualified retirement plan sponsored by an employer (or an IRA, for that matter) commonly go to the primary beneficiary who has been named on the most recent beneficiary form filled out by the account owner. That sounds simple enough - but certain rules and regulations can make things complicated.1

As a general rule, if the late 401(k) or 403(b) account owner was your spouse, then you are the presumed beneficiary of the 401(k) or 403(b) assets. Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), workplace retirement plans are directed to abide by this guideline. If someone else has been named as the primary beneficiary of the account with your consent, then the assets will go that person.1

If the late 401(k) or 403(b) account owner was single, the assets in the account will go to whoever is designated as the primary beneficiary. The beneficiary designation will override any wishes stated in a will (for the record, the Supreme Court ruled so in 2009).1

To arrange and confirm the transfer or distribution of such assets, the beneficiary form must be found. If you can't locate it, the employer and/or the financial firm overseeing the retirement plan should provide access to a copy. The financial firm should ask you to supply:

*A certified copy of the account owner's death certificate

*A notarized affidavit of domicile (a document certifying his or her place of residence at the time of death)

If the named beneficiary of the retirement plan assets is a minor, his or her birth certificate will be requested. If the named beneficiary is a trust, the financial firm will want to see a W-9 form and a copy of the trust agreement.2

As to what to do with the retirement plan assets, there are really only three courses of action: you can a) transfer the assets into an IRA, b) transfer them into an IRA you own if the account owner was your spouse, or c) take the assets as a lump sum and pay the resulting income tax on that money, with the possibility of moving into a higher tax bracket.2

The value of these assets will be included in the estate of the deceased, unless the named beneficiary is a spouse or a charity.3

If you have been widowed, call Social Security. If you already receive benefits, you may now be eligible for greater benefits.

If your spouse received Social Security and you did not, you may now qualify for survivors benefits - and you should let Social Security know as soon as possible, as these benefits may be paid out relative to your application date rather than the date of your loved one's death.

If this is the case, you may apply for survivors benefits by phone or by visiting a Social Security office. You will need to have some extensive paperwork on hand, specifically:

*Proof of the death (death certificate, funeral home documentation)

*Your late spouse's Social Security #

*His/her most recent W-2 forms or federal self-employment tax return

*Your own Social Security # & birth certificate

*Social Security #s & birth certificates of any dependent children

*Your marriage certificate or divorce papers, as relevant

*The name of your bank & the number of your bank account for direct deposit purposes

If you have reached full retirement age, you will likely get 100% of the basic benefit amount that your late spouse was receiving. If you are in your sixties but haven't yet reached full retirement age, you may receive anywhere from 71-99% of that amount. If you have a child younger than 16, you will get 75% of your late spouse's basic benefit amount and so will your child.4

Call the insurance company. Assuming your loved one had some form of life insurance, contact the policyholder services department of that insurer and confirm the steps for claiming the death benefit. A claimant's statement will have to be filled out, signed and presented to the insurance company (one for each named beneficiary of the policy), and a certified copy of the death certificate must be attached to said statement(s). Some insurers also want you to fill out a W-9 form, which tells the IRS about any interest paid on the value of the policy.5

Death benefits are generally paid out within days of a claim. Presumably, they will be paid out in a lump sum. If that is the case, they won't be taxable.

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.


1 - online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904007304576496612749922654.html [9/7/11]

2 - www.schwab.com/public/file/P-1625576/CS13416-02_MKT13598-10_FINAL_118091.pdf [12/10]

3 - www.americanbar.org/groups/real_property_trust_estate/resources/estate_planning/planning_with_retirement_benefits.html [2/11/13]

4 - www.ssa.gov/pubs/10084.html#a0=2 [2/11/13]

5 - www.360financialliteracy.org/Topics/Insurance/Life-Insurance/Claiming-Life-Insurance-Benefits [3/20/13]

6 - nvf.org/death-pension [3/20/13]

7 - www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc356.html [1/29/13]

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Aging Must Be Politically Correct

It seems as though I won’t be aging gracefully as a “little old lady” like my Big Mama (grandma) did. She, by the way, lived to be 100 years old and in my eyes she was a “sweet, little old lady.”

There appears to be a rallying cry from an ageism campaign group out of California to ban descriptions like “old” “elderly” and even “senior” when making reference to those of us over the age of 50. The International Longevity Center has gone as far as to create a new media guide.

According to Dr. Robert Butler, President and CEO of the Longevity Center, the guide “is an important step in overcoming ageist language and beliefs by providing journalists and others who work in the media with an appropriate body of knowledge…”

Here are some of the words they want eliminated:
• Ancient
• Biddy
• Blubbering idiot
• Dirt ball
• Crotchety old man
• Dirty old man
• Fogy
• Fossil
• Geezer
• Hag
• Little old lady
• Old fart
• Old goat
• One foot in the grave
• Over the hill
• Prune
• Senile old fool
• Sweet old lady

As a working journalist over the age of 50, I know better than to use those words and I would certainly hope that my younger colleagues know better too. Sometimes I even question why we use the word "baby boomer" to describe our generation, although I do understand how the terminology got its name.

The guide also suggests that “attributing physical decline to age erroneously suggests that age itself is the cause of decline when, in fact, illness is often the cause. Further, diseases that manifest themselves later in life are often caused by behavior and environmental exposure early in life.”

So I guess the middle age spread I am now in a battle with must be attributed to all that pizza I ate in my teens and twenties and not the result of the slowing down of my metabolism. But how does one explain arthritis, wrinkles and sagging breasts?

Monday, March 11, 2013

No More Paper Checks for Social Security

If you've been receiving a social security or disability check in the mail, you better get ready for a MAJOR change. Effective this month, the Social Security Administration is forcing millions of older Americans to jump into the 21st century and the digital age of banking. That means you either need to have a checking account for direct deposit or get used to spending your money with a pre-paid debit card. This move will affect about five million people.

The Department of the Treasury says the government will save approximately one billion dollars over the next ten years through the elimination of the paper checks and going paperless will also result in fewer lost and stolen checks.

If you don't have a bank account, there are a couple of options to get started:

Direct Express Card – a prepaid MasterCard debit card recommended by the Treasury. For no monthly fee (unlike many other prepaid cards), your benefits are deposited automatically to the card, which can be used to make purchases or withdraw cash from an ATM. Your deposits are also federally insured by the FDIC.

Open an Electronic Transfer Account – ETAs are available at nearly 400 banks nationwide. They are a low-cost account designed specifically for Americans receiving some sort of federal government benefit payment (including Social Security).

Some EXCEPTIONS are being made the new paperless social security checks. The government says people who are 90 and over and are still getting Social Security benefit checks will continue to receive their benefits the same way. There are approximately 275,000 people who fall into that category.

In addition to the automatic waiver from electronic payments for those 90 and over, people living in remote areas who might have trouble getting to a bank can also petition for a waiver from the new rules.

So it looks like the days of grandma stashing cash inside her mattress may be over.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Boomer Women Want the Look of Sophistication

Forty years ago I could never envision myself wearing any kind of glasses EXCEPT sunglasses. Funny, how time and aging can give you a different perspective.

As an author and reader, I know I have put tremendous strain on my eyes over the years so I was delighted to receive and try out a complimentary pair of reading glasses from iconeyewear.

Imagine my surprise when I opened up the package and saw how cute they were. I'm not sure what I was expecting but they were very stylish. I could definitely see myself reading in these.

My first test was taking them to church and following along with the reading of a Bible scripture. Hallelujah! A miracle! I could see the words without squinting.

Next was finishing up a book I had been reading where the font size was written for 20 year olds with perfect vision. Now I can read a book and look sexy too!

What I love about the Borghese readers from Icon Eyewear is they are very stylish and give me a look of sophistication. Women of a certain age deserve to look classy even if they are wearing reading glasses.

The right eyewear will allow you to get up close and personal for all of your reading pleasure.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Why Some Blacks Lack Business Success

I read a post recently that said blacks need to stop blaming white people for everything that's wrong in their lives. I am in total agreement with that statement, HOWEVER,there's no getting around the fact that whites are more likely to consider their own when it comes to hiring, referrals and doing business in general.

According to a study by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, black men and women are 50 percent more likely to attempt a business start-up than their white counterparts, but the numbers show many of those new black businesses never get off the ground. And for those that do actually start, they are not growing as quickly or as big as white-owned companies.

A 2008 MIT study set out to determine why Asians and Whites outperformed blacks in the marketplace. The conclusion: Blacks fail because they have fewer opportunities. And why do we have fewer opportunities? Here are some of my reasons:

You're not a part of the clique: If you do any networking in your local community, you will probably find there are certain groups of people who are always together. They travel in packs and support each other. They don't mind you coming to one of their networking meetings or events (where you pay them money) but when it comes to supporting your events or inviting you to special gatherings that are more personable, you tend to be excluded. I tried being a part of the "in" crowd once but I discovered I was more of an OUTSIDER than an INSIDER.

They don't know, like AND trust you: They may know and like you but TRUST is major. It's one thing to purchase a $19.95 book you may have written but it's another thing to fork over $1,995 for your service. Another thing is they are quick to compare you to their "good black friends" and if you don't measure up, you're not going to make their list of the "likeables."

You don't get referrals: Recently on Facebook, someone posted a thread looking for speakers. I read through the recommendations and didn't see the name of one black person. I recommended myself and proceeded to question why there were no blacks on the list. NO RESPONSE from the author of that post, however, my friend Felicia Slattery (who got lots of referrals in that thread) did speak up and recommend me but that fell on deaf ears. Bottom line is, if they don't know, like and trust you, they sure as hell aren't going to refer you know matter how good you are and how well you deliver your service.

You live in the South: I actually had someone tell me this a few years ago. She was commenting on how different the Triangle of NC was from the rest of the country. "It isn't you Beverly. It's just the way they are down here" is what she said. So I guess that means if I'm not cleaning your house or taking care of your children, I am of no value to you. It doesn't matter that I have a college education and can speak AND write better than you.

There's already one (or maybe two) "token" black business owners in their circle and they're comfortable enough with that. Along with that, there are some blacks who don't want to give up their "token" crown. In some cases, we are our own worst enemies. We will cut each other down in front of whites just to be that "one good black person who isn't like all the rest."

We're judged by the company we keep: “Be careful of the environment you choose for it will shape you. Be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them.” – W. Clement Stone

Finally, we don't do enough to support each other.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Silly Surveys are not for Boomer Women

As a veteran journalist who has reported on various surveys, I know that many of them are not all that they appear to be. We may be told that an OVERWHELMING majority may believe this or that but the number of people actually surveyed may only be a couple of thousand people or even less.

Now here comes another survey that has me shaking my head in disgust: Doing Household Chores Actually Turns-Up The Romance New Survey Reveals Women Unclog Their Minds While Clearing Drains

A new survey from Liquid-Plumr of 1,000 women ages 18 and older shows:
• A third of women admitted to fantasizing about their significant other WHILE DOING HOUSEWORK.
• 49% of women were more likely to be in the mood to be intimate after their chores were complete.

This survey was reportedly conducted by KRC Research on behalf of Liquid-Plumr. A total of 1,000 women 18 years old and older were interviewed via telephone from Nov. 2 to Nov. 12, 2012, including cell-phone exchanges.

I don't know who these women were but I am guessing many of them were single and on the younger---WAY YOUNGER---side of 50. Who in the world fantasizes about their significant other while scrubbing toilets and bathtubs or washing dishes? And who in the world would be in a romantic mood after spending a significant amount of time cleaning. How about a "Calgon take me away" moment instead?

Now to the contrary, there is ANOTHER survey that says the divorce rate among couples who shared housework equally was around 50 percent higher than among those where the woman did most of the work. One of the authors of this Norwegian based study says the more a man does in the home, the higher the divorce rate. Either this is a totally sexist survey in believing that a woman's place is in the home doing housework OR the women surveyed don't want to entertain the idea that they may have married a gay man. Personally, I want a man who knows how to do housework. That means he had some home training growing up.

Either way, neither one of these surveys seem to make any sense to me. What do you think?