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June 2024

InFullBloom Archives


Speaking Engagements

Predict and Prepare sponsored by Workday 12/16

The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #171, 2/15
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #160, 8/14
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #145, 1/14
Workday Predict and Prepare Webinar, 12/10/2013
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #134, 8/13
CXOTalk: Naomi Bloom, Nenshad Bardoliwalla, and Michael Krigsman, 3/15/2013
Drive Thru HR, 12/17/12
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #110, 8/12
Webinar Sponsored by Workday: "Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Business Value," 5/3/12 Audio/Whitepaper
Webinar Sponsored by Workday: "Predict and Prepare," 12/7/11
HR Happy Hour - Episode 118 - 'Work and the Future of Work', 9/23/11
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #87, 9/11
Keynote, Connections Ultimate Partner Forum, 3/9-12/11
"Convergence in Bloom" Webcast and accompanying white paper, sponsored by ADP, 9/21/10
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #63, 9/10
Keynote for Workforce Management's first ever virtual HR technology conference, 6/8/10
Knowledge Infusion Webinar, 6/3/10
Webinar Sponsored by Workday: "Predict and Prepare," 12/8/09
Webinar Sponsored by Workday: "Preparing to Lead the Recovery," 11/19/09 Audio/Powerpoint
"Enterprise unplugged: Riffing on failure and performance," a Michael Krigsman podcast 11/9/09
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #39, 10/09
Workday SOR Webinar, 8/25/09
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #15, 10/08

Keynote, HR Tech Europe, Amsterdam, 10/25-26/12
Master Panel, HR Technology, Chicago, 10/9/012
Keynote, Workforce Magazine HR Tech Week, 6/6/12
Webcast Sponsored by Workday: "Building a Solid Business Case for HR Technology Change," 5/31/12
Keynote, Saba Global Summit, Miami, 3/19-22/12
Workday Rising, Las Vegas, 10/24-27/11
HR Technology, Las Vegas 10/3-5/11
HR Florida, Orlando 8/29-31/11
Boussias Communications HR Effectiveness Forum, Athens, Greece 6/16-17/11
HR Demo Show, Las Vegas 5/24-26/11
Workday Rising, 10/11/10
HRO Summit, 10/22/09
HR Technology, Keynote and Panel, 10/2/09

Adventures of Bloom & Wallace

a work in progress

Reflections On Turning 70 — I’m Not Going Quietly!

Naomi & Cousin Ronni Circa 1950

Naomi & Cousin Ronni Circa 1950

I’m turning 70 this week — yes, 70 years old — and that milestone, combined with the natural period of reflection that I always observe around the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, has reminded me of just how truly blessed has been my life, how very lucky I am to have gotten to this point.  Many of my childhood friends didn’t make it into their twenties, my birth mother as well as my two closest friends didn’t make it to 40 (including my so talented and full of life cousin Ronni), and the number of people I’ve loved who are no longer with me just keeps growing.  Losing my Uncle Paul Bloom earlier this year, just after his 99th birthday, meant there is no longer an older generation in my family.  Now, I am it.

My body doesn’t work as well as it once did (if you’ve seen me scootering past you at a major conference, then you know that I have some mobility challenges, but then most of you didn’t know me during my llambada-enriched, sailing the Caribbean prime so as to have a proper basis for comparison), my dental repair bills are stratospheric, and I have macular degeneration (but thankfully with no visible impairment as yet) — and that’s just for starters.  Believe me when I tell you that even if you escape truly life-threatening diseases and accidents, aging brings with it a shitload of minor medical issues.  From revolting skin barnacles and easier/constant bruising (particularly true for older men) on your arms to challenging changes in your digestion and the increased time it takes for anything to heal, these are annoyances for which none of us are prepared.  When I think of how lightly I used to travel compared to all the crap that’s now needed to keep me on the move, I am very thankful that my status with most airlines means that I don’t have to pay for checked bags.

But this post is not a lament on aging or my distant youth.  Rather it is a celebration of a life well-lived, of my life thus far and of the life that’s in front of me.  While so many of my friends and family never made it to 70, I’m still here.  I’ve survived.  More than just survived, I’ve flourished and prospered and had a truly wonderful time.  And, in my own way, I’ve made an effort to improve the world around me.  Sometimes that’s been related to my professional life, as in trying to save the world from crappy enterprise HRM software and equally crappy HRM practices/policies/plan designs/etc. by helping to design and deliver better software and better HRM.  Sometime that’s been related to my personal life, as in making philanthropy central to our budget, both of time/energy and of financial resources.  Sometimes it’s all about lending a helping hand, reaching out to comfort, being there even when it’s uncomfortable or inconvenient or you really don’t know what to say or do.  And sometimes it’s about pushing and pushing and pushing because there’s a wrong that really needs righting.

I haven’t accomplished anything monumental in my life thus far, and it’s unlikely that I’m going to do so.  But I’d like to think that a little bit of good done here and a little more done there adds up to what we’re commanded as Jews (but I really think this applies to everyone) to do in the words tikkun olam, literally to fix the world.  But there’s so much to fix (more now than at any time in my lengthening life) that I often feel overwhelmed at where to begin, not to mention that there’s never time to keep my closets organized and my books alphabetized, to select cards and gifts for every occasion while changing our home’s décor with the seasons, or to master any of the topics/authors/etc. about which I’d love to be more knowledgeable.  But the important thing about turning 70 is that it’s time to make peace, if you’re ever going to do so, with the fact that you’ll never be able to do everything you’d like to do.  It’s truly time to refine ruthlessly your priorities.

Ron and I spent the last few weeks in England, and I spent a good bit of quiet time staring out to sea and noodling on those priorities.  Where on this earth do we want to travel?  With whom among our friends and families do we want to spend time?  What old friend books and what new ones do I want to read?  Do I really want to make time to improve my Spanish, sketching, marine navigation, and so many other skills?  And what about boating, theater, music, museums, and just lolling in our pool?  Then there’s the remodeling project from hell that’s consumed far too much of the last 18 months because of truly awful execution by the firm we’re in the midst of firing (but which still must be made to finish work that can’t be picked up by someone else, like pulled apart furniture awaiting reupholstery).  What about my work with The Florida Repertory Theater (on whose Board I’ve sat for 10+ years and which is a nationally rated professional regional theater) or with a half dozen other local organizations which I support personally as well as financially?  And all of that is apart from my continued efforts in #EnSW.

Doesn’t it feel like a little priority refinement is in order?  Don’t we all know that if everything is important than nothing is?  Well, I don’t have any great insights on how to handle all of this, but I can tell you from the vantage point of having lived large these almost 70 years that setting life priorities does not get any easier unless you choose to withdraw from life — and that’s not going to happen here.  But the only real insight I’ve achieved about all of this is that, if you’re inclined to be a neurotic overachiever, that doesn’t change just because your joints are screaming and your hairdresser has to work harder at covering the grey.  Au contraire.  Those habits of a lifetime define not only how we live but also how we age.  And for me, although the todo list has evolved and my priorities have changed, and while I’ve had to make a range of changes in everyday living to accommodate the physical changes of aging, it appears that I’m not likely to slip quietly into a bingo game-laden, early bird special dining, daytime television-watching style of aging.  Not while I’m still sentient.

So watch out world.  Naomi at 70 could be even more trouble — and having more fun — than Naomi at 50 or 40 or 30.  And that’s the point.

12 comments to Reflections On Turning 70 — I’m Not Going Quietly!

  • Naomi
    Glad to see you aren’t receding into the bingo life. When I turned 80, 2 years ago, I finally gave up traveling the world (46 countries) pushing measurement and evaluation on a math phobic HR world and writing a dozen nonfiction books on the topic and turned to fiction (Rough Waters by Doctor Jac). Now I’m onto the next title, a sequel, Out of Nowhere, with a third in the series half finished, Grace Under Fire. After cancer, a stroke, open heart surgery and three ruptured disks in my back I’m still kicking a golf ball around, around 80. So, the point of all this self-promotion is, Never, Never, Never give up.
    Stick in there Naomi, you are inspiring.

    • Naomi Bloom

      Dear Jac, You’ve totally made my day just by finding you in my inbox with your own very inspiring tale. There are people for whom life becomes a fairly mindless combination of terrible TV, aimless online games, and daily errands, but that is NEVER going to be our lives. Health challenges have made themselves pretty visible for me, especially as regards my mobility, but with Ron’s help I just keep moving — and I’m so glad that you’re doing the same. Funny that you’re writing non-fiction as I’ve been noodling on doing that for a while. We can’t know what the next chapter will bring, but we can know that we’ll be first in line for new experiences. Be well, Naomi

  • What a GREAT post… I’m MUCH younger than you… approaching 65 in March of 2016, the Medicare vultures have my address and phone number and hound me daily to pick them for my healthcare needs… but, I too have things to do, people to see and work to do… for a while anyway. Just this year I took up learning to play the flute… my old hands are slow, but I’m getting there and the sweet young lady who is my teacher is a delight and makes my day when I visit. I knit, I paint, I encourage my grandchildren and I grieve as well, lost my Mother this past July, lost a favorite old dog (he was 18) last December, I’ve survived cancer more than once so I’m proud I’m still here and still trying to make a difference. I found you via Diana Gessler’s student group on facebook. I LOVE your writing, always have admired people with a way with words… and you are one of those people dear lady.

    • Naomi Bloom

      I’m so very glad you found your way here. I love your sketches, and now that I’ve signed up for your blog I’ll be sure to see everything you post there. Most of my blog posts have been about my professional world, the world of human resource technology (yes, I started my work life as a programmer in 1967, fresh out of university), but increasingly I’ve been writing about my life. I’m still working, but I’ve stepped back from the heavy client work that had me on the road every week over the last 40+ years. When I saw that you were a programmer, I thought it was meant to be for us to connect over sketching, something I want to do but for which I rarely have the time. In any case, I thought you might also enjoy my post on Christmas from the perspective of a Jewish merchant’s young daughter.

  • […] just turned 70, a landmark birthday in so many respects, and am still basking in the afterglow of another year well-lived.  Living […]

  • […] I was also struck by the unflinching honesty of this post, How to Judge People. Beats the heck out of “personal branding,” whatever that is. Naomi Bloom offered similarly frank views in her post about turning 70 (Reflections On Turning 70 — I’m Not Going Quietly!). […]

  • Dear Naomi, your blogs are always good but this one is one of the greatest. You are an inspiration and I don’t think anyone who knows can think of you and retirement in one sentence.
    I can never forget you sending me a birthday wish from miles across two years ago, just one of those “little bit of good” things Ron and you keep at.
    Wish you a very happy birthday!

  • Marsha bloom weitz

    Sister dear beautifully said and a worthy person like you will never age only in number but not in living life love you

  • Hey Naomi,

    One way you could help your Spanish learning would be to come to Spain. Come down south to Seville, and we’ll show Ron and yourself around, and introduce you to some of the best tapas bars for miles.

    Two birds, one stone 🙂

    • Naomi Bloom

      We’re actually planning some travel in your part of the world for 2017, so please stay tuned. And take very good care of yourself in the meantime so that you’re in shape to “push the chair.”

  • Bernard Aller, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CEBS


    While I’m not far behind in age, please do not believe that you haven’t accomplished anything monumental in your life. Your wise, worldly influence on our profession, and more importantly, me, personally has been “monumental=plus”.

    While I may not be able to speak for the profession, I, personally say “THANKS” … I look forward to many more years of your influence and contributions.

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