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Robert De Niro Shows What Older Workers Can Contribute

Cast member Robert De Niro arrives for the premiere of “The Intern” in New York September 21, 2015. Reuters/Lucas Jackson Ben Whittaker is 70, retired and discovers that tai chi classes, learning a new language and visiting his grand-kids isn’t all it’s…

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People Who Achieved Their Dreams After Age 60

This article was published by New and has been reprinted with permission. 

Senior Wonders: People Who Achieved Their Dreams After Age 60
By Karen L. Pepkin, Wendell C. Taylor

The media abounds with negative views about the impact of aging on physical, cognitive, and financial well-being. In fact, there are entire industries that have emerged to counteract the effects of aging — nutritional supplements, hormone treatments, surgical improvements, lotions, potions, and the like. They all seem to underscore Bette Davis’ famous quote, “Old age is no place for sissies.”

What if there were another point of view? What if aging brought about, not decline but our greatest accomplishments? What if we looked at aging as Dr.Christiane Northrup does? She tells us that “getting older is inevitable, but aging isn’t.”

Senior Wonders Book EmbedOur book, Senior Wonders: People Who Achieved Their Dreams After Age 60 profiles 23 individuals and two groups who not only survived into old age, but achieved their greatest successes. As we wrote our book, we looked for emerging themes. Were there any commonalities among these people? Although their accomplishments were in a variety of fields (arts, sciences, social causes,entertainment, etc.), several themes became apparent. We think of them as the 3 P’s:Passion, Perspective on Life, and Persistence.

Passion, by definition, is any compelling emotion or feeling. These individuals either had a strong belief in what they were doing, or in the case of those with an artistic bent, they couldn’t help creating, whether it was writing, painting, or acting.

Many of the seniors in our book faced daunting obstacles and accomplished their goals by sheer will and determination; they did not give up.

Perspective on life emerged as a theme when we noticed that several of our seniors commented that they couldn’t have achieved their success at an earlier age.  Having lived a long life enabled them to learn from failures and successes, establish a clear focus, and develop a unique perspective.

Our last P is Persistence. This theme became apparent when we observed that many of our seniors faced daunting obstacles and accomplished their goals by sheer will and determination; they did not give up.

Author Harry Bernstein and humanitarian Clara McBride Hale are two who exemplify these themes.

Bernstein was born in Stockport, England in 1910 and began his education as an architect. But when his teacher discouraged his career choice, he decided to pursue a writing career and moved to New York to accomplish his goal. Although he made a living as a writer, his wife, Ruby, had to work as a school secretary to subsidize the family income. He did have one novel published, but it wasn’t successful. Undaunted, Bernstein continued to write, penning more than 20 novels that were never published.

In 2007, at age 97, he wrote an autobiographical novel, The Invisible Wall, which received critical acclaim. The book poignantly described the “invisible wall” that separated the Jewish and Christian sections of his home town. At age 98, he published, The Dream, which told the story of his family’s move to America. Because these two books were so successful, he was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship at age 98 to pursue his writing.

At 99, he published the third book in the series, The Golden Willow: The Story of a Lifetime of Love, about his marriage to Ruby and later years. His novels have been translated into several languages. Bernstein stated: “If I had not lived until I was 90, I would not have been able to write this book…It could not have been done, even when I was 10 years younger. I wasn’t ready. God knows what other potentials lurk in other people, if we could only keep them alive well into their 90s.”

When her husband died, Clara McBride Hale had to support herself and her three small children. Not wanting to leave her children unsupervised for extended periods of time, she opened a day care in her Harlem neighborhood. Many of the children in her care stayed overnight because their parents worked as domestics. She then decided to become a foster parent and raised 40 foster children, all of whom pursued a college education. At 64, after 28 years, she retired from the foster care system. Soon after, her daughter referred a drug-addicted mother and baby to Hale for help. Before long, she was caring for all this mother’s drug-addicted children.

As the word spread throughout New York City, more and more drug-addicted babies were left in Hale’s care. During the first year and a half, her family provided financial and other support to keep her mission going. Then, the Borough of Manhattan president, Percy Sutton, arranged public funding. Also, John Lennon left provisions for support of Hale House in his will.

In 1975, Hale House moved to 122nd Street where it remains today. After successfully reuniting hundreds of families, only 12 children had to be placed for adoption. At age 85, Clara McBride Hale was honored by President Ronald Reagan for her humanitarian work. She stated: “I’m not an American hero, I’m just someone who loves children.”

“Triumphant aging,” as exemplified by Bernstein and Hale, is a counter perspective to the pervasive negative beliefs about aging. Do you, your relatives or friends have untapped potentials or abandoned dreams? If so, consider what George Elliot said: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

© Twin Cities Public Television – 2015. All rights reserved.






How To Get A Good Job After 50

How to Get a Good Job After 50: A step-by-step guide to job search successHow to Get a Good Job After 50: A step-by-step guide to job search success by Rupert French
My rating: 5 of 5 stars – This is my Good Reads review of this excellent book, available on 

How to Get a Good Job After 50 by Rupert French is a comprehensive guide for the over 50s job seeker. It is well constructed and written, enabling the job seeker to focus on the step by step actions required for a successful job search. The sections on creating a good resume, including dealing with the "challenging bits", and recognising then clearly expressing your achievements, are extremely valuable. This then flows onto how you can express your achievements in an interview, and how to prepare for an interview so you are confident and ready to show yourself in the best possible light. If a job seeker followed these steps they would find themselves standing out in their job applications. If they also followed the advice in the chapter on networking and research I believe they would be astounded at their success.

I particularly liked the author's recognition that getting the job you want over 50 can be a daunting task for many, and so a chapter is devoted to building and maintaining a strong self-image. Another outstanding feature is the appendix which has many pages of specimen resumes.

As an experienced career counsellor working with mature age job seekers I recognise this book as being a significant publication which I will be recommending to my clients.


What Older Workers Need To Know To Get the Job They Want

I recently created a Career Renovation program to help older people get the job they want.  It was a way of sharing my experience with many people at once after years of helping older workers, one at a time, to make career transitions. 

I was motivated to do it because I'd talked to one too many older workers who were not getting the jobs they wanted and I had seen one too many really bad resumes that people were using.

As part of my preparation and planning I started looking at the comments posted on older workers' Facebook pages, and saw the same pattern repeated. 

Older man and woman looking unhappy

"No-one wants to employ you once you are over 50."

"Younger managers are prejudiced against you when you are older." 

"Employers don't appreciate the skills and experience of older workers." 

"The Government isn't doing enough to help us.  The government organisations don't help." 

"No one loves me everybody hates me, think I'll go eat worms." 

Well OK, that last one never really popped up, but they all started to read just like that old children's song. Not getting a job was always because of something external. 

What no-one seemed to recognise was that they were doing this to themselves!  They were doing the same things over and over and getting the same results….No job.  

So I created a program…basically all the strategies and tips I could possibly share in a simple format, available for someone to work through at their own pace so they could turn things around and give themselves a really good chance of success. 

The interesting thing is the people who joined the program are those who want to take their career opportunities from good to great, not those who need to move their career prospects from really bad to acceptable!  

What does this tell us?  Could it be that those who are really stuck in unemployment or unhappy employment just don't realise that they have to do something about it themselves.  Maybe they don't realise that it is hard work for anyone, at any level, to develop and manage a successful career.  Maybe they genuinely think it should be handed to them on a plate, with whipped cream on top. 

So, recognising that the people who really need this message won't be the ones reading it, here are my seven main tips for those who want to get a job they want and will find really fulfilling. 

  1. Understand the reality of what is going on for you, right now, so you can avoid the same problems. Is it the work itself, the type of organisation or the industry/profession that is making you unhappy?  Or is it a clash with an individual, or a style of mangement that you don't like? 
  2. Know what you DO want, and have a clear vision of your future. 
  3. Have a deep appreciation of what you can offer and be able to articulate it. 
  4. Recognise what is going on in your mind that may be causing you problems eg lack of confidence, negativity, self-sabotage.
  5. Find out and use the strategies that are currently working best for resumes, interviews and networking. For a start, this means every resume must be tailored for each job application.
  6. Ensure that the way you present yourself and your self-marketing is all congruent with how you want to be perceived. 
  7. Even when you are happily employed always look and plan ahead, keeping your resume and networking current and dynamic. 

Career Reno Banner with man

Older Worker Interviewed On Channel 9

Screen Shot Carolyn Young on Channel 9s Today ShowThis week a delightful 56 year old woman, Carolyn Young, was interviewed on Channel 9's Today program about her plight. She had been unemployed for over a year despite being experienced, articulate, qualified and very pleasant in her manner.  She believed that her problems came from age discrimination and that was obviously the point of the interview.  I'm the first to agree that age discrimination exists, but often what is called age discrimination is a composite of many other factors. 

The interviewer, Lisa Wilkinson, spoke of the government incentive programs for employing older workers, and their policy that people should work longer and until they are older. Both are very valid points which could demand a whole blog post of their own.  However neither help Carolyn in getting a job right here and now. 

During her interview I was concerned about a couple of major problems that weren't addressed. 

First alarm bell:  Carolyn wondered if being interviewed by younger people who were perhaps intimidated by her experience was an issue, but she had only had 3 interviews from her 100 applications. 

Second alarm bell: She had been told each time that she was "over-qualified" and therefore not suitable for the job. 

The following night Kristyn Haywood from People For Success was interviewed about Carolyn's situation.  This was a fantastic opportunity to make some really important points for the people viewing the program, but the opportunity was lost in generalisations and the real issues were not addressed.  It was also full of stereotying.  Why should we presume that the older person looking for a job isn't ambitious?  

Kristyn Haywood's tips had validity.

  • Be adaptable
  • Be on LinkedIn 
  • Understand your capabilities and articulate them
  • Don't appear "old-fashioned".  ( I was served at the cinema yesterday by a delightful young woman wearing a 1950s headscarf, Lucille Ball/Betty Boop style).  "Old-fashioned" is in the eye of the beholder.

But while they were valid they just didn't go far enough.  A little bit of information can be dangerous. 

So what can we learn from these interviews and Carolyn's situation? 

1.  Network

Carolyn got onto morning TV, so probably has been offered a job by now. Clever lady!  Our takeaway from that is to use your network and the network of everyone who cares about you, who has worked with you, who has known you through your work.  Who will be your champion?  Who will tell people about you?  Who will tell you about jobs that are coming up that are not yet public knowledge?  

The hidden job market isn't a myth. Far more jobs than you realise are given to people who found out about them through their network or who were contacted because people in their network told someone about their skills and experience. 

2.  Be Clear About Your Goal

Carolyn has used a scattergun approach, applying for 100 jobs in a year.  I doubt she was equally qualified or excited about every job she went for.  This would be clear in her application.  Only apply for jobs where you can genuinely demonstrate, from experience and achievements, that you have what is needed to do the job really well. Which brings us to the next huge issue. 

3.  Resume Must Be Relevant 

It is clear that Carolyn's resume wasn't working for her.  3/100 isn't good odds for getting an interview.  Your resume should be so well targeted towards the job you are applying for that they read the resume and want you for what you can offer them.  What have you achieved that is relevant to that job?  Tell them.  Don't presume they will read the cover letter. Adapt your resume so it is clear that you are the right person for this job. 

This covers both of my alarm bells!  If the resume demonstrated her achievements and was targeted to meet each specific application then Carolyn would have had a far better success rate than 3/100. If she was applying for jobs where her qualifications were truly appropriate they could not say she was "over-qualified".

4.  LinkedIn

There is absolutely no point in being on LinkedIn if you don't "use" it to your advantage.  Don't waste your time putting a profile on there that is not showing who you are and what you are capable of.  I'd also add don't bother being on there if you aren't going to be proactive and make contact with people through LinkedIn.  LinkedIn is part of your network if you use it properly.  It's just a filing cabinet in which you have put your data if you don't use it properly. 

If you'd like to see the Channel 9 Today Show interviews here are the links to them. 

Carolyn Young – Older job seeker

Kristyn Haywoord – Giving advice to Carolyn

If you are having difficulty finding a job, don't just presume that it is because you are older.  Sure, that is possibly playing a part in it.  But it isn't the full answer.  Every day older workers are employed by businesses that are thrilled to acquire their skills and experience as well as their work ethic and stability. Be one of the people who get employed, not one of those who spend a year losing faith in themselves and suffering the indignity of not being appreciated for what they can offer.  Help is available


12 Factors That Affect How Much You Like Your Job

Being happy at work is related to many different factors. The work itself can be a joy to you, but if the culture of the organisation, the people you work with, or the style of management upset you then you will soon lose pleasure in the work. Which of these twelve factors are impacting on your attitude to your work?

Is Age Discrimination The Reason You Aren’t Getting The Jobs You Want?

Is age always the reason that older people don’t get the jobs they apply for? Age discrimination is a reality, but there are several others reasons why people don’t get the job they want.  Could one of these five issues be damaging your job search success?

Get The Facts When Redundancies Are Likely

Use Your Senses

Usually there are tell-tale signs leading up to a redundancy.  For a start most employees hear whispers that there is going to be a restructing of the company long before it is publicly announced.  With your ear to the ground you may find out details, but it is enough to know that change is afoot.  These changes may not directly impact you, but as soon as there are changes around you there must inevitably be some change in your role.  Even if your job is safe you will be dealing with the loss of colleagues or the support of people in positions that are no longer filled.

employee marked for redundancyYou may start to feel like you are a marked person, no longer being trusted or given the responsibilities that you had come to expect.  You may feel that your work is being looked at more carefully, or catch comments about your role that seem odd or out of place.  In a big company you may notice people that you don't know walking around or attending meetings when there is no obvious explanation.  Sometimes it is just plain old-fashioned gut instinct that things aren't as they should be.  

Get The Facts

Don't be paranoid about it, but it is probably time to find out just what your entitlements would be if your job suddenly disappeared.  

Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

You might also like to view Facing Redundancy: 8 Positive Steps to Take to help you prepare yourself personally or read my article Facing Redundancy: 8 things to do if you think your job might be made redundant.

Redundancy Hurts!

Losing your job can be such an emotional experience, yet redundancy is often badly managed by companies with little regard for the emotions of individuals.

Infographic about redundancy

How To Deal With Conflict In The Workplace (And At Home)

Dealing with difficult people and conflict in the workplace are serious issues that people usually point to when they are unhappy in their work.  It undermines any positive aspects of the job and frequently causes serious stress and disfunction, at work or even in an individual's private life. 

In this video Dr Bill Crawford considers the underlying issues that are occuring when their is conflict between people.  It makes so much sense, whether the conflict is at work or at home. 

In summary, we must recognise that there are underlying causes for the conflict and the best management is to tap into the other person's motivation so that they hear what you are saying. 

If you consider how you would describe someone which whom you have conflict, you would probably realise that from their perspective you are exhibiting the same characteristics. This is because most of us react to the conflict in a negative way, perhaps showing defensive, frustrating behaviours, or being withdrawn and confused. 

This becomes a self-perpetuating cycle of conflict, as they behave in a conflicting manner and we react in our own style, which is conflicting their eyes.  Communication ceases.  They no longer listen to you and in their eyes you are the difficult person, not them! 

This cycle of conflict is very stressful, almost contagious, as we can carry the negative emotions on to our next encounter.  This may cause other problems at work. In many cases this also becomes a relationship or family problem as we carry the emotions of the conflict situation with us into our private lives and react negatively in a completely different environment. 

Dr Campbell quotes Malachy McCourt "Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

Quotation: Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for someone else to die.

He suggests we find a way to escape the cycle of conflict.

If you try to force the person to change you are actually motivating them to resist us even more, or resent us, or both. The example he uses is "the lesson of the fist".  If one person has their fist tightly clenched and your task is to get them to unclench that fist, just about the only thing that works is to give them a powerful reason, a motivation, to open their fist.

"Problems can't be solved at the same level of awareness that created them." Einstein

This concept can be used to overcome a conflict situation. Find the person's internal motivation so they want what you offer.  

Our beliefs and interpretations create our expectations. In turn our expectations create our emotions, our emotions create our behaviours, our behaviours reinforce our beliefs and our beliefs underlie any cycle of conflict in which we are engaged. 

Every one of us has times when we are the difficult person, whether we realise it or not, so dealing with acutely difficult people at times is just a part of life.  

It is when you are dealing with a chronically difficult person, someone who is notoriously difficult to deal with, that you need to realise that their belief system suggests to them that people are out to get them and that they are inheritantly flawed in some way.  By reinforcing these negative beliefs we are reinforcing their expectations, their behaviours and their beliefs.  That is not going to get them to change. 

So what can you do to avoid this cycle of conflict?  We have to wait for the next video to find out! Meanwhile this video is great food for thought.  What are you doing in your life, at work or at home, to perpetuate cycles of conflict?  What can you do to find out the motivations which might break these cycles? 



12 Crucial Factors to Career Satisfaction

Education expands one's career opportunities and skill set but isn't exactly a guarantor of contentment or success. While degrees open doors, they don't necessarily mean a particular position — or even path — will ultimately prove the most viable, comfortable fit. Some pretty basic factors need meeting before true happiness settles in. Basic factors requiring give and take on the part of employee, employers, and even consumers must take place for a positive career situation, and we'll take a look at the 12 most important here.

  1. Low stress

    Many people enjoy touting how much they thrive under pressure, and most of them probably do. But that momentum, often propelled by youthful vigor, almost always stalls and sputters eventually. And once it does, the stress really starts ravaging one's health. A truly satisfying, sustainable career is a career lessening the risk of heart disease, obesity, depression and other not-so-enjoyable medical conditions. Which, in turn, also saves a right fair amount of money.

  2. Positive work environment

    Despite laws protecting against workplace harassment, the issue annoyingly persists year after year. Negative environments, traditional office settings or not, compromise career satisfaction for obvious reasons. Most workers don't enjoy feeling unsafe or dehumanized day after day after day after day after you get the idea. And if the problem trickles down from higher up in the hierarchy, filing reports only renders the situation even more desperate. Even genuinely rewarding, enjoyable responsibilities lose spark when surroundings get off on humiliation and degradation.Artist carving wood picture

  3. Productivity

    Save for the most ardent slackers, most workers like feeling as if they've accomplished something, even if they still have a ways to go before finishing a project. Productivity increases positivity, and while positivity doesn't cure mental health issues, it is a nice, supplementary self-respect boost. And those who love their careers but hate their companies have something to flaunt once resumes get sent out.

  4. Fair wages

    Greed isn't good, but everyone must meet their basic needs, hopefully with a little cushion leftover for savings and bit of fun. A fair salary (and benefits, if applicable) should be a basic human right, although one rarely met when one considers global economics. Nobody who works tirelessly to support him- or herself (maybe even a family or loved one) should have to worry about food, shelter and nourishment. Gratifying careers cannot sit on a foundation of hand-wringing over necessities.

  5. Safety and security

    Everyone's risk-taking comfort levels vary, of course, but even (especially!) Hollywood stuntpeople and deep sea welders deserve the utmost safety standards. All employers must ensure their staff should never show up to work afraid their number may be up today. In fact, it really should stand as the utmost priority, with no expense spared. Most adrenaline junkies and seemingly fearless individuals still want some degree of security while doing their jobs.

  6. Stimulation

    The majority of workers, from the most isolationist to the resident social butterfly, still need something piquing their senses and intellects. Stimulation doesn't have to be interpersonal: satisfying careers keep both bodies and brains happy in multiple ways. Individual workers should seek out jobs preventing slippage, while companies themselves might want to consider initiating activities promoting better mental flow.

  7. Inclusion

    People like being asked for their input and ideas, even if what they have to say doesn't necessarily come to pass. Satisfying careers make sure to include everyone wanting to be a part of things, and while it's impossible to implement everything, just taking time to listen often proves enough. Managers and executives should especially exert the effort. Feeling valued bolsters motivation and productivity, so dehumanizing workers won't get a company terribly far.

  8. Health

    Like safety, health also significantly factors into overall career contentment. Even beyond stress-related medical conditions, workers might fall victim to inadequately-ventilated or moldy buildings, food- and water-borne illnesses in company commissaries and other hazards. Although no solution for 100% prevention exists — and never will — businesses should still consider healthy, safe and secure customers and employees their utmost concern.

  9. The job doesn't take over everything

    All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. All work and no play make Jack … something something … Go crazy?! DON'T MIND IF I DO!!!

  10. Room for growth

    If businesses and career paths hope to grow, there's no way they'll sustain success if they don't allow the individuals involved to do so as well. Few people stay the same as they age, and most improve their valuable job skills over time. It makes perfect sense that they want their positions to accommodate their promise and abilities rather than shoving them into a rigid, restrictive box.

  11. Honesty

    It is the best policy, after all. A career path littered with liars, cheaters and other underhanded folks is really only gratifying to liars, cheats and other underhanded folk. All of whom must constantly look over their back and worry about whether or not their cockiness will finally signify their downfall. Really, staying honest with everyone just makes life that much easier. Just don't forget to pair it up with…

  12. Respect

    No matter one's career path, earning respect from coworkers, higher ups and customers (if applicable) renders even the most groan-inducing tasks at least a shred bearable. "Earning," of course, is the operative word here. But few things conjure up more dehumanizing emotions than genuinely caring for others' needs and receiving nothing — or, even worse, outright degradation — in kind. Retail, education and service jobs often needlessly inspire shoddy treatment, hence many individuals' reluctance to even bother with them.

    Article Courtesy of Accredited Online


Understanding Recruiters: They Stand Between You And Your Future Job

If you are looking for a new job, chances are high that you will need to meet with a recruiter or two during your job search.  It is important to understand what their role is so that you start off with the appropriate expectations.  

Don't be disheartened by something a recruiter says to you!  Their job is NOT to be your friend, your coach or your advocate.  Their job, the job they are paid to do, is to put a person into a position that the company is going to consider to be the exact right fit for that job.  It is a tough fact to realise that it doesn't matter how badly you need the work, or how great you think you'd be in the job, they aren't working for you. The recruiter is doing their job….and that is to do their best for the company is paying them.  

What Recruiters Do

Recruiters may work within an organization's human resources department typically or on an outsourced basis. Most recruiters tend to specialize in permanent, full-time, direct-hire positions or contract positions, but occasionally in both. The recruiters responsibility is to filter candidates as per the requirements of each client/company which they represent.

Types of Recruiters

An Internal recruiter, or corporate recruiter, is employed by the company or organization for which they are hiring, and they typically work in the human resources HR department. In the past this was known as the Personnel Office or just Personnel. Contract recruiters tend to move around between multiple companies, working at each one for a short stint as needed for specific hiring purposes. Retained recruiters work for the organizations who are their clients, not for job candidates seeking employment.  

Employment agencies

A third party recruiter or an employment agency acts as an independent contact between its client companies and the candidates it recruits for a position. These firms or individuals specialize in client relationships and finding candidates, with minimal or no focus on other HR tasks. Legitimate search firms are always paid by their clients, the company doing the hiring, and never by the candidate or job applicant. It is important to remember that their job is to fit the "right person" in the "right seat", and this often narrows their view of who could do the job well.  If you respond to a job advertisement and can show the recruiter that you have successfully performed a similar task in another company you are likely to be put forward for the position, depending on your competition.  However if you are perfectly capable of performing the job, but your work history doesn't demonstrate this adequately, it may be difficult to convince a recruiter that your skills and experience are as transferable as you believe them to be.  Many people find this a major obstacle when they try to make a significant career change.  

What You Bring to the Table

Many falsely believe it is the recruiter who is responsible for their success. Although recruiters are a valuable asset the responsibility of landing the job rests on the individual who is searching for the job. Among the things you can do as job seekers to maximize your time with a recruiter are: 

    • Have a professionally written resume: Make sure you have a professional email address and ensure your contact information and references are up to date
    • Brush up on your job interviewing skills
    • Solicit the help of a career coach (career coaches can assist in helping you define/redefine your career goals, most career coaches can also help you with resume preparation and job interviewing tips as well)
    • Follow up when required.  Recruiters usually have hundreds of candidates they are working with so their time is valuable.  Show them that you are committed to your job search success.
  • Make sure you have cleaned up all your social media.  Always be aware that recruiters are very likely to check you out on social media.  As a mature adult it is unlikely that you will have problems with a Facebook or Twitter account that is undesirable.  But is your LinkedIn profile reflecting who you are in the workplace?  Does it demonstrate what you are capable of?  Have others shown their support of you through recommendations and testimonials? 

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