After seeing What Color Is Your Parachute? on countless bookshelves I finally picked up a copy when the 2012 edition appeared on display at a local library. Briefly, Parachute is not about job-hunting or career-changing — it's about hope and freedom and life. In the first chapter author Richard N. Bolles reveals the key:
|If you are to hold on to Hope you must determine to always have at least two alternatives, in everything that you are doing while looking for work.|
... and everywhere else as well, eh? Keep options open; don't single-track. Bolles expands upon the theme in Chapter 3, when he offers three rules for survival:
- "... find something that is within your power to change, even if it's just 5 percent or only 2 percent of the total; find it, and throw your energies into it ..."
- "... assume that nothing that worked before will necessarily work now ... reconsider whether there is a better way ..."
- "... assume that nothing that happens to us is just senseless and meaningless ... in the context of our total life, it will eventually turn out to have meaning, even if that meaning is the forging of our soul to make it stronger and more compassionate toward the needs of others worse off than we are ..."
There is, of course, plenty of information about how to write a better résumé, how to locate job openings, how to prepare for an interview, how to negotiate a salary, etc. Some of it may be useful, and even partly correct. But far more important is Bolles's discussion of how to know yourself, how to find enjoyment in your life, how to be enthusiastic, effective, passionate. Do that, share it with others, and employment will follow as a rather mundane side-effect. The real career you're seeking is to be a better person. And it's not a quest that ends at retirement.