If I’m honest, I’ll admit that my previous copy of “What Color Is My Parachute” by Richard N. Bolles didn’t see much action. It was a gift from a friend when I was contemplating changing from a corporate to non-profit environment but I didn’t use it.
Fast forward a couple of years, the revised 2016 version of the book was on my “doorstep”, at a time when I really needed it. At the time of receipt, I’d been job hunting for 10.5 months, already in that dreaded 18% of job hunters taking six to twelve months to find a new job. The irony is I was hired as a recruiter a week after the electronic copy was downloaded. So while I can’t say that I used the techniques outlined in the book to land my current gig, what I can say is that it’s currently on my nightstand as a book I’m currently reading and re-reading. Despite being hired, my search is still intact and “What Color Is My Parachute 2016” is one of my guides to doing a more intentional, less frustrating search.
As a job hunter in today’s market, I applaud the honesty of the writer. The market is really not the same as it was when this book initially came out and even for a few years post release. I like that the content has been updated to fit the times and the realities of what the job market is now for the seeker. The statistics are valuable in giving a very true picture of the market and they are grim.
One of the biggest pluses for me content wise is the focus on the whole person. The idea that each person is unique is a principle that is worth the attention it gets. Especially for the person who has been searching for a long time. It’s easy to become frustrated and doubt one’s usefulness – especially for the aging job seeker, but as the author so eloquently says – everyone has unique talents and experiences which make them special and valuable.
Another plus is the admission that not everyone is going to find a job using the author’s techniques. For the hunter who has to weigh between maintaining independence by taking whatever job is available or homelessness, the in depth assessments which the author suggests are not going to help. Not because they are not necessary or good, but because honest, well-done assessments take time and not every job hunter has that luxury. On the flip-side, for the hunter who does have the luxury to work through Bolles’ techniques step by step, they are worth every effort. I will update my review after I’ve gone through the assessments and techniques in detail and found my next job.
I give high marks also for the comprehensive section on starting a small business. I’d already started to think along those lines – looking at the marketable skills I have that I can translate into a small business – and the resources included in the book that I didn’t know about proved to be invaluable. As intense as the effort is to start, and successfully maintain a profitable small business, it’s a concept that cannot be ignored by job hunters as some of us never re-enter the traditional work environment.
My honest assessment is that this book is definitely one I’d recommend to unemployed and employed job hunters; it really should be on the gift list for college seniors. Those who receive it before graduation would have a head-start in the “Hunger Games” environment that is our global job market. Even the person who wants to start a small home business can benefit from the information in the related section of this book. Really, there is something for anyone who wants more out of a career — traditional or non-traditional. Packed with information and even more links to additional resources it is in no way a quick read, but the energy put into reading and utilizing the information presented will no doubt bring rewards. Those rewards might not come in the parachute we’re looking for but it’s worth it to keep an open mind to a new color and a new parachute.
disclaimer: this review was done through my affiliation with Blogging For Books. Although I received a copy for review, the thoughts expressed are entirely my own.