ARC, Books, Professional Development

Book 377: What Color Is Your Parachute? 2016 – Richard Bolles

Bolles, Richard - What Color Is Your Parachute 2016When I first received a request from the publisher, Ten Speed Press, to look at this book I was a bit hesitant. The primary reasons was that I’m not looking for a new job.

After checking out the press release and reading a bit more about the book’s history I realized this would be an excellent resource regardless of employment status and I’m so glad I read it. I did receive a copy from the publisher and I received no compensation in return for an honest response.

Overall, I found this book very informative. I think it’s useful regardless of employment status, especially if you want to learn more about yourself professionally. I wish I could write about everything I found useful in the book, but I’m only going to touch on a few specific topics. This being said, the tips in the book work.

Both jobs I’ve held professionally were created for me when I applied for other positions. Prior to those jobs, the only time I did informational interviews, I had numerous organizations say they would work with me to find work within their organization. Both of these, informational interviews and newly created positions, are mentioned in What Color Is Your Parachute? 2016

“In fact, if the employers you visit happen to like you well enough, they may be willing to create for you a job that does not presently exist. In which case, you will be competing with no one since you will be the sole applicant for that newly created job. While this doesn’t happen all the time, it is astounding to me how many times it does happen. The reason it does is that employers often have been thinking about creating a new job within their organization, for quite some time—but with this and that, they just have never gotten around to doing it. Until you walked in.” (146)

Bolles writing was one of the things I appreciated most about What Color Is Your Parachute? 2016 in an informal conversational style, but not to the detriment of his advice. He talks about the style and the language in the afterward and the response was hilarious because he specifically avoids jargon so all job hunters have access to the book and he throws some serious shade on grammar perfectionists. Honestly, if I could emulate him more in my writing I would consider myself successful.

After Bolles’ writing I found this to be the most important thing I read:

 “So it is, that in any situation you find yourself, no matter how overwhelmed you may feel, no matter how much you may feel you’re at the mercy of huge forces that are beyond your control, some part of it is in your control: maybe 2%, 5%, who knows? There is always something you can work on. Something that is within your power. And often, changing that little bit results in changing a whole lot.” (47)

This might seem obvious but to see this written throughout the book over and over was incredibly useful. I found it incredibly useful to have the constant reminder. I expounded upon this and was able to see this within my work environment and it’s made things easier already.

The other piece that stood out to me was Bolles’ Appendix A. In this appendix he talked about religion and how it sculpted his career and how it was important to talk about it within the job market. He was very explicit why he included it,

“So, leaving out a section that 89% of my readers might be interested in, and helped by, in order to please 11% of my readers, seems to me insane. But you are welcome to skip this section, if you wish. It’s not mandatory reading; that’s why it is an Appendix to this book.” (266)

I read the appendix because I wanted to read everything Bolles had to say even though I’m non religious. I still found it enlightening. Honestly, if more religious leaders were like Bolles, we’d have a lot fewer problems in the world.

There’s so much that I haven’t discussed. Bolles lists so many resources that I couldn’t even begin to list. Thankfully, he has an excellent website. I know for me personally, I can’t wait to explore some of his recommended further reading to define my strengths and weaknesses.

As a final note, when I got around to reading this book, I had begun facing concerns about how my blog could affect my future career. It’s nothing I’m really concerned about, but I have started a small series of posts herehere and here discussing why it’s actually an advantage! After reading the book, I found out that my blogging, because I don’t do anything sketchy, could actually be a huge advantage to what I do for a living.

Recommendation: I would definitely recommend this, and already have! I think it’s an invaluable resource for anyone regardless of their job status. There were tips and tricks in it that I felt could be useful in day-to-day employee/employer interactions and that doesn’t even include the personality or skill assessments. When you add in that the Bolles updates the book regularly and he’s branched out into smaller bite-size books about resumes, interviews and other related subjects, this book has even MORE value.

Opening Line: “I hope you noticed the full title of this book.”

Closing Line: “Don’t wait, puh-leaze! Write it out, now: This is what I’m going to do, if this doesn’t work out.” (Not whited out as this is a work of nonfiction.)


6 thoughts on “Book 377: What Color Is Your Parachute? 2016 – Richard Bolles”

  1. I read this book 20 years ago as a student. Now I live so much is true. Most ppl don’t fail at their job because they lack skill but lack fit. If you fit in well with the group – I’ll find something for you. Good employees are hard to find in any economy IMO

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hanks for stopping by and commenting! I’ve heard a lot of people say they read an older version and I’m impressed. I think I’ll get my younger cousins copies when they graduate college.


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