My Parachute Color is a Translucent Off-White

Bolles\' Infamous Flower Diagram
I’m not one to readily subscribe to the self-help genre, but let’s just say I’ve found myself knee-deep in some career-related fodder these days. It’s for a freelance gig I’ve been fortunate enough to land and since I’m currently looking for work (in theory anyways), writing about all the tools one might need to find that perfect career fit has been therapeutic for me.

To get started on my journey of self-discovery, I began at the quintessential guide for all job hunters. Hell, it’s even referred to by its author as the “Job Hunter’s Bible.” How much more of a Genesis does one need? The first edition was published over 30 years ago. We’re talking Watergate-Nixon era. Still, What Color is Your Parachute? has been updated annually for many years now and Richard Bolles seems hip to the best sites/online resources out there for starting your own business, job hunting, networking, and building a resume.

The practical advice Bolles spews out I get. I do well with tangibles that are backed by common sense logic. However, when Bolles starts with some of the conceptual, nebulous jabber he’s known for-pedaling forth flower diagrams ripe with words such as “favorite values” and “favorite people environments” and crafting hierarchical maps of interpersonal skills, my head starts to get a bit dizzy and I wonder how worthwhile these exercises really are.

Below are some of the insights Bolles advises on:

  1. Determining if you’re a people person (translation: team player who will always find gainful employment because they know the “rules” and play by them) or an anti-social closet people-hater (translation: sassy non-conformist who prefers quiet shelters, reclusive work, and torturing baby rabbits). He references popular personality tests such as Myers-Briggs and Jung.
  2. How to tackle an interview-Just be cordial and nod your head and send a follow-up thank you note. I’m remiss to say that this approach really does work.
  3. Physical and mental skill sets are critical. Without them you can succeed, but most likely won’t. Because you won’t be able to find your way out of a box (with a map, compass, and a GPS pre-installed)
  4. Performing an informational interview (a term coined by Bolles, btw) on your potential employer is a win-win all around. It demonstrates interest and engagement in the company you might work for and it’s a prime diversion tactic when you don’t know shit about the company you’re interviewing for because you can’t get a read on what the company actually does. Insider tip: Neither can they if it takes them a 10-page powerpoint to explain what they do and a 2 hour interview to convince you you’re the right person for the job whose role even can’t even articulate.
  5. You can be “experimental.” Just be sure to not rely too heavily on “stop-gap(s)”in the interim to overcompensate for your lack of “safe-keeping.” Broken down, this statement means take chances, live your life, just pay your bills on time or your credit will suffer. At least that’s what Suze Orman keeps tellings me.

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