What Color Is Your Parachute? 2017: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers

By: Richard N. Bolles
Rating: 2/5

What Color Is Your Parachute?

Caveat Number One: I am not (technically) looking for a new job.

Caveat Number Two: I would not ever put this much effort into finding one.

So just remember that I am one person and our good friend Dick Bolles is talking to many many more than just me in What Color Is Your Parachute?.

But with those caveats… BLAH. Blegh. Ugh. Phew. I am so glad to be done with this tome. It is so long, so repetitive.

I actually think this dude has some good points. And dun dun DUN: He gives specifics! Real honest to God specifics. He says to talk to three people, no more no less, instead of saying “ask around” or “interview a handful of friends”. And that is refreshing. (Except when it’s bullshit, like when he tells you to ask people for “19 minutes of their time”. If some random person emailed me and asked for a 19 minute interview, I would assume it was spam.)

But beyond that? Mostly bluck.

I am fully confident there are people out there who would benefit from some of the exercises in this book. As our pal Dick never fails to remind you, he has over 10 million readers after all.

Eye. Roll.

Dick does an awful lot of selling you his own program, actually. Not a chapter goes by where he doesn’t mention one of the myriad companion books that go along with Parachute, nor without mentioning his flocks of supporters. Which is fine, I guess. People want credibility and that’s one way to provide it. But this whole book is so not my style.

It’s all about some fairly deep introspection and some fairly elementary technology skills. The dude explains SEVERAL times how to use Google. Ya.

Parachute has put out an annual edition almost every year since it originally came out in 1970. And that’s pretty darn impressive.

But this book is not for the casual job hunter. This is some serious self-analysis for the non-self-aware. {Part of my problem with this book is that I don’t agree with the premise. Do I think that all of us could benefit mightily from a little introspection? Certainly. Do I think it is worthwhile to do a Flower Exercise or one of the 97 other charts of varying utility to prioritize whether a shared cubicle is more of a deal breaker than bad office coffee? No.}

I get that landing a job is hard. Obviously. I am a millennial, after all, and we’ve all heard the stories, false or not. But I also think if you are desperate, then no job should be beneath you. (Been there, done that.) Job hunting mostly comes down to luck in my book. Take a sucky job to pay the bills and do your job searching at night. Something you can live with will turn up.

I, unlike Dick, don’t think that everyone needs to combine their three favorite areas of interest into a unique, niche job created just for them. I also CERTAINLY don’t think everyone should be their own boss.

That chapter pissed me off more than anything else in this book. The dude makes it sound like a walk in the park, like all you need to do is find something you’re passionate about and start doing it. There are laws around this kinda stuff, Dick. Tax laws and business licenses and federal reporting. You can’t just start selling books out of your house and viola.

Also, as an English major, this book drove me bananas because he uses commas and italics and headings like they are his own personal playthings. Classic example: “We can, realize that religion isn’t necessarily a blessing”. What? What the fuck is that comma? (Oh yeah, ps: Dick Bolles is a retired clergyman. This book is peppered with bits of religion, but that quote in particular came from a statement on Mission in the appendix.)┬áThe whole book is like that. It made me very angry until I read his Author’s Note at the back where he explicitly says screw grammar, I do what I want.

I may not respect his book very much, but I respect that attitude.




Need more self-help? Suggestions:

(for Christian inspiration)

The Finishers by Roger Hershey and Jason Weimer

The Power of Prayer in a Believer’s Life by Charles Spurgeon

Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

Changes That Heal by Henry Cloud

(for nonfiction books about jobs)

Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

(for self-help with specifics)

Start Where You Are by Pema Chodron

Nicely Said by Nicole Fenton

(for more by Bolles)

Guide to Rethinking Resumes by Richard N. Bolles

Guide to Rethinking Interviews by Richard N. Bolles

How to Find Your Mission in Life by Richard N. Bolles

The Job Hunter’s Survival Guide by Richard N. Bolles

(for books referenced by Bolles)

No One Is Unemployable by Debra Angel and Elisabeth Harney

The Perfect Resume by Tom Jackson

Ready, Aim, You’re Hired! by Paul Hellman

The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People by Carol Eikelberry

Getting a Job by Mark Granovetter

The PIE Method for Career Success by Daniel Porot

Free Agent Nation by Daniel Pink

Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed by Patrick Schwerdtfeger

The Church To-day and To-morrow by Julian Victor Langmead Casserley


Coming soon:

Letters of a Nation by Andrew Carroll

See Me by Nicholas Sparks

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

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