on March 21, 2003
Thinking of changing your career? Here are my suggestions. I am a professional, a former physician, who recently made a 90 degree career change after putting up with work I did not enjoy for many years. I managed to get through the two big problems career changers face : coming up with the courage to make the leap, and the BIG ONE, figuring our just what to do with my life. Now I'm in an exciting, new and different career and doing very well, thank you. I actually like going to work. I recently read this Po Bronson book to see what the experience of making a change was like for others.
If you are thinking about actually making a change, don't waste your money on this book. It is excellent for providing suggestions to job changers, but if your are seeking a more fulfilling career, forget it.
There are only two really excellent career change books. The first is called "The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success" This is the masterpiece guide to career change. It is a brilliantly written, in-depth guide to all aspects of deciding what to do with your life, and dealing with the courage question as well. I eventually decided to get further assistance designing my new career from the author's well respected career counseling organization, Rockport Institute, but I was a hard nut to crack. You may not need anything more than this book. The other book I recommend is "Do What You Are", a guide to which careers fit your personality. Though this is not really a complete "how to" book, it is very useful. Get these two books and you will be on your way to a more fulfilling life.
Buy "Parachute" only if you want a new job doing what you are doing now.
on May 12, 2004
Bolle's book is still timeless for job seekers of all kinds. I feel that his book updated each year to meet the current trends in society is critical. He needs to address those issues, like the web, downturn in the economy and the like.
The most critical part of the book is the self evaluation section. This is a very structured process that can be used intutitively as well. Bolles asks you to write a few stories about yourself, then, what did you like and dislike about those stories? What did you do well, where did you fail or feel challenged beyond your abilities? These are the critical areas of the book that take time to get through, yet you can evaluate yourself and understand what you like, it is what you do best, usually.
We excel what we are good at, according to Bolles, this method will help us discover what we are best at.
I have recommended this book to many over the years, and still do. Whether someone is in college, or someone is going through a long term transition after being in a job for a long time or moms returning to the work place, this book will be very instructive for you.
One of his processes is very simple asking you to compare who you would most like to talk with or groups of people you would rather relate with. This is a standard set of tests for some very expensive career consulting, he gives it to you for the price of his book and the time to self evaluate yourself. Then, he breaks down the possible job areas and skill sets related to these groups.
Again, a worthwhile journey for anyone not wanting to wander any longer in the world of work.
on August 26, 2003
I liked this book because Richard Nelson Bolles writes to the reader searching for a job in a manner that is friendly, and not at all demeaning or condescending. Let's face it, if you wanted a job you really wanted to have, one where when you got home and could not wait to get back to work the next day, and getting paid was only a part of your job, wouldn't that be a job that you could call a friendly job?
Bolles offers some very important advice. He writes in his book, (and I don't think there is anyone with their frontal lobes of their brain intact that would disagree), that the world of searching for a job is one we have come to cordially hate. If you are searching for just a job, this book is not for you. The methods used in the book bypass searching for a job in the newspaper, which according to Bolles is the LAST place an employer will advertise a job opening.
If you feel that this book has good ideas as I did, but you feel you need coaching and help in extracting the specifics of what your interests are, and how they would fit into your next job, I would recommend finding and hiring a career counselor that uses Bolles methods.
If you are miserable at your job, and dread coming to work, pick up this book, read it, and get as much information as you can about career counselors in your area so you can have as broad an amount of information as possible before making your next step towards hiring a career counselor. Bolles method is a process that takes time, but once you get the specifics of what you really like doing, it will propel you forward into your next job, and it will be like a light at the end of a long dark tunnel. Hang in there at your current job for as long as you can, until you know for certain that you found a job that you are comfortable with and know you love and will do your very best.
on July 30, 2003
[Can This Book (or Series) be Overrated?] As a career & vocational counseling professional, my opinion is that it cannot. This book can be underutilized or misapplied, or a reader may want it to do something that it is not intended to do. (What book can be useful for everyone?) It provides no miracle path to a new or changed career. Nor does it state education or experience is neither helpful nor necessary. (And neither is it saturated with the author's faith beliefs; but some take issue with any mention of beliefs outside their own....) If one already knows the information in this work, of course it will be less useful.
What Bolles does is (continue to) provide information and a way of thinking about one's work life in ways many people do not. What we term transferable job skills are frequently overlooked by career-changers, and this book is especially helpful in this area. The reader is encouraged to explore who they are now - not who they were (which might be why they are not in s job they like.) Most helpful are the various exercises. But, one must put some effort into doing them for the book to be a benefit. This can be a challenge, but is worth the effort.
on February 11, 2003
When you are out of a job or urged to find one because you feel the smell of layoffs in the air, desperation takes over and you start doing very stupid things, and forgetting to do others that could do you a lot of good. This book is a great reminder and source of ideas for those times, or perhaps even better, for the times that preceed them: before you are in a career crisis. This book is about landing the job of your dreams, about making it happen, and it's very down to earth in its approach. About the review that touches on the religious comments made in the book. You can perfectly skip the epilogue (which is basically the most religion-loaded section), and still the book is perfectly useful, so don't let that comment have you turn the book down. It is worth every minute you invest on it, to help you realize how our methods of searching for a job tend to be in direct conflict with the way employers (like to) hire. Also it gives prime advice (23 ideas) on how to find that job you want, all the time with a great sense of humor, and plenty of references and links for you to go out there and expand your job-hunting knowledge base. After reading the book, I feel better armed in my job search. Good luck to you all, job hunters out there! :)
on February 11, 2003
This book is head and shoulders above the rest of the job search books on the market today, plain and simple. It has been around for a long time, whereas most of the books which have at times competed with it have long since been out of print. The author gives the job hunter straightforward, no-nonsense advice on conducting an effective job search. He eschews any trendiness in favor of the truth - that job hunting comes down to "pounding the pavement" and working your contacts until you land the job you want.
Incidentally, I find it unfortunate that some reviewers apparently are offended by the inclusion of a final chapter of the book which adds a Christian perspective to the job search. Mr. Bolles "warns" readers at the very beginning of the book that he is an ordained minister, that the final chapter of the book adds a Christian perspective to the job search, and that if you are not so inclined, you can skip the last chapter and still reap the benefits of the book. Does the mere fact that the author is a Christian offend these reviewers? Why don't they simply heed the author's explicit instructions and refrain from reading the last chapter if they find it so offensive?
on January 7, 2003
You will either praise and love this book, or wish the parachute had failed on decent to save you the agony of the read.
How to know what category you'll fall into?
It is hard to generalize between the two camps so my best advice: If in doubt that you are missing out on some cultural phenomenon that will find you your dream job, then read the book. BUT, don't buy the book; borrow it from one of those millions of people who have paid for it already. (Can I say this on a book-seller's website?) Remember that the self-proclaimed "Best-Selling Job-Hunting Book in the World" doesn't necessarily make it the best book. The hype is truly amazing, but there are countless examples in our pop-culture, consumer-driven economy to highlight that quantity (sold) does not necessarily mean quality. Take the safe and cheap way out - read it at your local library.
In case you haven't already guessed, I personally found the book boring, only marginally insightful, and in need of major editing to preserve what little good it contains. Better books do exist.
Happy reading. Happy hunting.
on November 17, 2002
I was just laid off a couple of months ago from a job I despised with every fiber of my being. My first reaction was purely survival driven-- I started surfing Monster for jobs that were close to my previous occupation. I figured that was pretty much the game... Then, I went to a two-day seminar that was what my former company considered "outplacement assistance." It gave me a little bit of perspective, and a brief step outside of the self-imposed box. Wonderful!
But I still didn't know what I wanted to do with my life and my career. Outside of the box is a wide universe of possibilities, including the chance to pursue my passion in life: politics and public policy, or possibly getting involved in international business. Still, I had no clear picture of where to begin, even though it was pretty bloody obvious that I needed to change careers. Soooo, I began the almost frightening process of reading every career switching book known to humankind, including "What Color is Your Parachute?"
I'd eyeballed the copies at the local [store] for a couple of weeks, and finally decided to plunk down my [X] or whatever the cover price is for the 2003 edition. I began reading, and actually enjoyed it, despite the overt Christian references that dot the writing (especially wonderful when you're an atheist). But there really wasn't anything new here! I'd already figured out at this seminar what my favorite skills were, and what I'd be willing to consider with my educational background. I was familiar with networking, and developing a marketing plan, researching companies, etc. I took a couple of the career tests that were recommended by Bolles, and came up with things like "College Professor" which are my eventual goal, but nothing answered the question: "What the heck do I do now?"
And I think that's one of the key weaknesses of this book. I can't really go into business designing states' public policies for profit, since that's a government function. I can't combine my love of politics, international relations, writing, and drawing in a consulting business. I mean, reality check!
Eventually, with a little more thinking, I realized that I never wanted to work for corporate America ever again as long as I live. I just don't like it! So, that leaves the government and nonprofit/NGOs. There's surprisingly little directed in "Parachute" toward either of these career directions.
The only example of a job hunter looking for a government job is some guy living in a small town in the middle of the country, who was able to convince the city government to hire him in some special capacity. That's all well and good, but out here in the Big City, things don't work that way! In fact, in California, city, county and state governments are required by law to post all positions to allow equal competition among employees and outsiders for these jobs. A civil service exam is almost always required, and these positions are posted on the internet as well.
Problem: how do you network into something like this? You can't! How do you have someone create a position in government for you if you don't live in a small town? You can't! I don't think Bolles could come up with answers to those questions, and sadly, there don't seem to be any career switching books that deal specifically with municipal, county and state government jobs. Despite the prevailing wisdom on how to find jobs, you are almost required to conduct an internet search for government positions. Bolles' section on internet searches isn't very detailed or helpful in strategizing how to do this, unfortunately.
So, where does that leave the errant career-changer who doesn't want to work for-profit anymore? Pretty much where she started, on her own. Luckily this one has found a nice long term temp job that will allow her the time to think a little more and decide what she wants to do, with the assistance of her alma mater's career center, and a couple of other good career switching books, including the current project, "Zen and the Art of Making a Living," which at least is non-denominational about its spirituality ;-)
on October 29, 2002
"What Color Is Your Parachute" is the first book you need if finding a job is your goal. If you've not bought this yet, you haven't started looking.
Richard Bolles is the expert. His books sell because they are fresh each year with insight, purpose and ideas for determining what job you should do, and how to get it.
I used "Parachute" to get my first job. It continues to influence me today, as I job hunt again.
Thoroughly practical, Bolles asks you questions about your mission in life. His belief is that just getting a job -- even ones you are good at -- won't be a wise decision in the long haul. He helps you see your passions mixed with skills and experience, and guides you to getting their. Though it is hardly a self-help book, it is far more useful than the ones clogging up the Top 10 list.
He keeps you accountable. Finding a job is your job if that's what you say you want. And if you aren't working, he won't let you make excuses -- you've got the time. Either you are looking or you aren't. Dr. Phil could take a note from Bolles' direct yet congenial style.
Don't bother with the hardcover. You need the paperback. This is not a sit-on-the-shelf book, but a get-down-to-business book, and you'll appreciate the flexibility while at work or on the train.
I fully recommend, "What Color Is Your Parachute" by Richard Nelson Bolles.
on September 18, 2002
Without exaggerating this book changed and saved my life. I had to change my career ( I became disabled with chronic back pain for three years-) almost but not quite ready to give up on life-I had to find new purpose and enjoyment...but as I had always been doing my dream-what would I do next? This book gave me the answers-and in fact while pursuing one of my 'new careers' I was laughing and enjoying life so much- the pain began to disappear and I became cured. So, this book was a miracle for me, as doctors told me I would never have the life I have now. (Full and rich and full of fun and pain free!) I also took a job later that normally I would never have thought of, nor thought I was qualified for-but I did, I got the job, and it turned out to become the best job I ever had, and now have my own business doing the same.
It will give you the answers too, but you must actually do the exercises for it to be effective.
It opens you up to new possibilities, helps you find your natural skills, inclinations and preferences, and causes you to examine yourself very deeply in terms of what motivates you. For there you will find success and happiness. In addition, but in smaller proportion, it provides solid advice on researching, resumes, cover letters, etiquette, follow-ups and thank-yous and more.
I have since successfully changed my career, started my own business, do what I love even more than ever before, with more freedom, and have been a teacher and speaker on changing careers and career management in addition to pursuing my new found blisses...(there are a few now-where before there was only one.)
It also gives you the confidence by enabling you to see the transferrable skills that you have to offer.
whether you are a job-hunter or looking to start your own business but not sure what you want to do or how to focus your talents this is a gem.