What Color is Your Parachute 2016: Book Review

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How to Overcome Hardships in Your Job Search

What Color is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles is updated every year. Job-seekers and career changers consult this book for answers on how to steer their career in a better direction. Here’s what you may find in this year’s revised edition of the book.

Lots of reflection: Bolles encourages the reader to look inward, to reflect, to ponder on what you already know, what you like, and how you prefer to work. I’m a reflective person, so if you are too, you may have already answered some of these questions.

Thoughts on job-searching with a disability: Bolles says that “everyone has a handicap”. He seems to view a handicap as something that makes one job-seeker different from the other; he doesn’t seem to truly acknowledge that some jobs do require a physical ability (such as driving) that you don’t have that the employer wants.

Information on starting a business: This section was appreciated, but could have been more extensive. This practical advice could have been far more helpful than advise to “penetrate networks” and go on “informational interviews”.

Words on your mission in life: I’m a Christian, so I appreciate an attempt to integrate work and faith, but this section left me puzzled. It was more about how each human’s reason for existing is to love others, not about how to find your own calling. Bolles seems to suggest that if you’re not following God in the small details of everyday life, you’ll never know what your vocation should be.

What to do if you lack experience in your chosen field: This is the most frustrating omission that could be made for both career-changers and millennials alike. If you’ve seen entry level jobs that require knowledge of a specific software and three years of experience, you understand how frustrating this can be. Bolles acknowledges how many people are now competing for a single job (Is it 100?) But other than suggesting networking, Bolles doesn’t address how to overcome a lack of experience, nor does he seem to understand how the economy is changing for the worse for job-seekers. He seems to believe that people are working part-time because they want to (not because the economy is creating part-time jobs), and he doesn’t address the fact that many college grads are working in jobs that do not require a degree. For the most part, 2016’s version of What Color is Your Parachute is significantly out of touch with reality. If you don’t need to work and you have lots of experience, this book might benefit you, but otherwise, this book is not practical.

FTC  Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my review.

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