This week, The Simple Dollar is reviewing the latest iteration of the classic job hunting book What Color Is Your Parachute? It was named one of the Library of Congress’s 25 Books That Have Shaped Readers’ Lives more than a decade ago; is this updated version still as powerful today as it was then? This week, let’s find out.
It’s this final section that kicks What Color Is Your Parachute into high gear and really sets it apart from all of the other career books out there.
Chapter 11: The Three Secrets To Finding That Dream Job of Yours
This single chapter goes on for more than a hundred pages, and it’s perhaps the best hundred pages on the true art of finding the right job for yourself that I’ve ever read. The entire chapter ends up revolving around detailed evaluations of a number of exercises, one of which is perhaps the best thing I’ve ever seen for honest evaluation of career goals. Here’s the exercise in its entirety:
1. Take ten sheets of blank paper. Write, at the top of each one, the words: Who Am I?
2. Then write, on each sheet in turn, one answer to that question. And only one.
3. When you’re doin, go back over all ten sheets and expand upon what you have written at each sheet. Looking at each answer, write below it why you said that and what turns you on about that answer.
4. When you’r finished with all ten sheets, go back over them and arrange them in order of priority. That is, which identity is most important to you? That page goes on top. Then, which is next? That goes immediately after the top one. Continue arranging the rest of the sheets in order until the least important identity is on the bottom of the pile.
5. Finally, go back over the ten sheets in order and look particularly at your answer on each sheet to What turns me on about this? See if there are any common denominators or themes among the ten answers you gave. If so, jot them down on a separate piece of paper.
Those things you jotted down in step five are the very core of what you should be doing with your life. I did this very exercise just now, and it revealed to me what I’ve believed all along: I should be a writer.
The remainder of the chapter is full of similar exercises that are each quite effective at bringing out important aspects of yourself that are vital for correctly determining the career that’s right for you. The above exercise, though, starts off the chapter and felt incredibly powerful to me.
Chapter 12: How To Find Your Mission In Life
This final chapter is almost like a coda to the book, with the preceding chapter being the book’s climax. Basically, the idea to finish the book is that your career is merely one piece of your life, and that it should be in line with the overall goals of your life, a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with.
Tomorrow, I’ll give a “buy or don’t buy” recommendation for this book.
What Color Is Your Parachute? is the eighteenth of fifty-two books in The Simple Dollar’s series 52 Personal Finance Books in 52 Weeks.