What Color is Your Parachute? By Richard N. Bolles
Wednesday, May 25, 2022

By: Sarah Hodierne, Adult Services Librarian

The 2022 edition of What Color is Your Parachute? Your Guide to Meaningful Work and Career Success by Richard N. Bolles with Katharine Brooks approaches workforce development with a self-reflective mentality. Job seekers that could benefit from a self-inventory alongside a dose of encouragement are the right readers for this book. 

This book is positive and tries to empower the job seeker by helping people realize that they have the power over the jobs they seek out and apply for. By having a self-reflection assessment, under the name of “The Flower Exercise”, Bolles and Brooks ask you to “do the homework on yourself” to find not just any job, but your dream job.

The title of this book might be familiar because the concept of this book has been around a while. It was first published in 1970 and has been revised yearly since its original publication to reflect the changing job market. We all know one thing about finding the right job and that is that change is a constant process. As time goes on, our interests can change but we also realize more things about ourselves through our experiences in different job positions. You might have thought something was your dream job when you applied for it, but it turns out as you have that lived experience of working in that position that the job is nothing like how you imagined it.

“The Flower Exercise” has you look at what they have narrowed it down to as the seven sides of you: people, working conditions, transferable skills, knowledges, geography, salary and purpose in life. These seven sides are used to evaluate where you should take your next step in your career. It is named “The Flower Exercise” because each of the seven sides of you represent a petal that makes up the whole flower, or whole you. I like to think of this book as more of an adult version of those career quizzes we took in school, because it considers your lived experiences and individuality.  This exercise will take up some of your time, but I would say that this self-assessment is worth the effort if you can set aside the time to complete it. You might learn some new things about yourself and really dive deeper into how you operate in the workforce based on your personality.

You can take the knowledge you learned about yourself in “The Flower Exercise” to dig deeper into potential jobs and career changes. The exercise really helps you consider what your next move might be. I think that the ability to have you think outside your current field of work by taking a broader look at who you are and where you want to go professionally is one of the major advantages of this exercise.

It would be remiss not to mention that this book has a lot of practical advice in addition to its more abstract reflection that “The Flower Exercise” contains. You will find essential tips for writing resumes and cover letters, networking, interviewing, and negotiating your salary. “The Flower Exercise” is the largest component to this book, but even if you do not find yourself intrigued by it, I still think this book is worthwhile to check out for some of these more practical sections that are applicable to a broad change of professionals, wherever they may be on their career journey.

This book is available to check out at the library both as a physical copy and as an eBook through the Libby App.

With a little bit of practice and self-patience, you will be ready to take on the next steps in your future career. If you would like more information about how to apply for jobs online, assistance in finding resources, tips on how to get the job-hunting process started or more, please reach out to us at CCPL by email, chat, or text. Remember, you are not alone.