The bulk of “What Color Is Your Parachute?” explores its hallmark Flower Exercise. Made up of seven key “petals,” it’s a guided effort to help a job seeker understand what they are looking for in their professional life. It’s different from other programs in part because it looks beyond simply what you may have been trained to do for a profession. It walks you through skills, personality traits, world outlook, and practical considerations like salary and geography to give you a guide to be intentional in your job search.
The seven petals are:
1. People – What kind of people do you want to be surrounded by in the workplace?
2. Working Conditions – What sort of working conditions do you want that sets you up to do your best work?
3. Skills – What can you do and what do you love to do that can be applied to the job market?
4. Purpose in Life – What sort of impact do you want to have in the world and how does that relate to your job?
5. Specific Knowledge – What are your favorite areas of knowledge or fields of interest?
6. Salary – What compensation do you need and what level of responsibility do you hope for?
7. Location – What geographical needs do you have and what type of community do you want to be a part of?
This is a personal process and could even lead to a surprise. Maybe your hobby should become your job. Maybe you’ll decide a location you’ve always enjoyed is where you want to be and figure out how to make that happen. Maybe the skills you’ve always used don’t excite your passions and you don’t even want them in your life anymore. This isn’t a small project and we will look at the petals over the course of several blog posts and why each one deserves attention.
If you have hours on your hands because of a pandemic-induced lay-off, take advantage of that gift and spend time figuring out what job it is that will really make you happy.
Dick Bolles, the author of “What Color Is Your Parachute?” has a YouTube page including a video on the value of the flower exercise. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be coming back to each petal and how you can set your professional goals on the next step.