Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What Parachute?

** I wrote this post based on a story shared by someone very close to my heart.  It is not my story, but it could be yours or someone you know.  These are hard times. **

The iconic job hunter's guide "What Color is Your Parachute?" by Richard Bolles has been used and revised every year since 1975.

But if you're like me, your recent experience as a job seeker was pure free fall.  Just you and a big blue atmosphere, flying with arms spread open, wind racing through your hair, soaring on a wing and a prayer and trying to keep from crash landing.

Parachutes are ... well ... for someone else.  Someone with techie skills or a young fresh face.  Someone with program management credentials.  At least someone who had a resume that wasn't labeled "eclectic."

My relentless bush-whacking through the wild and treacherous border designed to deter Job Seekers from slipping into the coveted Land of the Employed was by far the most grueling, demeaning, and discouraging experience I've ever endured.  Me.  The one who started young with a lemonade stand and kept right on working at whatever jobs I could finagle, while getting good grades all through school, and even earning a Bachelor's Degree at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Given all that, my continued unemployed state at this point had to be my age (Forty-Something), or possibly the way a couple of my work history gaps were perceived.

Bolles claims that in today's job market, 1 job is landed for every 1,460 resumes submitted.  I was surprised to learn that a younger and even more determined friend had, like me, sent out over 60 resumes.  And also like me, heard almost nothing back.  Receiving a "No, you are not being considered for this position" is a rare courtesy today.

The Parachute book frequently talks about "finding your passion" or "bliss" as it is sometimes called.  At this point, my passion was fairly basic:  eating, putting gas in my car, paying the rent.  And bliss?  What does that even mean?

Suddenly my determined friend hit the jackpot by getting on the inside track at a well-known Large Local Corporation.  My "new best friend" then gave me a leg up, and I got a foot in the door, too.  Eureka!

While this new friend's actions were not as heroic as ... say ... Mother Theresa, it felt genuinely significant and sacrificial to someone who was facing the demoralization and panic caused by somehow surviving extended employment.  It was a time for celebration.

This Local Large Corporation is the third most profitable business in the United States.  It's not going anywhere soon.  That spells Stability.  And if you've been laid off once or multiple times in the past few years, Stability matters.  There's even frosting on this Stability Cake:  excellent benefits while hard work and tenure are rewarded.

The trade-off for all this security is that everyone starts at the bottom and has an equal opportunity to move up, if advancement is desired.  (The Corporate Ladder is similar to the model for Economic Distribution of Wealth.)

The best part:  the Dreaded Thud to the Ground did not happen.  Not only that, but I now believe that stability and consistency (which I have) are far more important than a big paycheck and exciting work (which I do not have).

However ... guess what my first official job assignment was?  To update my passport!  "Woot Woot"  Who even needs a parachute?!

Note:  An email address has been added at the end of the About Me section on the far right for readers who wish to have a private dialogue with me on any topic covered in Skagit Leeks. 


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  2. I remember that book! My first encounter with it was at the end of the '70's when the friendly helper at the career counseling office at the college I was about to graduate from (with a BA at age 28) suggested I read it. Can't say it ever did me much good, but then my chosen field, archaeology, is not known for high-paying jobs. Following my educational bliss and earning degrees in anthropology and archaeology did not make me a highly sought after potential employee. Well, I enjoyed the classes and the limited amount of work that I did. It was interesting, but not lucrative. I have often found myself being passed over for mediocre part-time jobs because of my education, but these days it's more a case of age. I feel as though I can't win. Finally gave up and recently applied for Social Security. Might as well.

  3. After you Kite Surf correspond, basically take your back foot out of the strap and place just about close to your front foot. From here, uproot your front foot and spot it close to the back strap. When you are beginning to do this present, its best to have the kite at 11 o'clock or 1 o'clock. This is so in any case you have some forward force, yet the kite is continually hauling you up out of the water.