If Your Interested in Changing Careers, Read This Book

When I hated my job, what I loved the most was Friday’s at 5:01 pm, when I’d push away from my desk, jump out of my swivel chair, and walk out of the building into the beautiful outside world. I felt giddiness in my stomach, and I was filled with relief and the possibility of freedom.

What I hated the most was Sunday night. Dread poured over my mind; I could not stop obsessing about work. And my work-related thoughts usually were not positive. My worry spread even further to Saturday nights because it was closer to Sunday, which was closer to Monday morning. Where I’d be getting up and going to an unfulfilling, restraining, and bureaucratic job. I didn’t know what to do.

I felt stuck and in need of a change. I also felt silly spending a lot of money, time, and effort to get myself in a cubicle farm. My decision to major in business administration during college — I’m sad to say — was shallow, illogical, and based on money. If I could re-do my education, I’d buy this book: “What Color Is Your Parachute?” sooner (in high school) and I’d study a lot more.

This book helped me get a handle on me, what I had to offer, what I wanted, and how to change careers.

If I was a high school teacher, I’d be giving this book out to my students, and yes, I’d assign homework. As much as I speak poorly about my career and education, I cannot forget how grateful I am. I gained valuable on the job experience and the benefit of having a college degree. It all got me to where I am today.

“What Color Is Your Parachute?” will help you understand what your dream job is and how to get there. No more procrastinating, hating your job, feeling stuck, or lost. This book will guide you in whatever direction you want to go.

The book isn’t only about changing careers, the author also includes a lot of great advice on the current job market, landing a job, interviewing, salary negotiation, and starting your own business. It’s sold millions of copies and it’s continually revised and updated every year.

My first career was in business administration mostly in human resources, but when I found “What Color is Your Parachute?” in 2006, I was able to pursue a more rewarding career for myself in Healthcare as a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA). I still practice and treat patients, and I no longer have feelings of dread or negative thoughts on any day of the weekend.

But I also have other passions, like writing, and I’m shifting to writing more regularly in the hopes of making a part-time income. Maybe you can tell I like having options. And I’ve used these different career options when it suited myself and my family.

The career-change section in “What Color Is Your Parachute?” is dedicated to helping you understand seven important preferences, interests, and skills about yourself. The author, Richard Bolles refers to this as the flower exercise, with seven petals.

· Determining your preferred interests

· Deciding what kind of work people you want to be around

· What skills you possess

· Clarifying responsibilities and salary

· The type of company atmosphere you prefer

· The part of the country you would prefer

· Your calling or the meaning of your life

The exercises the author has you complete for these seven areas are creative. It will involve writing, self-reflection, organizing, cataloging, analyzing, investigating, and arranging. You will never be alone because the author gives you step by step instruction with humor and warmth.

I enjoyed the nitty, gritty of how I could get myself to the place I wanted. Anything worth doing in my humble opinion takes time, investigation, trial, and error. Wouldn’t it be nice to know all there is to know about yourself and what you have to offer?

Richard Bolles, of “What Color Is Your Parachute?” says it best on what it’s like to understand yourself fully, explaining its like:

“a fresh inventory of what you have to offer the world before you go back out there. And I mean all that you have to offer, not just part of it. You already know part of it. The problem is that is only part. You need to know it all.”

Just think how confident you will feel walking into an interview with all this information. Picture it: the interviewer looks across the table at you and asks one of the most dreaded questions, “tell me about yourself,” or another doozy, “what are your strengths?” Well, now you have the answers. Give yourself a big pat on the back. And mentally jump up and down on the desk sitting in between you and the interviewer.

Let’s talk about what to do once your flower is complete. You’ll want to know what job correlates to everything you have to offer and what you learned about yourself. Here the author talks about informational interviewing. This means talking to others (friends, family, etc.) based on parts of your flower to figure out what career you’ll excel in. I had more of a gut reaction about my career choice. Maybe you will too. If not, this book has you covered.

Ok, so you put in the work, with the seven exercises, and interviewing others. You’ve found and decided on a career path, you should feel victorious and celebrate because you’re almost there!

Now find people in the field of your chosen career and interview them, to learn more about the job. The author has you asking questions like, what are the best and least exciting things about the job, what skills are a must, and how did that person get to where they are today. He also supplies help for anyone feeling introverted about this part of the process.

What Color Is Your Parachute?” will help you every step of the way. It’s all in there, waiting for you to make a move.

I decided on a healthcare career, which required more schooling, and there was no way of getting around it. Before I committed to going back to school for this new career, I decided to take an entry-level job in the field. One, that didn’t need any additional schooling. By taking this entry-level job my salary was cut in half. That might not be ideal for everyone or even an option. From there, I was able to assess and evaluate what my new career would look like before I spent a lot of money, time, and effort.

Thinking back, as soon as I took the entry-level job and quit my full-time job, I was committed to change and moving forward. At the time, it didn’t feel risky. It felt right like I was supposed to end up right where I was.

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