Authors: Carol Christen,Jean M. Blomquist,Richard N. Bolles
Tags: #Juvenile Nonfiction, #Business & Economics, #Careers, #School & Education, #Non-Fiction
Copyright © 2006, 2010 by Carol Christen and Richard Nelson Bolles
All rights reserved.
Ten Speed Press and the Ten Speed Press colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.
The Library of Congress has cataloged the first edition as follows:
Bolles, Richard Nelson.
What color is your parachute? for teens : discovering yourself, defining your future / Richard Nelson Bolles and Carol Christen, with Jean M. Blomquist.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Teenagers—Vocational guidance. 2. Job hunting. I. Christen, Carol. II. Blomquist, Jean M. III. Title.
This book is dedicated to my mother, Muriel Christen-Jones. People like her and my stepfather, Bill Jones, have my complete admiration. They have overcome circumstance and early bad decisions to thrive and have persevered to create a life they love. You go, Mom!
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Bouquets of thanks to all who helped with this book, especially the following:
Phil Wood, for calling to ask about my interest in adapting
for teens. Richard N. Bolles, for writing the original
What Color Is Your Parachute?
and enabling millions of people—myself included—to find jobs and careers they love. Winifred Wood, for issuing the challenge that planted the seeds for this book. Lily Binns, editor of the first edition, and Lisa Westmoreland, second edition editor; both have extraordinary skills at herding cats and authors. Lisa plays excellent manuscript Frisbee and is such fun to work with. Kristi Hein for her amazing copyediting (I am in awe of her skills). Betsy Stromberg, art director, for her cool cover and interior design. The entire team at Ten Speed/Random House that designs, produces, publicizes, markets, sells, and ships this book. Together we’ve created a wonderful career resource for teens. Colleagues Jim Cassio, Sue Cullen, Rich Feller, Tanya Gilbert, Letta Hlavachek, Jim Kell, Tom Jackson, Brian McIvor, Marty Nemko, Daniel Porot, Patti Wilson, and Robin Roman Wright for giving me helpful suggestions and access to their brilliant minds. David Maxwell, chair of the business department at Ernest Righetti High School; Jeff Stein and Matt Aydelott of the workforce development projects at Cuesta College; and Professor Jim Howland of the Technical/Professional Writing Program at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, for allowing me
access to their students. The hundreds of teens and young adults who shared their learnings, hopes, and fears. Cynthia Campbell, for being such a caring friend and psychic about when to call. Muriel Christen-Jones, my mother, for her unconditional support of this project, and me. Dr. Serena Brewer, my daughter, for her encouragement (leap … and the net will appear), brainstorming, giving me access to her worldwide network, and, most important, taking the time to find a career path she loves. Finally, huge thanks to my best friend and loving husband, Joe Risser, for endless cups of tea, being a sturdy wall against which to bounce ideas, and keeping CR Farms going while I was otherwise engaged. Your love is my safety net.
With deep gratitude,
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION, OR HOW CAN THIS BOOK HELP ME?
Welcome to the adventure of your life.
Wait, isn’t this book about choosing a career? Yes, but before you can start making decisions about careers, you really need to think out the life you want and what work will help you get that life. What purpose do you want your life to serve? What purpose does work serve in your life?
This book can help you answer those questions. By reading this book and doing the exercises, you will learn how to describe the life you want as a young adult (or beyond), what you want in a dream job, and how to use that information to help you identify the training, education, and jobs that will help you get the experience and skills you need to qualify for your dream job.
Work you will enjoy grows out of your values—that is, what is important to you. This book has been written to help you learn, step by step, what values are important to you and what kind of a life you want. That way, you’ll be able to describe what makes up a job that is good for you and how to go about getting hired to do work you want to do.
We know you don’t really want to read a book. You’re asking, “Isn’t there some quicker method of learning what kind of career is right for me?” It would be so much easier if there were a foolproof method for helping each teen discover their perfect job. It would be lovely if there were a “sorting hat” for careers. Put it on your head and instead of saying which Hogwarts house you belong to,
it would tell you what job was perfect for you. But there really isn’t one perfect job that, if you’re lucky enough to guess right, you’ll have forever. What’s perfect for you will change with age, experience, and the economy.
Like the Knights of the Round Table, you have a quest. Except, instead of finding the holy grail, your quest is to find your place in the world, what kind of a life you want, and how you are going to earn a living in ways you can enjoy. Most teens want their adult years to be fun and fulfilling—which is hard to achieve if you hate your job.
As fascinating as you are, it can take a while to get to know yourself and to pull information about you and the world of work together. In studying young adult success in transitioning from school to work, it’s surprising to find that it takes about ten years to get from no clue, to a detailed plan, to well-employed. So if you hope to spend your quarterlife birthday celebrating your personal and professional success, plan on beginning your career exploration about age fifteen.
Why fifteen? There are lots of reasons, but the most compelling is that you’ve still got plenty of time to become aware of dozens of careers, check them out, toss some out, find some more to explore, and eventually find several options that really interest you. In addition, planning ahead gives you time to take classes that will improve your employment skills or let you go deeper into subjects you like.
If you’re just fifteen, you can skip the first four chapters (for now). Read them when you’re seventeen or eighteen. Those chapters are for older teens with some work experience, and teach you how to find your favorite interests, skills, and goals to create a description of what you want in a job. We suggest you start reading this book at the end.
is about the life you want as a twentysomething,
which is a good goal to start thinking about now! You might also want to check out
How to Find What You Love to Do: Naming Your Interests
exercise to get ideas about career fields to explore.
CREATE YOUR OWN CAREER CLASS
If your school doesn’t have a career class, get a few ambitious friends together and create your own
book club or
Introduction to Career Planning
course. In addition to this book, here is my recommended bibliography:
Helping Teens Find Their Futures
by Kenneth C. Gray
Luck Is No Accident:
Making the Most of Happenstance in Your Life and Career
by John Krumboltz and Al Levin