Read What Color Is Your Parachute? Online

Authors: Carol Christen,Jean M. Blomquist,Richard N. Bolles

Tags: #Juvenile Nonfiction, #Business & Economics, #Careers, #School & Education, #Non-Fiction

What Color Is Your Parachute? (42 page)

BOOK: What Color Is Your Parachute?
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Title the third column “Do I have this trait?” Read over the traits you’ve written for each of the people you admire. Ask yourself, “Do I have this trait? Do I want to have this trait?” Write your answers in the third column.
Title the last column “How can I develop this trait?” Answer this question for each trait or attribute you’d like to develop or strengthen.

Discovering Your Mission in Life

Don’t confuse life and work. It is much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit.

You’ve been reflecting on very important aspects of your life—how you want to live your life, what you most deeply value and believe, and whom you most deeply admire. Your reflections on these questions, along with the other explorations you’ve made in this book, will help you find your purpose or mission in life—that is, what you are alive to do. Each of us has a purpose for being alive, and through pursuing our mission, we use our unique talents to contribute something to the world, making it a better place to live, both for us now and for the generations that will follow us. There are three aspects to this mission:

  1. Our lives are not simply to be filled with doing things; who we are and how we live our lives—our very being—is also important.
  2. We are to do what we can do—moment by moment, day by day—to make this world a better place. In every situation, we each must do what we can to bring more gratitude, kindness, forgiveness, honesty, and love into the world.
  3. Each of us must discover our purpose in life: how to use the talent that we came to earth to use. To do this, we each need to find and use our
greatest gift—the gift that delights us when we use it—in the places or with the people where we are drawn to use that gift and where it is most needed in the world.

As you seek your mission in life, always remember that you have something important to offer the world. The gift you are and the gifts you have to offer are unique. Only you can be you. Only you can fulfill your mission. Only you can give your unique gift to make the world a better place.

Our Wish for You

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.
—JUDY GARLAND, singer and actress

As we close, we wish you well as you discover yourself, define your future, and live out your mission in life. Finding the job you want and creating the life you want can only be done by you. May you find work that challenges, satisfies, and delights you. May that work be part of a whole life that is good and fulfilling in every way. May you live out your life purpose—your mission—and give what only you can give to make the world a better place.

As you move from teen to adult, we hope you will: Tell the truth. Take some (manageable) risks. Be a bit cautious. Be thorough. Be persistent. Be kind. Become prepared to deal with the good and the disappointing parts of life. Live fully, love deeply, and always remember that step by step, day by day, you are creating your life and your future.

The three Ms—mission, model, mirror—help you define what kind of character you are developing. Throughout your life, keep checking your growth by asking yourself these questions:
Mission: What is my purpose in life? How can I make the world a better place?
Model: Whom do I admire? Who are my
role models? Who lives the kind of life I most want to live?
Mirror: Am I the kind of person I want to be?


In an ordinary recession, jobs are lost in a few sectors of the economy. In a severe recession, jobs are lost across all sectors of the economy. During the extraordinary recession of the past few years, the U.S. economy has lost over seven million jobs from all sectors.

Amazingly enough, in Fall 2009, there were also three million jobs
vacant because employers can’t fill them. The current openings are in technical, scientific, health-related, and government organizations. Why? Because employers can’t find people with the skills needed for the jobs that are vacant. This discrepancy between the job skills people think they need and those sought by employers is yet another reason why postponing career exploration and decision making until after high school is not a strategy for success. You need time to
(that’s a PSAT and AP word) whether any of the jobs
in demand can help you get your dream job. A majority of the jobs now vacant are high-skill, high-pay technical jobs. Since the advent of globalization, there is no such thing as just a U.S. job. If employers can’t find U.S. citizens to fill vacant jobs, they will hire skilled applicants from other countries.

You have a choice of what to study, both in high school and afterward. When the economy is dicey and there are lots of people unemployed, students must determine which fields or jobs are in high demand that overlap their
interests. This involves not only reading about various careers, but once again job shadowing and talking with employers to confirm employment possibilities and what type of training is available. Thousands of students have found that once they leave school, it is much easier to get into the workforce if they have training for jobs that are in high demand.

Authors’ note: We are frequently asked, “Should students take into account jobs that are in demand or only pursue jobs they’ll love?” In the last decade, students have been encouraged to figure out a career path based on what they really enjoy doing. That’s better than the advice your parents and grandparents probably were given: “Just get a job, any job.” Liking one’s work wasn’t considered important. In reality, that’s not such good advice, because it’s hard to become successful in a job you don’t like. However, one factor has been overlooked, especially by academia: What’s the demand for the jobs that most interest you? If demand is weak, what other jobs in greater demand are out there that use your skills and let you learn something interesting? With good research, students can probably find jobs that are in demand and that they will also love.

BOOK: What Color Is Your Parachute?
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