The Flower and the Parachute

As part of the Live Your Legend program, one of the books they’ve suggested to read is What Color is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles. Apart from misspelling* the word “colour”, it is (apparently) one of the top job finding books ever.

I have been following the exercises that it has set me. One of these is quite an involved exercise which ends up with a diagram that he calls “The Flower”. This diagram has seven petals which are filled out with the answers to the exercises.

These answers are:

  • My Favourite** Knowledges or Fields of Interest
  • My Preferred Kinds of People to Work With
  • What I Can Do and Love to Do
  • My Favourite Working Conditions
  • Level of Responsibility I’d Like
  • My Preferred Place to Live
  • My Goal, Purpose or Mission in Life

I’m not going to post the full result here. It’s long and it took me some days to complete the exercise. Many of theses exercises involved taking a list of things I had written and comparing each in pairs, then rating them. This was done with either a list of ten items or 24. I have included below an example of the 24 grid that the book gets me to use.

After completing the Flower I then choose eight specific points to continue to the next stage. This is where I am at the moment. The next exercise is to show these eight point to various people and ask…

When you read these eight, what jobs or work they suggest to you?

  • Desktop publishing, picture editing
  • Animation, motion graphics
  • Active learning
  • Problem solving
  • Working with numbers
  • Visualising data into graphics
  • Programming
  • Imagining new ways or improved ways of doing things

Take some wild guesses. The answers don’t have to cover every point. There are no wrong answers.

I say “no wrong answers”, but…

I have asked several people these questions, and I’m not convinced this exercise is working. Yes, a couple of people have come back with good answers, but most haven’t.

Several people have suggested “IT”, but then these are the same people who think that any work with computers is IT. To them desktop publishing, which is more akin to graphic design, is the same as IT.

Others have answered each point one by one and not relating it to other points. Others have said “anything”.

I will continue to ask people, as I’m hopeful to get more useful answers. The book says to continue for a week.

24 grid

*Some would argue that I am misspelling the word program. But as an Australian I get to choose when I use UK spelling and when, occasionally, I agree with the US.

**Actually, it says “favorite”, but I’m still with the UK on this one. I have tried, in vain, to get the website I use to write this blog to accept British spellings, and indeed it is set to “UK”. But it still insists that British spellings are incorrect and gives them red underline as I type. Like so many applications the concept of UK spelling is just lip service.

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