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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What Color is your Parachute?

I had the great treat to meet Dick Bolles, author of "What Color is your Parachute?" yesterday. He met with the members of my PSCDA group and other interested fans of his work at the lovely Lake Union Crew ( facilities. After a day of walking us through some of his more famous exercises - prioritization, transferable skills, etc., we came to the most moving part of the evening. Career counselors, some who had worked with Dick for over 30 years, gave heartfelt speeches of how Dick and his work had influenced their lives.

Throughout the day, I was struck by how humble Dick was. In a room where people were literally gushing about how he completely transformed the course of their careers, Dick quietly focused on each person with whom he was speaking, making them feel that they were the most important person to him at that moment. I thought, what a role model for the rest of us. Give 100% of yourself to the person in front of you. Sounds so easy, right? He seemed rather nonplussed by the plaques, photomontages, and speeches actually, but sitting right across the table from him, I could tell he was touched by how much the speech givers were touched by him.

Knocked about by life several times, a layoff, his brother's assassination, an unexpected divorce, his heart stopping - things like that - Dick, at 81, still had a brightness of spirit and an energy that would put many people half his age to shame. A resilient man, teaching resilience, in a world ready to knock us all down if we let it.

I didn't have a speech for Dick. I’d come into the Puget Sound Career Developers Association (PSCDA) through the back door a year ago. As someone who'd arrived at career coaching only due to a serendipitous mixture of corporate recruiting and counseling careers, I'd never read Dick's book prior to a few weeks before he came to Seattle. When I finally read it, I was delighted to find that I'd stumbled upon many of the same truths about networking, resume writing, interviewing and the desire to share that knowledge with others that Dick had. I'm thrilled that I have another 35 years or so to keep practicing, maybe I'll get half as good. Dick Bolles is a role model worth emulating.


Working Girl said...

Wow, I'm so impressed you've met the Great Man himself!

And it's so nice to hear he as kind as he sounds in his book.....

I got the job! said...

It was a great experience. And I didn't even mention his wife Marci, who met him while selling him a watch and who later saved his life because she listened to her gut.

A remarkable pair.