Legendary Parachute Author Dick Bolles Teams With Son On E-Version

By Willa Smith

Known worldwide as the “Father of Modern Job Hunting and Career Development”, Richard Nelson Bolles (aka Dick Bolles) is collaborating with his son Gary Bolles on an online version of his popular and classic book, What Color Is Your Parachute? With more than 10 million copies sold since 1970, this internationally best-selling career guide is updated regularly and has been translated to over 20 languages and is used in 26 countries. In 1996, the U.S. Library of Congress named it as one of 25 of the most influential books ever to shape readers’ lives.


Now in incubation development mode, Dick’s and Gary’s inventive e-course is based on principles of the printed book version that Dick wrote while serving as an Episcopalian priest. He wrote it to help people find out what they really wanted to do in life. By focusing on their favorite ideas and skills, the steps in the book help the reader identify their unique gifts and learn how to use them in order to fulfill (and initially discover) their purpose in life.

The 2012 edition of the What Color Is Your Parachute? includes significant revisions that emphasize individuals taking more responsibility for their career development. It emphasizes:

  • Being aware of one’s attitude

  • Developing better job hunting skills

  • Getting more proactive and skilled at job creation

  • Conducting a more thorough inventory about what one has to offer and going after many options instead of only one

  • Becoming more compassionate and teaching job-hunting skills to others.

Gary’s expertise is technology. He is CEO of Xigi Inc., which helps to build communities of impact for its customers by using events and software. He builds on this expertise by combining the enduring techniques found in Dick’s book with the tools of the Internet to create the dynamic e-Parachute course. The e-course will empower job hunters and career changers to not only find jobs, but also to create their own work. Key objectives of e-Parachute will include helping individuals master the following:

  • Develop competency is using online resources such as social networking, and inter-weave them with survival job hunting strategies

  • Confidently pursue their dreams because technology has made it less expensive in how people communicate and interact with potential employers and business partners

  • Similarly, take advantage of the opportunities that currently abound for entrepreneurial ventures.

As a scheduled keynote speaker at the Poetics of Aging Conference scheduled for November 16 - 19, 2011, in San Francisco.  Dick will discuss his views on the art of agingand career development, and on the role of technology in one’s life and work. The mission of the conference is to counter the belief that aging is decline and/or disease.

Dick’s life is reflective of this mission. When asked by the interviewer when he goes to sleep each night, the octogenarian replied, “Well, last night I went to sleep at 4:00 am.” He is obviously still passionate abouthis work! He noted that he keeps up this pace by taking care of himself throughout the day by staying hydrated and rested, and often reflects on his faith and purpose in life. He continues to push his own horizons and encourages everyone to be open to new experiences and to keep their interests broad and alive the older they get.

Dick believes getting older is something one should look forward to. He likens the process of aging to music, especially symphonies which are an expression of an individual’s creative right brain. Symphonies have four movements, the fourth of which can end in one of two ways, either as a pathétique or as a heroic ending. Pathétique endings become more quiet toward the end of the movement and literally “die away,” whereas a heroic ending signifies “emotional depth and structural rigor.” Given the choices, which kind of 4th movement in your life will you compose?

The above article is based on a Careerwell Interview by Sally Gelardin with Dick and Gary Bolles on September 8, 2011. To listen to the full interview, go to: http://web.me.com/sallyroberta/Careerwell/Podcasts/Entries/2011/9/8_Dick_Bolles_and_Gary_Bolles.html

Willa Smith, NCC, NCCC, has over 25 years experience as a counselor and has worked for the U.S. DOL and various colleges and universities as a counselor, instructor and project coordinator. Currently, she works at Yuba College and is pursuing the new California Professional Clinical Counselor license. She has been recognized by those she serves as “going above and beyond to make a difference.” For more information about this article, contact Willa at willasmith@ameaningfullifetime.com.


Leanne Kruk on Thursday 11/10/2011 at 02:20PM wrote:

Awesome article! Thank you Willa for sharing this great news with the world!

Carole Sue Taylor on Thursday 11/10/2011 at 06:07PM wrote:

I love the phrase "the art of aging" and the comparison of life to a symphony. Great thoughts, and at my point in life, really hitting home.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the comments shown above are those of the individual comment authors and do not reflect the opinions of this organization.