Longreads

Rachel Paige King | Longreads | April 2018 | 14 minutes (3,753 words)

When Richard Bolles, Episcopal minister and author of What Color Is Your Parachute?, died last year at age 90,the New York Times explained his best-selling career guide’s success this way: “‘Parachute’ had come along at the beginning of a historic shift, when corporate strategies like outsourcing, subcontracting, downsizing and mergers were starting to erode traditional notions of job security. The idea that you could stay in one job for a lifetime began coming undone in the early 1970s, and ‘Parachute’s’ perennial sales reflected, at least in part, this new reality.”

Given the tumultuous climate for job seekers over the last half-century — Bolles’s book originally came out in 1970 — the various editions of Parachute have, unsurprisingly, sold a lot of copies (roughly 10 million). In the 2005 edition, for example, Bolles demonstrates why generations of…

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