What Color is Your Parachute?

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Someone recently came by for career advice. Like I somehow have a smart view on this 🙂 Anyway, I thought I’d write down the usual advice I give someone. _Now I sound like the guy in the Graduate who said the future is, “plastics”_ Anyway, here you go Jonathan. Have fun!
OK, so what should you do?
# Figure out who you are. Harder than it sounds, but I’ve had great success with books like “What Color is Your Parachute?”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1580085415/qid=1076521721//ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/103-9079206-1114251?v=glance&s=books&n=507846. A great advice book.
# “Myers-Brigg”:http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp online is a good one to get a sense of what basic personality type you are.
# “Personal Sytles and Effective Performance”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0801968992/qid=1076522672//ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/103-9079206-1114251?v=glance&s=books&n=507846 that gets you into the way of working and relating to people.
# Find a Mentor. What’s next, well, usually, that leads to some set of profressionals that might work for you. My advice now is to go find some people have been doing the job for a while. Decide if you like them. Figure out what they do. If you’re lucky spend a day trailing them and see if it sounds good. It’s amazing how many jobs which are great on paper, dull in reality.
# Find a great program. Find someone who recruits in the profession you picked. Its a great way to find out the current gouge on what people think about schools and backgrounds. A good pre-test to see what jobs there are and what people are looking for. .If you’re going to school, it can tell you what programs to get into.
# Get a personal board of directors. Longer term advice than Ruthann gave me a long time ago. The basic idea is that you need a small set of people who can be your sounding board.
# What’s your playbook? Like marketing a product, you, in essence, are like a product. So, the key questions are, what is the playing field? What gap are you trying to fill. My buddy, Ken, once told me, every job, I tell people the three reasons this job is perfect for me and the three reasons I’m the only one for this job. Then there is what play are you running to fill the gap. Are you in a drag race for the job, so if that guy got an A, you are Phi Beta Kappa? Are you in a platform where this job fits logically because you have been building for it for since Kindergarten? Are you in a stealth play where the job makes sense because there is a new niche opening up? Are you in a best of both worlds where you are the only person with both a MD and an MBA?
# Taking High return/low risk choices. Can help you balance the classic, shall I take a risk on this new thing or stay pat on what I’m doing now. A career is like financial investing. If you play it safe your whole like, then you are guaranteed a low return. But, if you make the wrong bets, the same things happens, you lose. Its all about making the right bets where your risk is low and the return is high. The first president of Apple said, that the early success of Apple was all about taking “apparently big chances.” That is risks that were large for others, but uniquely small for him..

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