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What color is your Parachute ? Find your passion (FYP) toolkit

To find a job, one needs to have acquired the right skills. Yet, what if we had the right skills but did not know? What if we were looking for the wrong job based on what we think we can do? The FYP toolkit can help you answer these questions.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
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As I was going through the inspirations, I found interesting that many people assumed that finding a job was about developing the "right skills", or that others assumed that we needed to help people "fit" in the market. I could not help remembering What color is your parachute?. One of the book's premise is that nearly no one finds a job by replying to an ad and it provides many reasons for that.
He provides several activities to make people reflect on what they really know (not only what they learnt at school, not only what they did in the work context, but also skills they might have developed in other contexts). This reminded me of Cyril Lebel's stories about hiring people with not necessarily the "right" skills on paper.

He also invites readers to reflect  what they really want to do and in which context and where. This is  what James was so successful at doing while looking for a job: /open/youth-employment/inspiration/how-a-teapot-and-twitter-got-me-a-job-offer-after-graduating/

All this resonates with Ashley Karr's story about her grandfather telling her: don't look for a job create one.
It also resonnates with  Ken Robinson's talk at the School of Life where he wrote: "Many people spend their entire lives doing things they don't really care for" and "endure their lives". It is indeed important to help young people develop their skills, but skills are only one piece of the puzzle but if you're not passionate and engaged in what you do, you will be bored but also you won't do well your job, and you might not even find one because you won't be able to convince the employers that you're the right person.

So what will the Find Your Passion look like?
It will encompasses a series of activities (mapping, brainstorming, etc.), inspired by Boles' activities in What color is your parachute? and by others works such as Ken Robinson's work. It will provide a set of questions and situations pushing young people to think about what they can really do, what they really want to do and where do they want to do it?

Examples of activities:
- What are your "real" skills? You will have to reflect on various experiences (not only school or internships, but projects, small jobs, hobbies, life - e.g. elder sister of 3) and to map what are your skills "beyond" what you learnt at school or practiced in internships.
- When are your at your best? You will be asked a certain number of people (about 10) who know them well to describe what they think are this person's strengths. I have used this in one of my course and it is a great learning experience for most people.

The second part would be to make people reflect about what they really want to do: of course, in terms of activities, but also where (in a city or in the countryside, in a big or small company, in the public or private sector)...

It will also include a couple of stories illustrating how one can might end up not doing the job they thought they will do based on their education and training, or illustrating stories of people who were driven by their passion and thus enjoyed their job and life.

This concept builds upon many inspirations and can also connect with concepts such as Amy Hummel's concept, or Vishal and Amy's  concepts (watching the videos could help young people realize that they have some skills they did not think they have, or might also make them realize what kind of jobs they want, or don't want to do). I can also see how it could complement the Confidence Journey.

It could be a paper version (with a set of flash cards or posters that can be used to support the questioning );
one could imagine developing an online or app version.
You could even imagine having workshops offered in universities or other institutions.

How will your concept support young people as they transition into the world of work?

It will provide young people with an opportunity to reflect on their skills and potential values, allowing them to see more opportunities and have more hope in the future. It will also help them define what would be their ideal job (content, context, and location, etc.) thus allowing them to start looking in directions they did not even thought of before. Once you know what value you can really add and what you really want to do, it's much easier to convince potential employers.

What online or in-person components of your concept will best support this transition?

The tool kit could be developed either online, paper based, or via workshops. In both cases, some time for researching and developing activities would be required. Yet, there is a lot of activities and content out there, so it's more a matter of developing a "curriculum" and making some choices.

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Photo of Bryann Alexandros

An awesome idea, and very inspiring stories too! The apathy and confusion that some of our youth encounters comes from enduring someone else's recipe for being "the right candidate."

In light of Ken Robinson's and Richard Bolles's work, introspection is a powerful asset. The paradox too is that no external source can concretely define how that path of introspection turns, splits, and weaves. The FYP toolkit could be a potent trigger to empower them with confidence in devising what their alternative paths may look like. Gathering up the skills from past contexts and concocting them into the present is actually very brilliant.

To accompany the mapping and brainstorming, maybe the personal business model canvas may work? It was modeled after the business model canvas by Alex Osterwalder, but it also works well in envisioning how personal aspirations and aptitudes fit and flow together.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Thanks Bryann. I'm going to check the business model canvas as I have to admit I'm not familiar with the notion. Thanks!

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