My Parachute

One of the veterans in the workshop suggested writing about what experiences had brought people to where they are today. Most folks gave catalog of experiences – marriage, military, school, and so forth.

We will be doing a rewrite this week to narrow the focus.

Here’s my contribution.

One small event changed my life forever. It was a workshop based on What Color Is Your Parachute? Without that guidance I would not have returned to Connecticut where I met Larry, returned to writing, nor would I be conducting the workshop, which enriches my life and expands my horizons.

Women in Transition in Philadelphia sponsored the workshop in which women and men explored options for changing careers. The instructors (former teachers) offered a workbook and seminars that allowed us to explore our skills, interests, aptitudes, geographic preferences, and so forth. It built a road map for figuring out where we wanted to go.

Interesting that of the eight people in my group, four of us were lawyers. One of the best aspects of the group was the support we gave each other.

What I learned was that I had walked away from journalism, the profession where my aptitude and skills and interests coalesced, into one that did not suit my temperament. The friends who filled out worksheets assessing their perception of me supported that insight.

Even though I wasn’t aware of it, Connecticut was a much better geographic fit than Pennsylvania. Yes, I had read Puritan Boston and Quaker PhiladelphiaBut in modern times, the similarities outweighed the differences. Plus, Digby Baltzell was writing about the ruling classes, not the masses. Now that I’m back in my home state I do appreciate the (somewhat) lower humidity and (somewhat) cooler temperatures. And except for a few blips such as our former governor Con John, the government here is squeaky clean compared to “Pennsyltucky.”

By the time I had finished the workshop, I had found a job – in journalism, once again at The Middletown Press – and had pretty much packed my bags for Connecticut.

As a testament to its power, What Color Is Your Parachute? has remained in print all these years, with a new edition out in 2017. (Yes, that’s the cover from two years ago). I was saddened to learn that author Richard Bolles died this year. May his legacy continue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *