What Color Is Your Parachute?
Friends of Zachary,
When Deena and I were starting out in our twenties, we both had doubts and uncertainty as to where our careers would take us. Could we earn enough money to be happy? Would we get satisfaction out of our career choices? I remember “falling into” media sales, working for various publishing companies over the years. I remember all too well speaking with Deena about the book ”What Color is Your Parachute”, by Richard N. Bolles. The premise of the book is to identify: What do you most love to do? Where do you most love to do it? How do you find such a job and persuade those employers to hire you? I remember sitting with Deena exploring her passion in life and trying to coach and help her navigate the “right” path for her.
I imagine most of the American population are directed towards careers based on life changes, passion, income needs, flexible work status, benefits and a host of other reasons but are they truly happy in what they are doing for at least 40 hours a week? Based on the online report from www.theweek.com, Why most Americans hate their jobs (or are just ‘checked out’), June 20th 2013, on average, some 100 million Americans were employed full-time in 2010-2012 — and 70 million (70%) of them either hated their jobs or were simply “checked out,” according to a recent Gallup survey of America’s workforce. The goal of this post is not to question your career choices, because we all make decisions based on real life situations. Some of us take second jobs to make ends meet while others are completely satisfied in the role they play. But, what happens when a tragedy unexpectedly enters your life when you least expect it? How do you plan and prepare? What immediate steps do you take to maintain the quality of life you once had or did the tragedy spark an awareness that change is needed to reflect what is most important to us.
After Zachary’s passing, I’ve been witness to many stories of hardship, health challenges, displaced families and unfortunate situations for which many are unprepared. I don’t begin to preach the sky is falling but simply adding an understanding that sometimes in life, the unexpected happens and we must remain strong for ourselves, our loved ones and take comfort knowing that communities of good people are around for support.
So let me tie this all together. The goal of this post is to open your mind to choices you have made (good or bad) and from first-hand experience consider to start living life vs existing in it. Zachary’s passing has provided an awakening for me that life is too precious to waste and sometimes reflecting on your career and how your spend 40 plus hours a week may be incredibly impactful to the idea of Living Life vs Existing In It.
We all have expectations and dreams of building a wonderful life and having the financial and emotional stability that will carry us through. The reality is, the color of your parachute is always changing as life’s obstacles dictate the changes. We can plan, prepare and insulate ourselves from the hardship that many of us WILL experience but what makes us different is the way we handle the situation. Who will we lean on and how will we look at our future once a life change has been made? Unfortunately, these changes are often out of our control but prioritizing what is truly important and setting a plan to maintain your values and priorities will help ease the frustration and uncertainly of what is to come. How a tragedy redefines your life is up to you. What color is your parachute?
Yesterday is gone, live for today, let tomorrow be your inspiration and future.
Our sincerest appreciation,
Deena, David, Matthew, (Zachary)
“It Takes A Village”