The career profession lost one of its brightest luminaries with the passing of Dick Bolles on 31 March. Dick had just celebrated his 90th birthday on 19 March and retained his intelligence, wisdom and dedication to helping others throughout his life.
Dick’s early life path was in the sciences, graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a degree in Physics. Shortly afterward, he felt called to the ministry and was ordained in the Episcopalian (Anglican) Church. After a number of years serving as a minister, in the 1960s, he was asked to assist ministerial colleagues who were being made redundant. He developed approaches to career development and job seeking during this period and when he himself was made redundant from the ministry, he published his ideas in What Color is Your Parachute. Advice that we have all given to clients, such as knowing your interests, abilities, and values; learning about work via informational interviewing; seeking out the hidden job market; and networking, can all be traced to Parachute. However, the genius of Parachute (which Dick updated every year) was that Dick intended it to be a self-help manual of practical advice for “career-changers and job-seekers”. Parachute fulfilled its goal, as evidenced by the U.S. Library of Congress identifying it as one of the 25 most influential books ever published.
Dick delighted in sharing his ideas with other career professionals. He came to Auckland in 1996 to open the Career Centre at AUT University and was a frequent speaker at professional conferences around the world. More than anything, however, Dick enjoyed hearing from people who used his ideas to find employment and extend their careers. He was happy to personally respond to the many emails sent to him by people around the world who sought his advice.
Dick’s website, www.jobhuntersbible.com, compiles many of his ideas and resources. His sons have been assisting Dick in recent years and hopefully will continue his legacy.
You may also like to read Sam Young's tribute to Dick here