“Jobs today are really seminars.”

Fast Company magazine has gone through quite an evolution, and reading blog commentary about it over time, whether pro or con, illustrates one common theme: people can be pretty passionate about it.

They get passionate about it because in the early days of the magazine, the writing was so good.

One thing that has not changed with Fast Company’s web presence, is a feature near the top right of their home page linking you to some article in their archives. There’s a quote from the article to draw your attention, in a light blue box called First Impression. You can sign up to have the same quote come to your inbox daily, and I had tried it for awhile, but for me that just added to the email clutter, and I prefer to click in for myself when I have some time online to get a jolt of good reading.

When I happen to have put my intention “out there” in some way, it can amaze me in how fitting their selected article happens to be for me; like today.

Today’s quote was the short but sweet enticement of my post title, said by Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute? when he was interviewed in September of 1999 by Daniel Pink (before Free Agent Nation was published) just prior to releasing the 30th anniversary edition of his book. It’s a great interview, particularly in regard to Bolles’ insistence that the constancy of our lives demand as much focused attention as does the certainty of change, and that “The job hunt hasn’t changed one whit in 30 years.”


Pink:
Despite all the things we’ve discussed so far, you’re not totally sold on the idea that the world of work is awash in change, are you?


Bolles:
No, I’m not. There is a basic truth about what a human needs in order to survive; our culture seems unable to understand that. Human nature survives and has survived through the ages by being able to hold on tenaciously to two concepts: What is there about my life or world that has remained constant? and What is there about my life or world that has changed or is changing? I have always argued that change becomes stressful or overwhelming only when you’ve lost any sense of the constancy in your life. You need firm ground to stand on. From there, you can deal with that change. Observing the constants in your life gives you that firm ground. The thing about the great faiths is that they talk about what’s constant in the world: God, grace, prayer. But our culture, in general — and the profession of career counseling, in particular — gets absorbed with a single question: What’s changing? Nobody remembers to ask the other question, What’s remained constant?

Pink: All right then, for the record, what has remained constant?


Bolles:
Human nature. It doesn’t change. Rejection. People don’t like rejection, never have, never will. And the job hunt is still basically done in the same way as it was done 30 years ago, despite all of the technological changes. For “Parachute”, I created a diagram called “Our Neanderthal Job-Hunting System.” It’s a large pyramid, segmented by different job-hunting techniques. Employers start at the bottom of that pyramid. They try to fill vacancies by looking internally and hiring from within. Only after that do they go up the pyramid to other methods, such as contacts, employment agencies, unsolicited résumés, and ads. But the job hunter takes exactly the opposite direction — exactly the opposite! The job hunter starts by mailing résumés and looking through ads, and only then moves down the pyramid to the strategies that employers prefer. The job hunt hasn’t changed one whit in 30 years. It’s just as Neanderthal today as it was then.

On my. That was 1999, and this is 2006. If he was wrong, I wouldn’t have felt compelled to write this yesterday: Got a job to fill? Tell it like it is.

Read the interview. It is really very good. Makes you think.