“Nothing stops a bullet faster than a job.” This statement is often quoted by Reentry and Anti Violence proponents. It is a powerful rallying cry. It stirs hearts. It turns spotlights on the critical role of employment in addressing violence, poverty, injustice, recidivism, and intergenerational incarceration. It does not, however, address the complex, difficult and tiring journey ahead for those who need – and seek – to get those jobs that will stop those bullets.

A tool for addressing that complexity is “What Color Is Your Parachute?” To get a job, one needs to have – or hone – the skills required for jobs, beginning with having a knowledge of what those jobs and required skills are. One needs to know the ever changing job markets and how to navigate one’s way through them. One needs to know oneself. One needs to find the match between that known self and the work likely to bring fulfillment and success in one’s life.

What Color is Your Parachute?” is usually updated annually. It has been the go-to guide for job seekers for over 40 years. It has been chosen by Time magazine as one of the all-time 100 best nonfiction books. The Library of Congress’ Center For The Book has selected it as one of the 25 books that have shaped people’s lives throughout history, and Fortune magazine boldly states “Ideally, everyone should read this book in the tenth grade and again every year thereafter.”

The rallying cry and the tool – these make good allies for all of us in the fight against violence, poverty, injustice, recidivism and intergenerational incarceration.