Design Thinking, Job Search, Richard Bolles

“One of the saddest lines in the world is, ‘Oh come now – be realistic.’ The best parts of this world were not fashioned by those who were realistic. They were fashioned by those who dared to look hard at their wishes and gave them horses to ride.”

-Richard Bolles

Design Thinking is a methodology used by designers to solve complex problems, and find desirable solutions for clients. Designers here do not mean only those who work in R & D department and come up with designs for new cars or architects who design buildings.

Designers are all of us, we are capable of thinking of new ways to solve the problems that we face.

If you are searching for a job, most common way of searching job is to keep applying on job websites like Naukri, Monster or iimjobs.

Research has shown that this design of job search i.e. uploading your CV on websites and keep applying to online advertisements is most inefficient way of searching job.

Always define WHAT you want to do with your life and WHAT you have to offer to the world, in terms of your favorite talents/gifts/skills-not in terms of a job-title.”

-Richard Bolles

First person to attack this design is Richard Bolles, his book- “What Color Is Your Parachute” is critique of this kind of thinking, he has suggested alternative design for job search, which he claims has higher rate of success. Instead of blindly applying to all vacancies, first try to understand yourself, freeze on your area of interest and companies you would like to join, focus on small local companies etc.

“The problem with competition is that it takes away the requirement to set your own path, to invent your own method, to find a new way.”

 ― Seth Godin, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

Second person to attack this model is marketing guru, Seth Godin. In his book “Linchpin” he argues that getting yourself selected is like labour contractor choosing few labourers from pool of hundreds of labourers. Here all the labourers are capable of doing the job, so all labour contractor has to do is to choose one who will demand lowest rate. Few will get work that day and rest will have to go back empty handed.

“Tom Peters, corporate gadfly and writer, is an artist, even though his readers are businesspeople. He’s an artist because he takes a stand, he takes the work personally, and he doesn’t care if someone disagrees. His art is part of him, and he feels compelled to share it with you because it’s important, not because he expects you to pay him for it.”

― Seth Godin, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

You need to stand out, infact Godin suggests that you should be known without your CV ex. the employer should hire based on innovative ideas that you share with world, blogs that you write, books that you publish.

One more theme is by Ayse Birsel, who is a Turkish designer of products. She has used the concept of design in designing one’s life…design life you would like to live.

“This project is very close to my heart, a carte blanche to do what I want, with little compromise. Design can also be fun, personal, and very close to your heart. Your life is your design. Make it resemble you, reflect you, and be close to your heart.”

 ― Ayse Birsel, Design the Life You Love: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Meaningful Future



Amy Cuddy, Presence & Imposter Syndrome

“Your body language shapes who you are.”

-Amy Cuddy

Two American psychologists, Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, during their studies found that there are some people who are great achievers but always feel that they are incapable and achievement is just due to luck, and sooner or later people will label them as frauds. They gave this phenomenon a name- imposter syndrome.

In their words imposter syndrome is “it as a feeling of “phoniness” in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement…While these people are highly motivated to achieve, they also live in fear of being found out or exposed as frauds.”

Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist from Harvard, who once suffered from imposter syndrome. Amy Cuddy had car accident, post-accident she suffered from neuroticism and imposter syndrome. Though she did well in academics, she always felt like imposter.

Later she wrote book called “Presence”, which gives tips on how to overcome this syndrome.

According to her body language reflects our emotions i.e. rubbing your hand while anxious.

Cuddy discovered that opposite can also happen i.e. our body language can affect our emotions, we actually feel confident if we take a power pose or if we smile by putting pencil in our mouth, we actually feel happier.

“To feel confident, you should act confident. Bring your boldest to your biggest challenges.”

-Amy Cuddy

Her advice is to overcome imposter syndrome is to fake it until you become it. Take power poses even you are not feeling confident, power pose will send signal to your mind and you will start feeling confident i.e.  behave with confidence till you truly feel it. Standing at desk (rather than sitting), walking meetings etc. are power poses.

Irom Sharmila, PRJA and Elections

On November 2, 2000, in Malom town in Manipur, 10 civilians were allegedly shot and killed by the Assam Rifles while waiting at a bus stop. The incident later came to be known to activists as the “Malom Massacre.”

To protest against massacre and repeal of AFSPA, an act that gives unlimited power to armed forces to control rebels in disturbed areas, Irom Sharmila went on hunger strike, she was later arrested and force fed using tube. The hunger strike which started in year 2000 ended on 9th August 2016.

During this 16 years of hunger strike, Irom Sharmila became quite popular in her home state Manipur, she was seen as symbol of resistance against AFSPA. Many celebrities met her, she became symbol for resistance against AFSPA even in other states.

But in 2016 she announced that she giving up her strike. She wanted to get married and fight elections.

Suddenly her popularity started declining people felt that she had betrayed the cause. AFSPA still exists.


Irom Sharmila went ahead and decided to contest elections. She formed a party called PRJA and with two other candidates decided to fight elections. Two others candidates were, Harvard-educated Erendro Leichombam and Najma Phundreimayum, a Muslim women rights activist.

Irom Sharmila decided to fight against Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh from Thoubal. It was a bold decision, as chief minister is a veteran politician.

Irom Sharmila gathered funds from well-wishers through crowd funding, she also got some funds from Aam Adami Party. She and Najma did campaign on bicycle.


But when results were declared yesterday, performance of PRJA was disappointing. Irom Sharmila got 90 votes as against 18649 polled by Okram Ibobi Singh, even “None of above” got more votes! Clearly Irom Sharmila has overestimated her popularity.

“I don’t feel ashamed of my defeat but am fed up of elections and won’t contest again in future… But I want my party, Peoples Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) to survive.”

-Irom Sharmila


Manipur – Thoubal
Result Declared
Candidate Party Votes
OKRAM IBOBI SINGH Indian National Congress 18649
LEITANTHEM BASANTA SINGH Bharatiya Janata Party 8179
LEISHANGTHEM SURESH SINGH All India Trinamool Congress 144
IROM SHARMILA CHANU Peoples Resurgence and Justice Alliance 90
None of the Above None of the Above 143


“We really like her cause (for repealing AFSPA), but we’re compelled to support someone whom we think is capable of fighting back and winning the elections”

– Y Roben , a resident of Thoubal.

Others too did not fare any better. Erendro ended up getting 500 votes and Najma got 33 votes.

Why did they lose? People may like the cause, but when it comes to voting they want candidates who can win elections. They didn’t have any faith in administrative capability of PRJA candidates.

“It was not the result I expected. During electioneering, all the masses whom I met were sympathetic to my cause. But they ended up voting for others, due to their selfish motives.”

-Irom Sharmila

If Irom Sharmila wants to get into politics, she should have a solid agenda and execution plan. Blaming people and calling them selfish won’t help.