What color is your parachute? Yeah, right. When your boss shoves you from an airplane at 40,000 feet, color is not a primary concern.
In today’s nosedive economy, career resources like Richard Bolles’s classic job-hunting manual, What Color Is Your Parachute? may offer consolation, but they will hardly inflate in time to cushion your fall. The truth is, intense introspective diagnostics don’t always make sense when you’re hurtling headfirst toward unintended free agency.
On the other hand, online quizzes provide the instant feedback you need when your access to a T-1 line is facing extinction.
“The ultimate human questions are: Who am I? What’s my place in the world?” says James Currier, founder and CEO of quiz-mania site Emode.com. “Online quizzes offer a pure dose of the answers to those questions.” Or at least a cheap laugh — a welcome antidote to the day’s dispiriting economic headlines.
Let’s look, for example, at that inner-calling question. Even if you can’t find time to conduct a full-blown parachute analysis before seeking a new career path, chances are you will be able to spare five minutes to find the career equivalent of spiritual guidance through the Success Likelihood Test or to scout a new job title with Which Executive Are You? If the color of your parachute seems irrelevant, try asking What Color is Your Aura? instead. We only wish that test would sync up colors with job functions — say, mauve for marketing types, azure for accountants.
If neither of these tickle the Vanna White in you, then take a look at the following online quizzes, all designed to reveal a character trait. They were handpicked by fastcompany.com as sources of on-the-fly guidance and unabashed fun.
The Emode home page oozes with feel-good graphics, including its signature sunflower, flitting fairies, and a bouncing Lhasa apso. The happy-happy, joy-joy escalates on the site’s pick list of quizzes, which includes the infamous What’s Your Superpower? Perhaps you’re secretly psychic — able to foresee corporate downsizing in time to update your résumé. Or maybe you’re a time traveler — able to dash back to 1986 and snap up shares of Microsoft.
Emode’s flagship quiz, The Ultimate Personality Test, sorts takers into lighthearted categories, such as Secret Agent and Movie Star, based on responses to probing statements like “I’ll pick my nose in public if I think no one’s looking.” Meanwhile, Are You Sure You’re You? allows dotcom refugees the opportunity to consider a profitable character shift. Are you sure you weren’t meant to be a corporate drone? Think about it.
Emode’s frivolity spreads like an infectious — albeit amusing — disease through the site’s scorecard, which allows addicts to blast friends and coworkers with links to the site’s top quizzes and then compare results. Only goes to show that the one thing better than distracting yourself from the day’s tedium is taking your loved ones down with you.
This “home of serious entertainment” encourages lethal levels of slacking with quizzes like Are You a Procrastinator?. “Self-talk yourself into believing that you will be happier in the end if you act on things,” advises QueenDom, oblivious to its own status as a work-avoidance tool.
The Burnout Test gauges whether workaholics are reaching the top of their game or the end of their rope. When stress balls and personal days can’t provide any more relief, turn to QueenDom for meltdown prevention.
Think instant gratification. QuizBox’s 100 quizzes, mostly composed of just one question each, play out like a fast and furious tarot reading.
Use these one-click wonders to discover the hidden implications of personal preferences like your favorite ice-cream flavor. QuizBox decrees that a craving for coffee-flavored ice cream demonstrates confidence; a predilection for strawberry indicates an affectionate nature.
Even the most ardent workaholic can squeeze in a few of these pint-sized quizzes — and even the most vigilant boss probably won’t catch on.
Trembling in your wing tips as recession casualties pile up left and right? Vent some frustration with TheSpark’s irreverent amusements.
The Death Test welcomes quiz takers with festive skulls and crossbones. This life-expectancy gauge determines the exact date of your death and invites you to make a note of it on your Palm. More cheerful results await visitors to the Wealth Test, which calculates how and when former paper millionaires will really hit the jackpot.
Think your boss possesses all the charm of Darth Vader? Perhaps he’s a dark lord in executive’s clothing! This minimalist site features the ever-popular Find Your Star Wars Twin — a surprisingly thorough personality analysis based on the traits of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and, of course, Chewbacca.
Meanwhile, Are you a blurter or a brooder? analyzes both the water cooler blabbermouth and the office hermit. Do you feel the fear and do it anyway, or duck and cover under your desk? Outofservice.com says that networkers make better leaders than loners. But if your CEO spends his days locked away in a corner office, sobbing into his Starbucks cappuccino, you don’t need this quiz to tell you that it’s time to find a new gig.
Christine Engelken, a former Fast Company intern, is a student at Northwestern University.