Your thoughts on the Power Quadrant?
October 18, 2013 5:39 AM   Subscribe

Hi, I'd appreciate advice on whether or not I should buy the "Power Quadrant System" to help me through a brief period of unemployment.

I got an advert for an interesting personal development product. I'd like to believe that this could help me to find the ideal career (I'm a recent university graduate, although I was a mature student).

However, I sense bad vibes about this site. If you buy the system advertised, they try to get you to buy another product. The advertising copy for that product uses the phrase "turn into a a zombie" prominently.

There is a book that was released recently that gives clues as to how a real-life zombification process might work. I'm worried about being tricked here.

I'd be interested in your thoughts on this matter. On a more general level, how do you decide which personal development products to buy without getting tricked into internalising negative instructions?

Thanks for any advice.

posted by Musashi Daryl to Education (31 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Jesus christ no.

If you have money to spend and you need personal development, go to therapy.

If you are unemployed and don't have much direction right now, start temping.

This is just...god no. Please don't dump money on this thing.
posted by phunniemee at 5:44 AM on October 18, 2013 [18 favorites]

No you shouldn't.
posted by atrazine at 5:44 AM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

With all due respect, this looks incredibly scammy. Run away.
posted by Falwless at 5:45 AM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Just googling for the phrase throws up lots of snake oil. Smells like a scam.
posted by epo at 5:45 AM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

No, don't buy it. It's a scam and uses a scam web site template. Never buy anything from web sites that look or read like that.

On a more general level, how do you decide which personal development products to buy without getting tricked into internalising negative instructions?

Never buy any "personal development products". Personal development is largely free. Take up a hobby, learn a skill, or work out, and you will develop personally.
posted by ignignokt at 5:46 AM on October 18, 2013 [16 favorites]


Only desperate people would grasp at this nonsense. Your own radar is going off, "Danger! Danger!"

No personal development anything is worth paying for.

Just get a job and get on with it!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:48 AM on October 18, 2013 [4 favorites]

No. If it looks like a scam and too good to be true, then it's probably a scam and too good to be true. Find work and therapy. Temping got me employed when I was at my lowest point after graduation. I would start there.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:54 AM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

The advertising copy for that product uses the phrase "turn into a a zombie" prominently.

The advertising copy for the first product is pegging my bullshit meter, never mind the second zombie product. Secret DNA-decoding stone wheels that will help you find your true calling do not exist.
posted by Dr Dracator at 5:58 AM on October 18, 2013 [5 favorites]

I'd like to believe that this could help me to find the ideal career.

You don't "find" a career. A career is something you look back on, a story shaped by many decisions and often-unpredictable situations spread across decades. You can't choose it at the outset, because it doesn't exist yet. Make smaller choices, like which job to apply for.
posted by jon1270 at 6:01 AM on October 18, 2013 [16 favorites]

Hella scammy. Any information that can really help you is available for free via your local library.
posted by Etrigan at 6:12 AM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Have you considered What Color Is Your Parachute?

I haven't used it myself but know several people who have. And it's a mere $15.

I have a friend who used a brick & mortar career counseling service and was guided to a profession she knew nothing about, but which, on further inquiry, turned out to interest her a great deal and now, 20 years later, has been a fulfilling and enjoyable career.
posted by janey47 at 6:12 AM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

No no no! Scam city.
posted by lifethatihavenotlivedyet at 6:23 AM on October 18, 2013

Find a job and then think about that job - even if it's a terrible job or obviously unsuitable or just a temp gig. Start thinking about what you like, what you hate, what you do well. Sit with that a while.

I am embarking, late in life, on a "career" - I'm going back to school for an accounting certification. I got here by taking some bad jobs and then getting a better one that wasn't a passion for me. In that job, I slowly developed a sense of what I would like to do and what I could do - ie, I know I'd like to teach university English and I have a lot of skills and background that are suitable, but that's a terrible job market and it's too late for me to do a PhD; however, I also like the accounting parts of my job, a certification can be completed part time over a few years and it's a field where, while you have to start young to get the fancy jobs, you can start later and still be employable.

When I graduated, I flailed a lot. I would probably have come to this same decision I've made now if I'd concentrated on getting a job and then thinking about the real world of work instead of worrying about a very abstract notion of "career" and "passion" - but I didn't know what I was doing! If I'd had metafilter - like you do - I would have been much better off.

Also, don't buy career development products. Do some journaling and look at websites about career choices (free ones! blogs posts!) if you would like something to focus on.
posted by Frowner at 6:23 AM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

I started my career in telecommunications by answering an ad for a part-time customer service job.

Your career starts with a job. Then it morphs from there.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:23 AM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

I'm spending a good deal of time with What Color Is Your Parachute these days and want to commend it strongly to your attention over this product. Personal development of the sort it seems like you're looking for can be had for under $10 in overdue library fines.

I kind of want to talk a bit about your approach. If you're unemployed, that means you have time but not money: instead of spending the money you don't have, spend time you do have working through the exercises in that book like it's a part-time job. You go to the library every day, sit down at a table or a chair, and do the exercises for a couple hours. Take walks and make time for relaxing things that you enjoy, and practice good (cheap) self-care while you're doing this -- don't beat yourself up for not knowing the answers while you are doing the hard work of figuring the answers out.

If the Parachute book doesn't work for you -- and it might not -- there are a ton of other books out there that I and other folks on MetaFilter can recommend to help you figure this stuff out. You're in charge -- you are free to say, at any point in the process, "this book isn't working for me" and put it down. But the important thing is that you don't spend a whole lot of a scarce resource on this and DO spend a resource that you have in abundance.

Figuring out what you want to do after undergrad is hard work. You are doing a hard thing. Make sure to be kind to yourself. Good luck.
posted by gauche at 6:25 AM on October 18, 2013 [6 favorites]

Your suspicions are right, and you're smart to have asked. This is going to sound corny, but a willingness to investigate and think critically will do more for your personal development than anything you can buy.

If you're hungry for guidance and don't want to get a therapist or career coach right now, it could be good for you to spend a few hours browsing the AskMe archives reading career-related questions. The answers may not be specifically tailored to you, but you will find useful and practical advice in many of them, as well as book recommendations.

On preview: no, most self-help is not hypnosis. And if I had to name one criterion for sorting out the good help from the bad, it would be a sense of perspective. Good self-help guides acknowledge that you will not get perfect results, that progress is gradual, and that there are no shortcuts or cheats. And self-improvement is very much a conscious process that requires intention and commitment.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:38 AM on October 18, 2013 [4 favorites]

On a more general level, how do you decide which personal development products to buy without getting tricked into internalising negative instructions?

If someone had a product that actually does what 99% of these products claim to, it would not be for public sale on some shmuck's website.

Whenever you see anyone offering to sell you the True Secret to Success or Happiness or Wealth or whatever, think for a second: if it really works, why are they selling it so cheap and so unexclusively? Why are they doing you such a tremendous favor by selling it to you? Why are they selling it at all?
posted by griphus at 6:39 AM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Mod note: Comment deleted. OP, this isn't place for discussing philosophies of self-help, hypnosis, etc., but just for getting answers to your question.
posted by taz (staff) at 6:40 AM on October 18, 2013

how do I seperate the angels from the demons?

Anything that promises to solve your problems in "just minutes" (and especially anything that requires a significant startup cost) is probably solidly in the demon column.

You can also google "[name of system] scam" and see if anything pops up. Even if you don't find anything that says "this thing is definitely a scam," the fact that there are enough people taking issue with it to generate search engine buzz should clue you in that something's not right.
posted by phunniemee at 6:42 AM on October 18, 2013

As far as internet scams go, there are a variety of ways to recognize them. First, try googling the name of the program coupled with the word "scam." That will bring up any reported bad experiences.

Also, as a rule of thumb, any program that tries to create a false sense of scarcity or insists that if you don't purchase immediately the price will increase dramatically or the product will be gone is generally one to be wary of.

In addition, be wary of programs that have add-ons or that will automatically bill you if you don't opt out. There are a host of frauds being perpetrated that rely on getting a consumer's credit card info for a "free" product but for which a transaction fee or s&h is required.
posted by janey47 at 6:44 AM on October 18, 2013

how do you decide which personal development products to buy without getting tricked into internalising negative instructions

It's easy: Don't buy personal development products.

They're scams. Every one of them. Don't let them prey on you.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:52 AM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Also, there are self-help books that work well. The above-mentioned Parachute book is one of them. So take a look at part of the ad copy:
Career and business guru Richard (“Dick”) N. Bolles, who coined the terms “informational interview” and “transferable skills,” demystifies the entire job-search process, from resumes, interviewing, networking, salary negotiation, career coaches, how to start your own business, and more.
Yes, it uses the word "guru," but take a look at what it offers: practical advice for practical scenarios. It doesn't make any promises. It doesn't offer to reveal occult information hidden until today. Now, whether or not the book offers good advice is a different matter, but it offers something concrete: working strategies for complex situations. And that's fine.

Now, take a look at the ad copy for The Secret (or, honestly, any book of the sort):
For the first time, all the pieces of The Secret come together in an incredible revelation that will be life-transforming for all who experience it.
In this book, you'll learn how to use The Secret in every aspect of your life -- money, health, relationships, happiness, and in every interaction you have in the world. You'll begin to understand the hidden, untapped power that's within you, and this revelation can bring joy to every aspect of your life.
See the difference? This book offers to make everything better -- think about it, would you take a medicine that cures everything? How could it even work? -- if you just understand what they discovered about how the reality really works.

That's the difference. Authors know a book can't keep the promises it makes. The ones who have genuinely good advice for you do not promise you a rose garden, they just offer to sell you instructions on how to plant and maintain one.
posted by griphus at 6:56 AM on October 18, 2013 [5 favorites]

Oh, and, finally, I recommend 60 Seconds and You're Hired for help in your job hunt. Despite the silly title, it's very practical, and rather useful when you're at the "interview" stage.
posted by griphus at 6:58 AM on October 18, 2013 [6 favorites]

I can't agree with griphus enough. 60 Seconds and You're Hired is an AMAZING book and really helps nail down interview stuff.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:03 AM on October 18, 2013

There is a book that was released recently that gives clues as to how a real-life zombification process might work.

Just for the record, this is just as ridiculous as the astrology/DNA "power quadrant" nonsense you're asking about.

This, as well as some of your previous questions, indicate that you seem to be unusually susceptible to this sort of junk; you use a lot of lingo from various self-improvement scams ("ego pain", "mythoself") that demonstrate you've fallen for these before.

On a more general level, how do you decide which personal development products to buy without getting tricked into internalising negative instructions?

1) Don't buy them. Any of them. The self-improvement industry is largely designed to separate the gullible or desperate from their wallets.
2) Apply a lot more skepticism. The very first thing you should do is google "name_of_product + scam," or "name_of_product review" and note that if literally all the reviews that exist are on dodgy link farms and include a giant link to download the product and are nothing but glowing but completely non-specific descriptions of how wonderful the product is those reviews are part of the scam. (If it isn't immediately, instantly, glaringly obvious to you how fake those fake reviews are, maybe you can find a more skeptical friend you can enlist to do a reality check on these things for you.)
3) go to 1).
posted by ook at 7:59 AM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

If you're in the US or another country with a decent public library system, a lot of these job-hunt books, as well as tons of other books on self-help and organization, are available at your local library. It's something they have a lot of demand for, so they tend to have a good selection. Never pay money to get a job when you don't already have a job to pay for it with. I know there's a temptation to want to find something magic when you're unemployed, but that's exactly why they prey on you at times like that.

But seriously, if you're into personal development stuff? Lifetime's supply of reading at the library, or blogs on the subject. If you're not getting sufficient benefit from that, then the problem is not that you haven't found the magic system, it's that you need something more in your life than just self-help. But I do see the value of it--in general, for the purposes of motivation, so long as you spend some time testing what works for you and discarding what doesn't. Not this.

Just for future reference: There's somebody out there selling a get-rich-quick product that comes with templates for website that basically look JUST LIKE THAT. If you see someone selling a product/system/book/whatever that uses a template like that, what it should tell you is that the product does not have value standing on its own, that person had to go pay hundreds of dollars to someone else for a system that promised them money by selling stuff on the internet. If they couldn't manage to market their own product without someone else's system, how much do they actually know about this? At least someone with a book on the shelves at the library has managed to convince a publisher it was worth something.
posted by Sequence at 8:42 AM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you have some cash for self-development, you could get references to a good resume & career coach. I had such services when I got laid off once, not very useful, but you might find someone better-qualified.

Even better, go to your library and use their resources. Take some courses online. See if there's a job-hunting support group you can join. And take the opportunity to screw off and have some fun.
posted by theora55 at 9:33 AM on October 18, 2013

Just to add to the chorus here, don't buy this thing.

"Power quadrant" sounds like some crap that Geordie said in Star Trek when he couldn't be bothered to make up something coherent-sounding to tell Captain Picard about why the Enterprise was stuck next to the one-way rift vortex into another dimension and they wouldn't be able to leave for at least, oh, I don't know, 5 or 6 hours.

See that rift? That's where your money would be going. It's one-way.
posted by number9dream at 10:21 AM on October 18, 2013 [6 favorites]

Take a look at the google results for "ric liz thompson scam"

you'll mostly find their other disposable and/or discarded marketing sites, and their claims of self-publishing a wellness magazine (which seems to be itself an illusion aimed at better credibility)

If their stone calendar code doesn't work for you, perhaps you need one of their a virtual assistants.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:54 AM on October 19, 2013

See also this attempt to BS other would-be "Internet entrepreneurs", this one directly from their shell company, "Transperience Network":

And here they are openly presenting themselves as a multilevel marketing ('MLM' aka pyramid scheme) company:

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013

From the desk of: Ric Thompson  

The Bad News

You already know the ugly facts of life when it comes to being a network marketer...

Your friends and relatives won't give you the support you're looking for. Worse, some of them will try to sabotage your success because they just don't understand what you're doing and why.

The product doesn't sell itself, no matter what your upline or your company's head office keep telling you.

And it takes more than just a "few" hours a week to get your MLM business off the ground.

Most importantly, you have probably discovered by now that thinking positively, staying motivated and having your glorious goals written down is good - but not enough for success!

posted by snuffleupagus at 8:00 AM on October 19, 2013

The only job-hunting book worth reading, as far as I'm concerned, is Let's All Find Awesome Jobs by Kevin Fanning. One dollar e-book download on amazon.

I love this book because

1) It's hilarious at times, and
2) Fanning is one of the only people writing about job hunting, as far as I've seen, who openly acknowledges that the HR process can be totally weird and arbitrary. It's almost comforting to see something that doesn't read like "HR folks want this, you must follow all my super secret tips to crack their code, and if you don't get a job after that you're doing something wrong." He portrays HR reps as normal people with silly flaws and biases just like the rest of us.

MeMail me if you're interested and don't have an e-reader.
posted by ActionPopulated at 11:04 AM on October 19, 2013

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