After the disappointment of Neil Pasricha’s The Happiness Equation, I did not have high hopes for another entry into the self-help genre.
Sarah Vermunt, career coach and founder of Careergasm.com, kicked those doubts to the curb. Dispelling doubts is something Vermunt is intimately familiar with. It makes up half of her day job: convincing you that yes, you can and yes, you will and yes, it’s okay to go after the kind of career you actually enjoy and no, that doesn’t mean you’re going to “live in a van down by the river.”
Careergasm: Find Your Way to Feel-Good Work takes a conversational tone that doesn’t indulge readers in their excuses. Instead, Vermunt puts a swift (but kind, if you can imagine) kick in your ass to get you moving. She acknowledges your fears, engages with them, confirms them, and then says “but you can deal with it and here’s how.”It’s utterly refreshing to read through a self-help book that claims to offer “bullsh*t-free advice” and then actually does.
“A part of me would love to embrace the whole “trust the universe” thing, but another part of me thinks, Are you fucking kidding me?”
—Sarah Vermunt, Careergasm
Vermunt accomplishes her status as bullsh*t-free by offering practical advice. Nearly every chapter poses a problem that she has come across in her work, an applicable anecdote, and then a solution she’s found that works for her, or her client, or another variation. She encourages her reader to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, but there are ways of finding what fits you. There are exercises, lists one should make, thoughts to consider deeply. And though she never specifically asks you to, you would do well to take your time with this book and work through Vermunt’s thought experiments for maximum benefit.
For all of the wonders of its content, the book has a strange habit of sprinkling pull-quotes throughout its pages. This may be a matter of taste to me, but if the a quote is offset, enlarged, decorated with a bright yellow border, I expect it to say something new. Instead, it’s a short line or two taken from the text that you have just read or are about to read imminently. To further irritate and distract one’s reading experience are the occasional bright (and I meant bright, as in highlighter-yellow bright) pages for even more special quotes. When you get near these pages try to be reading in a darkish room.
Vermunt’s book delivers on what it promises, which is not something one can say about all self-help books. In a fun and down-to-earth voice, she offers solid advice that evokes the experience of sitting in a sunny room with a good friend (or someone else with your best interests at heart) drinking tea and eating cookies while getting your sh*t figured out. You get the sense that Vermunt really cares about you and your career, and that feeling is reinforced when you visit her website and discover the courses she designed herself are available for free.
Genuinely helpful, funny, and encouraging, Careergasm definitely feels as good as it sounds.