Kristin Schuchman’s new book is titled Jump Start: How to Redirect a Career That Has Stalled, Lost Directions, or Reached a Crossroads. The title and subtitle provide a sense of comfortable competency, they lack the sort of roundabout quality a lot of self-help and leadership advice books in the nonfiction subcategory suffer.


Schuchman is sort of the thinking man’s version of The Happiness Project, someone who on a decidedly colder, professionalist level wants to help you achieve your passions when it comes to navigating the increasingly amorphous, modern-day corporate jungle. “As you make your way through the long and winding road of career transition, it can help to let your mind wander and encourage stray thoughts to float to the top of your consciousness, repressed memories to re-emerge, and forgotten dreams and goals to see the light of day.

To settle on a career that truly satisfies you, it is never a waste of time to understand your authentic self. We often find ourselves on unfulfilling career paths when we’ve neglected to tend to our true passions, motivators, and sources of inspiration,” Schuchman writes in the book’s opening chapter, simply titled What Motivates You? “Start with self-reflection,” she continues, in decidedly holistic-sounding terms. “…check in with your passions and interests, determine what you value, understand your personality and what makes you tick, and assess your skills and strengths. If you know you want to work for someone else, continue to dream about your ideal employer, colleagues and setting. If you’re feeling more entrepreneurial, think deeply about what clients you would enjoy serving and be honest about your ability to be self-directive and stay motivated.”

It’s through this ability to cover all bases – the pragmatic, the step-by-step, and the psychological – that Schuchman really makes things in the book click. There’s never a sense that she’s too gung-ho about a certain aspect of the redirection process, or overly dismissive of the more emotional sides of completely turning one’s routines on their head. Rather, everything narratively is geared towards traction, and from there setting terms and ideals for an identifiable goalpost. The book is essentially a roadmap, an extensive and detailed breakdown of all the nuts and bolts making or breaking your attempts to pursue what you really want in a career. Sometimes the answer is readjusting what one already has in this vicinity, sometimes it’s about doing something radical (pragmatically) and going in an entirely different direction.


Whatever the course may be, Schuchman’s book helps you keep your head above water. It’s written too with a sort of grim self-awareness courtesy of the Covid-19 pandemic, a slightly more maternal touch to the passages than would be typically present – particularly in the aforementioned quotes. “As you settle in for your arrival, make sure your seat belt is fastened. This is where your journey will likely present the most challenges. Whether you are focused on securing a new position or starting your own business (or both), you will want to stay as clear-eyed and determined as possible. Curves and bumps in the road will appear, but if you have prepared, you’ll be able to deftly navigate them, all while keeping your eyes on your intended destination,” Schuchman writes.

Garth Thomas