By: Danae Edmonds
I have been following @careergasm on Instagram for a really long time now and I saw Sarah was working on a book. I am currently in a bit of a career rut and not super sure of what changes to make or how to do them. I reached out to her for an interview, I picked up the book and immediately fell in love. She has such a way with words that made me feel vulnerable and exposed but also like I was in a safe space. I have been singing her praises to everyone I come into contact with because it was such a Godsend for me. I could probably write a dissertation on it because it is seriously life changing. Luckily, Sarah took some time to answer a few questions for us! Check out her answers below.
Name: Sarah Vermunt
Job Title/Company: Careergasm Founder
Education Background: MSc in Organizational Behavior & Human Resources Management, MA in Leadership Studies, Post Grad Certificate in Marketing Management, Bachelor of Journalism (clearly school is my jam)
- Tell us a little about who you are.
I help people figure out what they want so they can quit jobs they hate. I’m all about feel-good work — helping people get happy instead of just “successful”. Because, honestly, success isn’t enough. A lot of traditionally successful people are pretty fucking miserable.
Outside of work? I’m all about sweatpants, sneakers, pink lipstick, books, pretty stationery, silly socks, enamel pins, and nights in with my sweetheart and my cat. Geez, can you tell I’m an introvert?
- What sparked your interest in career coaching?
I’ve always been interested in helping people who feel lost. And I love workplace psychology. So the intersection of those two worlds is perfect for me. A lot of career coaches focus on strategy, which is great if you know what kind of job you want. But I focus on clarity, helping people who hate their job but feel lost AF about what’s next.
- Who are you most influenced by?
Ladysharks like Alicia Keys, and Amanda Palmer and Oprah and Iris Apfel and Lena Dunham — women who are doing their OWN. DAMN. THING. I’m obsessed with Alicia Keys right now. Isn’t she radiant?! She’s living life on her own terms and lifting the rest of us up at the same time. And I have a picture of Lena Dunham on my fridge right now. She wrote a snarky piece for In Style about how she gives zero fucks about fashion rules. That speaks to me. As a career coach people expect me to be all blazers and stilettos. Nope. I’m a sneakers and enamel pins kinda gal.
- What was your first job and how long did you hold that position?
I worked as a university recruiter. I got paid to talk to people every day and help them decide what they wanted to do with their future. I worked for that university for 6 years, moving my way up with a handful of promotions. I had two very strong women as bosses and I’m grateful for that.
- Can you share one of your proudest achievements with us?
Getting my first article published with Forbes. That felt big to me. I can still remember exactly where I was when I found out it was going to be published. I think it mattered to me because I was less than a year into my business and it was HUGE validation, but also because I’m a writer and writers want their work to be read.
- What were your initial goals with your work? How have they evolved?
My initial goal with Careergasm was to get a feel for who my people are and who they aren’t. That didn’t take long. The people who just want help with resumes and job searches, they’re not my peeps. But the people who are lost and stuck and don’t know what they want? THOSE are my people. My biz has grown to the point where my one-one-one client load is full, so I developed an amazing online course for people to discover their calling.
My other goal was to write my ass off and get published. That’s going beautifully! I’ve written for Huff Post, Forbes, Fortune, and I have regular columns at Entrepreneur and Inc. And my first book, Careergasm: Find Your Way To Feel-Good Work is just coming out! The thing that has evolved with my goals is the speed with which I pursue them. I’m a happier person when I can just chill out a little and slow down.
- What do you think is the most important life skill you learned from being a career coach?
Oh man, this one is easy: Do your own work. I’ve learned to deal with my own issues. I’m a constant work in progress. (Just like every other human on the planet.) Devoting time and energy to my own growth makes me a happier human and a better coach.
- Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
Writing or promoting my third book. I’m already working on my second book (one for grads and career newbies), so by then I’ll probably be working on my third. I also hope to have more online courses for my people —one for new grads and one for aspiring entrepreneurs. Those are people I help in my coaching work so I’m dying to put a course together for them. But, you know, there are only so many hours in a day and I’m learning not to rush.
- What is a typical day like for you?
On my coaching days I’m booked back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back with clients. I love it this way. Focusing on one kind of work all day is my jam. I get to go deep and stay there. On my days where I’m not working with clients I’m hanging out in sweatpants running my empire from my home — writing articles, doing course development, strategy stuff. It’s crazy the amount of shit a woman can get done in a day alone at home in sweatpants.
- What was the biggest obstacle you’ve faced so far in the process of pursuing your goals?
Hands down, the biggest obstacle has been myself. I am VERY ambitious. You’d think that’d be a good thing, but you know sometimes it’s not. There have been times where I’ve pursued goals just because they seemed superbadass and I didn’t really question why I was pursuing them. I’ve wasted time and energy doing that. I’ve learned to drop that stuff and I’m way happier for it.
- What is the best piece of advice you have received?
When I was a little kid my dad told me to pursue what you love and then find a way to make money doing it. He probably doesn’t even remember saying that, but it stuck with me.
- When do you get your best ideas?
When I’m out for a long walk, especially in nature. There’s something about movement and being outside that helps me connect with myself. My mind is uncluttered and I’m easily inspired. Man, just saying that I’m realizing I have GOT to get outside more.
- Can you share with us one time that you failed and what you learned from that failure?
I got the brand for my business really wrong on the first try. It had a corporate vibe. My homepage had a photo of me in a button-down shirt at a boardroom table. It attracted the wrong clients — stuffy corporate types who I actually hated working with. Looking back I know I did it out of fear. I had this idea of what I thought a career coach had to look like. But it felt bad, so I burned that sucker to the ground after only 5 months and created Careergasm instead.
- How do you unwind?
Long walks. Also restorative yoga. If you haven’t tried restorative yoga you don’t know what you’re missing. Think advanced napping.
- What would you tell someone else who wants to do a career change?
Start by noticing what feels good and what feels bad. I know that sounds vague, but I think we sometimes push down the bad feelings in hope of just keeping it together. Because staying on the current path seems easier. But the stuff you push down catches up with you. It’ll lead to a breakdown or an injury or an illness if you keep pushing the bad stuff down. So to start, just notice what feels bad and notice what feels good. And be honest about it. If a lot of stuff feels shitty don’t try and tell yourself it’s rainbows and sunshine. Also, don’t get too caught up in exact job titles. If you don’t know what you want, start thinking about career ingredients (i.e., more of this, less of that) instead of beating yourself up for not knowing what your dream job is. Way less pressure.
- What do you hope people take away from your story?
I hope people feel like they’re not alone. It’s really common to feel lost. If you feel lost there is nothing wrong with you. Let me say that again in all caps: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU. You just aren’t on the right path yet. And the first step to getting on the right path is realizing when you’re on the wrong one. And if you get stuck there the next step is asking for help.
- Anything we missed that you would like to share?
Yes! You can get the first 40 pages of my book for FREE right here. Happy reading!