Kristin Schuchman’s new book is, Jump Start: How to Redirect a Career That Has Stalled, Lost Directions, or Reached a Crossroads, and as its title suggests the book is for those at just that. A crossroads. Schuchman’s generosity is evident even in things like the book’s formatting. It’s literally packed to the brim with chunks of carefully worded information, and a systematic set of chapter and portion breakdowns that seem tailored to the average professional’s psyche. In many ways, this makes the book something of a genre hybrid.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: https://www.kristinschuchman.com/
On the one hand, it’s definitely a form of self-help. The first chapter in the book falls under what Schuchman christens Phase One, subtitled Explore Yourself. This is followed by so-called ‘steps’, the titles wholly indicative of the focus of this particular section of read. Examples include the subtitle of Step One, Decide What You Want Your Life to Be, Step 3, Check Under the Hood, and Step 4, Consult Your Inner Compass. Then things take a shift in Phase Two, appropriately subtitled Decide and Plan. This is when the book shifts into high-gear as a leadership advice manual, breaking down the practicalities of achieving the goals you’ve come to through the corporate psychology tactics of Phase One. By the time Phase Three rolls around, subtitled Do Your Homework, the book has managed to marry the tonalities of both these nonfiction sub-genres, the subsequent fourth and fifth phases ultimately leading to the book ending on a decidedly paternalistic note. “Remember when I told you to kick your inner critic out of the car?
At this point, invite the inner critic back into the passenger seat (or back seat, if you prefer). By now you have thoughtfully considered all of those potential obstacles, and you have the inner and external resources to keep you moving forward be armed while your self-defeating beliefs deflect off the windshield,” Schuchman writes evocatively. “…It is fair to consider, though, that your inner critic does have some wisdom to impart. It can remind you to consider contingencies to improve your career planning and keep you safe from injury and risk. The trick is to know how to consult your inner critic without letting it always be the loudest voice in the room — listen when it sounds like Oprah and tune it out when it rants like Larry David.”
She continues, “This is also, of course, the best time to fully connect and regroup with your existing network and add strategic passengers to speed up and smooth out your ride. By this point, I have provided several avenues for even the most networking adverse to connect with people and organizations to stimulate ideas. Lead with authenticity yet be intentional in order to deepen your professional and personal connections. At the same time, be willing to push yourself outside your comfort zone to broaden your network. If your first attempts are frustrating, ask yourself what you could do differently and keep trying. Networking is like kayaking — it will send you in circles if you insist on repeating your technique; if you take your oar out of the water and try a different tack, you’ll get where you want to go.”