How to overcome the feeling of being trapped in your career

Career coach, Sarah Vermunt talks about her new book Careergasm, and talks about how to deal with feeling trapped and lost in your career.

A lot of people hate their jobs but have NO IDEA what they would rather do instead, so they feel frustrated and trapped. Career coach, Sarah Vermunt has written a book called Careergasm to help people figure out what they want so they can quit jobs they hate and pursue feel-good work instead.


  • Most career books are about strategy and are written for people who know what they want — help with their resume or networking or leadership development, etc.
  • But a lot of people feel stuck in jobs they don’t like — they want to make a change but they don’t know what they want. Careergasm is specifically for people who feel lost.
  • Feeling lost is an extremely frustrating place to be, especially for those of us who are doers — we just want to channel our energy toward something positive! But you can’t do that if you don’t know what that thing is.
  • There’s often a lot of shame around feeling lost. People suffer silently because they’re embarrassed about it. They think maybe there’s something wrong with them. After all, we live in a society that says follow your dreams, but what do you do if you don’t know what those dreams are?

What do you do when you feel lost?

  1. Admit the truth about how you feel. We spend a lot of mental and emotional energy trying to push down negative feelings like frustration and uncertainty, but just being honest with yourself about where you’re at can be incredibly freeing. Trying to pretend things are find when they’re not feels bad…because faking it and lying to yourself always feels bad. So as strange as it may seem, admitting when something sucks can be a really good thing.
  2. Try not to judge yourself for feeling lost. It’s a very common thing, but people tend to not talk about it. Everybody likes to look like they have it all together. If you feel lost there is nothing wrong with you. It’s a very common part of the human experience.
  3. Start looking for clues. Of course we wish that our dream job title and a clear and easy path would just magically appear in front of us, but unfortunately it doesn’t happen that way. So try and take the pressure off a little bit. Press pause on needing to know the exact dream job title and focus on “career ingredients” instead — what you want more of and less of. Maybe you feel isolated and lonely in your work so you want more collaboration. Maybe you have young kids and flex hours would make your life so much easier.

What other things are a part of getting unstuck in your career?

  • I like to think of making a career change as two parallel tracks. On the one track is figuring out what you want. On the other track is getting out of your own way — addressing some of your personal issues and hangups so you don’t self-sabotage.
  • We have baggage. And it’s like we strap it on every day and bring it to work with us. Things like fear (especially money fear), or an unhealthy need for approval and validation, or perfectionism, not setting boundaries — all of that stuff can get in your way.
  • We all have hangups like this, but if you don’t address some of that stuff you’ll just bring it with you to your next job. What you want is for your next job to feel amazing, and to have that you need to figure out what you want and get out of your own way.