What does one man learn about job search after doing 52 different jobs in one year?

One-week Job Project book coverSean Aiken is the Canadian guy who set out to do one job per week for a year. I first told you about Sean in 2007:

Hard Time Choosing A Career? Try Them All, Like Sean Aiken

With the release of a book about his professional adventure, Sean took time out to share what he learned about job search along the way. He has some great anecdotes to share and terrific insight.


Jacob Share 1) Where are you from and what's your academic background?
Sean Aiken I'm from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I graduated with a Business Administration degree, top of my class, and was voted Class Valedictorian.
Jacob Share 2) Where did the idea come from for your One Week Job journey?
Sean Aiken In my last year of college, my dad gave me some advice on finding a career, he said, “Sean, it doesn’t matter what you do, just make sure it is something you are passionate about.” It made me realize how so many are unhappy in their careers and I promised myself I would find something that I love doing.
Not realizing where these passions lie, I came up with the idea for One Week Job. To go out and try as many different jobs as possible and first learn about what I needed in a career to be happy.
Jacob Share 3) What were you hoping to accomplish?
Sean Aiken My goal was to gain a better understanding of what a fulfilling career for me would look like and inspire the many others of my generation in similar situations to commit to going after their passions.
Jacob Share 4) What was the most eye-opening moment on your journey?
Sean Aiken I was continually humbled by the amount of people inspired by my journey and the willingness of everyone to get involved; to open up their homes, businesses, and lives to me. Without them, there wouldn't have been much of an experience at all.
Jacob Share 5) What was the biggest obstacle on your journey?
Sean Aiken Constantly being on the road became exhausting. Also, organizing all the logistics. I was always trying to figure out week to week where my next job was, how we were going to get there, and where we were going to stay once there.
Jacob Share 6) What was the most surprising thing you learned?
Sean Aiken That a large part of what makes people happy in their careers is the people they work with. That it's not necessarily the day to day tasks that bring them back everyday, but rather it's the people they do it with and the relationships they have developed as a result.

I also recognized that the people who were the most happy in their jobs were the ones who were contributing to something greater than themselves. They were making a positive difference in the lives of others and not simply the bottom line of the company they were working for. They felt as if what they were doing mattered because they contributed something valuable and something was made better because they were a part of it.

Jacob Share 7) What was the funniest moment on your journey?
Sean Aiken Myself and best friend/videographer, Ian MacKenzie, showed up at JFK where we were to catch a flight to Florida. I was to be a firefighter the following day. Once we arrived at the ticket counter, the attendant could not locate our ticket. Turns out, Ian had mistakenly booked the ticket for two weeks later. We were out $200 and with no job for the week. With a last minute change of plans, we ended up hopping on a 10 hour bus ride north to Cape Cod where I was a pizzamaker the next day. It definitely wasn't funny at the time, but now I can look back upon the experience and laugh.
Luckily, I was able to take the same firefighter offer a couple months later.
Jacob Share 8) To whom would you recommend copying what you did by trying so many different jobs?
Sean Aiken I think anyone would benefit from a similar experience, though to what extent would depend on the person. To a young person not sure of what they'd like to do for a career, I'd definitely recommend that they try and get some work experience in different fields that interest them. Even if it's not their passion, or the perfect job for them, the moment they step into the working world they will begin to develop real world experience, and gain an understanding of things they are good at, and also the things they like to do.
Jacob Share 9) What can job seekers learn from what you did?
Sean Aiken That it's okay not to know what you want to do (most adults still don't know what they want to do when they grow up), but it's NOT okay to do nothing about it.

Do something. Try new things, volunteer, job shadow, travel, do stuff. We learn more about ourselves, by doing different things, taking ourselves out of our comfort zone. The more we know about ourselves, the better understanding we'll have of what we need in a career to be happy.
The possible ways in which one could do this are endless, doing 52 jobs in 52 weeks is just one of them.

Jacob Share 10) What's next for you?
Sean Aiken We also just partnered with a two-time Emmy Award-winning producer who is completing work on the documentary.
Jacob Share Thanks, Sean. Good luck with the documentary and the release of your book, which I'm sure will make interesting reading for anyone but especially for people who aren't sure about choosing the right career.

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Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

This Post Has 12 Comments

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  3. Usha Bhujel

    i am very interested to work with different personality as a house keeper, nanny or caregiver please let me inform if you have. i am a energetic faithful trustworthy. hardworking. i have 16 years of experience reference.

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  5. Kate

    Not a bad way to spend a year at all.

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