Finding Your Passion One Week at a Time

at_the_topToday, we welcomed Sean Aiken to The Bigg Success Show. Sean graduated from college a little over a year ago but didn’t know what he wanted to do. So he decided to work a different job one week, every week,  for one year. In the process, he raised over $20,000 for charity. His journey has been covered by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, The New York Times, Good Morning America, Radio France, The Australian Radio Network, and too many more to mention.

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georgeSean, you went from being a college graduate to having had more jobs than just about anyone I know. And you did it all in a year!

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seanExactly! That was the problem when I graduated … I didn’t know which job I wanted. My dad gave me some advice my last year of college that stuck with me. He said it didn’t matter what I did as long as it was something I was passionate about. So not knowing where those passions lie, I came up with the idea to go out and try out a whole bunch of different jobs to see what I like and don’t like about different careers. Then I could make a better choice. So I started my web site, OneWeekJob.com, and said that anyone anywhere in the world could offer me a job for one week. Then I would go around for a year and do all these different jobs. It worked out pretty well.

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georgeNow, at any point, did your dad say … I told you to find your passion, but this is crazy?

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seanDefinitely! When I first thought up the idea, and I told him, he asked if I was kidding him and said I should get a real job … I told him it was his fault!

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marylynn So you basically lived kind of like a vagabond … through the generosity of the people in the town that you were working in, you would have a place to stay?

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seanYeah, people following along on the web site would e-mail to offer a place to stay if I came to their town. Oftentimes, I’d stay with my employer. About Week 5 into the project, a job search engine, nicejob.ca, came on board to sponsor the project – they helped out with some travel expenses as well.

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marylynn Let’s say you were working a job in Arizona one week, and your next job offer was in San Francisco? How would you make it to your different locations?

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seanIt always changed. Sometimes by bus, sometimes hitchhiking, sometimes flying. That was a BIGG aspect to the project – trying to manage all the logistics. There was a period where I was in Denver, Colorado and then I was back in Vancouver for the weekend en route to Hawaii. These are all consecutive weeks. Then on to Los Angeles, then New York, Florida, Wyoming to be a cowboy, and then on to Washington, D.C.

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georgeOut of all the one week jobs you’ve had, what was your favorite, Sean?

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seanI have … maybe a top five. When I was in Hawaii, I was a volcano park ranger. A fashion buyer in New York was really cool, and an advertising executive. I also worked with the Canadian Air Force, and I got to fly a helicopter and a military transport plane. That was a great experience as well. Also a cancer fundraiser – I really enjoyed that job.

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marylynn So do you think that you’ve found your passion?

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georgeIs dad happy yet … that’s what we really want to know?

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seanI think that going out and trying to find my passion has almost turned into a job all by itself; it’s kind of turned into a passion all by itself in that, it’s helped and inspired others to go after their passions. Now I’m writing a book about the experience that will be out in the Spring of 2009. So I’ll be doing that for awhile, as well as talks. It actually might become a TV show. I’m working on a documentary, so this is going to keep me busy for the next few years.

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marylynn And there’s a way for people to help you get this documentary done?

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seanMy best friend, Ian MacKenzie, came out on the road with me, starting in about Week 19 or so. We started filming video episodes about what I was learning, interviewing my employers, and talking about getting from job to job. So we’re putting it all together into a documentary now. We’re asking for help in raising funds for that. People can become a producer if they’re willing to donate an hour of their wage. Anyway who donates will be a producer of the film and their name will appear in the end credits.

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georgeWhat I love is that you’ve created your own job, your own role, your own space by doing this, one week at a time. That’s all right, Sean!

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marylynn Now tell your dad that! We’re impressed by what you’ve done. It’s so interesting … such a cool story. Thanks so much, Sean, for spending some time with us today!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00189-073108.mp3

(Images from OneWeekJob.com’s photostream on Flickr)

7 replies
  1. Ellen
    Ellen says:

    Hi Mary Lynn, Great story…and great idea for a documentary as well. I have to admit that 52 jobs in 52 weeks made me tired just thinking about it.

    ;-)

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] jobs in 52 weeks is quite an accomplishment. We talked with Sean back in July 2008, shortly after he had completed that phase of his project. Now he’s […]

  2. […] great example of this is a young man we talked with recently – Sean Aiken. His last year of college, Sean’s dad told him to find a career that he was passionate about. […]

  3. Finding Your Passion One Week at a Time…

    We talk with a young man who found his passion by working 52 jobs in 52 weeks!…

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