From One Job a Week to the Career for Life

One_Week_Job_ProjectWe were excited to have a repeat guest on our show today. Sean Aiken wasn’t able to hold a job for more than a week for a whole year … because he wanted it that way! Now he’s made a career for life.

52 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 documented the whole thing in a recently released book and film about the project.

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George KruegerI’d say you’ve been busy since we last talked.

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Sean AikenI’ve been extremely busy. After I finished the 52 weeks, it was time to sit down and put what I learned on paper. When I was out on the road, in a different job each week, it was tough to take a step back and think about what I was taking away from the experience. I really enjoyed the writing process and being able to put things in perspective.

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Mary-Lynn FosterFor our audience members who are new to you and this one week job process, you did everything from park ranger to radio DJ – which I always like because I did that, too. And it all culminated in being the mayor!

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Sean AikenYeah, everything from fashion buyer in Manhatten to firefighter in Florida, baker in Brooklyn, cowboy in Wyoming, astronomer in Hawaii, advertising executive, stock trader … right across the board!

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George KruegerSean, what sparked this whole crazy idea?

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Sean AikenIt goes back to my final year in college. I was on the cusp of graduation realizing that I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career for life. My dad said, “It doesn’t matter what you do. Just make sure it’s something that you’re passionate about.” It made me think about how many people are in the same situation, same job – 20, 30 or 40 years like my dad – and they don’t necessarily enjoy what they’re doing. So I made a promise to myself that I’d find something I was passionate about. I came up with the idea to start the one week job project as a way of seeing what I like and don’t like in a job and what I need in a career to be happy.

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What we love about this is you created the platform with the web site to chronicle this. You’ve turned it into a book and a documentary film. And you’ve also turned this into a business. Can you share a little bit about that?

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Sean AikenThe book advance helped me afford to write it. I’m also doing talks at high schools, colleges and companies. Then we just started a program which allows other people to have a similar experience to what I did. We’re sending people out on the road this summer to perform eight different one-week jobs.

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Mary-Lynn FosterSo you’ve turned this into a career for life! And again, you’re filtering that through your web site so you’ll chronicle that.

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Sean AikenExactly. The idea is that it builds a movement – so it’s not just me. It’s that online community with our web site. People can follow the progress of other people doing one-week jobs.

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George KruegerAlong the way, you’ve gotten a lot of press. But you’ve also faced some criticism. I noticed Ian – the director and producer of your documentary – did a post on your blog about a month or so ago about a person who had replied to your interview in Globe and Mail. This person said that you represent all that’s wrong with young people. How do you respond to that?

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Sean AikenIt’s definitely a cynical view. It’s almost a mindset: “Hey, I’m unhappy in my job. Who do you think you are to come in here and try to be happy in your career? Work is supposed to be hard. You’re not supposed to enjoy it.” I think it’s a misconception of a younger generation – they’re lazy and unwilling to do the hard work to get where they want to go. It doesn’t have anything to do with being lazy. We have higher expectations of the work force. When you’re looking for something that matches your skill sets but also your passions and values, it becomes more difficult, especially in today’s economy.

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George KruegerOne of the great lessons there, too, is that if you’re doing something of any significance, some people are going to criticize you.

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Mary-Lynn FosterI can’t imagine why anybody would say you’re being lazy. I mean 52 jobs in 52 weeks … you were able to keep that going. It’s one thing to have the concept; it’s another thing to make it happen. And you did!

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George KruegerYeah, many of us have these crazy ideas. But you have to figure out a way to actually put it into action.

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In this process, Sean has discovered his passion, and found a career for life. We highly recommend that you read the book to find out what it is!

Thanks Sean for sharing your time and wisdom with all of us!

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | Podcast:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00595-061010.mp3

(Image in today’s post from One Week Job)

5 replies
  1. Job Career
    Job Career says:

    From so many career opportunity available around. Its really difficult to choose and stick to it for a long period of time. You take specialization in one subject and do business or job in something other.

    Reply
    • George & Mary-Lynn
      George & Mary-Lynn says:

      Sometimes you have to work at a job fill-time, while building your career part-time. It’s all a matter of living life on your own terms and going after what you want…and doing whatever it takes to get it!

      Reply

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