Have you ever felt lost or unsure about what you want to do with your life? Sean Aiken felt the same way when he graduated from college, but rather than taking the first job that came along, he found a unique way of figuring it out: The One Week Job Project.
How it worked: Anyone, anywhere, could offer Sean a job for one week. Any money he earned for the work, he asked the employer to donate towards the ONE / Make Poverty History campaign. Total earned = $20,401.60
On his inspirational quest, Sean tried everything: Bungee Instructor, Dairy Farmer, Advertising Executive, Baker, Stock Trader, Firefighter, and more. Wherever he could find work, he’d go there, find a couch to crash on and immerse himself in whatever profession was at hand. And then he’d move on.
He’s been on CNN, 20/20 and The Rachel Ray Show, but today Sean is here on Beyond the Gray, talking with us about taking a proactive approach to finding your passion and living your dream…
SA: I love to travel, meet new people, explore, and learn about myself and others. I’m passionate about life and sharing my passion for life with others. I’m inspired by those who have the courage to pursue their dreams.
My current dream is to build a national program in which individuals have the opportunity to try out a series of One Week Jobs in areas that interest them in order to help them figure out what they want to do for a career. The first stage started this past week with the beginning of The One-Week Job Program, in which 3 individuals are working 8 different jobs this summer and blogging about their experience and what they’re learning on the One-Week Job website. My vision is to continue to grow the program in subsequent semesters to make it accessible to all who wish to take part.
Q: Describe a gray time in your life. How did it stand between you and your dreams? How did you overcome it?
SA: After college graduation I went through a gray time in my life. I was lost, lacking direction, and unsure of what I wanted or who I was. It prevented me from taking any steps forward as I felt paralyzed with external pressure, self-doubt, and indecision. I put myself in a situation in which I was forced to overcome it; I created The One-Week Job Project. I didn’t know what I wanted to do and so I came up with a way of trying out 52 jobs in 52 weeks.
In creating the website/project, I forced myself to take steps forward, to meet new people, learn about myself and what I needed to be in a career to be happy. I had to find a new job each week, and I didn’t have time to stay lost in the gray area. Inevitably this created the perfect situation for me to build my confidence, step outside of my comfort zone, and push past that self-doubt.
Q: What fears have you faced as you chase your dreams?
Q: What inspires you to keep pushing forward when the going gets tough?
SA: To remember that what I’m doing is important, that it’s not about me, and that I have the ability to positively impact the lives of many through sharing my story.
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to someone else who is struggling to move beyond the gray and follow a dream, what would it be?
SA: Start with the bigger vision of your dream, even if it’s vague or can’t clearly be defined at this point, then work backwards on mapping out the steps that would need to happen in order for this dream to come true. After that, start with Step #1. Keep in mind the bigger vision, but don’t focus on it. Focus on what you’re doing today that will help you get to where you dream of going tomorrow.
For more on The One-Week Job Project and Program, visit www.oneweekjob.com. The book Sean wrote about his experience was recently published by Random House USA, Penguin Canada, and is available in stores throughout North America. You can also order online through Amazon.com.
To view all of Sean’s photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/oneweekjobproject/sets/72157623934530058/