Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Book Review: The One-Week Job Project

It's probably safe to say that most every college graduate gets his or her diploma and then says, "Now what? What am I supposed to do with the rest of my life?"

This happened to Sean Aiken, who graduated from Capilano College in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada with a business administration degree in 2005. After some post-graduation traveling, Aiken found himself facing the all-mighty question: "what next?"

His father gave him some valuable advice: find a job you're passionate about. The problem was, Aiken wasn't sure what he was passionate about. To find out, he decided he wanted to work a new job every week for an entire year. He started a Web site, www.oneweekjob.com, that let people offer him jobs across the globe (and eventually decided to share his tale via this book).

With no looking back, Aiken traveled all over Canada and America trying out 52 different jobs -- from a florist to a cattail picker, from a Hollywood producer to an NHL mascot, from a stock trader to an aquarium host. From week to week, he isn't always sure just where he'll be next, or what he'll be doing.

Aiken writes extensively about his 52 bosses... they all seem to love their jobs, and they all seem to give Aiken good advice about the working world, and finding a career you love.

Aiken openly embraced the challenges of all his jobs, including a not-so-great boss during his stint as film festival reporter, and having to deal with cow poop while working as a dairy farmer. "It's like walking in the rain," he wrote. Ew. He also experienced some major job perks, like attending a Sylvester Stallone movie premiere in Las Vegas, being featured on The Rachael Ray Show and rubbing elbows with Wyclef Jean (who told him one of his jobs should be at a strip club).

A great thing about The One-Week Project is that it's not just about the destination; it's the journey. Aiken doesn't just discuss the pros and cons of all the jobs he's tried out, but he describes the people and places he's seen, how he would get (on a very limited budget) from one place to another, whose couch or floor he was sleeping on.

While on the road, Aiken also falls in love, finds out his mother has breast cancer and learns how to deal with his rising fame as "The One-Week Job Guy"... all while learning a new career on a weekly basis.

The One-Week Job Project should be handed out to all college graduates when they get their diploma. Aiken's important message of finding passion in your job is something all people strive for, and his questions about "what he wants to be when he grows up" and how he wants to live his life will ring true with many twentysomethings -- and even those beyond that age.

The One Week-Job Project is available from Villard Books, Random House Publishing Group.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary advanced review copy of this book from the publisher.

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