Living the Map - 50 Jobs in 50 States

Obtaining the title, “the most rejected person in the world,” doesn’t come easy.  USA Today granted Daniel Seddiqui this honor after failing 40+ job interviews and sending out 18,000 emails looking for volunteer positions.  While obtaining one job proved far too difficult, Seddiqui opted for a loftier goal, to work 50 jobs in 50 states in the course of a year.  From September of 2008, to September of 2009, Seddiqui spent one week in a new occupation in each of the different states.  From Lobsterman in Maine, to late night Meteorologist in Ohio, this job seeker sought to learn about different cultures, environments and careers offered in America.

Within his first month of career exploration, Seddiqui was a Cartographer in North Dakota, a Rodeo Announcer in South Dakota, in Colorado he was a Hydrologist and worked in Humanitarian Services in Utah.  Throughout his 50 careers, 48 resulted in full time job offers.  As a keynote speaker for the Minnesota Career Development Association Conference, Seddiqui shared touching stories of the 50 different families who took him in each week, the work communities he was quickly welcomed into and his personal growth throughout the trials and tribulations of this extensive journey.

As a career coach and lover of all things relating to travel, this story actually made me jealous.  I have the privilege of assisting students and alums with working towards their career goals.  Each day I review resumes of different professional backgrounds and listen to stories of accomplishment or distress from the world of banking, marketing and corporate America.  Listening to the 50 different stories told through 50 different occupations heightened my awareness for the ability to learn not only from an academic and professional setting, but also on a level that is only created through personal and cultural contact.  Seddiqui saw what it took to be a miner, working alongside the lines of coal stained workers.  But more importantly, he also listened to stories of families who had worked in the same mines for generation after generation. He witnessed the strength, determination and compassion the team had for their coworkers as most teams stay in a four mile deep pit for weeks on end.

In Minnesota, he witnessed firsthand, the importance of a great first impression as well as the strength and compassion of communities with in organizations.  Here is how Seddiqui describes it:

“Minnesota Nice,” “You bet.”

“Those are the two sayings that I’ve heard all week and they really fit together.  Seriously, Minnesota people are sooooo nice and I would bet on it.  I can’t believe what has happened today.  I’ll start with the end of my last work day.  I was packing my stuff ready to leave for good, but Metal-Craft didn’t allow me to leave.  They called me into the cafeteria and woah, all the employees were packed inside for a surprise farewell party.  The owners handed me two envelops and one had a check for the work week and the other was a card signed by all the employees with cash; cash from each of the employees’ pockets.  That’s “Minnesota Nice.”  All of the manufacturers work hard for their money and well, I’m speechless.

Throughout the entire process, Seddiqui had to continue to find new jobs, and opportunities to be hired as only a week long employee, mostly on an “ad hoc” basis.  He continued to pull different traits or skills he had gained throughout high school and college career, as well as many new abilities he had learned throughout his journey.  While he attributed his success to networking, and persistence, his ingenuity and ability to create and recreate a new selling pitch for each possible employer strongly aided in his success.

Rejection, perseverance and ingenuity are all traits in the typical job seeker’s quest for employment.  Seddiqui provided a light hearted and courageous look into the life of a fearless job seeker, who not only took no for an answer, but took no for an answer several hundred times and continued on a path that provided profound opportunity and personal growth.  Seddiqui is continuing on his explorative journey in a new assignment titled “Drop Me In!,” in which he seeks to connect with a struggling and secluded community in efforts to make social change.

To learn more about Daniel Seddiqui and follow his journey visit: