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Guest Post: Sean Aiken

Monday, Jun 25, 2007 from Stamford, Connecticut

Searching for his passion, one job at a time - Sean Aiken

He said it with a conviction that comes with a money-back guarantee: “Go after what you love doing and the money will come.”

This was the advice of David Chilton, author of The Wealthy Barber, during a conference I attended last month in Vancouver. He was speaking to the importance of finding something you love doing; refusing to allow the thought of an uncertain financial future to impede you along the way.

Although I’d heard it before, this time it was different. Hearing it firsthand from someone who used his RRSP money to finance publication of a book that would become a Canadian bestseller, I believed it.

He spoke with such a sense of certainty and confidence that I could not help but be inspired. It reaffirmed my beliefs in what I have set out to accomplish - find a career that I will love. Tapping into ‘a very lucrative market’

As part of this process, I have set out to accept job offers for one week at a time from any individual or any company anywhere in Canada. In doing so, I am hoping to learn something new from each of them that will allow me to discover all of what I need in a workplace to be happy.

To be blunt, I - along with many others in my generation - don’t have a clue of what I want to do for a living. If you had asked me when I was 10, I probably would have told you that, by now, I would be well into my professional career and expecting my second child. However, I am 25 years old, and, when at home in Vancouver, I still live with my parents. I have no idea what I want to do for a career, and could not even conceive of getting married any time soon.

I could have taken a more comfortable, predictable route and landed myself a secure job right after graduation. Yet, the promise of both happiness and a prosperous future was already resonating strongly in my mind; a conviction that I am not willing to let slip until I see this through to fruition.

It is not that I am incapable, unqualified or even lack the motivation to get out there and get a real job. In 2005, I graduated from the Capilano College School of Business in North Vancouver with a 4.0 average in business administration, top of my class, and was even voted class valedictorian.

And it’s not that there aren’t enough opportunities out there. On the contrary, the possibilities seem endless in today’s shrinking world and I think that many in my generation are finding themselves somewhat overwhelmed by all the choices we have. As a result, it is proving to be difficult for us all to decide on a particular career path.

I think a mistake many people make when deciding what they want to do for a living is to focus on a title and ignore the characteristics that a particular career and its lifestyle might entail. “I want to be a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher …” After having gained the knowledge or expertise to get there, we might come to realize this is not what we are truly looking for.

I have chosen an alternative approach in determining my career path. Instead of focusing on the destination, I am starting with nothing on the table other than an open mind and a simple commitment to finding something that I love doing.

I began my One Week Job project in Vancouver near the end of February and will be continuing into the fall. Already, I have been a bungee jump operator in Whistler, B.C.; a newspaper columnist, a florist, a sales and marketing guy for a software firm and have worked on a TV talk show, all in Vancouver. I have been a yoga instructor (with no prior experience) in Edmonton, and even milked cows in rural Alberta, to name but a few jobs.

After 12 weeks, I was in Trois-Pistoles, Que., working at a window and door-framing company. Just before that, I was a caregiver in an old-age home in the same town on the Lower St. Lawrence.

By placing myself in these unfamiliar situations, I am constantly outside my comfort zone and continually challenging myself. Each week, I am developing new skills and insights, picking up the pieces that will help me create a positive work environment for myself. Then, it will be a matter of finding out just how all these pieces are going to fit together.

Something my dad said to me a few years ago has always stuck with me: “Sean, whatever it is you do, just make sure it is something you are passionate about. I have been alive for nearly 60 years and I have yet to find something I am passionate about besides your mother.”

Shortly after graduation, I made a commitment to myself: I will not settle for a career that I am not truly passionate about. I will not allow yearning for weekends and the illustrious two-week vacation a year to define my life. I will be in a positive workplace situation and I will love what I am doing.

I have no idea what the next few months will hold, nor where my different jobs will take me. The uncertainty can be intimidating.

Yet, I am excited and confident at the same time, and can only hope that, when my journey is over, I will be able to connect the dots.

An e-mail I received a few weeks ago from a man in Vancouver offered some reassurance: “I have no doubt you will find what you are looking for, Sean, because you are one of the few who search.”

I certainly hope so and that along the way I am able to inspire others to do some searching themselves.

I want to show my generation that it is okay not to know exactly where we are going or how we are going to get there, but first commit to finding something we love doing, to keep learning, take risks, and then simply trust in the process and enjoy the experience.

Sean and I have been in touch for quite a while now. I hope you check out his project… One Week Job. Good work Sean!

If anyone else would like to submit a guest post please contact me.

Blog Date Posted: Jun 25, 2007 | 1083 words | comments 3 Comments
Comment by Mistifica@gmmail.com
From Mistifica , MI

I am happy to read all this succes: you deserve it completely. Proud to work with you in Boston, next june. Please, take all the good thoughts streaming from my heart to you...

Comment by hiutopor
From london, UK

Hi Very interesting information! Thanks! G'night

Comment by Kevin
From Vancouver, WA

So easy, even a caveman could do it.