Sunday, April 18, 2010

Review: "The One-Week Job Project" by Sean Aiken

Sean Aiken is 25 years old, a recent University graduate and valedictorian, and he has kick-ass dreadlocks to boot. There's only one problem- as his friends progress towards marriage and children, mortgages and full-time jobs, Sean is terrified at the prospect of saddling himself with responsibilities and spending the rest of his life doing a job that he hates. It's at this point that he decides to take on the one-week job project. The concept is that he will do a different job every week for one year, so that he can try out the different kinds of jobs out there and find out what it is that he wants to do for the rest of his life. He'll sleep on friend's couches or stay with his one-week bosses, accept job offers from those who have heard about or seen his website, and any monies that he potentially would have earned will be donated to a charity close to his heart. Sean will blog about his experiences along the way, and occasionally his best friend Ian will tag along to document everything on videotape. This is how Sean comes to be a firefighter, day trader, tattoo artist, dairy farmer, yoga instructor, mayor and more, all in one year.

What drew me to this book in the first place was the fact that Sean is someone who I could relate to. He's the same age as I am, a Canadian (go, Canada!), and he grew up watching the same after-school specials on TV. He's relatable. He also spent much of his time in University asking "What do I want to be when I grow up?". Many people have asked themselves this same question, myself included. It's so scary to think that once you're done school you need to choose one career, and do it for the rest of your life. What if you hate it? What if you're bored all the time and constantly watching the clock? Are you just stuck there for the rest of your life? Sean attempts to answer this question in his travels, and I love that he did some jobs with people who had abandoned their initial careers to take on a new one- something that didn't necessarily earn them tons of money, but that they loved doing. It was interesting that he included multiple perspectives on such a controversial concept.

I did have a few small problems with the book. Some of his jobs are glossed over and only briefly described. I'm sure that this was in the interest of keeping the book a managable length, but I would have loved to know more. I would have enjoyed hearing more about dairy farming, or the week that he spent as a yoga instructor, or the week that he spent in the general store in cottage country. In exchange I would have been willing to hear less about Sean's budding love interest in Danna- it was a cute story, but really I was there to read about the jobs. I did find some of the week's lack of information disappointing, and craved a little more.

The One-Week Job Project was ultimately an enlightening look at what to do if you don't know what to do when you "grow up". It offered some interesting insights into the world of work as well as the assurance that you don't necessarily need to have everything figured out by the age of 25.

Thank-you to Bronwyn at Penguin Canada for this review copy!

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Recommended to: Memoir lovers, everyone who has ever been asked "what do you want to do when you grow up?" and didn't have the answer
Challenges: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge, New Author Challenge 2010

2 comments:

  1. My son and I were having a similar conversation just last week and I told him about this book. I really need to purchase it for him to browse/read. Thanks for the review as I had forgotten the actual title.

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