From No Job to 50 Jobs: USC Grad Tries 50 Jobs in 50 States - America is Still "Land of Opportunity"

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Daniel Seddiqui wanted to find out whether America was still the "Land of Opportunity," so he set out on a journey that would lead him to work one job in every state. He recounts his extraordinary adventure in his new book, 50 Jobs in 50 States: One Man’s Journey of Discovery Across America (Berrett-Koehler Publishers).

Daniel Seddiqui wasn't going to pursue just any job - he sought jobs that reflected the culture and economy of each state.

Finding just one job in this economy is not easy; imagine trying to find fifty. That’s what Daniel Seddiqui did after getting rejected from countless interviews after graduating from USC. He traveled the country looking for work, and ended up working one job in every state for one week. He writes about his journey in his new book, 50 Jobs in 50 States: One Man’s Journey of Discovery Across America (Berrett-Koehler Publishers).

Before embarking on his trip, Daniel decided that he wasn’t going to pursue just any job. His goal was to not only to explore different careers, but also to explore the country - so he sought jobs that reflected the culture and economy of each state. Working the quintessential profession of each state, he received an authentic taste of what America was truly about.

Among the many jobs he worked, he became a cheese maker in Wisconsin, a hydrologist in Colorado, a surfing instructor in Hawaii, and a meatpacker in Kansas. "(Being a meatpacker) was definitely my most uncomfortable job,” he says. Best job: a tie between stilt-walking as an entertainer at Universal Studios, Florida, and patrolling the border in Arizona. The book chronicles all aspects of his journey – from adapting to the unique demands of each job and the wildly differing cultures and environments, to his personal introspection and self-growth along the way.

In every state, Daniel met people who were willing to give him a job based on no prior experience, and formed friendships with locals who were eager to hear his stories and share their own. He encountered people who faced the same predicament he was in, from students anxious about choosing the right major in college to mid-career professionals struggling to make a career change in a bleak economy.

He has parlayed his experience into a motivational speaking career, and speaks at venues ranging from high schools to senior centers. By retracing his steps to promote his book, he is inspiring others to try new experiences and look at things from a fresh perspective as they face the depressing job market. “Don't fear failure, but embrace it – it can lead to unexpected places,” he says.

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Cynthia Shannon
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