Like lots of college grads, Daniel Seddiqui was having a hard time finding a job. But despite more than forty rejections, he knew opportunities had to exist. So he set out on an extraordinary quest: fifty jobs in fifty states in fifty weeks. And not just any jobs—he chose professions that reflected the culture and economy of each state.
Working as everything from a cheesemaker in Wisconsin, a border patrol agent in Arizona, and a meatpacker in Kansas to a lobsterman in Maine, a surfing instructor in Hawaii, and a football coach in Alabama, Daniel chronicles how he adapted to the wildly differing people, cultures, and environments. From one week to the next he had no idea exactly what his duties would be, where he’d be sleeping, what he’d be eating, or how he’d be received. He became a roving news item, appearing on CNN, Fox News, World News Tonight, MSNBC, and the Today show—which was good preparation for his stint as a television weatherman.
Tackling challenge after challenge—overcoming anxiety about working four miles underground in a West Virginia coal mine, learning to walk on six-foot stilts (in a full Egyptian king costume) at a Florida amusement park, racing the clock as a pit-crew member at an Indiana racetrack—Daniel completed his journey a changed man. In this book he shares stories about the people he met, reveals the lessons he learned, and explains the five principles that kept him going.
When Seddiqui didn't get a job after graduating from USC he embarked on an ambitious and potentially illuminating trip across the country with $250 and a single requirement: "working a job that best represented the culture and economy of the state." Some jobs were enchanting: "rodeo announcer" in South Dakota, "sugar maker" in Vermont, where everything he ate "involved syrup." Some jobs were challenging: "meat packer" in Kansas, "roustabout" in Oklahoma. Occasionally, Seddiqui makes some interesting observations: "in Mississippi, it would be awkward to avoid saying hello to passing strangers, in New York, people barely make eye contact." But mostly, these tales of the road are as flat as tar macadam. For all his exuberance and enthusiasm in locating and procuring jobs, Seddiqui's written accounts lack verve. Despite his ambitious and successful undertaking (he parlayed this into a motivational speaking career), the book holds the reader's interest for about as long as each workplace held the author's, which isn't long enough. Illus.