What Makes You Come Alive?

Sean shares the inspiration and deeper meaning behind the One Week Job movement. He suggests that we’re experiencing “a revolution in work consciousness. A shift in how we as a culture view work and our relationship with it.” He believes that expressing our passions and unique gifts lead us to greater fulfillment both individually and collectively. “WHAT MAKES YOU COME ALIVE?” (7min)

Maslow & Shakespeare: a mom's road to "actualization"

"One must satisfy lower level basic needs before progressing on to meet higher level growth needs.  Once these needs have been reasonably satisfied, one may be able to reach the highest level called self-actualization."  Saul McLeod on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Through the years, I have been constantly reminded of Maslow's  paradigm--I was fascinated by the concept in high school and have thought of this "hierarchy" in its relevance to my life over the years.  Specifically, in recent years, it seems I have been in "survival" mode, tending devotedly to my little flock, yes, but tending with my head barely above water.  My daughter said to me yesterday, "Mom, I'm tired of barely making ends meet."  In our family, we don't focus on the scarcity, so it was a surprise to hear her voice this frustration.  And deservedly frustrated.

This one-week job project for me has everything to do with Maslow's highest step: self actualization.  I have been stuck and I'm seeking to un-stick myself not only for me but for my children.  Although as young adults they still want me to care for them (and give them immediate and full attention!), they are my strongest advocates for me embarking on a new journey because this has infused much-needed and hopeful energy into our family.

After the recent experiences of bankruptcy, foreclosure, death of their father, illness and unemployment (what else IS there?!--really, it sounds like a friggin' soap opera), it's time to ACTUALIZE some long-dormant potential here!  I harken back to my first blog where I stated my goal in doing this project was to become fully alive and to perhaps inspire others.

In thinking about writing these thoughts, I was remembering many conversations I've had with my dear friend, Kathy, about the joys and fulfilling devotion of motherhood.  We both, along with other mothers we know,  have poured ourselves wholeheartedly in this role not because we have to, but because we adore our children and find great fulfillment in caring for them.  Plus, we're aware of how short life is and we don't want to miss out on any experience with our children (e.g. theater and music performances!).  So we haven't.  And I just plain enjoy taking care of people. Period.  However, I also am aware that it's much easier for me to devote my time and energy on my children than to perhaps figure out how to reach a personal goal.  Okay, kids, I admit it: I've used you!   Wouldn't have changed a thing:)

Back to Maslow: even though I have been blessed with achieving (for me) the highest level of actualization and fulfillment by loving and nourishing my incredible kids,  I always felt a yearning (not just wanting to climb out of financial scarcity) to explore and commit to talents that I was given and know I possess (singing, writing, counseling/healing, speaking, dancing--OK, that one's for fun).  I suppose this is a common theme among parents: are those dreams I once had forever buried--or can I drum up the time and energy to dust them off and re-envision my life actually actualizing one of them?

So, I have a confession to make.  This project at times feels to me to be a very self-centered endeavor at the age of 59, soon to be 60.  Afterall, "who am I"  and "where do I go from here" questions seem to be more suited to 20-somethings.  Indeed, when Sean created his journey of working 52 jobs he was a recent college grad looking for his passion and purpose in life.  In theory, and in my distorted perception, I'm supposed to be past this, fully entrenched in my choices and thinking of retirement!

I have mentioned my concerns about the "me-focus" to friends--and even my reluctance to share these blogs not wishing to burden anyone's time and energy of my self-pursuits.  Thankfully, I have been gently thrashed by these friends who tell me that my experience has  offered new perspectives to their lives. Good people: keep tellin' me what I want to hear.

So, in this writing process, in making contacts securing jobs, in the work with Sean of obtaining sponsor-funding, in networking with friends and meeting new people in this journey, I am little-by-little re-designing my life so that the sense of life is not one of surviving but actualizing some goals to energize me and my kids.  I'm beginning to see that I can learn to devote time to this project and experience much as I've devoted time and energy to Laura and Alec.  Absolutely nothing will ever replace my love and care for them-they are my biggest dream.

I have Shakespeare's Sonnet 29 written in calligraphy, framed and sitting on our piano.  I'm sure many of you know the sonnet well, but it is so relevant to my thoughts here.  The writer bemoans his seeming "disgrace... with fortune..and fate" but in his darkest thoughts remembers that he actually is blessed beyond measure:

For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings, That then I scorn to change my fate with kings

I am looking forward to this year of new experiences,  and actualizing my potential--but I'm already "actualized."  I hit the jackpot here at home.


Job Hunting: All In the Family

“The man with the best job in the country is the vice-president. All he has to do is get up every morning and say, 'How is the president?'”  -Will Rogers As I continue to network with my community and explore job possibilities, there are days when I feel the stress of not having a clear structure and plan for finding opportunites--and not knowing where to look.  I have discovered later in life that my highly distorted perception of being a visionary has been altered by understanding my great limitation in this area and my real need for much structure.  In short, I truly am that "worker bee" that would much rather have a list of things to do, check them off at the end of the day and be done with it.

So it's interesting that my son is also job hunting--- home for the summer from college.  "Interesting" covers a lot of ground and is one of my least favorite words often used in a ridiculous, general manner when people don't want to be specific about negativity or challenges.  That would be the case here!  Okay, perhaps I exaggerate, but I find myself supremely inept at guiding Alec in this finding-a-job-thing, as I veer wildly from the diplomatic, blind leading the blind job-cheerleader to the stressed out mother who is short on sleep, energy, patience, ideas and finances.

Three years ago, it became necessary to downsize from our 5-bedroom home to a small 2-bedroom apartment.  This has been difficult but also comically impressive as we fit the three of us humans as well as a dog and two cats quite agreeably (the living room couch becomes my bed when Alec is home).  I have attempted to create a comfortable home with this situation, but it has pained me to have to ask my children to contribute financially.

My desire to be a good provider for Laura and Alec has given way to sadness and  guilt in needing them to share in this responsibility at a too-young age.  Nevertheless, these are the current practicalities of making ends meet every month.  Hence, the heightened "interest" in Alec finding gainful employment this summer so Laura can be somewhat relieved of her contribution during these months.

So a stirring debate with Alec regarding job hunting has centered around being willing to take any job (within reason) that is offered to him.  This is Alec's first foray into finding a job (to augment his continued summer part-time gig teaching kids theater and music).  The initial conversation went something like this:

ME:   So, where have you considered looking for work?

ALEC:  I'm interested in working at the Community Music Center.  

ME:   Great idea!  Maybe make a call and see who to contact.  Also, it's important to contact as many businesses as possible and network as much as possible to keep your options open.

ALEC:  I really  want to do something that will fit in with my interests and my career down the road.

ME:  (feeling rising impatience and irritation)  Honey (I know, terms of endearment can be seen as a power play here), finding a first, "real" job you really want, in this economy, at age 19, is unrealistic.  (I cleverly insert examples for him of his talented friends that have basic, low-paying summer jobs)  For instance, maybe applying at Ben and Jerry's would be a good idea because they are often hiring.

ALEC:  Ben and Jerry's??   I would never work there!

The conversation imploded there (especially after I found myself stooping for the "when I was a girl!" routine that I thought I would never hear myself say!) despite all attempts to be "helpful."

In fact, however, I am so grateful for Alec challenging me to think about this job-hunting business in a more expansive way, especially in regards to this one-week project.  Do I take any job offered to me to fill up my 52 weeks--and to try a bunch of different things?  Do I hold out for the opportunities that are more meaningful to me in my life?  Do I take positions only if I see a possible career in that field?  Do I stick with the experiences where I might make a greater contribution?

I currently work in my neighborhood coffee shop as a barista; in addition, I direct children's theater with my daughter at a community center.  And when asked, I take care of animals (one of my great loves) for a small fee.  In other words, in the past 5 years I have been willing to take whatever job has come my way to take care of my family.   Bootstraps, by George! It is with this mindset that I have approached my gifted son who possesses brilliant musical sensibilities and  gentle-life  sensitivities  with a rather one-way method of job hunting.  It's a numbers game!  Sheesh.

What I know to be true is that yes, I do have some wisdom to impart to my son and perhaps can guide him somewhat through this, but right along with him, I am learning about how to network and find opportunities.   Alec will discover his own process in applying for jobs this summer.  And I hope to improve upon my process with this project--and in helping my son-- in a more gentle, patient, creative and fruitful way.




Aging, ageism, cheese and gray hair

"Age is not something that matters much unless you are cheese."    (from Brain Rules by John Medina; sent to me by my friend, Ann Dockendorff) So, I wish that that was true.  I was walking Brady dog  yesterday and ran into Bill, the gregarious, handsome, warm, intelligent and beloved social hub of the hood.  He told me that he had worked for years in high tech, was much respected but unfortunately laid off four years ago.  Bill is 63.  He had applied for 74 positions in the past two years and there was always much excitement about his resume, interviews seemingly went well-----and then nothing.  Bill said to me: "Uncle!  I can't believe I'll have to default on the mortgage.  I've just reached the end of resources."

This is my story too (well, in upcoming posts, the 'rest of the story' will emerge...).  Laid off, applications sent out for positions I was highly qualified for, interviews had (which I consider my forte)---and then nothing.  I finally realized about a year ago that I was finished.  Finished with going about trying to obtain a job the traditional way; I was not going to subject myself to such a futile effort any longer, especially with the job market as it is.  I needed to get creative, think outside the box.....and then I met Sean.

Going Gray

Bill has a great head of hair: thick, wavy--and silver.  My hair is also silver.  It wasn't always this way:)

About two years ago, I was shopping in Fred Meyer and was told cheerily by the cashier that "golly you are lucky--, today is Tuesday, senior discount day, and you'll receive 10% off  your total purchase!"  WHAT??  You think I'm a friggin' SENIOR??  Well, crap.  The past few years have taken their toll (more later in the 'emerging story') but sheesh, I'm not ready for this!  Are we ever?  Clearly my dyed hair was not fooling anyone, and it was my children who encouraged me: "Mom, you should go gray."  I'm now loving my newish gray/silvery hair color.  The business world often does not.

Last week the Oregonian newspaper featured an article titled "Working Women Daring to Go Gray."  The good news: as one woman put it, "It's a bold statement to be gray...people take me more seriously now."  The bad news, as one man put it, laughing: "I don't think a woman in the workplace is going to follow that trend (going gray)...If I were an older working person, the last thing I would do is go gray."  SCOFF!  Really?  Really?  How dare he!  Song insert: "It's a Man's World."  And then I think of Bill; ageism is not just for women. 

I remember my mother saying she didn't recognize the gray, wrinkled woman looking back at her in the mirror--that inside she still felt like the youthful, vital woman she always was.  I understand now how she feels as I live with the everchanging visage in my mirror (which, by the way I comically thought of as just a stage I was going through).  Although now I rather comfortingly do not get stared at and husseled as I did even in my recent "attractive" years, I do often have the sense of feeling invisible now---somewhat diminished and less relevant.  I am beginning to see that this adventure I am on is really a quest not so much to find a "job" but also to recapture that vitality, and to share my  experience and transformation with others.

And, by the way, Bill was offered a great job this week through friends who truly know his worth.






November 2011: First Planning Session with Sean

Around the first of November 2011, Sean and I had out first planning session by phone.  I tend to run with a  sense of urgency, and I realized Sean approaches things in a much more relaxed manner--a great compliment to my energy!
 Ever since meeting Sean on the plane, I had many questions and a chief concern:  could I really leave my home and those who count on me for a year?  My daughter, Laura, and I share living quarters and sweet life together currently on a daily basis as she attends Portland State University majoring in International Development in Africa with a focus on Sustainability.  My son, Alec, attends Willamette University as a Music major with an emphasis in Education less than an hour away in Salem and whose choral concerts bring me much needed joy on a regular basis.
And then there are the animals--treasured members of the family.  Brady, our three-legged border collie mix  is desperately and neurotically bonded with me, and he moans his fate if I leave him for just an hour (much less possible long stretches of time when I am away for this project).  Jenny cat is our sickly alpha Madame of the household who commands the utmost respect, but is approaching her golden years with a serious thyroid illness for which she must have 5 pills daily in order to survive.  And lastly, there is Oliver cat, so named because he adopted us as an orphan--a cat not only so studly and street-wise that we continually marvel at his skills, but also a cat who so obviously is grateful for his warm and loving life that he is our chief role model.
So it is with this precious little family in mind that I rather anxiously approached my first discussion with Sean.  He immediately put me at ease with his "chill" manner and easy laugh.  The very comfortable connection I felt on the plane was at once there, and it was like talking with a friend I had known for years.
 Sean and I discussed the formation of the project and the planning assignments; he would focus on finding a sponsor to support the project and me for a year, and I would begin brainstorming possible jobs and networking in my community.  I shared with Sean concerns about my treasured little family and my hesitancy to leave them for extended periods of time.  I was really angling the conversation to see if Sean felt we could be flexible with the constraints of the project and perhaps do some things differently than he had done.
 We discussed the possibility of tweaking the location of the jobs: perhaps I would stay in the Portland area for the first several months and then travel to other states after that.  We began to realize and agree that the yearly itinerary might look a bit different for me, a middle aged woman with a family, than it did for Sean and Paul, young single men who were relatively unencumbered.  I began to breathe more easily as I saw that Sean and I could create an adventure that not only worked for me, but also maintained the integrity of Sean's original vision.
Still, one thought was really nagging at me:  how could I best inspire others through my adventure?  So many people are out of work and struggling just to make ends meet.  My adventure sounded a bit like an interesting gimmick that may prove life-changing and fruitful for me, but unrealistic for others to attempt.  Sean had great advice:  Don't worry about inspiring anyone.    My job was simply to share my experience and tell my story, and in so doing, perhaps inspire others or open up a new dialogue in their lives.  I hope I can do that.

- Linda

A potentially life-changing serendipitous meeting...

In October of 2011, I attended a mini high-school reunion (the 41st!) in my hometown of Santa Barbara, California.  Although I've lived in Oregon now for many years, there is a big part of me that still considers myself a Californian.  The chief reason for that: the beach.  The place I love most on the planet (thus far!) is a beach we used to call Henry's Beach in Santa Barbara.  When I am walking on this particular sandy retreat, I experience such bliss as I hunt for shells, listen to the waves, watch the birds as they forage, smell that unique sea breeze completely present with the joy of experiencing this familiar place.

It is with this contentment that I boarded the plane in Los Angeles to take me home to Oregon.  (OK: Oregon has a beautiful ocean too but for a Californian, there is a big difference between the "coast" and the "beach!").  As I sat in my aisle seat, I noticed that the plane was filling up quickly, but the window seat next to me continued to remain vacant.  Just as I was beginning to think Yes!...I'll have some space around me...in walked an good looking young man with beautiful blonde dreadlocks, and he gestured that the vacant seat was his.  We said a brief, cordial hello to each other then turned to our own amusements for the first part of our journey.

After awhile, we struck up a conversation sharing a bit about where we were flying from and to (he was flying home to Vancouver, B.C. after spending time at the Burning Man festival in Nevada).  He told me his name was Sean Aiken, and then proceeded to tell me about the project he has created: The One Week Job Project.  And that he had just had a book published and a documentary released about this project---and that he has been an invited guest on many national and international radio and TV shows discussing his project.

As I listened to him talk about his story, I was incredibly impressed with his intelligence, maturity, clarity of vision and his ability to connect so fully in our conversation. A rare human being, indeed. As we talked more and I recounted my own checkered career path over the years a germ of an idea began to take hold.  I talked about my masters degree in speech communication which I had made use of over the years in the nonprofit world and in sales.  I also had worked many short-term jobs over the years simply to pay the bills, but no job had ever been my "passion."

I shared with Sean that my passion has always been caring for and loving my two children--and singing--that I was born with a vocal gift and had sung for decades but not recently, and not for years except sporadically.  I found myself telling Sean that I felt such a great loss in not having made the decision to really pursue my music and design my life to include my singing.  I found myself reflecting on Sean's experience with trying to find his passion by trying all sorts of jobs, and I disclosed to him that I had been under-employed or unemployed for the past 3 years and was actively looking for a new career to take me through the next chapter in my life.

That's when I got the idea: I, an almost-60-year-old woman could take the challenge of Sean's 52 jobs/one job per week/for one year and by so doing redesign and redefine my life, perhaps find a passion, hopefully find a career, re-energize myself in the process and perhaps help others to re-energize their lives.  As I was telling this idea to Sean, his eyes lit up and he said "I absolutely know that we were supposed to meet and this is what you're supposed to do!"

Sean was especially touched by hearing about my incredibly youthful 85 year old mother who has the energy of a 30 year old and who always wanted to find her passion and actively pursue something she loved, but her life was limited by the constraints of society's rigid roles of what was expected of a woman.

With that thought, we both remarked on how short life was and that this was an opportunity for me to design an adventure based on the integrity of Sean's 52-job journey.

Welcome to the "Never Too Late: the Redesigning and Redefining of a Woman's Life, Passion and Career" experience!

I hope you join me for the journey!

-Linda linda@oneweekjob.com

BIG NEWS - One Week Job: USA starts Summer 2012

I'm super excited to officially announce the launch of One Week Job: USA beginning in Summer 2012 with 59-year-old Linda Chase from Portland, Oregon. We're looking for a sponsor. For details, contact sean@oneweekjob.com

I met Linda when we were seated beside each other on a plane in September 2011. We immediately had a great connection and quickly got into deep conversation. Linda told me that as she approaches the age of 60, she's beginning to feel somewhat diminished, less confident and less relevant, despite having amassed many valuable life and professional skills.

After raising my two children, working a variety of jobs, being unemployed and underemployed (despite being highly educated), seeing long-held dreams slip away, and losing my life partner to brain cancer, I began wondering, 'Now who am I? And where do I go from here?'

The One-Week Job Project is an idea that resonates, regardless of age. It strikes a chord that is intimately human – at some point in our lives we all must look deep inside ourselves to answer the question, “What should I do with my life?”

And yet it’s not just a question faced by recent college grads. Linda’s story is one that is shared by millions – empty nest parents who sidetracked their career to raise a family, those starting over after a divorce, or recently laid off, or retired – it’s a question we’ll continue to face at different points throughout our lives.

Today, many baby boomers are very active and want to get involved to make a difference. At the same time they may also be experiencing the difficulty of reconciling past dreams that are no longer possible, finding the strength to create new dreams, and to summon the courage to pursue them.

It’s an important conversation and a transition that currently many feel they must face alone. Linda’s courage to be vulnerable and to share her journey is sure to bring inspiration to all those who find themselves a little bit older with well earned life experience, and who refuse to believe that the best part of their life is behind them. As Linda says, "It's never too late!"

One Week Job: USA is set to launch in Summer 2012. Leading up to Week #1, Linda will be blogging at OneWeekJob.com about her reflections, inspirations, musings, etc. as she prepares for the start of her adventure.

- Sean

Join the journey!

OWJ Australia Partners with SEEK - Australia's #1 Job Site

We’re super excited to announce our partnership with SEEK.com.au in support of One Week Job Australia! SEEK is Australia’s number one job site with over 150,000 jobs online and visited 14.7 million times each month. Here is Paul’s official introduction of OWJ Australia and our partnership with SEEK.

SEEK will support by:

  • Documenting Paul’s story through social media and posting videos of his work experience on the seek.com.au YouTube channel
  • Connecting Paul with employers and business owners across Australia in a bid to help him find his passion.

I first contacted a representative at SEEK before Christmas to tell them about One Week Job and our plans to launch OWJ Australia with 24-year-old Brisbane resident, Paul Seymour. Immediately they were interested in getting involved. Their brand promise is a perfect fit – “SEEK and you shall find.” We both believe that people should love what they do and recognize the importance of finding fulfillment in both our careers and life.

In February, I was in Melbourne, Australia to meet with the team at SEEK and to finalize how the partnership would work out. They truly are an awesome company with great people!

We’re looking forward to working with them for years to come as we help empower people around the world to discover their passion!

Follow Paul's journey at OneWeekJob.com.au.


2011 - Sean's Year In Review

I have high hopes for the year ahead. I always do. I’ll tell myself – This is the year. It’s time... It’s time.

The words carry profound resolve and belief; yet at the same time harbor a seed of inadequacy. I’ll inevitably feel as if I didn’t do enough, that I could have done more. The New Year beckons and once again I’m enamored with its anything-is-possible, be-all-you-can-be type optimism. I have a passion for possibility.

And while yes, anything IS possible, without defining what that “anything” is, even vaguely, it’s difficult to evaluate our progress and we risk feeling as if another year is over and nothing has changed.

For 2012, I’ve decided to write down both specific goals I plan to realize the year ahead, and also less tangible goals that are associated with a feeling I’d like to embody one year from today. In reflecting on the past, trying to gauge just how far we’ve come, it’s easy to focus on “the numbers”– mountains conquered, countries visited, workshops attended, hobbies acquired – I think it’s equally if not more important to reflect on how these achievements impacted us. Did they add to us, or take away? The aspects of our life that typically add a more profound sense of contentment are not as easy to measure – for example, our personal and spiritual growth or our friendships and connection with family.

In writing goals down for 2012, my hope is that when 2013 approaches I can look back and see how I grew.

But first, I thought it would be beneficial to reflect on my 2011. I’d forgotten how much happened – thanks to Google calendar for reminding me.

An incredible highlight of the year came in January with the premiere of our feature length documentary, One Week Job, on national Canadian television (CBC Documentary Channel), and at the Pacific Cinematheque theater in Vancouver. It was sold out, with a line up down the block! This kicked off the One Week Job Discover Your Passion cross country tour.

From there, the tour continued and I spoke at 43 different colleges, universities, high schools, and companies across Canada. From Vancouver to Halifax, it was an epic road trip in the middle of a Canadian winter. Brrrr…

At the end of the tour, I headed to Hawaii with my family to celebrate my mom’s retirement. Way to go, mom!

From there I headed to Mexico to meet up with a group of friends to celebrate one of my best friends birthday - a great way to finish up the tour, and kick off spring.

In spring, I was honored by my Alma Mater, Capilano University, with a One To Watch Alumni award. I also started running in preparation for a 31km Stroke Awareness run inspired by stroke survivor Ernie Kasper who asked me to run with him. At the 29km mark, Ernie had a seizure, but still found the strength to finish the run afterward - very inspiring!

This past summer was a year of weddings and workshops – 5 weddings in which I was the MC at one (my first time!), and 3 workshop retreats on the beautiful Cortes Island at Hollyhock Resort: Social Change Institute, The Art Of Leadership, and African Drum and Dance.

I also turned 30 with an amazing 80’s themed party boat celebration with 50 of my closest friends - it was truly special, and no doubt the highlight of my summer!

I was fortunate enough to once again attend the Burning Man festival in Nevada. 50,000 people come together to create a temporary city, based on a gift economy. Something to experience at least once in life.

This fall I was back on the speaking circuit with another 18 speaking engagements, the highlight of which was speaking at TEDx Vancouver in November. A beautiful theater, Chan Center for Performing Arts, packed with 1000 inspiring people all with interesting ideas to share.

In December we launched One Week Job: Australia. Our first international market with 24-year-old, Paul Seymour, setting out to find his passion working 52 jobs in 52 weeks throughout Australia.

And as for the immeasurable 2011?

In short… this New Years Eve I was lucky to be with some very close friends. At one point in the evening, the six of us found ourselves in a circle arm over arm. I asked the group, “What is one thing you are grateful for in 2011?”

As the question went around, I tried not to think of what my answer would be, to just listen and trust that when it was my turn to speak the answer would arrive. It did.

I closed my eyes and heard myself say, “I’m grateful to be one step closer to loving myself unconditionally.”

As I start 2012, the intention I will hold is this – “Live your love.”

This is the year. It’s time... It’s time.

- Sean

BIG NEWS - One Week Job: Australia launched!

We're super excited to announce the launch of One Week Job: Australia! Since I completed my 52 jobs in 52 week experience in 2008, I've received emails from people around the world interested in setting up the One Week Job Project in their country. We've decided that Australia will be the first foreign market!

Paul Seymour, 24-year-old Brisbane, Queensland resident, will be working 52 jobs in 52 weeks throughout Australia to find his passion. All of Paul’s wages will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Australia, and he will document his experience over at the One Week Job: Australia website.

Week #1 begins November 28th, 2011.

Same concept as my original experience throughout North America - anyone, anywhere in Australia can offer Paul a One Week Job. He will travel Australia, working a different job each week and share his experience through blog posts, pictures, and video updates at OneWeekJob.com.au

Australia’s Career Coach, Helene Larson, will help guide Paul throughout his career search, lending her insight and expertise as Paul learns about himself and what he ultimately needs in a career to be happy.

Please help spread the word about the project, and send your Aussie friends to the One Week Job: Australia site. Paul is now looking for One Week Job offers!

As all of Paul’s wages are being donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Australia, a company sponsorship is currently being sought to help cover the associated expenses of the yearlong project. If your company, or any company you know, is interested in sponsoring One Week Job: Australia, please send them to the sponsor page. There is a huge opportunity to receive widespread media exposure throughout Australia.

I'll be traveling to Australia in January to facilitate the launch of One Week Job: Australia, to act as a mentor to Paul, and to help promote the project in media interviews, and at speaking events throughout the country.

We are so grateful to be spreading the message of One Week Job internationally. It's an important conversation that strikes a chord that is intimately human – at some point in our lives we all must look deep inside ourselves to answer the question, “What should I do with my life?”

A fulfilling career helps cultivate a fulfilling life, both for ourselves and those around us. When we are fulfilled in our careers, this happiness positively contributes to our family, friendships, we become more engaged in our communities, and we help create a better world!

Thanks for your support as we continue on this important journey together!!

- Sean

What if your love was liberated?

I've been thinking a lot about love lately. Why do we choose to love who we do? Are we capable of loving everyone?

In the past, I've been very selective of my love - reserved only for those close to me, namely family and friends. I only have so much love to give and I must be careful who I choose to share it with, I thought. If I love too much, reveal too much, become too vulnerable, I'll stretch myself too thin, lose control, and it will only lead to hurt.

But when given freely, without the expectation of reciprocation, our love is infinite. It doesn't take away from us, or make us weak, it makes us stronger. It grants permission to love ourselves. Love heals hurt.

When my heart is full, I feel that I have enough love for everyone in this world.

Of course I don't have to love everyone; it's a matter of holding in my heart the belief that I am capable of loving each person I encounter as much as I love those closest to me. The possibility exists.

And just because I hold love in my heart for someone doesn't mean that I would choose to spend time with them, or always condone their behaviour. It's the recognition and respect of a fellow human being, knowing that no matter what appearance they project to the world, they, like I, crave love, intimacy, and belonging. They are my brother or sister on their unique journey of life.

If we approach each encounter with love and respect, we release our fears, acknowledge our similarities, and open our hearts to a more authentic interaction and meaningful connection.

In practicing love, I try to ask myself after each exchange: Did I leave that person with a little more love than when we first met? Did I add love to their life or perhaps take some away?

When I'm fully present with an open heart, I find myself speaking with people and at moments saying in my mind, "I love you", or "You're beautiful." It may be someone I've known for a long time, or a new friend that I met in the street or at a coffee shop. The thought typically arises when I let go of judgement; when I see, hear, and accept them as they truly are; when I acknowledge their truth and embrace the divine in both of us.

A profound recognition of our similarities; I see myself in them.

It's not important whether that love is reciprocated. When we offer our love freely, with pure intention, it's irrelevant how it's received. The beauty and wholeness we feel exists in the act of loving.

To fully engage in life, we must love. For love elicits life.

So let us not be selective of our love. Let us give it openly and freely - to ourselves, to each other, to each day, and to each beautiful breath of this magnificent moment.

And with that my dear friend, I wish to say… I love you :)


How To Deal With Criticism

I received a semi-critical email a while back and finally got to responding to it this week. The majority of emails/feedback I receive are extremely supportive, but every so often there is someone who sees the One Week Job Project, and what it represents, in a different light.

I wanted to share the email with you and my response. It's likely that other people might have had similar questions, and so this way I can share my perspective with everyone.


Yes we should all have jobs we like, but not all of us have the opportunity to leave Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire or the local warehouse... Yet we still came to the same realization that we should all be doing a job we like.  Is that not you’re main point?

Kind of. I think it's important that we're able to fulfill our passions in some aspect of our life - it doesn't all have to be in our job. We may not all have the opportunity to leave Tim Hortons, Can Tire, etc, but we do have the opportunity to explore our passions outside of work. I met a lot of people who weren't in their dream job, but they were content with their position because it allowed them to fulfill their passions outside of work. When we don't have an outlet to express our creativity or explore what truly fulfills us, I believe that can lead to discontent. Alternatively, when we are fulfilled by what we do, whether in a career or outside of work, that improves our relationships with our family and friends while making us more likely to contribute to our community.

It’s adorable your website says you were a Chiropractor for a week, a Radio DJ or even Brewmaster! Obviously that’s a bit of an embellishment considering these sound more like week long take your kid to work day. Maybe I’m wrong?

Most jobs I was actually doing the job, ie: on the air as a Radio DJ, assisting the vet with tests as a Vet assistant. Other jobs that were more technical, ie: Chiropractor, Tattoo artist, it was more of a job shadowing experience.

Have you ever worked in fast food? Retail?  For more than a week?  For more than 6 months even?  Have you worked 60 hour weeks for months at a time?  I didn’t do these things for a lack of courage to change, it was to seek my own enlightenment and generate enough income to live.

Great! In whatever we're doing, I believe that's the ultimate goal - to seek our own enlightenment - regardless of the path we choose to get there. Everyone's path will be different.

The silver lining is, you’re very positive and seem to pass that along to many.  I just think you forget that some people simply have limitations.  What you did was unique. Why? Because most people don’t have the opportunities you have. I would love for you to prove me wrong.. Such a positive message should be passed along. So with my e-mail in mind can you explain how someone can “take a leap” to find a career they love without money and without education past high school?

Thanks! In regards to your question, I was extremely surprised how open employers were to sharing their knowledge about their profession. I suggest that people think about what interests them and professions that they think might be the right fit. Then, before fully committing to going for it, see if you can volunteer with someone in the industry, or take them for coffee to find out as much as you can and if it might be right for you. Why they like it, what are the challenges, how does someone get into the industry... I think the most important thing is to DO. To get into the work force, no matter what job we have to take. As we do, we learn more about ourselves, develop skills, and get closer to figuring out what our ideal career would be.

Again, I hope to hear from you.  Hope this didn’t come off as a Sean bashing session. Obviously you made me think a little or I wouldn’t give this the time of day.  To be honest, some of this may be spoken out of jealously.  I would have loved to do some of the things you’ve done.

All good bud! Thanks for sharing your story and thoughts!


I used to feel down when people didn't "get it" - I wanted to speak with each one directly to explain where I was coming from. During my year I was given some great advice to deal with it: "A third of people will love what you're doing. A third of people will hate what you're doing. And a third of people won't care what you're doing."

When you put yourself out there, you're bound to face some critics, but I've found the most important thing for me is to know why I'm doing what I'm doing, and to know that my intentions are genuine. This applies even when the feedback is positive, and there is an inclination to feed the ego.

Or, if you prefer a good Buddha quote:

"As a solid rock cannot be moved by the wind, the wise are not shaken by praise or blame."

Why Do You Do What You Do?

Ian and I are incredibly grateful to be in a situation where we can positively impact the lives of others. It's profoundly rewarding to know that your work makes a difference.

When asked, "Sean, what do you want to do?"

Most often I respond with our future plans for One Week Job (which we're both very excited about!), other times I'll talk about my desire to be a Teacher (Gym class, French), but if I'm really engaged and thinking on a bigger picture scale, it all comes down to this.

"I want to create things that inspire people to live the best life they possibly can."

Yes, I realize this is vague. No, I'm not saying that there is a model "best life" to which we should all aspire to.

I want to inspire people to dig deep and ask themselves the tough questions that will allow them to define what their "best life" looks like, what it feels like, and to uncover what genuinely makes them come alive.

I'm fulfilled when I'm connected to the meaning of my work. Not just on a conceptual level, but to actually feel at my core that what I'm doing matters. In anything we do, work or otherwise, it's easy to get caught up in the details and forget the deeper meaning of why we're doing what we're doing. When in reality, it's the most important question to ask ourselves. When we are truly in line with the response, it's no longer work in the traditional sense, but rather a gift that we wish to share with the world.

I wanted to share an email that we received today that reminds Ian and I why we do what we do:

I have been sitting home on unemployment for over 6mos.. I am veteran, 42 years old with a 7 year old girl. I am an electronic tech, and i have been so scared to go out there and get a new job, afraid that i will have to start from the bottom again and work my way up. I just watched your movie, and i have a new found courage about getting a job.. i am gonna make my best effort now and make the most out of what ever job i get.. thanks. man... wish me luck Sean.

We all have fear, yet we all have profound strength, courage, and the ability to affect lasting change, both within ourselves and in the world - sometimes we just need a gentle reminder.

And so, I'll ask one more time -

Why do you do what you do?

Photo Gallery: Discover Your Passion Tour Canada

Spring is almost upon us... and that means we're almost done the Canadian portion of our 'Discover Your Passion' Tour! It's been an incredible journey: we've experienced the beauty of the road, the inspiration of hearing your stories, and plenty more. There's still a few dates to go... in the meantime, here's a small gallery from the trip:

Maybe photography itself is your passion in life. Seeing photographs like this might spark something in you. Online photography classes are available when you are looking to pursue that passion.

One Week Job - Buy Your Tickets Now For The Toronto Premiere!

This is your chance to see the inspiring film "One Week Job" along with the film's director Ian MacKenzie, and star Sean Aiken. We're very fortunate and grateful to be having the event at The Steam Whistle Brewery, an awesome space, and Sean's employer "Week #19" of 'The One-Week Job Project'.


$8 Advance - BUY NOW or $10 at the door


BEER 7pm ~ 9 Film (75 mins) starts at 7:30pm

After the film, Sean and Ian will give a brief talk and Q&A. We sold out our Vancouver screening, and we'd love to do the same in Toronto!

Hope to see you there! Please help spread the word!

Sean & Ian


From Here To Career Pandor Steam Whistle

What It’s Like…To Be a Screen Printer

Kid Icarus According to Greek legend, Icarus, the son of master craftsman Daedalus, tries to escape the island of Crete by using wings that his father has fastened out of wax and feathers.  The story doesn’t end so well for the Greek youth, but for Toronto-based screen-printing boutique Kid Icarus, handmade creations are the only way to get off the ground.

The husband and wife team of Michael Viglione and Bianca Bickmore, crafts original designs for band posters, fine art posters, greeting cards, wrapping paper, invitations, and much, much more.  I was lucky enough to visit them in their Kensington Market studio to find out what goes into creating and maintaining their screen printing specialty shop.

However, before we get into why Mike and Bianca do what they do, it’s important to first understand what screen printing is.

Very basically, an artist imprints a stenciled design on a piece of porous mesh that is stretched on a wooden or aluminum frame.  With the stencil blocking areas the artist doesn’t want printed, the screen is placed on top of the material (paper, fabric, etc) receiving the design.  Ink is placed at the top of the screen, and using a squeegee, the artist drags it across the screen.  The paint travels through the mesh exposed by the stencil and is transferred to the material underneath.  Voila!


Now, on to Michael and Bianca:

I Am:

Mike: Master Printer, Store Owner

Bianca: Graphic Designer, Project Manager, Store Owner.

Together we are creators of Kid Icarus, a store in Toronto, Ontario that specializes in screen-printed goods, and husband and wife.

I have been working towards this since:

Mike: In 1994 I was enrolled in the Ontario College of Art and Design when I realized I wasn’t really into the drawing and design aspect of the program.   What I did discover, however, was how much I loved the screen printing process and the value in the handmade prints. In 2004 I began printing full time and Kid Icarus opened in 2007.

Bianca: In high school, my parents pushed me to excel in the math and science programs, even though my marks were significantly stronger in my visual art classes.  After high school my folks wanted me to apply to University instead of college, but I applied anyway, and took design.  It upset them at first, but when they see how happy I am now, it was worth it.

After college I worked in corporate design for five years.  I knew I wasn't going to be doing it forever, but that job gave me the discipline and skills to apply them to what I am doing now.  When the company announced that it was moving to a new location, I knew right then that this was my chance to follow my dreams and leave the corporate world.  My boss actually told me to do something I was passionate about, because she knew I needed to move on.

My responsibilities include:

Bianca: I correspond with the clients and work with them directly on their project.  I deal with the files and help them with anything that needs to be changed.  I am also the in-house graphic designer and store keeper.

Mike: I take over from Bianca after the pre-production work has been done, and work on the technical aspects of printing. I separate the colours involved in each design (as each colour needs to be on a screen of its own), and do the colour mixing to create the shade the client wants.  I prep the screens, and physically do all the printing by hand.

What I love about it:

Bianca: I love that every day is different!  People come in to the shop and see how much work and value there is in a piece, and easily fall in love with the store.  I enjoy developing new ideas into projects, but what I value and love the most, is that almost all of the products in our store are local, that's really important to us.

Mike: I love teaching people what kind of work goes into a print.  The shop is open-concept, so I’m often printing and explaining what I’m doing to people at the same time.  I also love being able to be selective with the work we do.  We have gotten to the point where we are fortunate to choose what we work on, and I really enjoy the challenge and the excitement of seeing something amazing come in.

Something else I really love is when I see clients come back, or when they have spread the word about us to someone else. They’re happy with the work we’ve done, and that is an amazing feeling.

What I hate about it:

Bianca: Accounting and inventory.

Mike: Sometimes things don’t go right, and we have to cancel our evening plans and work until the job’s done.  But in the end, we’re not letting anything leave the shop that we don’t believe is a quality product.

In our job there is no such thing as ‘same day service.’  Multi-colour prints are expensive due to the number of screens and time involved, which some customers don’t realize.  Also, photography doesn’t always translate well onto the screen, but we’ll show samples to our clients to see if it's the style they are looking for.

Is there a special moment that stands out in your career?

Mike: A year after we opened the shop, there was such a buzz around the city about us!  I remember a couple girls who walked into the shop and were looking around, and before they left I overheard them say: “I thought this place was [going to be] a lot bigger.”  It was funny; our reputation was obviously working for us.

Bianca: I remember the day I stood inside this shop, before it had opened, and decided to quit my corporate design job. Working full time with Mike (my fiance and husband to be) was a crazy idea, but I knew that this was the beginning of something I would be proud to be involved with.

Advice to those interested in a career like ours:

Mike: Whatever you’re doing, if you’re passionate about it, you’ll find a way to make money off of it.  Not to become rich, but to live.  People pick up on your passion and feed off of it.

Bianca: Don’t listen to your parents or anyone else; listen to yourself.  Talk to people; business owners, go to the places you’re inspired by and learn from them.  Don’t be close-minded; leave your computer at home, and do the footwork.

Favorite Quote:

“Small businesses make neighborhoods.”

- An anonymous friend of Kid Icarus


[VIDEO] - David Aplin Recruiting at The University of Calgary

Check out a sneak peek at the Discover Your Passion event in Calgary last week. I pulled together some quick clips, and interviews with David Aplin Recruiting reps Kathryn Farrell and Jeff Aplin. They share their thoughts on why they joined up with One Week Job and how much they enjoy helping you find your passion!

Check out David Aplin Recruiting's new resource site for grads 'From Here To Career."

Vancouver Premiere Sold Out + Photo Gallery

View gallery on Facebook

On the drive out to the theatre on Saturday morning, with the churning anxiety in my stomach that comes from throwing any large event, I remarked to Sean, "You know... it's so much easier not to do things."

Of course, the appropriate answer came soon after. "But then, it's more fun to actually do them." And with that, we proceeded into the afternoon flurry of activity that was the Vancouver premiere of One Week Job.

Thanks to you, dear supporter, we SOLD OUT the event entirely, even having to turn a few people away at the door. It was more than we could have hoped for, and even more fulfilling than expected. We raised $500 to donate towards Steps Over Swaziland, an upcoming project aimed at helping orphans in Africa.

Sean and I would also like to give a huge THANK YOU to the sponsors and partners that made the event possible:

Also thanks to Karly Warkentin and musical guests who played to the audience before the show.

Missed the film? You can buy your own spankin' copy of the One Week Job film right here!

The premiere was the kick-off for our cross-Canada "Discover Your Passion" Tour hitting campuses across the country from Jan-April.

We'll be posting video updates, photos, and blogs during the tour, so stay in touch via the Facebook Page, or signup to our newsletter on the top-right.