Guest Posts

Can't Figure Out A Job? Try Volunteering Instead

Guest post by Kirsty, aka The Nerdy Nomad. lifting Kirsty, volunteering in Sumatra.

If taking a new job each week to find your perfect career seems like a bit extreme, but heading out to job fairs and going the traditional post-university route seems too timid, then I have an option that falls in the middle: volunteering.

Giving your time away for free might not seem like an ideal choice for a recent grad with loans to pay off and a job to find. You will find, however, that there is much to gain from volunteering, and that thinking only about the money is short-sighted.

Volunteering gives you an opportunity to follow in Sean's shoes and work in all sorts of areas - from conservation to working with children to teaching to construction and so on – without making a full commitment. You will rarely be asked for previous experience, and you could find yourself doing some pretty interesting things.

For many volunteering placements, the only requirement is that you come willing to work hard, learn, and have a positive attitude.

If you haven't made the leap into university yet, volunteering allows you to test the water before jumping into a course you don't have any interest in. For example: construction might not be what you want to do but working in this capacity in an impoverished country might lead you to a career in international development. Likewise, working in orphanages might not be something you want to do as a job, but it could set you down a path towards a career in social work.

During my own time as a volunteer I have been able to build houses, do masonry work, be a photographer, design websites, teach English, tend to gardens, plant trees, sort out logistics, do site assessments, and I even managed to pick up bits of the local languages.

I have learned lots of new skills, met many amazing people from all over the world, pushed myself physically and mentally and accomplished things I didn't think were possible, all while helping out and becoming part of a community on a much more intimate level than I could have as a traveler.

Even if you don't find your perfect career, living in a new culture could cause a surprise shift in your priorities. A stint helping out those less fortunate than yourself might kick your life in a whole new, unexpected direction.

Volunteering will open your mind to new things and force you to question whether the future you had in mind is really what you want. At the very least, volunteering will allow to you stall for awhile while you figure out your ideal path.

About the Author

Kirsty left Canada in 2001 and has been traveling, working, and volunteering abroad ever since. Her latest and greatest passion is volunteering and she has spent 11 months out of the past two years as a volunteer doing disaster relief work.

She has written an ebook called The Underground Guide to International Volunteering that she hopes will inspire other travelers to give their time as they travel the world.

Guest Post: Turning generational quest into adventure - Jean Pralong

Turning generational quest into adventure:Why career researchers love Sean Aiken

How do people make tactics to find and keep a job? How do they define their priorities? These questions are what career research is all about. Firms no longer make careers: how could they when it is impossible to plan the next semester? Our job as researchers is no longer to understand the methods of the enterprise; we need to discover how individuals manage their careers through choices, ruptures and opportunities. Sean is our most interesting witness. His adventure is a perfect example of what the “new careers” are. Sean shows us four innovations.

The first innovation is that Sean keeps an open mind in the question of his career. As a business graduate with exceptional marks, perhaps he could have immediately become a manager in an international company. But he’s looking for a passion, not only for a job. His ambition is huge: having an exceptional working life, involving every talent, resource and creativity. Everything is possible: tattoo artist, florist… In an open ended world that is constantly changing, everything seems to be possible â€" even if the abundance of opportunities is distressing. When everything is possible, how can one make the right choice? How can one find “his” vocation?

Here is the second innovation shown by Sean’s adventure. Everyone has to manage their own career. As ambitions are high and choices so widely open, individuals must develop a new skill : a skill to recognize competencies and to interpret them in order to make the right career decisions and produce the right career tactics. That’s what Sean learns every day.

Third, Sean turns his quest into a shared adventure. He has a lot of great ideas: blogging, podcasting, donations… The “new careers” are made of social networks. And, slowly but surely, Sean is becoming a professional… of a new job. He has in effect created a new business, he is a “Sean â€"the-vocation-searcher.” It is a job that only one applicant can fit and is made up of all the skills and talents of Sean â€" this unique compilation creates a new job. That’s the fourth innovation of the “new careers”: the best way to involve all your skills in your job is to create a job made of all your skills â€" instead of trying to fit in an existing and traditional one. Sean is now the hero of a quest turned into an adventure. That’s why he is so important for all of us.

Jean Pralong Psychologist, HR & career researcher at ESCP-EAP (European school of management â€" Paris â€" France)

Guest Post: The Importance Of Transitional Skills - Robert Manolson

robert-manolson-profile-pic2.jpgWe can all learn something from Sean's journey. I met Sean way back in week 6 which for some odd reason it seems like some distant, past experience. His belief that the path from A to B is not always a straight line prompted him to create One Week Job. He now uses this as his vehicle to further his own self exploration and self discovery related to career decisions not for the rest of his life but for the next phase of his life.

Talk about a multitude of changes!! Life is a state of continuous changes and no doubt One Week Job is all about changes, some within Sean's control and I'm sure, many not within his control. Through it all, I continue to be impressed with Sean's ability to not only stay positive but to keep it simple.

I often ask myself the following questions: Is there is one particular skill that Sean continues to apply over and over again? And what is the name of this skill that best exemplifies how he successfully manages his one week job experience? The answer that continues to remain constant in my thinking is something that I call Transitional Skills. Yes, we can all learn something from Sean's journey but specifically how we react to new situations, how we make the necessary adjustments to new situations, and best prepare for those unexpected changes....Transitional Skills.

I believe that the secret to life is living it one day at a time and never letting go of hope. I also believe that making the most of every day is very much dependant on my capacity to manage life's continuous changes while accessing the strength and courage of my own transitional skills.

How are you managing your life's journey from path A to B? Are you taking charge of change? Are you making the most of your every day by accessing the strength and courage of your own transitional skills? And if not, do you have a plan to do something about it? We look forward to your comments and perspectives. Share your story with us.

~Robert Manolson

Robert is a Certified Career Development Professional based in Edmonton, Alberta and has over 25 years experience as a skilled speaker and persuasive presenter. Creator & Master Facilitator of Powerful Play Experiences, he facilitates organizations and groups in workplace fun & wellness workshops with highly engaging, innovative “Powerful Play Experiences.”

Guest Post: Denise Mosawi

denise-mosawi-profile-pic2.jpgI’m addicted to finding stories of people who’ve changed their lives to pursue their passion. This obsession has led to me collecting many inspiring stories over the years and I’ve drawn some key insights in what goes on when people decide to do what they really love for a living. You can read some of these inspiring stories on No stranger to life transformation myself (I originally worked for Microsoft as Head of Organizational Effectiveness and ditched the desk (and prospect of future stock options) in favour of pursing my passion â€" namely ski instructing (at $9 an hour). As you can imagine, life took on an entirely different meaning and spurred my enthusiasm to seek out those who made similar life changing decisions.

Ultimately, my experiences resulted in me creating Destineering â€" a company aimed at inspiring people around doing what they really want with their lives. We provide Personal Envisioning (one to one telephone coaching using envisioning techniques to help people visualize what they want to do with their lives), retreats in stunning locations around the world and hundreds of ideas on pursuing your passion, making a difference and living where you love. We also make documentary films of people who pursue their passion and make a difference. We’re all about inspiration.

I’ll share with you one key insight that I’ve drawn from all my interviews and that is that most people I have listened to, who changed their lives to do what they love, do not have a cunning action plan. Rather, they have this compelling need to act from the heart. There’s a certain amount of uncertainty that comes with this and they learn to get comfortable in that uncertainty and have faith that if they create a compelling vision of where they want to be, they’ll get there.

It sounds corny I know, but it’s true nevertheless, we never know how much time we have on this earth, why not find a way of doing what we love and enjoying our time here to the full? Good luck Sean â€" I wish you every success on your voyage of discovery.

~Denise Mosawi Founder â€"

If you would like to contribute a guest post to One Week Job, check out the 'guest posts' section.

Guest Post: Justin "Bugsy" Sailor

justin-sailor-profile-pic2.jpgAlmost two years ago I was approaching my last year at university; I remember being scared of the future. However, the entire time I had this small idea in the back of my head; go on a year-long, 50-state road trip staying with people I have never met. It was a dream, a big dream. I was intimidated by the dream and kept asking, "How on earth could I pull this off?" Now, here I am in Delaware, 36 states, 9 months, and 80 previously unkown hosts later... somehow I made it happen.

People are always sharing their dreams with me and saying they're too old to do them now, or that they just can't do it. I'll admit it's scary and can be a lot easier to go the route of a 9-5 job. But let me tell you, I'm homeless and unemployed at 24 and living a better life than I could have ever imagined.

Get out there, make it happen. Use your resources. Talk to every teacher and mentor you've ever had. If you're reading this you have internet access. We have all seen that the internet makes anything possible. Be courageous and strong. Don't back down when people tell you that you won't be able to do it.

And the big question, money! Let me tell you, people want to see dreams happen, they want to see it come true and they will support you. It's an era where dreams are breaking through daily. Put all your knowledge and skill in a basket, mix in your best resources, sprinkle on some research from the web, and off you go!

As sang by Frank Sinatra:

"I planned each charted course; Each careful step along the byway, But more, much more than this, I did it my way."

~Justin "Bugsy" Sailor

Learn more about Justin and his adventure here: The Home Town Invasion Tour

Guest Post: Robert Manolson

robert-manolson-profile-pic2.jpgAs a Certified Career Development Professional and in the role of Career Counsellor, I meet youth and parents in their homes. This is a special time. It's a moment for the family unit to come together, reconnect, share perspectives, and listen with an open mind. Common questions center around which post secondary program to apply to, whether to work after high school or continue with post secondary education, which programs will be most useful, which job to apply for... I'd like to let you in on a little secret based on my many years of career counselling experiences. The pressure to clearly answer these and other questions comes not from the youth, but instead from the parents.

With an abundance of exciting work opportunities awaiting today's youth, it is no wonder that the vast amount of choices can quickly become overwhelming. Given this reality, we as parents reach out to our daughters and sons, and in support of their challenges to make the "right" career choices, tell them straight up that the most important thing is to be happy.

Attention Parents!! You can help your daughters and sons to do this, and they want you to. The career journey is not about one big decision regarding which program to take, which school to attend, which occupation to choose. Remind your teens that who they are, knowing themselves, following a life path that honours their interests, values, beliefs and passions is much bigger than any job or occupation.

~Robert Manolson

Robert is a Certified Career Development Professional based in Edmonton, Alberta and has over 25 years experience as a skilled speaker and persuasive presenter. Creator & Master Facilitator of Powerful Play Experiences, he facilitates organizations and groups in workplace fun & wellness workshops with highly engaging, innovative "Powerful Play Experiences."

Learn more about Robert, or contact him through his webiste: Powerful Play Experiences

Want to submit a guest post? Click here.

What's Your Story?

I would like to start using as a platform for others to share their stories regarding 'One Week Job' type themes. I will still be blogging about what I am up to week to week, but I think by having other people contribute and share their stories, we can all learn from each others experience, share ideas, help others out, and open up a forum of discussion on different topics.

So as of now, if you would like to be a guest writer and contribute a post to the website, please send it to me in an email with the subject line: "Guest Post Submission"

The piece can be written any way you like and be of any length that you feel necessary. Tell us your story, what inspires you and why, what are you passionate about. Perhaps you are in the same situation as me; how are you going about finding your job, what scares you, what inspires you, what advice do you have.

Perhaps you are in a career that you love and want to share that experience with us, why are you passionate about it, how did you discover this is what you wanted to do, what advice do you have. Maybe you found the courage to leave an unhappy work situation and go after what you love doing, maybe you feel as though you are stuck in a rut and hate your job...

If you have a website, be sure to include a link so that we can direct people to your site and what you are up to. If you have a picture you would like to be included, send that too.

I look forward to hearing your story!