Project Updates

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

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

Fundraiser Update - The Power of Crowdsourcing

Greetings all! You may (or may not) know that we're in the midst of fundraising for the last phase of the One Week Job documentary. Our goal: $4500 in 17 more days. Learn more and donate here.

In this latest update, I share the philosophy behind using "crowdsourcing" as a viable funding model for creative projects. While it may seem simple at first, it actually represents a much larger shift in how our society funds and creates content.

Enjoy! And if you know someone who'd be interested, please Facebook/Tweet to them all!

Meet Sean Aiken In Vancouver - Thursday, July 29

One week jobber Amanda Lowe is in Vancouver this week, working with Reframe Marketing. As part of her tasks, she figured it would be great to promote an event about One Week Job!

So here's the deal:

We're holding a "pop-up" event just outside the Vancouver Art Gallery in downtown Vancouver. We'll have a booth to meet Sean Aiken, and a roaming guerrilla film crew (myself + Amanda) that will roam the streets and interview locals on topics like jobs and passion.

Check out the Facebook Event

Full Details:

  • Vancouver Art Gallery at 750 Hornby St (view map)
  • Thursday, July 29th 2010
  • 11am - 1pm

We will be starting in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery at 750 Hornby St, and moving around the core.

Hope to see you there!

- Ian

Third Last Day: Busy? Just Go to Bed.

Several people have informed me that too much time has passed since I've last written – I'm sorry for that! While I have been using my time for many other things (as always), that is not the reason for my blogging absence. It's been awhile because frankly, I've been having trouble figuring out what to say. In my first One-Week Job blog post, I said this: “I'll be talking about the jobs, of course, but the implications of my involvement in them will transcend the environment I'm in at the time.”

When I used these words a few weeks ago, I meant to convey to You that I wouldn't just be giving you a play-by-play of my work days, but that I would be asking questions that brought my experiences from the workplace into a universal place, one that You could easily access. Moreover, I meant do both things somewhat equally.

You may have noticed that I have given few details about what I was actually doing as a nonprofit worker. That's because I have very little to say about that part of the job, which is neither a great nor a horrible thing. It simply means that there are things to be to be said about why I feel the way I feel. This time around, things'll be much heavier on the question side and  less so on the task-oriented side. There is an opportunity for learning. I hope to shed some light on some of that “learning” in the "Question Time" section.


Recap Time.

Ah New York. I should've "pulled a Sean and Ian” and stayed for three weeks instead of just one! I don't blame them for doing so, because Anne truly spoiled me with her hospitality. The bulk of my NYC good times were with her and other B&C guests. I'm gonna miss the place, and the people. I have to go back so I can explore more! My last three days of Week #3 were nice.

On Wednesday, I was late to work for the first time. Courtney, the Executive Director of the Jed Foundation, arrived an hour so later into the work day, as he had not been in on Monday or Tuesday for vacation. I was given my third assignment of the week on Tuesday around 3:30pm, and was still working on it. I left at 6pm.

I felt an urge to (finally) treat myself to some foods, so I ate dessert at Pinkberry before heading to Lombardi's

The waiter was nice enough to take our picture!

Pizza, where I met a man named Alex. I introduced him to You on Thursday. You can see from the restaurant's website address that it's something special; it was the first pizzeria in the United States. I didn't elaborate on how Alex and I met each other, so here's the story I submitted on a forum I participate in:

i was waiting to eat alone at a pizzeria. Since I wasn't eating with someone, i had to wait longer for an open table. i overheard a server say that "two people are waiting to eat by themselves", and became confused. i then looked over the podium and saw that another man was also waiting to sit alone. i stuck my head around the podium, smiled and asked, "eating alone, huh?" as if i didn't know the answer already. He laughed and said "yeah" in response. Seconds later, as i had hoped, he asked " You mind sitting together? i don't. We'd probably get a table faster." HOORAY (i'm a little kid?)! i told an employee of the changed plans, we sat together, ate together, shared wisdom with one another, took a picture together, made a video together, and exchanged contact information in an effort to follow up. I can't tell you how pumped this occurrence made me. There's no harm in taking every opportunity to make a new connection, make a new friend.

Cute, I know. :D Meeting and eating with Alex was the best...yes, it was the best part of my time in New York. Something about connecting with a stranger spontaneously energized my spirit. It reinforced my strong belief in the power of stories, in our fundamental likeness as people, and in the too-common and unnecessary nature of fear and deceit.

Simply put, if we would just stop and talk to/listen to someone we've never met before, we might live a little more. We might learn a little somethin'.

I think we spend too much time fearing for and protecting our hearts. We hold back unnecessarily. When we do this, we hurt hurt ourselves AND others. I'm serious.

Wednesday night was a birthday celebration. Joe, Anne's beau, turned ____-years old. I joined Anne and Joe's friends, an eclectic bunch, at a bar that Joe used to work at. They drank, and I watched. We also ate some strawberry tort that Anne made. Yes, in the bar. It was HEAVENLY...I lasted until 12:45am!!!!!!!! My eyelids were quivering, but I did it! I went to bed smiling –   A SMALL IMPROVEMENT IS STILL AN IMPROVEMENT. :)

Everyone else went on until the usual 4am.

At the Jed Foundation, Thursday and Friday were much like Monday through Wednesday, including the tardiness bit. On Thursday, I reset my alarm one time too many, and on Friday, the subway decided to be 20 minutes late.

Oh Michelle.

Oh, I forgot about Thursday's meeting! I got to sit in on a meeting with the Jed staff members and two ladies from Slate PR, Lindsay and Shawn. The purpose of the meeting was to brainstorm an advertising campaign for a new website called “Transition Year”, aimed at promoting emotional wellness during the transition from high school to college.

The main concern was reaching out to the parents, since a common trend is that parents will believe in the prevalence of suicide for young adults, but they won't believe the statistics include their own children. Very sad. Many different methods were thrown out, most of which focused on piggybacking on the back-to-school marketing methods of other big corporations such as Target, Container Store, etc.

I was amazed at how good one of the staff members, Dana, was at coming up with social media outlets, and giving feedback on others' suggestions. There were moments where I felt like I was back in my account executive job from Week #1.

Thursday afternoon, I was STILL working on assignment #3. I wasn't joking about the inadequacy of the computer I used all week! Thursday evening, I ate dinner at another New York favorite, called 7a cafe. I ate a vegan black bean burger. I have to admit here that I overlooked the "vegan" part while ordering, so I was surprised when  I looked at my burger and couldn't find the beef HAHA....the "black bean" bit won me over. Nevertheless, it was a good meal. I got some writing and reading done at the restaurant too, so that was relieving.

Friday was really quiet because 3 out of the regular 5 staff members were out of the office, including Courtney. I said some lines up that I was late because the subway was. I took it upon myself to use my Starbucks gift card to get a grande black iced tea and a multi-grain bagel while waiting. I may have to graduate from green tea - the black iced tea was great! NOTHING beats a good breakfast, let me tell you!

Still working on assignment #3, I finished around 3:30pm and was allowed to go home early on my last day. My bus was to leave 14.5 hours later, so I decided not to feel guilty about leaving before 6pm. Back at the B&C, Anne pressured me into eating the last slice of leftover Strawberry tort, and then I took it too far and ate some of her rum cake too. Oopsies. You only do the One-Week Job program once!

Friday night being my last in the city, Anne was so sweet to take me out to dinner. Her daughter Janette joined us. We (She) was having trouble deciding between Ethiopian or Indian. We finally decided on Ethiopian, but the place had closed down! Apparently this sort of thing is common: As one business closes down or moves location suddenly, a new business springs up shortly thereafter. We then tried an Italian place, but the wait was two hours. Finally settling on The Mermaid Inn, a seafood restaurant, I tried octopus, calamari, lobster, and swordfish for the first time. Tasty.

As I told my friend Casey:

"Michelle is a picky eater, but she's trying! :)"

I didn't sleep Friday night in order to take advantage of the bus ride...which actually turned out to be a not-so-good idea. I'll explain later. Around 5am, I packed my things, walked out of the B&C, and caught the attention of a taxi driver right away. After all, it was Friday night. The bars had closed only an hour earlier. On the way to Port Authority, I asked the driver a few times if he heard me and really knew the location of where I needed to go. His responses indicated that I was angering him. I could've felt bad for repeating myself, but I didn't care enough. Let's not forget what happened when I got into New York City. You can never be too sure.


Question Time.

What did you dislike about the job? Why?

There were several things that I didn't like about the job, but I was far from miserable. The hardest thing for me was that I felt disconnected from the rest of the staff. I'm not sure I came at the best time, because unfortunately, I wasn't able to talk to Courtney very much. Being the Executive Director, he was my primary contact for the one-week job. When he was in the office, he was trying to catch up on the things he had gotten behind on while away. That made it hard to get some good video and discussion in, and I didn't want to rush anything. I wanted things to be comfortable, natural. There wasn't a time where I felt that was possible.

The job was basically 8-hour-days, all business. Any talk that went on was 90% business-related. Talk was pretty minimal otherwise. This environment wasn't easy for me. It got to a point where I got to be very subdued, where I felt that saying certain things at certain times would be inappropriate. Things were a little too professional for me, and it was more than the fact that I was the only one in casual clothing! I just think I was too out of place last week.

In addition to the small amount of discourse, I didn't like  that I was in the same chair for the entire work period. Ironically, I opted to push through the entire day without a break or a very small one, so I could keep the momentum going. In my mind, I had worked so hard to keep going at my desk, I didn't want to ruin it by going out for some fresh air. As a result though, I think I was already in the very early stages of losing my “spark.”

As I may have been uncomfortable in the sense that it wasn't a situation I would be in on a regular basis, my efforts to make the best of it put me in a sort of dangerous comfortability. This "dangerous comfortability" is characterized by a situation in which You tolerate Your existence to a point where You give up and refrain from questioning the alternative. You find your current state forever favorable to anything else.

What did you like about the job? Why?

I loved having something to do at all times. It was a positive change from Week #1 and Week#2. It made me feel busy, and in a way, kept me motivated in the experience. By the day's end, I had physical proof that I had worked throughout the day. I also liked that I got to read about a topic I find so serious in today's world. While I knew most of the information exposed to me throughout the week, I felt happy that I was using my time to read about something I loved.

What lessons did you learn from working as a nonprofit worker?

The people You work with can really determine how positive Your work life is. The Jed Foundation staff was nothing but kind to me, but as I said earlier, I talked to them very little because everything was focused on their own tasks, in their own areas. For me, I think I need not only to like the people I work with, but also to know them on a genuine level. I need to be joking around AND working with my co-workers. I need some times at work where I can hear their stories and get to know them better. I need my work to not feel like work in part because of the people I work with. I don't think I experienced this sensation enough in Week #3.

There's also the lesson in the importance of doing ALL that You do with a sincere effort, whether you like it or don't like it. Fosters good character and resilience.

Would you do this again, as a more-than-one-week job?

I feel so sad to say “no”, but I can't really say “yes.” I would be lying. I would have no problem doing the job if it was the best option at the time, but if I had other options, I would not do this job again.


Reflection Time.

This job brought up the topic of “being busy” in comparison to “being productive” in my mind. In thinking about my duties throughout Week#3, I was reminded of my time in school. As a teenager, I went to a few highly-competitive schools. We always had many assignments due on the daily, and there was always a competition in discussing who did what and how much. There were several times where I would be up actually studying (and You know I like my sleep), and I would walk around the library to find that some of my friends were up as well.

Even though they kept claiming they were studying for a test 4 weeks or some ridiculous amount of time away, they were Facebook-ing, or even better, drooling at their computer. They were preoccupied with looking busy, or at least having a lot of things that they could say were on their plate. They may not even have realized it, but the evidence was there that to them, the key to success, self-worth, and praise was to be busy, too look busy. Their goal wasn't to be efficient, or truly productive. They were struggling to stay awake and keep their hard-working image alive, when they were probably better off sleeping.

Working with The Foundation, there were times that I was at my desk and I felt the need to tell one of the staff members that I was honestly working, that the computer was just slow. There were times where a staff member would pass behind me and my heart rate would increase. I felt guilty that I was wasting time at my computer, when really I was doing my assignment, and doing it thoroughly. In actuality, I was completely innocent.

Later in week #3, I started listening to my iPod so I could concentrate better, and I felt guilty for that too. I felt pressure to look busy, because being busy is something that others can see. I was at that desk, subject to observation and assessment at any time, within a certain time frame, so there was that pressure to look alive 24/7. Productivity doesn't necessarily operate the same way, and I think it's hard to have confidence in how efficient we are with our time when no one is looking. I prefer when no one looks, though. I want to go for that confidence.

While Job #3 wasn't the most enjoyable one-week experience for me, I still thank the Jed Foundation for welcoming me into their space. In doing that, they showed their support for my journey in self-growth, and for the One-Week Job Program and mission. I thank them for enabling me to find out what I don't like, which is just as important as finding the opposite. Again, remember that this is my personal experience, and I bear no judgment on the Jed Foundation staff. Nor do I bear any judgment on a "desk job" for other people. We are all different. We have different wants, needs, likes, and dislikes. Don't get me wrong here. I'm simply giving you my true heart when I talk to You.

So What About You?

What is the difference between “being busy” and “being productive”? Do You think there is a focus on the former when it comes to the workplace?

I had a great first day of work at Job#4. Can't wait to share some of the details with You!


Follow me on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook!

Snaps From The Book Launch - May 13

On May 13, 2010, we held the official book launch for The One-Week Job Project. The evening consisted of a meet and mingle in the Port Moody galleria: Photo: Elaine 'Bayley' Happer

Photo: Matt Procopation

Photo: Elaine 'Bayley' Happer

Photo: Elaine 'Bayley' Happer

Around 8pm we moved into the adjacent theater for a short book reading with Sean and I. We ended the night with a special advance screening of the documentary One Week Job.

Special thanks to Sean's sister Natalie for organizing the event, and to Steam Whistle for providing the beers!

Thanks to everyone for coming out!

Win $3000 To Help You Answer The Question "What should I do with my life?"

We’re thrilled to announce The One-Week Job Program!

The One-Week Job Program is designed to provide others the opportunity to participate in a similar experience to my original journey. The first semester of the program will take place this summer 2010.

Here's the low down:

1. 3 lucky individuals 2. 8 different jobs (one week at each) 3. $1500 per month

As I did during my 52 weeks, the selected applicants will blog about their experience on the website; they'll share stories from the road, all the career and life lessons they're learning, and provide readers with an insight into the 8 different jobs.

"Why are you doing this?"

Most of us graduate from school with little work experience. We may choose a job because it’s something our parents did, maybe our friends or school counselor thought we should do it, or perhaps after filling out a career questionnaire it was the only response the computer spat out. Our choices are often influenced by fear, external pressure, lack of knowledge, or financial burden due to mounting student debt, and we quickly settle into a secure job.

Often we have to put up with a crummy job to get where we want to go. That’s okay. We all have to put in our time. But how easily we can forget where we’re going.

After a while, it becomes blind routine.

As we take on further responsibility (mortgage, car payments, children), it becomes more difficult to make a change. We may wake up one day and realize that we never took the time to think about what we really wanted. “How did I end up here? I wanted to be a such and such. When did I decide to compromise my dreams, and settle for mediocrity?”

Many don’t have the chance to explore different options out of school; to take the time to find out what they need in a job to be happy.

I’m incredibly grateful I had this opportunity with my OWJ experience. I learned so much about careers, myself… It was amazing to hear stories of others who were inspired to make a change in their lives just from learning of my experience. They didn’t have to be on the road with me doing a different job each week, yet they were still able to learn alongside me.

By starting the One-Week Job Program, I want to continue this dialogue and provide a platform for others to have a similar experience whether as a participant in the program, or likewise following a participant’s journey on the blog.

I want to do all I can to open up this opportunity, share it, and to make it available to as many people as possible. In this way, we can inspire many.

This summer will be the first semester of the program with the hope that more grants will be made available in subsequent semesters. My vision is that the OWJ program will continue to grow from this first semester of 3 individuals into a developed curriculum that can be adopted by colleges/universities around the country; a credited course that involves time in the classroom, as well as time spent on the road performing one-week jobs to help students make an educated career decision.

Students would learn how to approach companies, how to handle themselves in the interview process, develop a professional resume, organize a personalized OWJ experience catered to their interests, and learn about different professions that appeal to them and which they might like to pursue after graduation. The last part of the course would be back in the classroom where students reflect on their experience, what they learned, and then put a plan in place for their future after graduation.

Of course, this can only happen with your help.

Please help us spread the word!


How to apply?

Step #1: Read the FAQ section

The One-Week Job Project hits book stores across the US in 12 days!


Are you willing to have one of the applicants work at your company? Great! Click here for more info.


We are currently seeking sponsors to help support the one week job program. If you’re interested in doing so, and would like to learn more about the opportunity, email us at:

What I Learned About Writing A Book


Question: How do you write a book?

Back in 2008, when I first signed the publishing contracts with Penguin and Random House, I glazed over the clause outlining the expected length of the finished manuscript – a cool 90,000 words.

At the time, there was no way I could grasp the amount of work required to write 90,000 words. It was a mere detail, an insignificant number to deal with at some point in the future.

Flash forward: I remember when it came time to write. I opened a new Word document, and then sat back in my chair as I reveled at the inherent cliché of the moment – a blank piece of paper teeming with possibility, a naive canvas vulnerable to my inexperience.

I smiled, and then wrote, “The One-Week Job Project by Sean Aiken."

Ha, now what? I thought.

Should I write about all 52 weeks? Maybe I should just write about the overall lessons and use stories from the different weeks to illustrate my point?

I had no idea where to start.

Each day I’d calculate how many words I’d need to write. When the day started, I found this process motivating. Yet by the end of the day, and several hundred words short of my goal, I’d be disheartened at the long road ahead.

Writing a book is hard.

It’s the hardest thing I’ve done in my life – harder than teaching my first yoga class with only four days experience, more challenging than firefighter training with the relentless rays of the Florida sun insensitive to my hangover… it's even more tedious than organizing 52 jobs in 52 weeks.

It's only when I look back on the writing experience that it becomes easy to acknowledge that the effort was worth it. I think of those first few moments staring at a blank word document and I have to smile.

I’m proud of this accomplishment.

Now with the book complete and ready to hit the shelves, I’d really appreciate your help in spreading the word!

With thousands of books published each week, it’s easy for many to slip under the radar never to be discovered. As you can imagine the time leading up to the publication date, and shortly afterward, will likely determine a book’s success.

If you feel motivated to pre-order a copy, that would be a huge help.

I think it’s a pretty darn good read, but I am biased!

Here’s what some pretty cool authors said after reading an advanced copy:

“I can’t say whether Sean Aiken was a good aquarium host or tattoo artist, but I do think he’s very good at one job: writing."

A.J. JACOBS, New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically

“A terrific read for young people wondering what to do with their lives, and for anyone looking to change his or her life for the better.”

KEITH FERRAZZI, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Never Eat Alone

“A life-changing, cross-continental, action-packed adventure. After reading The One-Week Job Project, you’ll know how to get the most extraordinary things out of life, and how to score some choice jobs along the way!”

KYLE MACDONALD, author of One Red Paperclip

“A fresh approach to the long-held idea of ‘trying on’ jobs before you ‘buy’ them.”

RICHARD N. BOLLES, New York Times bestselling author of What Color Is Your Parachute?

The One-Week Job Project will inspire a new generation of young people to stay true to themselves and define their own roads in life.”

MIKE MARRINER, author of Roadtrip Nation

Bestselling author Seth Godin says, “The scariest words an author can write are, ‘here’s my new book.’”

I’d have to agree. But then again I haven’t written those words before… well, not in that particular order anyway.

So, without further ado, here’s my new book. I hope you enjoy it!

preorder-canada Penguin Books (April 10/10)

preorder-usa Random House (May 4/10)

The Long Way Around: Update On The Documentary

seanianPhoto: Nordica Photography

It's been a while since the last update on the documentary (almost a year in fact). Much has happened since then, so I figure it's high time to share it.

First, let's go back to early 2009. Sean and I had asked everyone to help donate towards the film, to help us pay for post-production expenses like footage logging, and shoot new interviews with Sean's previous employers in far-flung places like Edmonton and Toronto.

Meanwhile, I continued to edit the film, and was finally able to complete the first 80 minute assembly cut. This is equivalent to the first draft, where your work may contain solid elements, but still has a long way to go.

Enter Company X

Around May 2009, out of the blue, Sean and I were approached by a fledgling company in Miami – we'll call them Company X. They were interested in creating a website geared towards job seekers, and understandably, they loved Sean's project. In exchange for helping cross-promote their own soon-to-be-launching website, they would invest some funds in the film to see it to completion.

Considering we still needed a substantial sum to finish post-production, Sean and I agreed to the partnership. Company X invested in the film and hired a production company (let's call them Company Y) to bring their expertise to the table.

Around August 2009, I sent my initial cut and raw footage down to Company Y (also in Miami) and they spent the next 2 months re-crafting the film.

Welcome to Miami


In late October, Sean and I flew down to Miami to finally meet everyone in person. We watched the first re-cut of the film from Company Y. We sat on the beach and drank beers. And we generally had a great time. Things were proceeding along.

In November, Company X decided to dissolve.

Sean and I weren't privy to the full story, but suffice to say, they were no longer building their new career website, and therefore, we decided to part ways. This also meant retrieving our footage from Company Y, and returning the production back to Vancouver.

Taking It Home

So in Dec 2009, here's where we stood: it had been almost a year since my first cut of the film. Aside from some helpful, but mostly cosmetic, changes from Company Y, the film remained the same.

Sean and I decided it was time to retake matters into our own hands.

We assembled our own team in Vancouver. We enlisted the expertise of Jessica McKee, goddess editor, and Caroline Manuel, music supervisor extraordinaire. And finally, we asked the creative collective Vividus FX to design original graphics and animation to illustrate Sean's story.

The Present Day

There's a saying in the book writing industry. “When you think you're're halfway.” This truism also hits home for documentary filmmaking.

But now we're in the home stretch.

The film has gone through a major finesse, we're collecting amazing indie bands for the soundtrack, and the FX are stunning.

On the eve of Sean's upcoming book release (late March in Canada, May 4 in the US), the film is on track for completion this Spring. While challenges remain (for instance, licensing expensive media clips), when we consider how far we've come, and the unwavering support from friends, family, and strangers along the way, we know the goal is attainable.

As we gear up for a big year, we'll keep everyone posted!

Thanks again for joining the journey.

- Ian

Book Marketing, PR Meetings in NYC, and Toronto

I just got back from meeting with Random House (American publisher, May 4) in New York City, and Penguin Books (Canadian publisher, Mar 28) in Toronto. We were discussing ideas for upcoming book release of The One-Week Job Project, and how best to market it. P1110154I invited my mom, sister, and baby niece to come along too. We stayed a few minutes from Time Square, and The Empire State Building. We had a wonderful time (yes, wonderful) visiting the different areas of Manhattan on a double decker tour bus, learning many tidbits about the city we would have never known. It was a great way to see the city, and made me want to spend a day as a tourist in my own city of Vancouver. We went to see a couple of Broadway shows, The Lion King, which was alright, and Wicked, which was absolutely incredible!

I was pleased with how the book meetings went. To be honest, I think back to when The One Week Job Project was just an idea, and then fast forward to today when I'm sitting in boardrooms with two major publishers discussing how best to market the book - it seems surreal.

It's been very exciting to see things come together, and I can't wait for the books release this spring - May 4th in the US, and March 28 in Canada.

If you have any ideas/suggestions to market the book, I'd love to hear 'em! Let me know in the comment section, or send me an email!


5 Steps To Landing Yourself A Book Deal

Since the end of the One Week Job journey, I've spent countless hours writing the book. I’ve also received a lot of questions about the book writing process and so I’m going to explain how it works according to my experience.

First Step – Write a book proposal

A book proposal is an excerpt from the book you’d like to write. Typically it includes the first few proposed chapters and is around 80 pages in length (I was very lucky. Because of the media attention One Week Job received, there was a lot of early interest from publishers and so my book proposal was about 5 pages).

Second Step - Find a literary agent

A literary agent helps navigate the publishing scene. They will work with you on the book proposal, editing, fine-tuning, making it ready for prospective publishers to take a look at.

A literary agent takes a 15% commission. They do not get paid until you get paid and so it’s in there best interest to work hard for you. This is also why literary agent’s are very selective of the clients and book proposals they choose to take on.

As you can imagine, a major publisher receives many book proposals from aspiring authors each week. A book proposal delivered to a publisher by means of a literary agent will get more consideration and credibility.

A literary agent also helps a publisher ‘weed out’ weaker submissions. The publisher is aware that for the agent to take on a project means that some due diligence has already been done.

Third Step – Choose Where To Submit

The literary agent will determine what publishing houses would be interested in your work (usually based on their previous titles), then approach an editor at the publishing house with the book proposal.

If an editor likes the book proposal, wants to work on such a book, and determines that there’s a place for it with their other titles, then negotiations will start.

Fourth Step – Show Me The Money

The editor will determine what money is available to purchase the rights to publish the book. This is called an advance against royalties.

An advance is paid in installments to the author. Often three equal payments – one on the signing of the contract, the second on delivery of the manuscript (first draft), and the final installment on publication of the book.

This is an advance against royalties - meaning that the author doesn’t get a pay check until the publishing house has earned back this initial advance. If the publishing house never recoups this advance, the author is not required to pay back the difference.

Other things that are discussed in the contract stage are territory rights (in which countries they can sell the book), the royalty the author will receive on the sale of each book (typically between 7–10%), among many others.

If there’s interest from a few publishing houses for the same book, then they might compete against each other by increasing the amount of the advance offered.

Fifth Step – Write the book

I will discuss my experience with this step in an upcoming post.

Any more questions? Discuss in the comments!

One Week Job Officially Announces Documentary!

IMG_6941Greetings all! It's been a few months since the last blog post, but both Sean and I have been busy. You may already know that Sean is hard at work writing his book, based on his experiences during the One Week Job project (to be published Spring 2009).

Myself, on the other hand, have the task of taking all the footage we shot (over 80 hours) and assembling it into a rip-roaring, educational documentary.

With the launch of a brand new website One Week Job: The Documentary it's now official! The film has started production.

But there's a twist.

We're asking all our fans, supporters, and guardian angels to help support the film by donating an hour of their wage. We know, we're crazy.

But we think, just as the One Week Job project was only possible with the support of others - whether they lent us a few bucks, their couch, or gave us a ride - the documentary will be made possible through others.

Along with your donation, you'll get your name on our Supporters Wall (coming soon) and in the credits of the documentary.

We're also looking for business sponsorship, so if you know/have a company that would be interested, let us know!

To learn more, read the official press release.

Stuck in the Airport, and Week #37 Announced - Pizza Maker

Stuck in LaGuardia AirportToday, Sean and I woke up early. We packed our bags, and stole out into the crisp Manhattan morning, bidding goodbye to our sanctuary for the past 3 weeks. I hailed a taxi, and we rode out to La Guardia airport as the sun rose behind billowing grey clouds. The plan was to head South - to Atlanta, then board another bus to Fort Walton in Florida. Sean was to be a firefighter.

Instead, a funny thing happened. And by funny I mean, in that retrospective way afterwards once the whole anger thing has blown over.

Basically Sean asked me to book the plane tickets for today, Dec 4, from New York to Atlanta. Somehow I ended up booking the tickets on Dec 18 by mistake. We found this out while trying to checkin at the counter. It pretty much felt like a scene that should be in a "real" reality-show.

Sweet Tomatoes PizzaAfter the initial surprise, we tried re-booking our tickets for today. Hmm, the flights today were $200 more expensive than we paid. Any chance getting on standby? Nadda. Well, at least we can get a credit for future flights right? Nope. Turns out there's a $100 charge to change your ticket (the ticket itself was only $87). Thanks American Airlines.

So after some discussion, we decided the best choice of action was to accept another job offer, this one in Cape Cod. Sean will be a pizzamaker with Sweet Tomatoes Pizza in Osterville, Massachusetts.

It sounds like a pretty fun gig - and Cape Cod we're told is beautiful area. So, away we go!

- Ian

And That's How Yahoo Crashed Our Server

Yahoo featured One Week JobToday started out as a day like any other. A day of breakfast, a cup of coffee - your basic productive morning. Sean worked on answering his emails, setting up his next jobs, and preparing for his current one as New York photographer. And then...we realized the site was down. We tried loading it a few times. Nothing. Intrigued, we wondered if it was a momentary glitch or if we were getting a massive influx of traffic. We had survived the New York Times article that came out yesterday. So why shouldn't the site survive this current hiccup of visitors?

Suddenly, a friend sent me an email, "Hey just saw the article on the front page of, congrats!" And the light bulb clicked. (Or "went on", depending on your metaphor).

Turns out the front page of Yahoo linked to the NYTimes article, which of course, included a link to One Week Job. Hence, the crushing weight of thousands of visitors hurtling down the vast tubes of the internet, attempting to view our site. Unfortunately, rather than step up to the task, our server ran screaming into the night.

Sean and I scrambled to get at least a basic page up. (You may have noticed the sparse homepage morphing with each page reload). We threw a brief outline of the project, Sean's email, and just in case, his phone number. Within seconds, the phone started ringing.

"Hi! Is this Sean?" "Hey, Sean?" "Hola! Is this the One Week Job guy?"

Sean fielded the calls, but quickly realized it was a lost battle. There was no way to answer every ring with 10 more flooding his call waiting. We made the executive decision and took his phone number off the site. As if in immediate response, his email begin trickling upward with each passing minute. 40. 45. 62. 89. Over 100 and they just kept coming.

What's an overwhelmed job seeker to do?

The only thing we could - he let the emails wait and headed out to his One Week Job. The show (or in this case, photo shoot) must go on. After setting up the location, and learning the art of photography from behind the lens, Sean was called upon to stand in as a model. But you might say this photo shoot is a little...unorthodox.

As I type now from a loft in the Chinatown neighborhood of Manhattan, NY, Sean is dressed in a pair of pajamas, sitting in a bathtub, pretending to brush his teeth. With two other pajama-clad men. And a woman. I think there's even a rubber ducky. When you see the photos, you'll understand.

In the meantime, he asked me to thank everyone for their emails and support (which has been incredible!) and he'll try his best to send a reply after stumbling home tonight after the shoot.

If you're brand new to the project, welcome! Feel free to check out the previous weekly episodes, our photos, and Sean's reflections from the road.

-- Ian

Laptop Update - This Weeks Episode Delayed

say it ain't soIan was able to call ASUS today and it looks like the computer is going to have to be sent away to get a new hard drive. They have told us that we should get the computer back by next week which would be great as we will be coming back through Montreal then. In the meantime, Ian tried to install the program he uses for editing on my computer, though that didn't work either and almost crashed my computer in the process so that was the end of that.

As I am sure you have realized by now, there will be no new episode tomorrow and Ian will not be able to start working on it again until next week when he gets his computer back. We are hoping to have the episode from my week as a Veterinary Assistant up by the end of next week.

Until then, we will still continue to blog and post photos to the Road Journal section.


Laptop Disaster!

Asus G1S It seems the worst has happened. Last night, while working on the upcoming episode of One Week Job, my laptop crashed. No word of warning. For a fraction of a second I saw the "blue screen of death" and then all went black. The computer restarted but didn't get very far. The harddrive suddenly started emitting a terrible scratching noise, like a skipping record player.

It could only mean one thing...complete hard drive failure.

The laptop, a brand new ASUS G1S, had been great up until that point. No idea why the hard drive decided to pack it in. All three of us have spent last night and the entire morning trying to salvage the data - which includes 1/3 of the completed episode from the animal hospital.

No word on whether we'll recover the data. Thankfully, all the previous episodes I backed up on an external hard drive. The current setback is more one of time, rather than catastrophic consequence.

Today is also a holiday so we can't call ASUS tech support, or ship the laptop off for repair.

Anyone out there in internet land have a spare laptop kicking around they don't need? Just thought I'd ask...

Long Weekends, Links, And Stuff

We finished up at the Hespeler Animal Hospital yesterday and are heading off to Montreal tomorrow. Louise treated Ian and I to lunch yesterday which was really kind of her. It was great to have some time to sit down and chat away from the hospital setting. animal-hospital-dog.gifWe spoke about her business, work-life balance, managing the level of professionalism with employees so not to risk the loss of authority or respect, having a positive attitude, and she told us about this cool cycling event she is participating in this September. It's to raise money for The Farley Foundation. Animal care can be quite expensive and The Farley Foundation helps seniors and disable persons on limited incomes pay for the necessary treatment of their pets. Louise is raising funds for the 100km bike ride, here is how to make a donation to help her out. Just say the donation is to support Dr. Louise Langlais, Hespeler Animal Hospital for the ride.

Next week is slightly different because my job starts on Thursday and goes to Monday. It is because I will be working with Roots Canada and helping out with their involvement in the Toronto International Film Festival. So, we are taking off to Montreal until next Wednesday, where hopefully we will be able to catch up on everything and get somewhat organized for what will be a busy next few weeks. If you are in town and want to meet up, give us a shout.

I wrote an article for that came out today, it has my 5 must read blog recommendations and I wrote a paragraph for each one in the article.

We will be in Toronto from Wednesday night to the following Monday and we are not too sure where we will be staying as of yet. Any ideas, send them our way!



6 Ways You Can Spread the Word About One Week Job

Danforth FestivalFirst off, Sean and I want to thank everyone for their continued interest and support of the One Week Job project. I've only been on the road with Sean for 4 weeks, and it's been an incredible experience. That said, we need your help! Yes, you, reading this on your computer screen right now.

We need you to help spread the word about the One Week Job project, allowing as many people as possible to join the journey and learn from Sean's weekly experiences.

In a perfect world, we would have thousands and thousands visitors to the website. In reality, this only happens when good people of the internet help the message go viral.

So if you'd like to help out, we've put together a brief list of ideas. If you've got some of your own, please share with the rest of us in the comments!

BONUS: Join the Facebook Fan Page

1. Blog About The Project

If you have your own blog, write a post about your own thoughts on the One Week Job project. Better yet, embed your favourite episodes right in your post and offer your own commentary on what your thought of it.

2. Email Your Friends

Be the first on your blog to discover something new! Write an email to your friends far and wide, telling them about the project, with a link back to the site. There's no recommendation as powerful as the word of your friend.

3. Email your local newspapers/radio stations

Visit the websites of your local media and ask why they haven't written up a story or spoken about the One Week Job project yet. If they have, suggest a follow up story and spread the word among the masses!

4. Talk about it around the watercooler

Need something to chat about at lunch? One Week Job is the perfect awkward silence filler. All you have to do is start with, "Did you hear about this guy who's traveling around working a job a week?"

5. Download the show to your iPod

Did you know you can download One Week Job in you favourite format, and take it with you on your iPod? Watch it in the car, on the bus, and let curious people you meet have a look at the show.

6. Ask your favourite websites to write about it

If you have a few news/entertainment sites you like to visit, why not ask them to write about One Week Job? (Especially if this website happens to be BoingBoing, Steve Pavlina, or Seth Godin).

Once again, thanks to everyone who's followed Sean's trip thus far. We hope to entertain, enlighten, and inspire for many weeks to come.