Second Last Day: Away from Ann Arbor

Hi :) Before I go on about myself and my adventures with the One-Week Job Program, I want to take a minute and talk about the One-Week Job Project.

Many of You know that Sean released a book in May. Soon to follow is a sure-to-be-hit of a movie, One-Week Job - The Documentary. For the movie to be 100% ready, Sean and Ian need some extra support. Even if I weren't a participant in this Program, my stance on the movie would be unchanged:

This movie is important for all of us.

The One-Week Job Project has already done so much for the future of our existence by asking questions that many people wouldn't think or dare to ask.

How are You spending your days on Earth? Are You slaving away, working 80 hours a week only to get your reward in Your last years? Why not reward Yourself now, by searching for what You love, and LIVING IT? You'll live happier, and You'll probably live longer. Think about it. Even if just for a second.

This is what we need in our lives, friends. We need to be challenged so we can give ourselves that personal freedom we ALL deserve. So please, give something novel a chance, and give a little somethin'-somethin' to the One-Week Job documentary! You are NOT giving away money to another person looking only for personal gain. You're giving love and support for the betterment of us. The betterment of us. Okay, (DONATE!!!!!!!) done with that.


Early Friday morning, Alli took me to the Arboretum, which was a breath-taking experience. We then went for Washtenaw Dairy doughnuts. If You ever find yourself in Ann Arbor, GO TO Washtenaw Dairy. This was my second trip, and I got six doughnuts...I wanted to make sure I got my fill! I just don't understand why everything that tastes good has to be fried. It's bothersome, really.

The outreach show Friday night was approximately an hour away in Lansing, Michigan. I'm terribly uneducated about environmental issues, but in hearing/reading the presentation from the Stewardship Network, I learned a little. Once more, passion was displayed. It was obvious how dedicated all the staff members were to the environmental cause. The way they talked about certain issues, their facial expressions full of focus and sincerity. It made me want to take time to research and make efforts to become more conscious of the nature around us, which is how POSITIVE passion works. It makes others pay attention, and want to know what You're about. Beautiful.

The show was great as expected, but it was a bittersweet event. Collin didn't show up because he had a family

event to attend, and Noah and Mel ended up leaving afterward to go see family members as well. In a way, this last show of the week was an ending point for my interaction with some of the members. I was extremely camera-happy on this day, and I think it was because I was desperate to capture memories before I left. This one-week thing can be hard at times!

After we got back to Ann Arbor, we went out for an hour or so around midnight-thirty. I know everyone was tired, so it was so kind of Phil, Brandon, Julie and Alli to take me out. It was probably because I had mentioned my love for dancing every hour on the hour since I had come into town. Upon surveying the crowd at the club, the diversity shocked me. Top 40 "boom booms" (this is what the group calls dance music...I'm going to try this term out in another state and see what reaction I get) were playing and people of different dressing styles, different ages, and MANY different ethnicities were focused on gettin' down. The scene made  me so, SO happy. I felt so comfortable being around so many new people. I know it's only been one week, but I might end up falling in love with traveling.

The night out ended around 2am, and we all went right to sleep.

Saturday morning, most of the members left to go on different errands at different times, so I had to say goodbye one by one. Julie took me to the bus stop, so she was the last person I saw. Leaving Ann Arbor around 6pm, I was at peace with the end of my second one-week job. Endings can be good if we make them. After all, my time was spent very well. I can see myself in Ann Arbor again. I hope it's sometime soon.

Question Time.

What did you dislike about the job? Why?

There were times that I felt as if I was not useful, and that was extremely hard for me. Not being a trained musician, my knowledge of the equipment was limited, so I wasn't much help in crunch time. This is a downside to only being in a job for week, and I knew that coming in. Experiencing it is a different story though.

What did you like about the job? Why?

I loved getting to listen to music being made every day. The happiness I got from this just re-confirmed how important music is to me, and that whatever I do will have to incorporate it in some way.

I liked being a part of such a close group that was able to work together so well, separating personal issues and business issues. There weren't any cliques, and I was quickly accepted as part of the group. I could tell their actions were genuine because I was exposed to a heavy spectrum of each person's personality, haha. I got to witness joy, fatigue, stress, and so many other emotions with this job. The healthy camaraderie was refreshing, and so was seeing how integral each member was to the success of the entire show. You get a little confidence with your contribution, and you get some love and support because you need the help of another. Good combination.

I also enjoyed the idea of having more than one job, maybe two. One is your primary interest or love, and another is a job that doesn't drain you, but still keeps you challenged because you don't necessarily love it as much as the first. In other words, the second job makes you appreciate the job you love or the time spent on what you love more. I could see myself employing this technique.

What lessons did you learn from being a producer-roadie-rock star-mostly-rock-star?

  1. If You don't know how to help, clean. First of all, there is always something to be done. Secondly, if you don't believe the first point, know that something is ALWAYS dirty. That should do some convincing. When the group was intensely practicing for their big show on Wednesday, I stayed out of the way so they could prepare efficiently. I was struggling with staying occupied. I then noticed how messy the work room was, and began to clean. I got satisfaction out of being productive, and it turns out that I gave the group significant help. Cleaning is just so darn fulfilling to me. Therapeutic, even.
  2. Friends can work, play, and live together without killing each other...all at the same time. I have a rule against anything but "playing" with my friends, but being with Juice has made me seriously reconsider that rule.
  3. Worry/anxiety isn't necessary. While thinking about my part of the show, I was deciding whether to get nervous. A few of the band members asked me if I was nervous, and I decided to say "no." I figured that whether I worried or not, the show was going to go on. Nothing horrible would happen if I "messed up", and if I got too nervous, I'd just make the experience unenjoyable. So, I made the decision to just rock out. And I had a great time doing it. This mentality can be applied to several scenarios in life. Worrying wastes time, friends.
  4. It's okay to be a photo addict. I was never that girl that said "PHOTO OPP!" every minute, but I may be turning into her. Just a little bit. I always found carrying a camera to be an inconvenience, and taking pictures to be a distraction. However, I was ridiculous on Friday, taking 124 photos. I took nearly 200 photos and 11 videos overall! I realize now that taking pictures is kind of fun, and at the end of all this, I think I'll really appreciate going out of my comfort zone in this way. The One-Week Job Program, growing Michelle yet again.
  5. Smile first. Yep, lesson learned once more. If I left Juice with anything, it may have been with simple encouragement. I tried my best to keep the energy up because I knew the week was stressful and my presence need not be anything but positive. So I brought the smiles and the pump-ups. I think (I hope) it made a difference, for them and for me. :)

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

Yes, as a roadie mostly. I could see myself learning more about the equipment, being able to organize it and maybe even becoming a sound technician, helping to set up an actual stage. I'm good at staying calm under serious time pressure, and at getting people pumped up for shows. I got very little exposure on the production company side of things, but I think that is something I could definitely be a part of as my musical exposure/connection. The rock star bit wouldn't hurt either, as a guest! :)

In retrospect, my initial love for Juice did nothing but increase exponentially throughout my time in Michigan. I'm glad I had no expectations because I was pleasantly surprised. To the witty, beautiful, gifted, selfless group Juice -  Noah, Hiro, Mel, Phil, Julie, Brandon, Collin, Erin, and Alli:

Thank you.

You gave me a deeper appreciation for music and memories. I wish You all knew how big of a deal that is. In boldly pursuing your dream, you are all mentors to me. I will miss You all very, very much. I'll be emailing. :)

So What About You?

What is it about music that connects people and brings them together instantly?

For me, I honestly believe that music will play a significant role in bringing about world peace. That's all I really have to say about that. :) As a calming end to this post, enjoy this piece from Friday's performance. Noah of Juice displays his hand-talent with a transformed tank:

Off to watch the World Cup final!


For the last time:

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"I Wanna, I Wanna Rock Right Now"

I wrote this early this morning, but the internet hasn't been working - will update more later! Hi :)

This week has gone by SO. FAST. I'm trying to wrap my mind around the fact that i'll be leaving for my third one-week job tomorrow. Hard to do.

Being a rock star is going well. Here's a run-down of the past few days:

On Wednesday, we rocked out. Somewhere around 2:30pm, we all ended up at the basement (Juice's practice space), and started loading equipment into the truck. The truck turned out to be smaller than expected, so we had to rely on Phil's Tetrus-esque genius to make as many items fit as possible. It was hot and sort of tension-filled, but we got through it. We ended up putting some items in cars, and we were on our way.

After we packed everything and got to the venue, we had to unpack the truck, haha.  That was a lot faster. A lot of people helped us set up for the show, which took about two hours. It was VERY hot, though i was mostly unaffected, being from Texas. The dangerous bit about the heat is that Juice's performance attire is all black: Black shirt, black pants, black shoes. Black. Blackblackblack. In nearly 100-degree weather. I'll say it again: dangerous.

Collin's laptop was needed for one of the pieces, but it was so hot that his laptop overheated. We ended up having to cut the song from the set list. The show began at 6:30pm, and it was awesome. It was a different, exciting experience to watch the group display their skill on a stage in front of a big audience, as opposed to in that tiny basement. They looked rock stars (Glad i'm not overusing these two words), actually. As for me, I got to play the gong and the cymbals. I wasn't too bad! (<-- HUMILITY :D) The show ended after an hour, and we had to hurry to pull everything off stage for the next act. It was really hectic, but as usual, we got the job done efficiently. We packed the truck, went back to the basement, and unloaded the truck. We were all so tired we didn't bother to organize it all.

Thursday was another Tuesday. Not much went on because again, everyone was doing their jobs, making that money for the Juice! The night ended with wedding talk (a few of the members are engaged) and a Harry Potter film.

Today brings another show, but this one's a little different. Juice does what they call "outreach" shows, where they perform for free in support of a good cause. These shows are a little smaller and a little shorter, but with just as much energy. Tonight, they'll be supporting the Stewardship Network, an "organization working to protect, restore, and manage Michigan's natural lands and waters." A few of the members work for this organization, so this event is personal for them.

I want to give some of you out there a break, so I will end here - my shortest post ever! Stay tuned for my Rock Star wrap-up. I'll surely miss Ann Arbor when I leave tomorrow evening. These wonderful people have already become good friends of mine.


"I write to understand as much to be understood."


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“Olive Juice!”- Week #2: Producer-Roadie-Rock Star

Hey from Ann Arbor, Michigan! This week's job has resulted in my first bit of traveling during the One-Week Job Program. i've now gone 2,162 miles by bus! Here's a visual for you:

// The Everlater widget requires javascript to work properly. You can view michelle's One-Week Job Program! or get your own free travel blog.

For all You travelers out there, i strongly suggest using Everlater as a journal for your adventures. It enables to you to blog, upload photos, embed videos, and do it by every stop you mark on the travel map. There's also an iPhone app. Check it out!

This week, i'm working with a 9-person musical percussion variety group called Juice.

Brandon, one of the members of the group, contacted Sean twice: Once during his 52-week Project, and again before the Program started. When Sean released Brandon's information to us, i responded to the email with one statement after doing my research:

"I love Juice."

i've said before that i'm completely moved by music. i can't read a note of sheet music, but it drives me. It gets me up in the morning, it makes my existence more lively, and it keeps me up at night. A quote by one of my favorite bands, Fleet Foxes, sums up how i feel:

"I can listen to music and instantly be anywhere that song is trying to take me. Music activates a certain mental freedom in a way that nothing else can, and that is so empowering. You can call it escapism if you like, but I see it as connecting to a  deeper human feeling than found in the day-to-day is a weird and cosmic thing, its own strange religion for nonbelievers, and what a joy it is to make in any form."

This is a feeling that i know many of us understand.

So i jumped at the the chance to come to Michigan. i thought it fitting for me to be a part of a true musician's world, even better the world of a musical group. I wanted to see all the hard work that goes into writing and performing music - you know, all the stuff we listeners rarely think about. A musical group is a whole different beast in itself. The chance to see how a music act comes together, with the different personalities, stories, and skills, was intriguing to me.

i anticipated that it would be another heavy-shadowing opportunity, much like last week, so i prepared myself and have done my best to take note of every different situation i've been exposed to here. My bus arrived in Ann Arbor 4 hours behind schedule, after a tire blew out 15 minutes from my stop. This was on Sunday. i caught the group at the end of their weekly meeting, located in the building where Brandon and Erin, another member, work another job. In addition to being a musical act, Juice has its own musical productions company, Group Four Entertainment, Inc. Being crazy ambitious, they made the company as a way to legitimize and ease their tour-planning efforts. This is the "producer" part of the job title where I got to hear some talk about marketing, promotions, budgeting. etc. In a way, my job from last week was already helping me understand things!

i had missed most of their activities for the day, but the group took me to their basement practice grounds, another space that is an employer hook-up. i then went grocery shopping with Julie and Phil - their suggestion. Even though i was exhausted from the long bus ride, it was nice to have my own food in a new place right away. One worry that never had to exist. i felt grateful. We then ate some good steak and crab, and watched fireworks in celebration of the holiday.

Later in the night, Mel, a fifth group member, talked to me about the different parts of Michigan, describing Ann Arbor as the more liberal, environmentally-conscious area. It was helpful to get a sociological breakdown. In terms of my accommodation, i'm being spoiled. :) i have my own room for the week! Most of the groupmates live in the same complex, with the girls living in one apartment and the boys living in another. The girls were kind enough to set up an empty room for me, and it's so cute! Being the night owl i am, i stayed up late working on random projects while everyone went to bed the first night.

Monday was promotions day. i went out with Julie and Phil to run errands for different acts for a show that happens to be later today! We also ate some tasty doughnuts. Then, the team broke up into three groups to do what they call "flyering", aka placing promotional flyers for the band's show all around town. i got to go with Erin and Collin, a sixth member around Downtown Ann Arbor. During our time together, we walked through the original Borders bookstore, saw way too many coffee shops within a small distance, ended up on University of Michigan's main campus and the "Law Quad", and got to "spin the cube":

It was "Cool!" After flyering, there was an intense practice that consisted of lots of skill, weird instruments, and sweat. It lasted about 6 hours or so, and was incredible to watch. It made me a little envious that i hadn't received proper music training as a child. Oh! The "Rock Star" part of my job is that i have a few parts in the show! i got a chance to practice my parts as well. Two runs later, everyone went home. It was a tiring but productive Monday. Being a Rock Star isn't as easy as You might think. i slept hard this night.

Tuesday was laid-back for me. The general schedule for Juice is that everyone does Juice stuff Sunday through Tuesday, and then they can do other things for the rest of the week. However, this week is a bit different with shows on Wednesday and Friday, so flexibility is at a high. Yesterday, everyone clocked in at their other, "normal" jobs, including me. From nanny to bartender to salon manager to farmer to environmental non-profit worker, Juice comprises of some serious variety. The group members are so passionate about their music that they take on other jobs to pay the bills so they can keep doing what they love to do. This is in hopes that one day music will be all that they do. Inspiring. At 6pm, equipment touch-ups, dress rehearsals, and equipment take-down (the "Roadie" aspect) took place. The night ended around midnight, after which there was some pizza, talking, and heavy sleep once again.

Today is the big show. We'll be meeting early this afternoon, dressing in all black, to pack all the music equipment into a van, drive to the set, unpack and build, perform, take everything down, pack everything in the truck, drive back to the practice space...well, you get it.

So far, i'm really enjoying Ann Arbor. There are a lot of trees here, which fascinates the child in me. i'm fortunate enough to again be with good, passionate, (and TALENTED) persons who are caring  and fun to be around. Most of the members in Juice recently graduated from college. The group has only been together a year, and that is important to note because they basically started a musical act AFTER college. Most people would be too fearful to do this, believing that it's too late, that life after college is meant strictly for a 9-to-5. Juice had/has a different mentality. They figure that they could use the time that would be spent studying for making Juice even better, so they're doing all that they can do make this happen. Last night, i was talking to a seventh member, Alli. She told me that she was impressed by me. She said that most people my age, especially me, having experienced very little thus far, would take the reliable road:



While i was flattered by her statement, i found it surprising. After all, i'm simply doing what she and the others are doing. Putting all my energy (willingly, of course) into living with meaning, even if i'm not quite sure what that means.

So What about You?

Do You think that as humans we lose our "spark" as we get older? Do You think it's a common belief? Why or Why not?

I'll just let You answer this alone. Let me know.

Please, wish me luck today!


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Producer Profile: 5 Questions With Ashley Leber

Not a photo of Ashley... but it could be. / Photo jSh

What was the worst job you've ever done? What was the best?

The worst job I've ever done is my current job not exactly horrible but it's definitly hard on the body. I work at a mineral fiber insulation plant, 12 hr shifts that change between days and graves, 3 days on 3 days off.

The best job I've ever done was when I worked up at Mt. Baldy ski hill. It was so much fun. You meet so many intresting people, and snowboard all the time every day. The hill is like a family.

What are the types of things you're passionate about?

I'm passionate about everything. If I dont like something or don't agree with it I will voice it, and if i really like something or agree with it I'll support it and help keep it going.

Like the Relay for Life, I love volunteering for it every year and helping raise money for cancer reseach. And I'm extremely passionate about snowbaording. And about a million other things but those are a few.

What do you find most interesting about the One Week Job project?

Everything! It's a totally an amazing project. It should be something teens or adults even can sign up to do. You get to look at differnt jobs, try them out, see what they're like. You could read up on a job as much as you like, but how do you know that your going to like it, or be able to do it, until you actually do.

Why did you decide to donate toward the One Week Job film?

I donated becuase, I agree with it, I think it's awesome, and that people should know about it.

What do you hope to see represented in the film?

I hope to see how different everything is. And how many differnt jobs are out there, and that anyone can do what Sean did if they put there mind to it.

We're profiling the producers who have donated towards the One Week Job documentary film. Would you like to be featured? First, become a producer!

Producer Profile: 5 Questions With Leslie Evans

As part of a new feature, we'll be profiling the producers who have donated towards the One Week Job documentary film. Would you like to be featured? First, become a producer! 1. What was the worst job you've ever done? What was the best?

Leslie Evans

Leslie Evans likes rollercoasters. Hates spiders.

The worst job I have ever done is....sorting fruit when I was young, my first job. It was the worst because of all the spiders - I HATE spiders!

The best job would have to be one I didn't actually get paid for, so maybe that doesn't count as a job. I was an assistant coach with a community Special Olympics swim team.

I got to wear the craziest hats I could find, and no matter what the day turned out to be, you were always certain there were happy people at the end!

2. What are the types of things you're passionate about?

Smiles. Laughter. Seeing people accomplish something and the look on their face when they do it. Rollercoasters. Yes, definitely passionate about those!

3. What do you find most interesting about the One Week Job project?

The fact that someone is doing what everyone has always wanted to do. Trying things you would never in your right mind think you would enjoy, but trying anyway.

4. Why did you decide to donate toward the One Week Job film?

I donated to kick up my karma count! Joking!

I donated because if I can't do it, why not help someone who can, someone who will have the ability to show young people its okay to search, really search, for the things you want to do in life.

It's hard out there for young people (even older) to find a career they love, there is so much pressure to know from the time you hit high school that someone proving we all don't know right away what we want to do is something worth giving to.

5. What do you hope to see represented in the film?

I hope to see choice represented. The choice to like or not like a job and celebrate in that choice.

Become a One Week Job documentary producer - Donate online right now!

Producer Profile: 5 Questions With Jason Leung

As part of a new feature, we're profiling the producers who have donated towards the One Week Job documentary film. Would you like to be featured? First, become a producer! 1. What was the worst job you've ever done? What was the best?

Jason LeungThe worst job I ever had was a Security Guard position. I took the job with a very reputable company during the Christmas season hoping to get on with one of the large events that would be happening.

Instead they stuck me on graveyard looking after a parking lot of an apartment building located in a sketchy area of New Westminster. I guess they had to start people somewhere. But I feared for my safety most nights and quit after a week.

In that time, there were 3 cars stolen, and I was not suppose to do anything other than be a visible presence, be a witness to anything, and report events that occur at the end of my shift. There was maximum risk with minimal rewards, as the pay was very low.

No wonder most security guards are useless, as they are never fully compensated for the amount of danger that is put upon them.

Furthermore, the job is quite primitive and you do not really do a whole lot other than being present. The bright side of the job is that you are suppose to interact with everyone in the area to try and get a feel of the surroundings and the people to build up a security report of a situation or an event.

However, being that I was working overnight in pretty much the ghetto, the only members of the public around to interact with were either drug addicts, drug dealers, or kids that shouldn’t be up so late.

The best job I ever had was a Cashier/Clerk at the BC Liquors Stores.

The job was about interaction between employers and customers, and customers going into a liquor store are generally very happy and in a good mood. They are buying booze as oppose to drinking booze in a bar, where you may have trouble dealing with drunken shenanigans if you worked there.

The liquor stores, which I was working at, was also in the area where I grew up from, so I frequently saw a lot of my old friends come in, always providing a fun conversation.

The only downside of the job was that it was on call everyday, without knowledge of time of shift or location, and the hours were limited. So there isn’t much of a future in the position, however, it was ideal for a part time gig.

The other reason that might have made this job so enjoyable for me was because I took this immediately after quitting my worst job.

2. What are the types of things you're passionate about?

I’m passionate about travelling, music, and travelling for music. I want to see the whole world and experience different cultures of all the interesting people out there.

Music sets the mood on everything for me. Finding a job that you are passionate about is truly a difficult task, and mixing passion with work together could sometimes be dangerous. You may not be able to fully enjoy your passion if it is required to be work as well.

But at the same time, it may not even feel like work if you are doing something you’re passionate about. The possibility of turning your passion into the perfect job is worth attempts.

3. What do you find most interesting about the One Week Job project?

The wide variety of everything presented by the project is the most interesting part. You have to give everything a chance, and with such a wide range of jobs presented, the project compiled more experiences and lessons learned, becoming more well rounded.

Also the drive and the commitment that both Sean and Ian have displayed in the project is remarkable. They set out to achieve a goal and they stayed focused on it the whole time, not letting anything get in there way of doing so, while having fun at the same time.

4. Why did you decide to donate toward the One Week Job film?

Money should never be too important, but unfortunately it is usually required to bring something somewhere great. The project is about people helping people, and our donations are just minimal compared to the amount work that is required for this project.

Also the whole karma thing!

5. What do you hope to see represented in the film?

I hope the film can show that hard work and dedication is always rewarded in all ways not just through money. Keep up the good work guys!

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