Job Updates

Lifestyles Of The Rich & Famous

IMG_6448When Victoria told me that she had some big clients that she was going to be prospecting for this week, I don't think I completely grasped what she meant. Though I quickly realized when the first house that we walked into in the Beverly Hills area was listed at $13 million. It was crazy, complete with a large theater room, pool, and it even had a night club in one of its' wings. The lowest priced home that we looked at that day was listed at $4.5 million. Definitely a different reality. This week we are staying at our friend Mike's place in Hollywood. He is a musician and fine tuning his drumming skills at a music school in downtown Hollywood. He has a small studio apartment so Ian and I are on the floor next to his bed. It's a week long slumber party.

IMG_6418For the majority of us, buying a house is the biggest transaction that we will make in our lives. As such, Victoria has stressed the importance of really knowing your client and what they are looking for in a home. A mis-conception that I had about being a Real Estate Agent is that the majority of time is spent looking at houses and meeting with clients. I have learned that a lot of time is actually spent researching different properties with online listings that fall with your clients needs. Then the client will decide which ones that they would like to go and look at to see if it is what they are truly looking for.

Although you are working with a larger company, in Victoria's case Coldwell Banker, it seems more that you are running your own small business; setting your own hours, prospecting for clients, flexible schedule. As with any small business, there is a lot of self-motivation required and the more effort you put in, the idea is the more you will get out of it.

Yesterday, there was a company wide staff meeting and I was able to sit in on that. The branch manager talked about various selling techniques - for example, the importance of "oh, la, la-ing" the family pet. Also, there was a motivational speaker from the Brian Tracy programs which was really interesting too.

Tomorrow night, January 11th, I will be part of a segment on ABC 20/20 which was filmed when I was in New York before Christmas. It airs at 10pm on ABC. The segment is on the pursuit of happiness - what makes people happy, immediate gratification vs. lasting happiness. Read more about it here. I will be a very small part of it, though the entire segment should be really interesting.


Week #41 Announced - Real Estate Agent

HollywoodSign2I left Banff, Alberta early this morning and hopped on a plane to Los Angeles, California. So early in fact that the roommates I was staying with had not yet gone to sleep from the previous night as I raced out the door to catch my flight. This week I am working with Victoria Massengale of Coldwell Banker as a Real Estate Agent in Hollywood Hills. Apparently there will be lots of previewing houses for a big client of hers, so it should be pretty fun.

Real Estate is something I have always thought that I would enjoy; constantly meeting and interacting with new people, always doing something different, continually in new locations... I am looking forward to see what it is really like!


Time To Follow The Birds

Banff 037I had a fun week in Banff, Alberta working at the Chiropractor clinic. I learned a lot and was really able to help out Shawna with all of the various tasks associated with running the clinic. On Thursday, I went to Sunshine Village, one of the ski mountains in the area, and put up pamphlets in the hotel, ski school, and various buildings that are on the hill. Afterwards, I was able to spend the afternoon snowboarding which was definitely a great perk of the job this week. My last day was back at the clinic where I helped out with client exercises and giving massages with an amazing little machine called "the thumper"... I know what I will be asking for next Christmas.

One of the things that I continue to enjoy about this experience is that I not only get a glimpse into a particular job each week but also into the lives of those I am working with, not to mention the city I am working in.

Shawna seems to have done a great job at identifying the many things she loves doing and satisfy these through a combination of both her professional and social life. It reminds me of an email I received a couple of days ago that asked, "Sean, does it 'all' have to be in the career?"

Banff 052I suppose that it doesn't as we can pursue our passions in the many things we do outside of the work place, though at the same time I am not a fan of putting up with something that you don't like for 80% of the time, just so that you can do what you like to do with the other 20% of your time. I guess there is some balancing involved.

I am heading out to Los Angeles, California for this upcoming week. As much as I have enjoyed the snow and mountains, I am looking forward to some warmer weather.

I am quite certain that Ian and I will be the only ones you will see at the beach in Los Angeles in the month of January!


Seeking The Bare Bones Of It All

Banff 035Dr. Shawna Biegel has been really great this week; simply explaining her techniques, what she is doing and why she is doing it so that I can understand. I had previously thought that chiropractic care was mainly joint manipulation and bone cracking stuff, whereas physiotherapy was more about muscle strengthening and a softer approach to rehabilitation. At the Family Chiropractic Office, Shawna also incorporates different elements such as physio, acupressure and her experience in her study of eastern medicine which has been really interesting to learn. When I was younger, I wanted to be a Physiotherapist for several years and originally entered University with that intention. I visited a Physiotherapist when I was in High School because my neck was going into spasm after a soccer game. When I arrived my head was tilted at a 90 degree angle and if I moved, the muscle would pinch me shooting pain down my spine. When I left the Physiotherapist I was once again upright and no longer in pain. After that I told myself I wanted to be a Physiotherapist. I am not sure how set on it I was or if it just gave me something to say when people would ask of my future plans. I think a bit of both. Generally you are working with people who live active lifestyles, meeting new people all the time, problem solving... I think I would enjoy it as I have always been involved in sports and am really interested in physiology. The human body is pretty remarkable.

I have realized though that I not a huge fan of routines and I really want to have the ability to be mobile. I think that if I were to have a clinic, I would feel attached to a specific location as you try to build and retain a client base. This could simply just be my perception of what a "routine" represents to me, most likely a mis-conception at that. Though for now, I find comfort in uncertainty and the unknown. I think that's what has kept me moving for the past few years, always doing something different, continually in pursuit of my next adventure; afraid of settling. I am sure this will change someday. I hope it does. I have come to realize that no matter how far you travel, regardless of how remote it is, the one thing you can't escape is yourself.

Today I am out of the office at Sunshine Village, one of the ski mountains nearby. I will be putting up brochures and posters advertising the clinic and the treatments they offer. Might just have to get a few runs in while I am there too!


Week #40 Announced - Chiropractor

It was great to spend a week at home over the Christmas holiday with family and friends. My cousin asked me at Christmas dinner how long I would be in town for. "I am programmed to do everything for only one week," I said. Banff 014My first job of the New Year will be working at a Family Chiropractic Office in Banff, Alberta. The town of Banff is surrounded by huge mountains all around and is located in a National Park so there is a lot of protected wild life roaming around. It is a beautiful area and the clinic has large windows on both sides with a great view of the snow covered mountains.

This week I will be accompanying Dr. Shawna Biegel as she treats clients, and helping with client exercises, paperwork, reception, and learning about the philosophy of rehabilitation. At the clinic she also provides acupuncture, physio, and massage therapy... Looks like I am going to be in good hands this week!

A Dojangin' Good Time

IMG_6244Thanks to some Chinese ointment that Robert gave me, my legs recovered rather quickly from my week spent at Dojang Studios. Most weeks I find myself in somewhat intimidating positions; continually learning something new and taking on a profession in which I have had no prior experience. It's rather humbling, and I must say that I was humbled yet again this week. One example came in the form of a nine year old girl when I was mock sparring with her. She had me continually backing up in circles around the studio attempting to avoid her high side kicks directed at my face. It was Kate, daughter of Dojang Co-founder and Owners, Robert & Emma Lynds. The whole family participates in the sport and their son Aidan, age 14, just put out his first DVD designed for kids. This is one house that you wouldn't want to be caught breaking into.

This week I have seen how Dojang is a great way to stay in shape, both physically and mentally. When you enter the studio and begin your practice, you tend to leave everything else outside and focus entirely on what you are doing. We talked a bit about building up your core energy, your chi, and how this is channeled into your movements. It is a topic that came up in my week as a Yoga Instructor in Week 7 and is something that I would like to learn more about.

IMG_6253In the interview with Robert we talked about the importance of goal setting and planning. He described a very cool idea that he and his family uses. Every year, they will take a bunch of magazines and make a collage of different words, images, pictures that grab their attention. He was saying that if you want to see your goal realized, it must first be conceptualized and showed us his previous collage pointing out different things that he had now achieved or obtained.

First Days Of Dojang

IMG_6241I had a feeling that I would be sore after this week, though I guess I didn't expect to be quite this sore only after a couple days. I suppose that I am beginning to feel the result of having been on the road for some time now and not been exercising. Robert, the co-owner and founder of Dojang, took me through the routine warm-up that they do at the start of each class. Half way through I was thinking to myself, "this is only the warm-up?"

One hour later I was up in front of the kids class leading their warm-up and assisting with the class. After introducing myself and telling them about what I was doing there, I asked if anyone knew what they wanted to be when they grow up. Listening to a group of nine year olds able to definitively answer that question made me feel like I really need to hurry up and get my act together.

I love working with kids. There is a strong focus at Dojang Studios on making sure the kids have fun. I am pretty sure we accomplished that, especially when it was time for me to put on a the protective sumo suit and have the kids punching, kicking me, and then all at once trying to take me to the ground.

There was a guest instructor in that night, Fatih Turan, from Germany. He is in Vancouver studying acting and so is also working at the studio. He spent over a year in China training every single day, eight hours a day in Wudang Kung Fu... now that's passion!

IMG_6249Yesterday I was introduced to self-defense techniques, pressure points, how to roll, how to get out of holds. We also spent some time in the park learning techniques of the bo staff and then Ian and I had a chance to do some sparring back at the studio. I punched Ian in the face by accident, though luckily his nose is still in place.

It is a really great environment at the studio. They have developed a strong sense of community with small personable classes, focusing more on relationships with the students and their families. They have done a great job in creating this and it's reflective in the supportive environment.

Week #39 Announced - Martial Arts Instructor

This week I will be working as a Martial Arts Instructor at Dojang Studios in Vancouver, BC. Dojang combines numerous forms and styles from the traditional and modern combative arts and is defined as 'a place to study the way.' The founders of Dojang are Robert & Emma Lynds and they opened up the studio in February 2004. They offer adult and personal training programs, kids programs, youth programs, kids camps as well as women's only classes.

I will be participating/assisting in classes throughout the week; learning about the practice of Dojang, teaching techniques, how to train someone one on one, what it takes to run a martial arts studio... (there was some mention of a sumo wrestling suit, involving me acting as a punching bag, so that could get interesting).

I have been involved in sports throughout my life, though martial arts was something that I never gave a try so I am excited to learn more about the practice! Though I have a feeling I might be a little sore after this week.


A Taste Of Wine Country: The Yakima Valley

Winemaker 099It was a tonne of information to absorb this week, though my liver handled it quite well. It's amazing how easily Pat and Matt at Two Mountain Winery can distinguish between different varieties and vintages. There is definitely a lingo that is associated with the wine world and the ability to articulate even the slightest of flavors. I am still at the, "That ones good, but I don't like the other one" stage in my tasting development.

Winemaker 246The winery is located out in the country and the vineyard is beautiful. I would love to come back during summer when everything is green. We were able to take the 4 wheelers for a ride through the vineyard which was a lot of fun and I learned how to properly prune. It is a lot of work being a Winemaker and I think I got off pretty easy this week; Matt was telling me that during harvest time it is not unusual for them to be working 18 hour days!

On Saturday, John with the Yakima Visitors Bureau took me out to other wineries in the region so that I could see the spectrum ranging from big corporate wineries to small independent family run operations. There are around 60 wineries in the Yakima Valley so it was great to go for a tour and get a "taste."

I love small towns. The couple of times when I ventured into the small town of Zillah for lunch with Pat, I got many interesting looks. One woman looked at me with a smile and said, "You're not from round here are ya?" Not sure what gave it away.

Winemaker 256Before I knew it, it was time to leave. John and Katie were so nice to meet me at the airport with a beautiful gift basket and some Yakima post cards. Everyone was so kind and welcoming to me which helped make it a really fun week.

A special thanks to Bellair Charters who provided me with a complimentary ride on The Airporter Shuttle from Yakima to Seattle, WA and then North to the Canadian border where my parents were waiting to pick me up.

I will be working in Vancouver this week so that I can be home for the holidays. It has been a while since I have been home and so I am really looking forward to spending some time with my family.


My First Lesson In The Art Of Wine Making

Winemaker 094I arrived in the Yakima Valley region two nights ago. On the plane, they warned us that due to weather conditions we might have to turn around and head back to Seattle, WA, though fortunately we made it. I was also advised on the plane by a Yakima local that the wines of the Yakima Valley are going to overtake the wines of France in the next century. "They will be recognized as the best wines of the world," he said. As I sipped my complimentary glass of wine I thought to myself, "I am in for a treat."

I like airports. What makes them even more enjoyable is when you arrive at your destination and somebody is there waiting for you with a sign. Makes you feel important. Well, I am happy to report, that Wendy and Katie from the Yakima Visitors Bureau were there to pick me up, sign in hand. Very cool.

Winemaker 102I had my first day on the vineyard yesterday and I learned so much. I am trying to soak in as much as I possible can about wine making, wine terminology, what to look for in a good wine, what makes a good wine...

The two owners of Two Mountain Winery, Matthew and Patrick, had a lot of patience with me as I continually asked questions throughout the day about pretty much everything. They have been really great and I am happy to be here.

Also, turns out I came at a good time of year. It is the time when they taste the previous vintages to compare them and see how they are aging. I was able to taste different varieties over the past 4 years. It takes a practiced palate to identify all the various flavors that different varieties contain. So, I have decided that I will commit more time to studying over the holidays!


Week #38 Announced - Vintner

yakima-valley-vineyard1.jpgI received an email last week from John Cooper of the Yakima Valley Visitors Bureau who was excited to bring me out to the region to learn the craft of making wines. I always wanted to learn more about the wine making process. So, this week I find myself in Yakima, WA where I will be a Vintner (Winemaker) working with Patrick and Matthew Rawn at Two Mountain Winery out in the Rattlesnake Hills area of Yakima Valley.

I will be trained in the various duties of a small winery such as, managing the ‘topping’ process, testing the sulfite levels in the wine, taste testing to figure out blends for this years fresh pick...

Should be good times!


Farewell To Pizza, Farewell To Cape Cod

Pizza Maker - Osterville Cape Cod 156One thing that continues to amaze me about One Week Job is the incredible people I meet and relationships that I make along the way. Complete strangers openly welcome us into their homes and treat us just like another member of the family. It's remarkable how in just one week, it is possible to develop such strong ties.

Looking back over the weeks, I've found my actual job duties play a small part in whether I have a positive or negative experience. When 52 weeks are over, it is all the great people I met and the relationships I developed along the way that I will remember. Whether I have the "best" or "worst" job in the world for the week is not important - the thing that makes any moment special is the people we share them with.

Pizza Maker - Osterville Cape Cod 182I am often asked, "What has been your favorite job so far?" They have all been so different and it is difficult to say, though all of the weeks that stand out in my mind are the ones where the experience was as much about learning the ropes of a particular profession as it was making some new friends.

This week was a perfect example of how quickly we can make new connections when among such warm people. The local Cape Cod newspaper came into Sweet Tomatoes on my second day to do a story. After the interview, the reporter asked if I was related to Irene and Darren - based simply on the ease of our interaction.

When this project is over, it is without a doubt that Ian and I will have a lot of visiting to do. Not only that, but I'll have to make sure that I have lot's of space for guests to come visit me, wherever I end up.


The Art of Slinging Pizzas on Cape Cod

IMG_5898They say everything happens for a reason. Perhaps we weren't supposed to get on that plane to Florida Tuesday morning, and instead we were meant to come to Osterville Cape Cod. I don't know. I can say though, I am glad we are here. I had received an email from Irene and Darren (Sweet Tomatoes Pizza) just over a month ago asking me to come to their small village of Osterville, MA, located on Cape Cod. They sounded like fun, so I put it in the back of my mind.

When I called Irene out of the blue from the airport, explained our situation and asked if we could hop on a bus and work with them at Sweet Tomatoes, she immediately said, "Perfect, That's great, we would love to you have you." I knew as I hung up the phone with them it would be a great experience.

They met us with a big hug and kiss when we arrived and away we went to take a tour of the village on route to their home. Ian and I are staying in their guest house above the garage, which couldn't be more perfectly suited for us. Two beds, wireless internet, unlimited long distance, the fridge was full with cookies, orange juice, beer, fruit was on the table. They have spoiled us.

IMG_5916I am really happy that we are here. It has been really busy this last week, trying to deal with all the emails, phone calls, and figure out where I would like to see the project go. It was overwhelming and I had gotten away from just having fun and enjoying the experience.

Coming here has been really refreshing, humbling, and authentic. It has reminded me that this is what makes One Week Job such an awesome adventure, connecting with people, and learning about why they love their jobs.

IMG_5910Yesterday, I got my first pizza making lesson. How to roll the dough, spread the secret sauce, sprinkle the cheese, and toss it in the oven. The crust is rolled with a rolling pin normally, but I decided to attempt the "spin over the head" move that I've always wanted to try. The result? It's much harder than it looks.

But I was able to serve up some sweet looking pizza pies. Tomorrow we have a special delivery for the local Kindergarten class, which should be fun.

- Sean

Finding An Eye For Manhattan

300 W57th StreetI met with James yesterday morning at his apartment in Lower Manhattan. He gave me an idea as to what future photo shoots he had in mind and what kind of location he would need. He said that he wanted a modern, simple, sleek, clean look, with some depth to it. So I hit the streets with camera in hand cruising the mid-town Manhattan area in search of the perfect photo shoot location. I think that I had a good idea of what he was looking for and took a bunch of photos, though I will find out this morning when I meet with James to go over them. Here is on of them.
If you will be near a news stand today (Thursday), there is a column about One Week Job in the Style section of The New York Times.

Week #36 Announced - Photographer

camera-pic.jpgThis week I am working as a Photographer in Manhattan, NY with James Carmen, Director of Photography. James has worked all over the world, shooting commercials, film shorts, documentaries and features. This week we will be focusing on his role as a Photographer. We met last night for coffee and discussed what we would be up to for the week. One task will be to scout out locations in the city for future photo shoots. Picture me on a bike, with a camera, weaving my way through traffic in downtown Manhattan armed with a vague idea of what kind of scene he is looking to portray. Should be fun!

He also had some interesting ideas for photo shoots that hopefully we will be able to pull together before the end of the week. I will be sure to post some photos!


I Do My Little Turn On The Catwalk

IMG_5399We've had a lot of fun the past few days with Mercedes and her husband Aldo in Margaretville, NY. They are truly great people and have been so incredibly kind to us! Yesterday at the shop wasn't too crazy. Helping out customers trying on different outfits was definitely the highlight. They would come out, I would offer them constructive feedback, (given my new found fashion knowledge). I also dressed a mannequin - which was a lot more difficult then I first thought.

Today, I somehow found myself in a charity fashion show in a neighboring town. We went for lunch in the town yesterday to meet with one of Mercedes' friends who owns a store there. Turns out she needed a guy to be in the fashion show she was organizing today.

So, there I was, the only guy amongst a troupe of 16 year old girls strutting my stuff down a cat walk in front of the town. It was actually a lot of fun and I ended up doing a little bit of dancing on stage because the emcee was egging me on.

IMG_5401Tomorrow we head back to Manhattan, where I still am not entirely sure where I will be working as of yet, though I do have some ideas.

A special thanks to VocationVacations who connected me with my last two One Week Jobs; Baker and Fashion Buyer. VocationVacation allows you to test out your dream job. They set you up with a mentor who is in a profession that you think you would enjoy. The Vocation Vacation allows you to see if it’s right for you over the course of a few days before making any drastic changes.


p.s. Here's a little dance I cooked up at Mercedes shop.

Schooled On The World Of Fashion

IMG_5786I have been put to the test this week, taken out of my comfort zone time and time again and continually being challenged. It's been great! Mercedes had a few clients come in that she handed off to me completely and it was up to me to take care of the whole meeting from start to finish - learning about what stage they are in the design process, seeing the products they have designed, and giving them my opinion on what steps they should take going forward. When she first told me, "Sean, you are handling the next meeting all by yourself," I was really nervous and thought to myself, what can I possibly tell this person that is going to help them out and not make me look like a complete idiot.

The first meeting was definitely a little awkward as I fumbled my way talking about the belts this guy had designed. They were actually really cool, though my knowledge of the belt market is limited. Here is a guy who recently designed a dress for Whoopi Goldberg and showcased it on the morning talk show, "The View." Then there is me, third day on the job, giving him my opinion whether I think his product will sell. Not sure if I managed to avoid that complete idiot thing.

IMG_5795We also visited the show room of the Zuccaro collection. The owner showed me the collection for Spring and Summer 2008 and it was up to me to pick out what I would like to buy based on what I learned will sell from my trend forecasting meeting on Monday. It was for a boutique based in Las Vegas. Though she wasn't happy to admit it, Mercedes was quite impressed with my choices saying that it usually takes much longer to train someone. Now if I could just learn how to dress myself!

We are now in Margaretville, NY for the weekend. Mercedes and her husband Aldo have a home up here and they were nice enough to bring us up for Thanksgiving dinner and escape the city for a few days. Tomorrow I will be working in Mercedes' retail store "Dig In." It is the biggest shopping day of the year, 'Black Friday,' with many stores opening their doors at four and five in the morning. Should be pretty exciting!

I will be back in Manhattan Sunday evening and am still not sure who I will be working with on Monday or where I will be sleeping. I would like to stay in New York city for two more weeks so if you have any ideas/contacts for potential One Week Jobs, let me know!


Week #35 Announced - Fashion Buyer

This week I am a Fashion Buyer with Global Purchasing Group in Manhattan. More on that later... right now I am going to be late for my first day of work! UPDATE:

IMG_5785The subway randomly deciding to stop a long the way didn't help out matters, though I wasn't too late getting to work yesterday morning. There were a couple of people waiting for me and as soon as I entered and we got off to a running start. Working in the fashion industry this week I thought twice about what I wore to work. Turns out my worries were justified. The first thing that my boss, Mercedes, said to me was, "Nice to see you dressed up for your first day working with a fashion company." Yes, she was being sarcastic.

I honestly didn't think I was dressed that bad and looking at others in the room I felt I fit in. Though now that I know Mercedes better and how nice she is, I think she was simply having some fun at my expense.

We had a meeting shortly after I arrived with two young guys who started their own label immediately after finishing design school, then it was off to meet with Sight Style, a trend forecasting company, to learn about what is going to be "on trend" for spring 2008. They took me through the different styles and color combinations that we can expect to see this coming Spring.

Industry buzz words like "body con," "retro," "architectural style," and "asymmetrical de-construction" have now been added to my vocabulary. It was a lot of information to digest though it will no doubt come in handy over the next few days as Mercedes has a lot of tasks planned for me that I will have to use what I learned to help me out.

If I can't look the part, at least I will be able to speak the part!


That's Some Good Apple Pie

View of the ShopThe owners of One Girl Cookies, Dave and Dawn, have been great. They have allowed me to get really hands on this week. So far I've made all sorts of things: pie crust, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread, and I whipped up an apple pie from beginning to end.

A little girl who is a regular at the shop always has a piece of apple pie when there's a fresh one on the counter. She came in today and after having her usual piece, she remarked, " the apple pie is particularly good today." (Dave would say that it meant the level of "deliciousity" on my apple pie must have been quite high).

I've found there is a real creative element to baking. You start with a bunch of ingredients that don't make up much by themselves, then when you mix them in a bowl, shape them, and toss them in the oven, they come together to create a tasty goodness.

I spent most of today working on pumpkin cookies. I used a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter, used the sheeter to make use of the extra dough. When they came out of the oven, I spread the orange icing sugar on top. Here is a video clip of the song I created while icing away: