UBC presents Discover Your Passion with Sean Aiken Jan. 26

Sean Aiken

Sean Aiken

University graduate tried 52 jobs in 52 weeks in search of the right career

"What should I do with my life?" That's the question Sean Aiken asked himself as he created The One Week Job Project and embarked on an epic journey to find his passion. Not long out of university with a business degree in hand, he was about to try 52 jobs in 52 weeks.

His first gig was literally jumping off a bridge, as a bungee operator in BC. From there he traveled across Canada and the United States, reinventing himself as a firefighter, aquarium host, radio DJ, martial arts instructor, NHL mascot, and snowshoe guide.

On Jan. 26, Aiken will share his remarkable story in a free public presentation in Kelowna (7 p.m. in the Laurel Packinghouse, 2-1304 Ellis Street) organized by the Alumni Relations and Career Services offices at UBC's Okanagan campus.

"Sean Aiken created a unique experience trying so many career options in response to the uncertainty he felt after completing his post-secondary studies," says Brenda Tournier, senior manager of Alumni and Community Relations at UBC's Okanagan campus. "We hope Sean's presentation will provide inspiration and valuable insights for young alumni and anyone in the community who has wondered about finding the right fit for their own passions and talents as they explore their career options."

Aiken graduated at the top of his class from Capilano University in North Vancouver, BC, in 2005. He had a 4.0 grade-point average and was voted class valedictorian, but after graduation struggled with uncertainty about what to do for a career, and what he wanted to do with his life.

His mother suggested teaching. His older sister told him to apply for an entry-level corporate position. His father said, "it doesn't matter what you do, just make sure it's something you're passionate about."

Taking his father's advice to heart, Aiken hit the road to discover his passion by trying 52 jobs in 52 weeks. Wherever he could find work, he’d go there, find a couch to crash on and immerse himself in whatever profession was at hand. And then he’d move on.

He realized he hadn't started on his own journey. He'd started a movement. Thousands of people began following his journey, looking to him for inspiration in their own lives. University students were relieved to find others uncertain of their careers. Baby boomers wrote how they'd found the courage to change their jobs, or go back to school and discover their passions once again.

Now at the end of his journey, Aiken shares the complete story and the lessons learned along the way. Seats for the Jan. 26 presentation are free, but online pre-registration is required by going to www.ubc.ca/okanagan/alumnirelations/events. A reception and book signing will follow the presentation. To find out more, contact Erica Triggs at erica.triggs@ubc.ca or 250-807-9360.

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