Inspiration often comes when you least expect it

The other night I was truly inspired when I heard of Daniel Seddiqui’s story on ABC World News Tonight. So much so I was compelled to share it with you all.

After graduating with an economics degree from the University of Southern California in 2005, this young man struggled to find work. Like many recent college graduates, he sent out countless resumes; in his case, in search of a position in finance. After sending out over 40 job application, he didn’t get a single offer. The reason? No experience.

For three years, the 26 year old from Los Altos, Calif. worked temporary jobs to pay his bills; everything from a Home Depot clerk and elementary school tutor to a cross-country volunteer coach at Northwestern University. Realizing he had to get creative and step outside the box to find a meaningful career path, Seddiqui set out to explore a variety of career options. His answer: craft a plan where he would drive cross-country and work 50 different jobs in 50 states in 50 weeks. That’s one sure fire way of building one’s resume power!

Lining up most of the jobs in advance, Seddiqui found places to stay on the road. He kicked off his tour in Salt Lake City in September 2008, where he worked at the Humanitarian Center for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. From there, he worked as a hydrologist in Colorado then performed as a rodeo announcer in South Dakota. To Seddiqui’s surprise, employers were receptive to his experiment. In fact, some paid him quite handsomely. For example, he made $2000 in one week working at a medical device manufacturer in Minnesota.

There were other rewards beyond financial ones too. He’s seen sights he would not have otherwise seen, making the whole journey worthwhile. Documenting his journey on his blog, Livingthemap.com, Seddiqui wrote, “When you see a 200-foot tree slowly breaking down between other enormous trees and shake the earth, it would take your breath away.”

What’s especially intriguing is this young man accepts assignments without any knowledge of what he’s going to do until he actually does it on his first day on the job. Lack of knowledge or experience hasn’t slowed him down. Whether it’s a wedding business, marine biology, or archaeology, all skills have been learned on the job. What’s more, ten of his first 12 employers were so happy with him that they offered him a full-time job!

Still lined up are jobs as an amusement park supervisor in Florida, a surf instructor in Hawaii, and a model in North Carolina.

So what will he do once he has completed all 50 jobs?

“Who knows!” Seddiqui said. “ I’ve opened up so many opportunities for myself. And four months ago I had zero opportunities. And now I have endless, countless. I am hopefully going to get 50 jobs of experience, so no one can turn me down!”

In recent months, many of us have fallen on tough financial times. A good many of us – myself included – have played victim for a time, hoping circumstances change on their own, or at the very least, finding others who are willing to commiserate with us. Then a bright light comes out from all the darkness. Daniel Seddiqui is one such bright light. He inspires us to pick ourselves up, to dust ourselves off,and to move forward with our lives in spite the challenges placed before us.

Thank you, Daniel Seddiqui! You are living proof that opportunity still exists. Sometimes you just have to go beyond your comfort zone to find it.

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