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The One-Week Job Project: One Man, One Year, 52 Jobs

3.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  438 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews

A year and a half after he graduated from college, Sean Aiken found himself struggling to answer the question “What should I do with my life?” His mother suggested teaching. His older sister told him to apply for an entry-level corporate position. His father said,
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 4th 2010 by Villard (first published April 6th 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,012)
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Jun 02, 2012 Karen rated it it was ok
I did finish this book but it was struggle! I found this book more to be about the author's life rather than the actual jobs he worked. I would have loved to have read more about the jobs themselves and the type of people that worked them. Instead it was mainly about the author finding love at the start of his years of jobs and the will they/won't they manage to continue a long distance relationship.
I did however love the little facts relating to each job at the start of each chapter, they were
Crystal Chm
May 19, 2012 Crystal Chm rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoir-essays
Boring memoir of a spoiled 25 year old living in his parents' basement who doesn't know who he wants to be when he grows up. The author was unlikable, in my opinion, and the story was more about him finding a girlfriend and having a good time with his friend, Ian, than it was about the actual jobs he took. I was really hoping for insight into the jobs he worked at, but the more interesting jobs were only described in a brief blurb while his experiences with people who gave him a place to stay an ...more
Jul 27, 2010 Terrie rated it did not like it
Normally I love books like this, but this one didn't do it for me. I had a problem with his basic thesis - I don't know what I want to do after college so I'm going to do a bunch of different things. Who cares? It's not like the first job you get out of college defines your career. Most people I know didn't even have majors that are remotely related to their current career.
It was also irritating how he did not describe many of the jobs fully - just a paragraph or so - while instead spent numerou
Apr 13, 2015 Scott rated it really liked it
4.5/5 Stars
It's not often that I read non-fiction, but I'm glad I did with this one. The first few pages resonated with me, and got me hooked right away. Sean spoke about being a 25 year old, living in his parents' basement, and I immediately thought back to my own life less than a year ago. The book made me re-think some of the important decisions I've made. Am I doing what I love? Should I be doing something else? I thought about myself, and my life. I think Sean made a good point when he spok
Jun 20, 2010 Carin rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, stunt-memoirs
I heard about The One-Week Job Project: One Man, One Year, 52 Jobs by Sean Aiken on NPR many months ago. I love books where people do something crazy for a year (My Jesus Year, The Urban Hermit, Not Buying It). I also am a mentor at my college through the career center for young and future alumni in my industry. (I encourage everyone to do this actually - it's been really rewarding, and involved surprisingly little effort. Really, the biggest effort is that I give them advice and occasionally do ...more
Feb 29, 2016 Amy rated it liked it
SPOILER ALERT: Cool idea for a project (and now a book) but I was so disappointed that after trying out 52 different jobs he didn't choose one of these jobs to be his career! Lame. It appears (from reading the epilogue; but it wasn't fully clear) his career is promoting 'one week job' mini versions for teens and does talks at high schools.

- I didn't love all the '15 min of fame' discussed in the book (eg I was on Rachel Ray's show! Good Morning America called!).

- I did love how positive Sean is!
Valentin Mihov
Jan 24, 2015 Valentin Mihov rated it really liked it
Shelves: just-have-it
From Publishers Weekly

After graduating from college with a business administration degree—and very uncertain about his career path—Aiken embarked on a yearlong journey throughout Canada and the U.S., trying out new jobs for one week at a time and donating all his wages to a charity. It's a bit contrived and by now familiar (A.J. Jacobs has written a shelf of such books), but Aiken is an appealing guinea pig. Readers expecting a meditation on work (or working at all during a recession, let alon

Mar 06, 2015 Andrew rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, albeit it was difficult to pin down what this book was about. It is best to start with what this book is not. It is not a how to guide on determining one's penultimate career, nor is not an in depth look into 52 jobs. Rather, the book chronicles one individual's journey in answering the question "what do I want to do with my life?" This is intertwined with his personal and familial relationships, handling his 15 minutes of fame, and travel stories. Overall, the book was an e ...more
Apr 20, 2014 Hallie rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was readable enough, though I did find myself wishing quite often that Sean had gone into more detail (or any detail at all) with some of the gigs that he had the chance to work through during this project.

In general, I applaud the author's initiative to think up this venture and the tenacity and hard work that was put in to follow this through. What I wish was also addressed in this book, however, was not just the typical twenty-year old's quarter-life crisis in trying to figure out w
Aug 08, 2014 Kiri rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-summer
A.J. Jacob's said it best, "I can't say wether Sean was a good aquarium host or tattoo artist, but I do think he is very good at one job: writing."

In this book, Sean takes you on a journey. When you first pick it up, you may only be expecting a detailed list of each job, what he learned from the job, and whether or not he liked it, But there is SO much more.

Sean takes you through a journey. One that involves love, pain, difficult truths, wisdom, and self discovery. Every page left me wanting mo
Dec 09, 2015 Vaida rated it did not like it
I was interested in this book as I hoped it would highlight the differences among possible career choices. I checked the list of jobs Sean Aiken tried and the list got me optimistic about it: the professions were very different from one another, a lot of them were pretty unusual and I hoped to learn more about them as I am between jobs myself.

The things I learned after reading: at 25 some people still don't know that some jobs require specific training and you can't just try them out for a week
Connie N.
What an interesting book. This young man graduated at valedictorian from his college but really had no idea of what he wanted to do with his life. His father's advice was to choose something that you are passionate about. Since he just couldn't make up his mind, despite his degree in business, he came up with the idea of trying many different jobs. As a matter of fact, he decided to try a job a week for the next year, searching for the career that would make him happy. He set up a website/blog a ...more
Jan 29, 2014 Thalia rated it it was amazing
How cool is it to gain a sampling of one's 52 jobs over a 52-week period? How bizarre when someone's outlandish idea catches on and makes a living for him? How interesting is it to learn what motivates various people? I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I say "pssht" to the reviewer who criticized the lack of job descriptions. The point of anybody's time at a job is experience gained and relationships made, not your tasklist. No one cares what you know how to do on a resume. They care about how y ...more
Jun 07, 2011 Allison rated it really liked it
Shelves: non
This book was just as inspirational (for me) as The Mailroom. Sean was 25, a college graduate, and had spent a year traveling post-graduation. He still had no clue what he wanted to do for a career. He got an idea to try a job a week for a year, hoping one of them would stick. He set up a website for employers to find him and started working in Canada, though he eventually came into the US to work as well. Any wages the employers would typically pay for the position were donated to charity - he ...more
May 11, 2013 Nicole rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
A good read for enforcing the idea of doing what you love. The places that Aiken visited that provided this kind of environment for their employees, by creating a culture where passion and creativity could thrive, fairly vibrated off the pages. I've never had an inkling to work for a beer-brewing company, yet after that chapter was completed, I believed it might be a brilliant choice. Then there were the jobs that were clearly just jobs and the owners had little sense of vision other than just g ...more
Aug 08, 2012 dameolga rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Watch me give out five star ratings!

What's unprecedented about this particular five star book (for me) is that it's NON-FICTION.

Yes, I know! Shocking.

You might glean from reading other reviews that this book would be perfect for somebody, perhaps around college age, trying to answer that age-old-question "What do I want to be when I grow up?" Indeed, this book would be perfect for anybody with vague expectations of the future and a blurry concept of "the real world," wondering how to find that
Nov 25, 2012 Remo rated it it was ok
Un joven canadiense termina la carrera y no sabe qué hacer con su vida. Se le ocurre probar 52 empleos, uno por semana, a lo largo de un año, para lo cual monta una za href="">p... web en la que recibe ofertas de trabajo. Y se pasa un año currando por Canadá y Estados Unidos.

La idea del libro es buena, si no sé qué hacer con mi vida, voy a probar unas cuantas cosas para ver qué me llama más la atención. Lo malo es que el autor no es un gran escritor ni es especialme
Feb 25, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it
I don't even know why I checked this out at the library. I was sure that it was going to be dumb, cuz really...52 jobs in one year is preposterous! Why would I waste my time on a book that I was sure would be stupid? Perhaps I am stupid myself. But once in a while my stupidity works out! Yay! I loved this book. More precisely, I loved the author. He was just an awesome dude. Or maybe he is a jerk, but has an awesome way of writing. Either way, this book was actually inspiring. I give myself a hi ...more
May 03, 2011 Theresa rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 24, 2010 Lydia rated it it was amazing
This book is perfect for anyone that is looking for a job because it give and inside look on what different jobs are like. It is about one man looking for a job in North America and doing each job for one week. Which means fifty-two jobs in fifty-two weeks. I really enjoyed this book because of the way it was formated. It clearly shows what jobs he is doing and the highlights of what he learned in a bullet pointed way. Another reason why I liked it because in between each job description, he wri ...more
John Huffman
Jan 18, 2013 John Huffman rated it liked it
I had a trip to NYC and took this as some light reading along the way. It is split mostly into weekly sections in the book so it was very easy to stop-and-start throughout my travels and was an overall easy read.

The book was mostly about Sean's one year project to try a different job each week to figure out what kind of care he should have. But I found the most interesting part to really be about all of the different people he met along the well and how helpful people were to him along the way.
Aug 23, 2013 Georgia rated it really liked it
For someone like me who is changing careers, this was probably a really great book to pick up and read. Obviously this is a book that many young people either near the end of the high school career or college career should read.

We are no longer bound by the idea that we get one job and continue doing that same career for the rest of our lives. The way of business and careers has changed and we aren't bound by the old rules anymore. But what holds most of us back is fear of change and fear of fa
Mar 22, 2011 Barb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hobbies
Yes, I AM reading three books at a time. Depends on how long I am sitting or standing still....

Anyway, this one captured my attention because let's face it, I have job-committing issues. I truly believe that you can work and be passionate about it and love it. Should love it anyway. But that it shouldn't consume you.

This book is about a wild guy who graduated from college, traveled for a year, and still didn't have a clue as to what he wanted to do for his work. Lots of preconceived notions abo
Dec 12, 2010 Emilyn rated it liked it
I found this a very interesting read as someone who knew what I wanted to do with my life before finishing college. I really like my current job, but as a mid twenty-something, I also can't see myself having this same job for the rest of my life. It was great to read about another person who had the courage (and time and lack of things tying them down) to undertake a project like this.

I enjoyed reading about all the jobs and what Sean learned along the way. I think what brought this down in ter
Apr 26, 2011 Kelly rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2011
Spoiler Alert! Sean was graduated at the top of his class in college and spoke at graduation. He is a very likable and smart guy. He still wasn't sure what he wanted to do so he got the idea to try 52 jobs, each lasting one week. The crazy thing is that he didn't have a budget and got sponsors and people donated stuff to him too. The other crazy thing is that a lot of companies really wanted him to work for them and sometimes even paid for his plane ticket to get there, etc. The thing that kept ...more
Feb 13, 2016 Phillipa rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a slow read for me. Which was kind of surprising, you'd think 52 nice bite-sized chunks would make it easier. I don't know, I'm not really sure this book would help anyone but the author. And I certainly wouldn't like to do 52 jobs in a year. It's a bit like the world's longest job-shadow ... and there didn't seem to be much about him actually evaluating whether he could see himself doing any of the jobs for real.

Still, it was a pretty cool idea. And I enjoy offbeat life-experiment typ
Dec 06, 2010 Danielle rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this book. There are so many gimmicky things around lately, but this was a gimmick I was interested in. It does bother me that he mentions his friends are the people of red paperclip fame, which makes me feel like they sit around plotting on how to make money and get their 15 min of fame, which makes me feel kind of duped But, whatever. Onward!

Writing is decent for a book of this sort. Stories are interesting. I would have been okay with hearing less about his love life and more about so
David Wilding
Aug 08, 2015 David Wilding rated it really liked it
At first I thought it would be the naive tale of a guy who was just "doing it for fun". I thought I would never get into it. But as it went on it got more interesting to see the progress of Sean Aitken. What amazed me was how many job offers he had and how he organised it all. In the end, a very enjoyable read!
Allison Ann
Sep 02, 2014 Allison Ann rated it liked it
Shelves: library, src-fall14
Okay. Not especially well written and the personal stuff really didn't interest me as much as hearing about the jobs. I suspect he was phoning it in to a lot of them. Interesting to see the difference between the jobs that were hiring him solely for advertising and those that honestly thought they were helping out a young man on a quest.
Kirsty Shark
Mar 30, 2011 Kirsty Shark rated it liked it
As a recent graduate, I totally understood Sean Aiken and his feelings surrounding the prospect of picking a career. Sean came across as a really cool, genuine guy who wanted to discover more about the big questions surrounding the relationship between a career and life purpose and happiness, just as much, if not more, than he wanted to discover a specific career for himself.

The book felt a little more like a blog than a story, although he definitely made efforts to introduce a storyline into th
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