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The Carletonian

Seddiqui ‘crosses borders’ in convo speech on 50 jobs in 50 states

<niel Seddiqui headlined on major news channels and networks with his mission to find fifty jobs in fifty states – all within fifty weeks. At the college Convocation, he presented his journey that was titled "Crossing Borders."

An economics undergraduate from California, Seddiqui wanted his journey to shed light upon the strain that many workers faced during the recession. He referred to his condition of living in California as a ‘bubble’ that he wished to exit to learn more about the cultures of other states in America. His incessant letdowns with job opportunities – the vast majority on the grounds that he “needed more experience” – encouraged him to embark upon a journey where he gained first-hand insight into some of the stereotypical jobs of other states.

From serving as a coal miner in West Virginia and a lobster fisherman in Maine to helping horses give birth in Kentucky, Seddiqui presented such examples in hopes of addressing the importance of risk-taking, perseverance, adaptation, and networking. Beginning on week one with nothing but a car, he made tentative arrangements to four out of fifty jobs, and established the rest en route and between states, claiming he had been rejected  4,000 – 5,000 times in total.

He illustrated the vital concept of adaptation, saying, “You can prepare all your life for what you want to do after you graduate, but it will still throw you curveballs.”

With this came the importance of learning quickly: while most jobs provide two to three weeks of training, Seddiqui said he only had about two to three hours before he had to begin work. Some jobs, such as logging in Oregon, were of excruciating physical demand, requiring him to be on the worksite before dawn. He also had to adapt to secondary aspects of his job, including living conditions and requirements, which he highlighted by mentioning the multiple trailers he lived in and having to develop the correct accent to serve as a rodeo announcer in South Dakota.

Upon nearly turning away from entering the deep coalmines of West Virginia, Seddiqui pressed through by remembering how he set out willing to do anything and everything – not just for himself but also for all the individuals who were inspired by his story. He willed to motivate others through an incredible act of perseverance – and during his presentation he emphasized that when looking for jobs, one should not expect things within one’s comfort zone.

Seddiqui said the most rewarding aspect of the journey was gaining enough first-hand experience to know what jobs he enjoyed and disliked. He stressed that as current undergraduates, students should take the advantage and actively seek out internships to personally obtain that invaluable experience.

Part of his journey, he said, was to dispel the vast majority of stereotypes surrounding typical jobs in certain states, adding another enriching aspect to his experience. While working in the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City, Utah, he realized that – contrary to the popular belief that Mormons were detached from civilization – they were in possession of cell phones as well as automobiles in the increasingly modernizing world. Seddiqui debunked this popular myth as another means of encouragement to explore and to step outside one’s comfort zone.

He concluded “Crossing Borders” by wishing students the greatest success in continuing to push forward in the face of failure, saying that rejection is all part of the process, yet it should not be any reason to pause in one’s perseverance. By drawing a parallel with a long distance runner completing a marathon, Seddiqui stressed that one may receive all the training and preparation possible from external sources, but once the starting gun is fired, it ultimately is down to individual drive to keep the runner going. He thus urged students to call the shots in their own future competitive careers.

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