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Walking the road less travelled

Want to follow your dreams? Don’t want a regular job? Read on about the ‘One Week Job Project’

In a country obsessed with grades and gold medals, where qualifications and accolades are bragged about at every family function and religious ceremony, education is often reduced to the mark-sheet. A young kid must tolerate nagging comparisons and threats issued by family and tuition masters. The minds of students are stressed and burdened with expectations to deliver outstanding performances only to please the world – even as their heart cries out for perhaps something else.

And then they take up jobs which leave them sulking for the rest of their lives. We often see youngsters confess on social networking sites that ‘I am so confused, I don’t know what to do next!’ or ‘I have no idea why I am doing this course’.

These confused souls might now find comfort in something called the One Week Job Project’. The principle here is simple: explore your options until you decide on something that defines who you are.

The One Week Job Project was created in 2008 by Sean Aiken, a Canadian resident and recent university graduate who struggled to answer the question, ‘What should I do with my life?’  Determined to discover his passion, he embarked on an epic journey throughout North America working 52 jobs in 52 weeks. Since completing his journey, Sean has published a book and produced a documentary film about the experience. He has also started One Week Job projects in Australia, USA, UK, and India.

Jubanasnohwa Mishra, the Indian participant in this global concept, is traveling across the length and breadth of the nation with one goal in mind: he has to carry out 28 jobs in 28 weeks in 28 states, immersing himself in a process of re-discovering, re-defining and re-envisioning himself. He often asked himself, “What’s my dream?” and thus he decided to embark on this project to discover his passion and keep all his dreams alive. “Job satisfaction is a serious issue worldwide and my aim through this project is to globally spread the message of ‘discovering your passion’,” he said when Streets met up him earlier this week in Panjim.

“The whole experience to be documented in a film and a book will focus on my various job opportunities ranging from being a photographer in Haryana to a cremation assistant in Varanasi, to a tattoo artist in Goa. The money that people contribute to this campaign will be used for production of the film and documentation and printing of the book,” he says.

After a stereotypical Indian degree in Engineering, Jubanashwa worked for three years in IT giant Tata Consultancy Services. After graduation, he worked on many challenging projects before deciding to take this road less travelled.

Says Jubanashwa, “When you are a kid you have certain dreams that you want to pursue, mostly influenced by parents and culture. Exposure to various careers and jobs and profession needs to be made an element of the basic curriculum to prevent complete ignorance of other subjects.”

There is always pressure from home and family to settle down and take up a more stable job. “Initially, it is tough to convince them, as they don’t understand. But eventually when they see you happy and successful, they will automatically support you,” he says, adding, “It is important to keep away all the negativity and take in all the positive responses and reactions from friends and fans.”

“Parents being the primary educators need to introduce their children to different careers and encourage them to explore various options, thus making them aware of at least the existence of such jobs,” says the explorer who celebrated his 29th birthday by helping clean the mountains in Himachal Pradesh. So far he’s visited eight states, battling the different altitudes and temperatures, besides adapting to food habits and local cultures of the heterogeneous Indian population.

The monsoon is not always the favoured season to be visiting Goa, but he has fallen in love with the greenery of the countryside.

India, according to this explorer, is the land of the Buddha –there are a lot of preachers but no followers. So instead of being one of those who continuously advise others about following their dreams, he decided to actually live the journey – a more practical way to spread the message. “There are a lot of people to give advice and speeches but very few who actually practice the concept of living their passion.”

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