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Doing 52 jobs in one year works for young adventurer

Date

Amy Remeikis

Paul Seymour was trying to explain to the farmer why he had packed up and sought to work a different job each week for 52 weeks with no more direction than ''an inkling there was more out there''.

''At the beginning of the week, he didn't really know what I was doing there, because his daughter had brought me on board and loved the idea of what I was doing,'' the 25-year-old Queenslander said.

''But by the end of the week, I had a moment with him and he said, 'I finally get it, I understand what you are doing. And if you give me that time back, your youth and the ability to do what it is you're doing and I would do the exact same thing.'

''And that meant a lot to me, to hear that from him. Because in his day, doing something like this wasn't as easy or as readily accessible. It was provide for your family and you work your job to do that.

''But the world changes.''

After a small amount of travel, some career false starts and hospitality work, Mr Seymour found himself in 2011 working in an employment agency finding jobs for other people. ''It wasn't for me and I didn't know why I was there,'' he said.

''And I think a big question that Gen Y have, as well as everyone else, I suppose, is, 'Why do I do what I do?' and I wanted to find out. So at the beginning, my adventure I suppose you'd call it, it was about, 'What do I want to do in life?' and what I learnt over the year is that it is more, 'How do I want to live?' and what kind of life to do I want to live and how will the jobs that I end up doing allow me to live that life?''

So, last year Mr Seymour became the ''one-week job guy'' working on a different job every week for each week of the year, following in the footsteps of Canadian Sean Aiken who undertook the challenge in 2008.

To make ends meet, he sold what worldly possessions he didn't need, took his meagre savings and hit the road, donating whatever wages were offered for the job to the charity Big Brothers Big Sisters.

What started out with friends and family putting out feelers for work turned into a ''spiderweb'' of opportunity, with one job helping to lead to the next and taking Paul across the eastern seaboard.

He worked in factories and farms, sold real estate and cleaned, mowed lawns and washed dishes, took jobs as a journalist and teacher, promoted tampons and managed a band.

''I thought I'd do this and come out with one job at the end, but looking back at it now, it turned into something which was more about what I did and didn't like in each of the different jobs and what aspects about each job spoke to me,'' he said.

''And what I realised was I don't think there will be a single calling in my life. I think I just found by the end of the year, that it is all right to not want to settle for just one job.''

The former Clontarf High schoolboy has also inspired a 59-year-old American woman to pick up the One Week Jobs mantle under the project name It's Never Too Late.

While Mr Seymour admits not everyone can spend a year moving from job to job, he said his year of introspection taught him too many people accepted being unhappy because of their fear of change.

He said each of his 52 employers last year helped dictate what this year would look like - he met his girlfriend while experimenting with career paths, decided to apply to RMIT to study media and film making and made the move to Melbourne - none of which was on his radar while sitting in his Brisbane office in 2011.

''When you are not even looking for something, that is when things can become clear and all come together for you,'' he said.

''I suppose it's like losing your car keys and trying to find them. Step back and it becomes easier.

''If you're stuck in a job you don't like, it's easy to imagine the grass is greener somewhere else, but a lot of people never jump over the fence to have their own look.

''Volunteer, use your holidays to try out something you think you'll like, make time on weekends, use your time in lieu. You might find out it is exactly what you'd imagined it would be, or that it's not for you. But at least you'll know.''

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