During the recession, Daniel Seddiqui couldn’t find a job anywhere, even after exhausting 18,000 emails. So he packed his bags and went to work.
The past decade has been a tough time for Millennials to graduate from college, find a job with a living wage, and begin their lives.
Many of these graduates are facing a countless number of rejections and have to accept pretty big compromises on their career goals. Their predicament caused a reexamination of the basic American dream. Some people questioned if America truly still is the land of opportunity.
One man was fed up with the process.
He couldn’t stand hearing the infamous line from another potential employer, “We’ll call you in two to three weeks.”
Daniel Seddiqui had no place to go and nobody to turn to. He wasn’t welcome at his parents’ home, and the few times he did show up, it became a war zone.
“You’re not trying hard enough,” his mom told him.
If his parents thought that 40-plus third-round job interviews wasn’t trying hard enough, then Daniel didn’t know what else to do.
As his desperation grew, so did his curiosity and desire.
After emailing 18,000 contacts asking for an opportunity, Daniel packed his bag and headed to Chicago for a volunteer position.
The effort fell short.
He had to move to another city and try again.
His third attempt landed him in Atlanta, where he sold kitchen appointments at a home repair store. It was a 100 percent commission job. Daniel quickly found out that he wasn’t a good salesperson.
Three years out of college, Daniel became homeless and hit rock bottom.
His frustrating, nomadic life sparked an idea. He had nothing to lose.
Daniel decided to work 50 jobs in 50 states in 50 weeks, just to give him enough time to figure out what he wanted to do with his life.
What he discovered from being a border patrol agent in Arizona, a coal miner in West Virginia, a lobsterman in Maine, and an Egyptian stilt walker at an amusement park in Florida changed his entire life.
These are the top 5 lessons Daniel learned from his journey:
1. Be a People Person
Build your network, because people are going to be your biggest resource in offering you opportunities. Never overlook a person, because opportunities come in different forms.
During Daniel’s third week at a South Dakota rodeo, a rugged-looking cowboy came up to him and asked where he was staying while in his state. Daniel was thinking, “Not with you, because you’re scary looking.”
When Daniel decided to stop judging people on the basis of their looks and began to accept people for who they are, despite differences, his relationships started to grow.
He stayed with the cowboy and his family, and they treated him like one of their own.
2. Learn to Deal With Rejection
If you really want to live life, take what people think about you out of the equation.
As Daniel was making calls asking for jobs, people would laugh at him, tell him he was wasting their time, and then hang up the phone on him.
Accept rejection as part of the process, and learn that no matter what you’re searching for, you’re not going to hear no for eternity.
Daniel went through 5,000 noes to get 50 yeses.
3. Take Risks to Find Work
If you don’t already have the job, then what do you have to lose?
Daniel has walked up to security gates and knocked on doors, and was even threatened with a restraining order while making cold calls, but he kept going until he found what he wanted.
Don’t fear relocating or having to reinvent yourself, because those are the best ways to make discoveries.
4. Confidence Is Key
You have to believe in yourself for other people to believe in you.
Never second-guess yourself, or act as if you have already landed the job.
Confidence grows with experience, and as you can imagine, some of the jobs that Daniel landed toward the end of his journey are not what he thought he could land at the beginning.
5. Ask for Help and Share Your Ideas
You’ll never get what you want unless you ask for it.
People are willing to help more than not. If you show drive and initiative, people will jump on board to help.
By sharing your ideas with others, people will know how and where to help your efforts.
Since Daniel’s journey, he has turned his life around, writing an international best-selling book and speaking, where he has shared the many takeaways of his journey with nearly a million audience members. Now he is the founder of Living the Map, a program in which he builds awareness of the varying cultures, careers, and environments across the country through outreach, educational endeavors, and community building.
Have you ever done anything completely out of the ordinary to move up in your career? What was it? I’d love to learn more. Comment below!
Originally posted on Inc.
Leonard Kim is Managing Partner at InfluenceTree. At InfluenceTree, Leonard and his team teach you how to build your (personal or business) brand, get featured in publications and growth hack your social media following.