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50 jobs, 50 states and 5,000 rejections

Daniel Zaas / Lantern photographer

With an economics degree in hand from the University of Southern California, Daniel Seddiqui could not land a job. Then, he found 50, none in the economics field.

“I just never got my break,” said Seddiqui, the author of “50 Jobs in 50 States.”

The book takes the reader through the journey Seddiqui began three years after graduating from USC while “living the map.”

Seddiqui said he thought the economics route would secure him a job in the finance field after graduation, providing a steady income and the ability to follow in his brother’s footsteps; a point of seemingly constant comparison.

After many failed interviews, and not having an internship under his belt, Seddiqui said he took out a loan to buy a Jeep Cherokee, without any support from family or friends.

Seddiqui said his journey began as a way to become self-fulfilled, but morphed into a chance to become a leader and inspire thousands around the country as news crews began to pick up his story.

He spent one week in each state, living off the income of each job and staying with host families.

“There will always be somebody and I just needed 50 somebodies,” Seddiqui said.

He received 5,000 rejections over the course of finding the 50 jobs.

To an audience of about 20 students on Thursday, Seddiqui explained five keys to success after graduation.


“Life throws you curve balls, you have to decide what to do,” he said.


“It’s always important to present your best self,” Seddiqui said.

Facebook and other forms of social media are important networking tools in today’s society, he said.


While working in a Detroit auto-shop, Seddiqui said a man came in with a gun demanding money from the register. The man Seddiqui was working with did not give in; he pulled out his own gun and said, “how ‘bout you give us your money?”


“I was gonna let whatever happened, happen. I had no backup plan, I just went with it,” Seddiqui said.


“There comes a time when you have to know when to stop,” Seddiqui said.

He said to know when to stop and redirect a path. When working with lobsters in Maine, Seddiqui said he knew he had to quit and go to land because he was getting sea sick.

At Ohio State’s career center, Brandy Williams, a career adviser, also had tips for college graduation success.

The Arts and Sciences Career Services office helps students with resume building and internship searches. Students are urged to come in beginning their senior year, Williams said.

The office houses a resource room which can help tell a student what can be done with each major, she said.

The help does not end with the diploma. Williams said graduates can use the office’s resources for one year after graduation.

Not every student needs to worry about job placements. Some are lucky enough to have job offers right after the alma mater is sung, the cap is thrown, and the diploma is in hand.

Samantha Bell, a fifth-year in welding engineering, said she did three internship rotations with a company in Akron building nuclear power plants and will continue after graduation.

“I’ll be doing the same thing, with more responsibilities,” Bell said.

Bell is one of the lucky students to have a job after graduation, but she did not do it all alone.

The Engineering Career Services sent out emails about the career fair every October, Bell said. She is also a member of the Society of Women Engineers.

Seddiqui advised graduates not to limit themselves.

“It’s hard to do, but find something worth pursuing,” Seddiqui said.  

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