If this is Week 12, Daniel Seddiqui must be logging

If this is Week 12, Daniel Seddiqui must be logging

After graduating from college, Daniel Seddiqui rolled up his sleeves and began working hard to launch his career.

Armed with a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Southern California, he spent more than $6,000 of his own money to travel across the country for job interviews.

But he couldn't get his foot through the career door.

"I was nonstop looking for a job," he says. "I had interview after interview, 40-plus interviews. I felt very qualified but I was never able to land a job. It was real frustrating.

"But as I traveled around the country, trying to get my foot in the door, I noticed a huge cultural difference between states," he adds. "What people were doing and their lifestyles were so different."

So Seddiqui, 26, whose temporary jobs have included everything from coaching to washing dishes, even tutoring elementary students, came up with a unique plan.

He made a list of jobs typically found in each state. He then began persuading employers to hire him for a week so he can try the job on for size.

That's right, 50 different jobs in 50 weeks. He calls his project "Living the Map." He is keeping written and video journals — check out — of the experience, which he hopes to turn into a book and a video documentary.

This past week — Week 12 in his epic job journey which began in Utah immediately following Labor Day — he was working as a logger for Eagle Point-based HM Inc., owned by Ed and Susan Hanscom.

Seddiqui got up at 3:30 a.m. and headed out the door by 4:45 a.m. He worked until dark on the logging site in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

He learned how to use a chainsaw and brand logs. He picked up new terminology such as skidder and choker as well as a few phrases that would curdle milk at 50 paces.

"What a great experience," says the Los Altos, Calif., resident. "I've never done anything even close to that. You see the huge trees crashing to the ground and feel the ground shake. And the people I met were awesome."

However, the former long-distance runner in college wasn't ready for the cultural shock when the crummy stopped at a store to pick up beer, cigarettes and chewing tobacco after a hard day's work. A logger fired up a cigarette. Seddiqui rolled down his window.

"One of the loggers asked me, 'Don't you have any bad habits?' " he recalls with a laugh. "I told him I hadn't been logging enough."

Kidding aside, he says logging has been his most memorable job thus far in his job journey.

"I really liked logging," he says. "It was an unbelievable experience to see what these loggers do. It's hard work. Maybe it's because I'm a runner, but I loved being in the outdoors."

Ed Hanscom, a forestry graduate of Oregon State University which he happily notes is the only team to have beaten USC in football this year, got a kick out of showing the USC grad the ropes.

"He had never been in the woods before — he was a little overwhelmed," he says. "But he's bright, asked a lot of questions. The crew enjoyed being around him, harassing him, visiting with him.

"It was a positive experience for us," he adds. "I'd be real interested in seeing the final results of his project."

His inspiration comes from people such as Hanscom he meets along the way, Seddiqui says.

Thus far, he has worked in humanitarian services for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, as a hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey in Denver, a rodeo announcer in South Dakota, cartographer in North Dakota, medical device manufacturer in Minnesota, agronomist in Iowa, corn farmer in Nebraska, park ranger in Wyoming, general store clerk in Montana, real estate agent in Idaho and a marine biologist in Washington.

After logging, it was his stint as a park ranger at the Devil's Tower National Monument in Wyoming that is highest on his job satisfaction list.

He also was impressed by his work at the Mormon Church.

"I got to understand how great the people are," says Seddiqui, who is not a Mormon. "They were the nicest group of people to work with. They were completely unselfish."

Future jobs include working as a lobster fisherman in Maine — Week 47 — and on an Alaskan cruise — Week 48 — in the Last Frontier.

After taking a week off for Thanksgiving to spend with family, he will head to Las Vegas for Week 13.

"I'll be working in a wedding chapel that week," he says. "It should be very interesting."

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or e-mail him at

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