Man hauls lobster in quest to work 50 jobs in 50 states

Posted Aug. 18, 2009, at 9:21 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — Daniel Seddiqui is a busy man.

For the past year the 27-year-old Californian has been traveling the country attempting to work 50 jobs in 50 weeks in all 50 states. He was in Maine this week for job and state number 47, working on a lobster boat. It was one of the few jobs that didn’t agree with him.

“It was the worst,” Seddiqui said Tuesday. “It’s not because it’s a bad job. It’s just hard to adapt to on the first day. I got seasick, the smell of the bait and the fuel on the boat. Mosquitoes and starting at four in the morning didn’t help either. This was the only job I had a tough time adapting to.”

Seddiqui worked with St. George lobster fisherman Keith Miller and sick or not, they had quite a day. They pulled and baited hundreds of traps and returned to the dock nine hours later with 1,000 pounds of lobster. Seddiqui said his head was still spinning from the experience and he still has the smell of fish on him.

Seddiqui may not have enjoyed his time at sea but he certainly enjoys lobster.

“Lobster roll is one of the best dishes in the United States and I’ve tried hundreds of different regional foods across the country,” he said.

Seddiqui began his journey last September and plans to finish his quest next month after stops in Alaska, Hawaii and back home in California.

During the past year Seddiqui has earned as little as $300 for a week’s work at a few jobs, including as a logger in Oregon and as a counselor at a Boy’s and Girl’s Club in New Jersey. He earned the most so far, $3,000 one week working for a medical device manufacturing company in Minnesota.

He said he won’t know how much his share of the catch for lobstering will be until Friday.

He also has worked on the Border Patrol in Arizona, as a park ranger in Wyoming, making maple syrup in Vermont, as a ticket agent in Illinois, for an oil company in Texas, as a baseball scout in Massachusetts and even had a stint as a TV weatherman in Cleveland. Of all the jobs that he worked, the one he liked the best was as a dietitian in Mississippi, he said without elaborating.

“I try to look for a job that matches the culture and economy of a state. In Maine, lobster is both,” he said.

Last week he was in New Hampshire volunteering for the Democratic Party and managed to meet President Obama when he visited Portsmouth on Tuesday. He also met Gov. John Lynch.

Seddiqui got the idea for his job search after being unable to find employment after graduating from the University of Southern California with an economics degree. He had 40 interviews and could not land a job. He said his parents considered him a failure.

“They all wanted someone with three to five years’ experience for an entry level position. I never got a break, so I had to create my own break,” he said. “Now I’ve found 50 jobs and I’ve been invited to speak about them at USC on Friday. Then I’m off to Alaska to look for a job.”

Seddiqui said that when he couldn’t find the job he wanted, he decided to go looking for something to see where his personality would fit in. He lined up most of his jobs using the Internet and said he plans to begin writing a book about his experiences once he completes his mission.

Seddiqui has put more than 27,000 miles on his Jeep as he crossed the country. Every week he manages to stay with a host family, usually someone connected to the job he gets. In Maine he stayed with Ralph Dean, owner of Branch Brook Farms Lobster Trap Co. in Thomaston. It was Dean who hooked him up with fisherman Miller.

He has stayed with the Amish in Pennsylvania, Arabs in Michigan, African-Americans in New Jersey, Latinos in Iowa, cowboys in South Dakota, Jews in Connecticut and “red necks” in Indiana.

“This has definitely taught me that America is still a land of opportunity. It has taught me a lot about myself and people and where I fit in. This has definitely told me there are opportunities that are outside the field I was trained for,” Seddiqui said. “It shows you can create your own opportunities, even if it appears there are none.”

To learn more about Seddiqui’s adventures, visit

livingthemap.com.

wgriffin@bangordailynews.net

338-9546

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