28 jobs 28 weeks 28 states
Jubanashwa Mishra poses as a photographer for a week in Haryana; hopes to be a cremation assistant, next week, in Uttar Pradesh; aims at an assistant director's post, yet another week, in Mumbai. Kiran Mehta chats with the IT engineer who signed up for the 'One Week Job' project.
While most people strive to portray stability and reliability in their LinkedIn profiles, Jubanashwa Mishra refers to himself as a ‘Frequent job changer’ in bold, in the headline itself. Yet scroll down to his qualifications and he begins to read like the stereotype of the urban Indian male — a BTech in Information Technology from the National Institute of Science and Technology. Post that, in typical Indian fashion, he got himself yet another degree. But this time around, he veered slightly away from the herd and got himself a Post Graduate Diploma in Communication Management and Entrepreneurship from the Mudra Institute of Communication (MICA), Ahmedabad. “After MICA I began to view the IT field differently. It opened up my mind. I realised that it was possible to merge my technical skills with my creative side. So I got involved in ventures that allowed me to do this,” he says.
How the idea emerged
One such venture was that of branding at Jatra.Jatra is a centuries-old form of folk entertainment in the rural areas of Orissa and Bengal. Here Jubanashwa was cast in the role of marketing and branding consultant, who also offered digital solutions. “Together with a team, I helped well-known Indian brands tap into the mindset and culture of the rural dwellers in order to bring awareness of their brands in these areas. For this we used the traditional folk art of Jatra, as a platform. At the same time, I used digital technology to help managers in the boardroom keep track of the progress of their brand in the rural areas,” he says. Similarly Jubanashwa fused art with technology to launch EZee dictionary, an online dictionary that uses visuals to convey the meaning of words. Other similar projects followed suit.
Having worked on many different projects and having to wear many different hats, is what got Jubanashwa thinking. “As I worked in these unconventional roles, friends and acquaintances came up to me asking me how I was managing it. Many envied me. I realised that there are youngsters who want to steer away from the beaten path, but in India, societal and parental pressures make us walk straight and narrow. But, this comes at the cost of job satisfaction,” the IT engineer recalls. He wanted to do something that would inspire others to discover their passion, and live their dream through a fulfilling career. He adds that while till then, he had worked in several roles he had thoroughly enjoyed, he was keen to experience more. So Jubanashwa dabbled with the idea of working on a variety of short-term assignments in different states across India. Then I Googled and chanced upon the One Week Job project started by Canadian resident, Sean Aiken. Aiken’s project immediately resonated with Jubanashwa. He wrote to the One Week Project, with a detailed profile and post an informal Skpe interview, he became the first participant based in India. This month, 28-year-old Jubanashwa embarked on a journey that will lead him to 28 jobs in 28 statesacross the country.
On his wishlist are jobs such as boat driver, emotional consultant, tattoo artist, bartender, cremation assistant, festival director, television host, professor and film critic. “I thought about this list carefully. These are jobs I have always wanted to experience. Even if most of them won't lead me to my career, they will surely get me thinking and help me appreciate what’s out there,” he explains. Other jobs he has lined up include that of a market researcher in Ahmedabad, a job in the hospitality sector in Rajasthan. As far as Mumbai goes, he hopes to make inroads into Bollywood, even if it’s just behind the scenes.
More importantly, he believes that these will help others discover their passion, vicariously, through his journey. He is quick to add that while this is his preferred list, he is open to looking into various other options as well. Having just started his first job as a photographer for news channel NDTV in Haryana, Jubanashwa says, “It was a great experience, but I realised it’s not as glamorous as it looks. It involves long hours and lugging around heavy equipment, in all kinds of weather. Overall, I realised that while anyone can own a camera, not all are meant to be photographers!”
Be a part of the One Week Job project
If you are a prospective employer, all you have to do is write into Jubanashwa through the One Week Job website, http://www. oneweekjob.com/india/ with details about your company, the job description, the location, when you’d like him to start, along with the amount you're willing to ‘donate’. Jubanashwa explains, “While I do work for a wage, there is no minimum wage. I’ll accept all offers and hope that individuals and companies make a fair one. My wages are being donated to a charity called Goonj. As far as my food, accommodation and travel expenses go, I would appreciate if employers contributed towards it although that’s not a criterion. Together with the project, I am soon going to launch a crowdsourced fund raiser and hopefully that will help meet my expenses.”
Sean aiken and the one week job project
Sean Aiken, a college graduate in 2007, didn’t know what to do for a career. Instead of getting on with life, and taking the first job that came along in a receding economy; he decided to find his passion in a unique way.
He took on 52 jobs in 52 weeks, and from this, the project was born in 2008. The project has been a success in USA, UK and Australia.