By Angela Lingg
Tall, handsome, with dark hair and a warm personality, Daniel Seddiqui looks like a man of success. Yet, he has been named by USA Today as the most rejected person in the world. After failing more than 40 consecutive job interviews, Seddiqui decided to chart his own course.
On Nov. 17, Seddiqui spoke at the Sports Arena as part of the Dillon Lecture Series. He recounted to the audience his experience of failing to find a job after he graduated college with a degree in economics.
“Those rejections that I faced after graduating college were a blessing in disguise,” Seddiqui said. “Failing 40 job interviews at the time was very tough emotionally.”
Through his failures, Seddiqui learned to accept rejection and not let it discourage him.
“The hardest thing in life is going through the emotions of being unwanted or rejected, but the best thing in life is to go through rejection and not caring,” Seddiqui said. “And I got to the point where I’d been rejected so many times that I became numb to that process and that has literally opened doors.”
Since he was unable to land a job, Seddiqui decided to embark on a journey that would change his life.
He attempted to work 50 jobs in 50 states; a journey he called living the map. Seddiqui recounted some of those jobs to the audience: rodeo announcing in South Dakota, modeling in North Carolina, working on a pit crew in Indiana, being a border patrol agent in Arizona, working as a veterinarian in Kentucky, and coal mining in West Virginia.
He learned lessons along the way that he shared with the audience.
“In Minnesota, my employer shook my hand and he said, ‘We really appreciate you helping out and contributing here,’” Seddiquie said.
“I was about to walk away to my car and go off to my next state which was Iowa. He said, ‘Hey, wait. Come back in,’ and there stood 80 of my co-workers in the cafeteria and they all threw me a surprise party…They were appreciative of me stepping into their shoes, and experiencing their livelihood.”
Seddiqui shared about his job in Kansas where he worked in a meat processing plant in Topeka. He experienced one of the worst nights in his life while in Kansas.
“I ended up sleeping in my car when it was negative six degrees temperature,” Seddiqui said. “It was a good experience, because it made me emotionally very strong.” His job in Kansas was not his least desirable job, but it was close.
Seddiqui stressed to the audience that failure is important for success. He told students to not be afraid to try new things and to take risks to fulfill your goals.
“You’re not going to get what you want if you don’t ask for it,” Seddiqui said.
Joanne Gunsolley, Marquette, a research analyst at HCC, was pleased with Seddiqui’s lecture.
“I think he drew people into his story,” Gunsolley said. “The number one message I heard him say was failure is not a bad thing. I think you’ve grown up with the message, ‘Failure is not an option, (from the Apollo 13 mission).’”
Seddiqui’s message is that failure isn’t a bad thing and we can learn lessons from it. “I think it’s an important message because everyone is going to fail somewhere in life,” Gunsolley said.