A moment with Jack Han

a/Student Living by

A combination of insightful advice, followed by a challenge from a friend catalyzed McGill Marketing graduate Jack Han’s current project, “30 jobs in 30 days.”  Han is literally trying 30 different jobs—from pizza delivery man to professional tennis player—on for size.

It began with a conversation over dinner. After enduring a collection of trials and tribulations in the employment world, Han was having sushi with his friend—a pal he describes essentially as his living antithesis: an archetypical accountant. His friend teased him for going through jobs like tissue.

At first, everything seemed to be falling into place perfectly. Han was one of four students chosen out of a two thousand person cattle call from InBev—a beer powerhouse which owns Budweiser, Stella Artois and more—and quickly transformed from your everyday college student into a business big wig, hopping on and off of jet planes and bouncing around prestigious boardrooms. But soon enough, the lure of living the marketing dream lost its appeal, and Han found himself falling asleep at 2 p.m. during a conference call as he sat next to his boss.

A third of the way through, Han found time in his busy schedule to give the Tribune some insights into his project.

McGill Tribune: How did you lay the groundwork for your 30 day experiment? Was it difficult to organize?

Jack Han: It was easy, but it wasn’t simple. All you have to do is phone someone or e-mail [the businesses] and wait to hear back. It’s not rocket science; a sixth grader could do it, but you have to consider a lot of things. Who to contact, who to call back, and when to do it; it’s a lot to remember.

MT: Out of all the jobs you have experimented with thus far, which job stands out as the most memorable?

JH: I did stand-up comedy. I wrote my own routine and had my friend film it. It was really fun, but I didn’t expect to be in the same show as professional comedians. I thought I did okay.

MT: Would you consider the stand-up comedy job the most challenging one you encountered?

JH: No. The [hardest job] was Planet Poutine. I went to do an overnight shift, 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. You would not believe how hard it is to work an overnight shift at a poutine place. [Just before] 4 a.m., the owner made me go outside and hand out coupons. I was walking down the street distributing [them] to kids coming out of loft parties … trying to convince them to come. Then I had a confrontation with a nearby business owner who gave me attitude because he had a restaurant in the area too, even though he was closed.

MT: What was the most surprising job—the experience that made you think: ‘Wow. I had no idea this was involved in this job whatsoever.’

JH: Definitely the importance of tipping when I was [a delivery person] with Domino’s. Half of the time [the driver and I] spent together we talked about tips. It was the most important thing for him. He drives his own car, has to pay for his own gas, and only makes eight dollars an hour. He has a five-year-old son, and the most memorable thing he told me is that Halloween is traditionally one of the busiest and most lucrative nights of the [year for the] pizza industry, but he always sacrificed the money to spend the night with his son. It’s moments like that when you realize how privileged we are—most of us don’t have to make that kind of sacrifice.

MT: How did your time at McGill contribute to your project?

JH: If I can remember one thing … at McGill [it’s] that if you want to be great, you have to be different. If you’re not different, you’re going to get lost in the shuffle. That’s why I thought this was a great time to do something different. Worse comes to worst, I can always go back to having a desk job.

MT: How has your experiment changed your perception of the job market?

JH: It made me realize how little faith … you should put in the traditional process. Right now I’m teaching a SSMU mini-course called ‘the Art of Persuasion.’ The biggest thing I teach there is forgetting about having a perfect CV or perfect GPA. The most important thing is going and making a friend and finding someone to guide you. Talk to people who work in the industry, ask them for advice. The funny thing is, when you ask people for advice and they give it to you, suddenly they become invested in you and your future.