While most of us seek stability and a regular paycheck, Jubanashwa Mishra took on an unplanned journey to 28 states in India, doing arbitrary and odd jobs every week.
He has worked as a photographer, a tattoo artist, a river rafting guide, a film executive, a tea factory worker, a waste warrior, and much more. While every week most of us go to the same office to do the same job, this man had no idea where he would be working the next week.
Meet Jubanashwa Mishra from Bhubaneswar, Odisha, who took 28 jobs in 28 weeks and covered 28 states of India. Determined to not do a dull regular job after completing his engineering, Mishra took a path rarely traveled.
“I did my engineering like many people in India but I knew I never wanted to do a job. I got the idea of job-hopping when I heard of a guy who did something similar — doing 52 jobs in 52 weeks. I thought I’d use the same idea too and explore the 28 states in India.”
– Jubanashwa Mishra.
Inspired by the work of Canadian Sean Aiken who first introduced the concept of one week one job, Mishra decided to follow the same path.
Once Mishra had made up his mind, there was no looking back. He didn’t even tell his parents about his adventure; they got to know about what he was doing through a local news article. Confused and worried in the beginning, the family finally accepted the idea that Mishra was not going to take up a “settled” job.
How he went about his dream plan
“Initially I would contact organizations and secure the jobs beforehand, but then, as I got the hang of it, I became more spontaneous. I stopped planning and took any job of my interest that came my way,” recalls Mishra.
Throughout his journey, Mishra was sure of one thing— he wanted to take up jobs that would help him understand the culture and traditions of the state he was going to. And so it came about that he took up a job as a waste warrior and mountain cleaner in Himachal Pradesh, a tea factory worker in Assam, a movie marketing executive in Maharashtra, a mud artisan in West Bengal, a rafting trainee in Jammu & Kashmir, and so on.
Starting with his journey as a photographer in Haryana in May 2013, Mishra’s journey has been full of unforgettable experiences.
“I started as a photographer in Haryana because those guys were the first ones to say yes to my proposal,” laughs Mishra. But as he moved forward in his journey and explored other states, people started approaching him with various job offers. Some he did as a volunteer for free and for others he was paid a substantial amount.
From being a news channel TRP analyst in Odisha to emotional consultant in Karnataka, and even a tattoo artist in Goa, Mishra tried his hand at many jobs. But the one he found the most challenging was working as a playschool teacher.
“In one week I learnt enough to make a small tattoo on a client. But it was being a playschool teacher in Andhra Pradesh which was most challenging — handling three to four year old kids is not easy,” he says.
Supported by funds he collected through a crowdfunding platform, Mishra traveled approximately 25,000 km by train, bus, taxi, flight, tram, auto, bike, rickshaw, boat, raft, and even his own two feet.
“I was living my dream of meeting new people and connecting with them. I didn’t care about how difficult the journey was. In the end all that mattered was the experience I was gaining. There is so much to learn and explore in our country. We should travel far and see amazing places, cultures and people,” says Mishra.
Despite the fact that Mishra is highly educated (being an engineer and then a Post Graduate from MICA, Ahmedabad), Mishra did not restrict his job profiles to his capabilities. Rather, he pushed himself and took up the most unexpected jobs.
While in Uttar Pradesh he was a cremation assistant, in Chennai he was a snack seller on the beach. One week he was running a contraceptive campaign in rural Bihar, and in another he was working as a farmer in Uttarakhand.
The journey was a challenge of course. He was constantly on the road, adjusting to different climatic conditions and circumstances…his health finally took a toll and he was very ill for several days. “I thought I was going to die. I was in bed for two weeks. But that was the only break I took and I was back on my journey,” he says.
Mishra is now back to his home in Bhubaneshwar and documenting his experiences in a book that tells of his incredible journey.
“I have been recently rejected by a publisher. But I am sure I will find one at the right time,” he says.
Not willing to join the corporate sector, Mishra has started a preschool called Paper Boat in Bhubaneswar. “It is a futuristic playschool where children do not simply learn, they experience education through our theme-based learning approach,” he says.
“Don’t be afraid to dream and then live your dreams. People will tell you that it is difficult, but don’t hesitate. Always listen to your heart,” is his advice to others out there who hope to live their passion some day.
To know more about Mishra’s countless experiences, check out his website.