Interview With Makida
Categories: Worker Interview
November 16, 2022
Makida Makonnen works in the hospitality industry. Energetic, ambitious, and compassionate, Makida has used the pandemic as an opportunity to enhance her training and complete culinary certifications. She is presently engaged in the ORHMA Passport to Hospitality Program. Makida is passionate about tailoring meals to meet dietary restrictions and needs and one day, she hopes to become a chef.
JC: Tell me about what led you to FindWRK
MM: I don’t know exactly how I came across it. I think I was online, maybe on Indeed or something but I created my profile and within a week, I was getting emails for jobs. So, I thought it was cool and that I would stick with it.
JC: That’s fantastic you saw good results—definitely having your profile complete and out there is the first step and then getting onto the platform regularly shows that you’re an engaged worker..
JC: So, tell me about your passions and how they’ve influenced your career?
MM: As far as the whole hospitality industry, I just started that. I signed up for a culinary course in 2019. Right when I graduated, the pandemic hit and everything kind of slowed down so, I put that on the back burner, but now everything is kind of back to normal. So, I kept applying for restaurants, I like working in the kitchen. I mainly do prep. I’m also learning how to work the grills and the fryer, so I’m just learning and trying to step up. Hopefully, one day, I’ll become a chef.
JC: That’s so awesome. Can you tell me more about the things that you love about the kitchen and the challenges?
MM: For me, I generally like learning how to make new dishes because it’s not just like flipping burgers or whatever, it’s actually different ways and forms of cooking, so I love that. And I also always like my teammates. It’s always fun in the kitchen, we’re always cracking jokes and so I like that. I’ve also made a couple of friends from working.
JC: Is it hard to be on long shifts? Do you ever experience burnout, or have you seen other people experience burnout or trouble with work-life balance?
MM: I haven’t really because for me, the day goes by pretty quickly. There’s a rush, usually during dinner time; I tend to work the evening shift. Dinner time might be busy for two or three hours and then the rest of the time, it’s slow, so I’ve never really had any problems with that. But I’ve noticed some of my co-workers, they’re just exhausted because some of them have to stay 10, sometimes 12 hours, whereas I leave a little bit earlier to catch the last bus. I notice they get tired and they might need help, so I’ll help out in whatever way I can.
JC: Do you think it’s the attitude that you bring to your shift - your optimism - or what do you think makes the difference?
MM: I’m not sure. I know some of them have two jobs so that makes sense but for me, I just kind of go to work excited and try to stay positive, and you know having a coffee before work helps. I try to get a really good amount of sleep and you know, eat a good breakfast or dinner and I’m good to go for the day.
JC: Yeh, I think those things make a huge difference, all those little lifestyle factors, taking care of yourself, it makes it easier to manage. Tell me more about certifications in the industry. I know you mentioned that in 2019, you did a culinary certification. Do you think that continuing to update your skills and your certifications is an important part of moving your career forward, or how has that played a role in your career?
MM: I did a culinary program with the Hospitality Workers Training Centre and so I was able to work and learn in an actual kitchen. We would make 100+ meals every day for homeless shelters, so that was pretty cool, and we would do that from 9-5. It kind of felt like I was actually working. I also got my Food Handler’s and my WHMIS, which was good. Right now, I’m actually taking a couple of courses online so that I can apply to the ACE program and then once I finish the ACE program, I’ll do the Food Service Worker Course to work my way up. I wouldn’t mind working in a nursing home.
JC: That’s amazing. You’re so ambitious. Can you tell me more about making meals for the homeless and why you would like to work in a nursing home? That’s really fascinating to me.
MM: Learning about the food service industry, I developed an interest in making meals around dietary restrictions. It piqued my interest. It could also be in a hospital or a restaurant, so I like planning meals or figuring out which ingredients should go where. I thought that was pretty cool. I’m taking one step at a time and hoping to go that way.
JC: I think that’s really cool. In terms of COVID, how have you managed the experience of having everything change and then everything rush back full force? How has that been for you mentally and what’s your assessment of where the industry is at right now?
MM: It hasn’t really affected me too much because I was doing some courses online, so I was always kind of busy. The lockdowns didn’t really affect me. Luckily, nobody I knew got COVID, so I wasn’t really too freaked out about catching it. Then, I managed to get a job after some places opened up and everything kind of went back to normal, so it didn’t really affect me in that sense, I was lucky.
JC: I’m really happy to hear that. What is your take, Makida, on the challenges in the workplace right now and the hiring process?
MM: Some of the places that I went and applied to mentioned that they were understaffed, because when everything hit, a lot of people decided to switch careers. So, a lot of them are understaffed because of that. I don’t really see anything wrong with that, there are a lot of people looking for a stepping stone, just a normal job to do. Plus, there are sites like FindWRK.
JC: How do you find using FindWRk, do you find it’s a simple platform to use?
MM: Yeh, when I first signed up I was a little overwhelmed, but once I got everything and it was 100%, I noticed I was getting emails, “you have a message on FindWRK.” I thought it was pretty cool and pretty easy, even looking for things there, on the job search. That was pretty easy and being able to get a hold of an employer.
JC: That’s awesome, that’s fantastic to know. And I’d like to know, lastly, do you have any questions, how can we help you in the go-forward?
MM: So, right now, I’m just going to keep looking on the site, and I’m up for a gig any time.
JC: How do you find the difference between something like Indeed and FindWRK? Could you speak to those two different platforms?
MM: I think with Indeed, there’s just so much volume, they’re vague when they lay out their terms and some of the terms deter you. That’s where I find FindWRK easier than Indeed because everyone can see everything there, my certificates and everything, so it’s easier for me there.