It has been almost 7 months since I came to America and for the past 7 months, I was in a state of laziness not wanting to do anything other than attending class. Part of the reason for my passiveness was that all my expenses were covered by my fellowship foundation.
The 7 month of the idle time got me to interpret the American Dream in a different way in which I connect the word Dream with just sleeping. Well after starting a job at my university kitchen I got the original definition for the term American Dream which is working hard even if it means sleepless.
The first week of my job was tough in terms of waking up early in the morning even the alarm couldn’t do what it supposed to. Instead of having an ordinary alarm I customized the alarm that tells the Black-Market exchange of Dollar in Ethiopian Birr as a motivation factor.
“GOOD MORNING ABEL TODAY DOLLAR EXCHANGE IN BLACK MARKET IS 27 BIRR”-Alarm
Joke aside here are the five important lessons I have got from working in a kitchen as a dishwasher.
If I looked back 7 months ago, I have never imagined myself in a position of working in a kitchen washing dishes. I remember people mocking me for being political as well as streaming my cooking videos saying “You belong in the kitchen instead of talking politics or to be exact in the Amharic word ፖለቲካ ከምታወራ አርፈክ ወጥህን አማስል”. But these very people are a type of people who are quick to share or like had it been Marcus Samuelsson.
Almost 90% of the people who work at the cafeteria kitchens are students who aspire to become Engineer, Doctor, Psychologist and journalists and there is nothing wrong in knowing how to make a bread since what we do for a living at the end of the day comes down to providing a bread on a table.
Also, I find some pages to fill in my future autobiography saying I have done all the hard work to get to where I am today.
I come from Ethiopia were being late is a nationally accepted norm that gradually even infect expats. Fortunately, I was a type of person who gets restless if I don’t get 10 minutes earlier for whatever appointment I may have and working at the dish room is also makes me aware of the chain reaction of timing in serving a customer order on time. Which translate to satisfaction and customer traction.
- Team Work
The third thing I learned in my one week working at the kitchen is teamwork. Whenever I look lost in locating items someone just translates my wondering look and extends a hand to help. No one ridicule you or act like a senior and force you to figure it out by yourself rather they walk you through all the steps. This type of working culture needs to be tamed in Ethiopia.
4.Social Media Rehab
Yes, Social Media Rehab. I have been very addicted to social media to the extent of feeling my phone as part of my palm. The first day I start working when they told me I am not allowed to carry my phone I didn’t know how to accept it. I even start counting my fingers at work as if I got chopped. Gradually I start to normalize and what I could learn through this was my attention and focus span improved. I start to engage with real walking and talking people.
- The Value of Money
Finally, by working at the kitchen I understand what 8 dollars mean which is one hour of hard working, scrapping dishes, lifting items and cleaning tables. Before that, I was spending money as if I am on the cover of Forbes. Ever since I start working at the kitchen I remain sleepless especially realizing my stupid move in buying a 500-dollar bed in the first week of my arrival in the US.
In general, would you be judgmental or take me as a joke if I add washing dish as my Linkedin skill.