Kasa went through the process of hiring a new server a couple months ago. It’s insane what a response we had to our ad. I’m honored at the number of people who were interested in working for us, but I was also overwhelmed with the interviewing process. It’s exhausting!
It brought back memories of being on the other side of the interviewing table. My heart goes out to all looking for a job. It’s hard to sell yourself. I, for one, am straight up terrible at it.
When I thought I wanted to be a lawyer, I sent out something like 200 resumes to corporate law firms and got one positive response. My grades in university and law school in England were great but the economy was brutal and it was obvious I didn’t care a bit about corporate law. Out of sheer frustration, I sent an application to Baker & McKenzie (one of the premier law firms around) where I crossed out all of their application questions and just wrote in large letters:
“Just Hire Me. You Won’t Regret It.”
Every day those rejection letters came through, I got more and more depressed and finally left the country to travel through South America for six months. (It was in South America that I worked my first restaurant jobs and learned Spanish.)
When I got back to England, I did get a job as a lawyer. I worked successfully and loved it for the time. After two years, though, it was confirmed. I DID NOT want to be a lawyer. It depressed me to be in an office most of the day. I felt like I was in prison. I did all kinds of hourly calculations as to how I was selling my soul and quit. I married Suresh, moved to San Francisco and wanted to do NOTHING.
Through all of this, I kept cooking. For a minute, I thought about culinary school, but I didn’t want to make the same mistake of spending money in school without first trying out the industry to see if I really wanted to be in it.
Back I went to interviewing and trying to get hired in the back of the house at various restaurants. Not surprisingly, I heard many many resounding ‘NO’s”.
“Wait tables, we could hire you right now for that, but the kitchen? No way.”
“Can you work with rough guys and foul language?”
“‘Can you take the heat?”
“What experience do you have?”
“‘What are your knife skills like?”
“You’re hands don’t look like they can work hard.”
I just kept saying, “Give me a chance. I can cook good food.” But it didn’t help. So I figured it was pointless going to culinary school only to not get hired afterwards.
I am truly grateful for the opportunity here at Kasa. The restaurant business, and especially the kitchen, is my natural habitat. As a female, I do struggle with the weight of the pots and pans and my speed is slower than it could be having not been school-trained. It is all worth it when I have customers come in sometimes twice a day and, best of all, it doesn’t feel like work as much as it does fulfilling a dream.
I remember all of this when hiring people and try and give everyone an earnest chance.