A grateful person is a breath of fresh air
Jocelyne Amkambwa has a Diploma in Catering and Accommodation management from Kibondeni College. She joined the Strathmore team in September of 2019 as a waitress in the special events department.
Unable to be on campus to carry out her duties, she is currently attached to the Admissions and Marketing team. She has read herself through the few months that the University has been operating off-site, getting in touch with, among many well-known personalities, Michelle Obama in Becoming and Nelson Mandela in Dare not Linger.
We interview her on the changes this pandemic has brought to her professional life and goals.
How did the University’s move to off-site operations affect your day to day work?
The week before Strathmore moved its operations off-site, the reality of the pandemic began to trickle in. One morning, I was headed to Watamu Café to prepare for an event. On reaching there, I learnt that it had been cancelled. And one by one all the events of the week were cancelled. My colleagues and I were then transferred to the Catering department for a brief while before the University shut down.
How did you deal with being unable to work from home?
The nature of my job would not allow me to support the University from home. When I first realized this, I felt low. But I decided that instead of worrying, I would work on growing my skills and emerge out of this pandemic better than I was when the situation sent us home. One thing that will matter after this pandemic is whether we contributed to the panic or we were able to reduce the tension that is all around us.
What new skills have you learnt?
Of all the Strathmore values, excellence is key to me. So if I laze around all day, I won’t reflect excellence. I created a schedule that includes self-care, house chores (I am the proud owner of a small house), reading and online courses.
So far I have read a large number of books, among them: Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray and Quiet by Susan Cain. I’m currently reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.
I’ve also gone through a few free online courses on Coursera in the areas of customer service, handling difficult customers and financial management. Dr. Vincent Ogutu suggested Udemy courses to me; these come with a price tag though I am now looking into how I can pursue them.
Are you able to use skills related to your profession?
I don’t own an oven; however, that has not stopped me from baking cakes and pizzas. I use a jiko. We have to make use of the resources we have and reinvent our skills.
How did you end up in the Admissions department?
My People and Culture buddy called me to find out how I was getting on. I told her that at the point I was at, I had done a lot to improve my skills. Is there something I could now do for the University? I’m now assisting the admissions team with marketing calls. I reach out to parents and students to reassure them that classes are ongoing and our courses are still on offer.
This pandemic has shown me the value of choosing a good employer. Strathmore is concerned about our welfare. Many of my colleagues in the hospitality industry have been let go by their employers but Strathmore is still holding on to us even though at the moment we cannot support them with our skills.
The article was written by Wambui Gachari.
Would you like to share your experience of living through the circumstances brought by the Covid-19 pandemic? Kindly email: firstname.lastname@example.org