Jamie Wallace

Where do you work?

Abay Ethiopian Cuisine

What is your job title?

Owner

How long have you had this position?

One year

What are your key duties at work?

Everything one can imagine

What kind of additional training does this job require besides your degree?/What is a typical day like?

The concept of the restaurant is to serve as much fresh food as possible. Nothing we serve comes out of a can. Thus, I shop a lot. A typical day includes me shopping in Pittsburgh’s strip district for vegetables in the morning. Opening the restaurant. Helping the kitchen set up for the day. Checking all of the equipment to make sure everything is running properly. Once we’re set up for the day, I’ll get in the office to do a variety of tasks which might include: checking e-mail, crunching numbers, crafting marketing materials, doing payroll, drafting the work schedule, or creating a special for the evening. I’ll leave at some point during the day and typically come back in the evening to ensure everything is running smoothly in the dining. room. The ‘training’ has been on the job.

Does your job involve travel?

The main traveling I do which is work-related is to Washington, D.C. The D.C. metro area has one of the largest Ethiopian populations outside of Ethiopia. I go to D.C. to purchase the spices that we use for our food.

What do you like most about your job?

I enjoy solving the problems that arise and the creativity required to come up with the right solutions.

How do you feel philosophy has prepared you for this job?

I try to take a logical and analytical approach to running the business. I believe that’s what philosophers do.

Do you think philosophy has prepared you better than other majors might have?

It’s difficult to say. A lot of what I draw on is from the experience I have had as a practicing attorney in a fast-paced, business environment. My approach to issues, however, is 100% logical, i.e. philosophical.

Is there anything philosophical about what you do?

I didn’t want the restaurant to be just a place to get food. My intent is to break down cultural barriers and open minds through the dining experience. I hope a customer comes away with a better understanding of the world after visiting us. The experience should be thought-provoking. Maybe it’s philosophical in that sense.

What attracted you to philosopy/Why did you choose to major in philosophy?

I was attracted to philosophy because it seemed to be the root of a lot of other schools of thought. I majored in it largely because it interested me.

What advice would you give to an up and coming student considering majoring in philosophy?

It is a good major in that it forces you to thoroughly analyze issues. You can take that skill set and apply it in any environment.

What would you say to someone who was worried about the job prospects of philosophy majors?

Given the fact that many jobs require a graduate or professional degree, a student may be at a disadvantage to some extent regardless of his or her major if he or she enters the job market with only a Bachelor’s degree. Because philosophy forces you to think deeply about issues and poke holes in weak arguments (even your own), you are taught a skill set that can be used in a variety of environments.

Do you consider yourself a philosopher?

No. I am a lawyer and an entrepreneur, but not a philosopher. I am not smart enough to be a philosopher.

What is the number one thing you learned from your experiences as an undergraduate philosophy major at WVU?

I loved my philosophy classes. They were some of the most intellectually enriching experiences of my life. I learned to agree or disagree with someone not based on their conclusion, but how they arrived at that conclusion.

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