HireQuest Direct Interview – Surkonya Moore
If there’s one thing we try to foster at HireQuest Direct, it’s the idea that the worker plays a huge part in his or her own destiny. Surkonya Moore believes and lives as if this is true. Honestly, there are few people more exuberant in general, but when she talks about work, you get the sense she sees these very physical and strenuous jobs as something to be taken by the horns and wrestled to the ground! And she’s not much over 5 feet, but all muscle.
TLN: That’s an interesting name, where does it come from?
SM: My mom got it from a friend. At first it was supposed to be SueKonya … but I’m glad it’s not.
(the first of many big grins).
TLN: Where are you from and how long have you been working through HireQuest Direct, Surkonya?
SM: I’m from Columbia, Tennessee, and I’ve been working out of the Columbia HireQuest Direct since December.
TLN: Did you know what the word is about you? That you’re certified in everything from here to Arizona.
SM: (with pure excitement) I am. I’m certified in roofing, tiling, and flooring. I’m certified in Asbestos and have been working that most recently. I also do demo work.
TLN: Different jobs every day or repeat tickets?
SM: (huge smile) All repeat tickets. And I do flagging. They’ve called me on a couple of flagging jobs.
TLN: So you’ve taken a flagging course?
SM: Yes, ma’am, I took that here a couple of weeks ago. It’s fun, I liked it! And they’ve called me on a couple of flagging jobs too.
TLN: So, what’s your favorite job?
TLN: How come I knew you were going to say that?
Now when you are out on a demo job, do you find that they tend to try to make it easy on you because you’re woman?
SM: (big smile) Yeah, the dudes are … you know: “Well I’ll get that for you.” And that’s real nice of them, but I want to get in there and show them what I can do. Some of the jobs I’ve been on, the dudes have already been there. And the super might be bringing me in because I have experience. There’s a certain pattern you use in demo: letting it “fall down big” … because you’ve got to pick it up at the end of the day. Instead of little chunks, you want big chunks, so it’ll be easier to take to the dumpster. So, my last job they had me going through first and some of the dudes after. (She smiles without an ounce of snootiness).
TLN: So what kind of tools do you use
SM: Sledgehammers, crowbars … and chipping hammers. Yeah, mostly those – that’s all you really need…
TLN: And strength…
SM: Yes, and strength!
TLN: Did you find you had to rely on a lot of experience when you started working back in December? What is your background very different from what you started to do through HireQuest Direct?
SM: No I had gotten my Asbestos license through an Environmental company and had been working a little bit as a supervisor for Asbestos Abatement. I took a supervisor course and when you take that course, it sets you aside for everything roofing, tiling, flooring. After the course and a certain amount of time or experience and you can get certified as a supervisor.
TLN: Surkonya, that’s great! (I can still hardly believe that she does everything she does…)
And so how does that feel … being a supervisor…. being responsible for others…telling other workers what to do. ?
SM: At first it was like oh gosh! I told them I never did this before … I’m being honest. I was honest. I said, “I’ve never done this …” They said they’d help me out… if I needed anything. All I had to do is sit back and makes sure everyone was safe. And it’s hard for me to stand there and watch people work… I’m such a busy person, I like to work. Then they told me if I wanted to help out the guys, I could as long as I was watching… well, one day they were shorthanded anyway, so I ended up working too. Still did the supervisor thing … it’s a responsibility job.
TLN: Is it hard telling people what to do?
SM: I’m not used to it, that’s all – it just takes some getting used. The “be-careful” part is not hard. The telling-people-what-to-do is something I’m not used to, because if something needs doing, I usually just jump in and do it… But I’m learning the job and I’ll be ready.
I’m hoping they might hire me on permanently. Permanent job would be in South Carolina.
TLN: Would you want to move away? Do you have family here?
SM: They’re all over. Some in Tennessee, some in Utah. Yeah, I’d love to travel. I’d like to see the world in fact!
TLN: I can see that: you taking on the world, traveling with a sledgehammer! (We laugh)
SM: So what’s the perfect job, Surkonya – what would be the ideal situation?
SM: I’d just want a job that I know I’m going to every day. You know I don’t mind coming up here and getting a ticket…and there may not be work.. but then that’s the nature of the construction anyway, isn’t it? Once you finish a job, you’re moving on to the next one anyway. But I just want to keep going. (she smiles) Because my bills keep going, don’t they?
TLN: That they do!
SM: I need something every day. Let’s see, I just want Monday through Friday….forty plus hours… you know. Of course, you need some rest, but I’ll work on my days off too.
TLN: What do you do on your days off? What do you do for entertainment?
TLN: Of course you were going to say that! Seriously?
SM: Oh yes. I love to box. I haven’t been in a while because I’ve been working, but before this I used to love to box. The only reason I didn’t get into it more seriously was because I didn’t have insurance and my momma was like “You don’t want to do that without insurance.” So I didn’t compete or anything … but loved the training. I just went in and had fun.
TLN: Training… you mean sparring?
RM: Oh yes, they send a dude in and you’ve got to chase them around the ring. I love it!
TLN: I bet you do! I am going to take a moment and compliment you on how much you’ve accomplished, and that you’re so excited about working and bettering yourself. Congratulations on all the certifications!
SM: (beaming) Thank you.
TLN: Anything you’d like to say in closing?
SM: Please don’t forget to say it’s going to be my birthday, June 11th.
TLN: Consider it done… Happy Birthday, Surkonya …!!