#HowIMadeIt 2017

Mijune Pak, Food Personality

FLARE #HowIMadeIt celebrates 100+ talented, ambitious and driven Canadian women with cool jobs. Want what Mijune has? Here's how she did it

mijune pak resting her head on her hand

Mijune Pak; Vancouver; @MijunePak

Let’s say we’ve just met at a cocktail party. How would you describe, in a nutshell, what you do?

I’m a food and travel influencer/media/TV personality, director of fun, and judge on Top Chef Canada.

Where did you go to school and what did you study?

I went to Simon Fraser University and studied communications.

What was your first paying gig out of school? (In your field, or not.)

I was a marketing representative for Paramount Pictures, but I was freelance so I wasn’t hired by Paramount. I was hired by their PR company and work was contracted out to me.

What was your BIG break? How did you land it?

I’ve had a few events in life I’ve considered “big breaks,” but I guess most recently it would be being a judge on Top Chef Canada this past season. [Head judge] Mark McEwan really wanted me to be on the show and suggested me to producers. They contacted me and I guess the rest is history!

Describe the moment in which you first realized, I think this is actually going to work out?

I started my blog almost eight years ago. It started as a hobby and became a career. I was never sure if it was going to “work out,” but I know my personality, passion and work ethics. I knew I was going to pour my heart and soul into this and make it work. There still is no guarantee and there is always more to reach for, but I do it because I love it.

What would you say has been your biggest failure or shortcoming, career-wise, to date? How did you bounce back?

I would say it was when I overworked myself writing on average 2,500 words a day on a new restaurants every single day for three and a half years (no break). I burnt out, and I started to resent it. It wasn’t sustainable and I was losing sleep and my relationships were suffering. Luckily I have the most loving friends and family. Taking a break from writing and not having the self-pressure to produce that amount of work every day really helped. I needed to take a step back and reevaluate.

Name one piece of career advice you always give.

Never stop learning or think you’ve “made it” and have done “all you can,” there is always more to improve on.

What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever gotten?

Do something that gives you stability. It’s not bad advice per se, but in reference to me choosing a “passion project” over stability, it was bad advice.

Did you deal with barriers in your field because you are a woman? If so, what were they?

No. I really don’t look at myself as a woman making it in this male-dominated industry or anything. I look at it as I’m a regular person trying to make it in a tough industry. I don’t treat gender as a barrier and don’t use that card for any benefit/sympathy.

Are you making a fair income for your work? Why or why not? Do you have a side hustle for extra cash? If so, what is it?

I never did it for the money. Money eventually came, and yes at times hustling is part of it. As long as I can support myself and sustain my lifestyle, I’m happy.

What’s the worst stereotype you’ve heard about millennials at work?

That they’re lazy. Some are, but that’s cause some people always are, and the world we live in nowadays is much different. It’s not that we don’t go through struggles and challenges, they’re just a different set. I find many millennials to be extremely passionate and entrepreneurial because we have the “luxury” to choose what we want to do in life. It’s a different mindset and way of life than people who may have immigrated here or grew up in traditional/conservative households.

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