Never-again jobs – Sarah

In this series I ask a range of people to tell me about the jobs they have done to get to where they are today. Among the great jobs are the not-so-great ones they would never want to do again – the never-again jobs – and we’ve all had at least one of these. Should we consign these jobs to the memory graveyard, or are there lessons we can learn from them?

Sarah, 29

What is your current job?

I’m an advisor with the Department of Labour (now Ministry of  Business, Employment and Innovtion). I talk to people from around New Zealand and governments in other countries to see how we can help each other by sharing information and good ideas.

What was your first ever job ?

I was an aide at an old people’s home. I worked three hours a day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. My work involved serving dinner and cups of tea to residents, and sitting with them for a while after dinner for a chat.

What have you done between your first and current jobs?

  • New World – Office Assistant (4 months)
  • The CD Store – Retail (12 months)
  • Ministry for the Environment – Project Administrator (3 months)
  • Ministry of Justice (Rongotai Electorate) – Support staff (2 months)
  • Quality Health – Audit Coordinator (12 months)
  • Treasury – Ministerial Advisor (18 months)
  • Department of Labour (Intelligence and Risk) – Advisor (3.5 years)
  • Department of Labour (International Services) – Advisor (current)

Which job (or jobs) did you really enjoy?

  • My last role in Department of Labour (Immigration) Intelligence and Risk – always challenging, reactive so no two days are the same. Lots of opportunities to develop writing and relationship management skills.
  • My current role in International – positive and fun team, high profile portfolios and lots of responsibility, opportunities for development.

Which was your never-again job (or jobs)?

Office assistant and retail assistant. Both jobs were repetitive, not challenging and terrible working hours (varied starts from 6.30am, working until 8.30 or 9pm).

What have you learned from doing those never-again jobs?

They taught me the importance of being punctual, especially when other people are waiting for you and relying on you to be on time so they can leave.

I also learned I hated repetitive jobs, so that motivated me to go to university and do well in my studies so I can get a job I would enjoy more.


Bachelor of Arts in psychology and philosophy.

Tell us about your own ‘never-again’ jobs, we’d love to hear from you.

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