Sir Michael Hill: Yo ho ho and flagons upon flagons of rum
The first job that shaped the renowned jeweller and restaurateur was an entrepreneurial move that taught him there are plenty of ways to make a business profitable.
The deal involved me, a guy from Whangarei where I grew up, and a lot of rum.
It was the 70s and my friend and I were looking for a new way to make some money.
Well, there was a company importing Coruba Rum and they used to bring it in in these oak barrels from Jamaica.
They started selling empty ones and people were starting to buy them.
We thought we'd start buying them and turning them into large planter barrels which were popular at the time.
The pair of us went in to see the owner and we introduced ourselves to the guy running the place.
At that stage, he had about 90 empty barrels and we told him we wanted to buy the lot.
The guy looked at us and said 'hang on a second' and turned up his hearing aid.
I always remember the hearing aid ringing and echoing like they do sometimes and we told him again we wanted to buy all 90.
My voice echoed and screeched around the room, "90 90 90".
Anyway, we did buy the lot and took them away on a trailer which was a heck of a lot more work then we thought. We stored them on an empty piece of land nearby.
We set about sawing these barrels in half to make the planters, and what do you know - they still had some rum in them.
Now, this was 120 proof rum, good Jamaican rum, not your normal rum. So we started selling flagons upon flagons of this amazing rum which was a great money maker.
Then we discovered by pouring a gallon of hot water into the empty barrels and letting them soak for a month and rolling them occasionally another brew was had.
Not only did we make money from selling the planters but we also had the unexpected benefit of this leftover rum.
I learned that if you take a gamble, push yourself, you can usually come up with a way to make the deal even more profitable. If it all goes wrong then learn from your mistakes.
Niva Retimanu: The inside scoop on selling icecream
Newstalk ZB's award-winning broadcaster has dedicated 30 years to the news but started out working with another kind of scoop.
The mouth-watering aroma of chocolate; mountains of hokey pokey icecream; jars full of colourful candy.
Three of my favourite things - and I was lucky enough to get "up close and personal" with them when I scored my first summer job at a dairy in Tweed St, a busy thoroughfare in Invercargill.
At the ripe old age of 16, I had made the big time. Okay, it was one of the smallest shops in Southland but in my teenage mind, it was a huge supermarket in the city.
I felt like Charlie from the film Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. The only difference was that I couldn't eat my way through the goodies without paying.
It took me a few weeks to conquer the cash register. Maths was never my strong point. Thank goodness for the calculator. I short-changed a couple of customers who were kind enough to point it out, not bay for blood.
Once I had mastered the till, I was confronted with a bigger problem - the icecream scoop.
I found scooping icecream into a cone the worst job ever. I hated it. My hands hurt and the cones disintegrated. One day, I broke 10 of them.
And in summer, everyone wants an icecream in a cone. I tried to persuade some kids to buy a popsicle instead but they weren't having a bar of it.
Other kids would ask another assistant to make their icecream, anyone but me.
But the good news is I didn't give up. I wasn't the best scooper, but by the end of summer, the kids in the neighbourhood rated me 6.5 out of 10. I took that.
My first summer job helped shape me into the person I am today. It gave me confidence and a can-do attitude. I learned to take pride in my work - including sweeping floors and cleaning windows.
Neil Waka: Hundreds of bee stings provide lifelong lesson
Hard work started early for the seasoned broadcaster, who has just returned to the screen, on Maori TV, after 10 years in the corporate world.
I had an awakening as a child when I realised my parents did not have the money to sustain the lifestyle I saw others enjoying. That's when I knew I needed to work for what I wanted.
I played in multiple representative sports teams growing up. The only way I could play and travel was to earn the money myself. So that's what I did, working weekends, school holidays, any spare time I had to make money and gain work experience.
One of my favourite holiday jobs was working on a dairy farm in Reporoa, milking cows, feeding out, haymaking, mending fences, making silage, harrowing paddocks and more.
Farm work obviously has its hazards and I had my fair share of close calls.
Once I was dumping rubbish from a trailer. The dump was about 200 metres from a beehive, which I was told wouldn't be a problem.
I had dumped the rubbish and looked across just as a swarm rose like a phoenix.
As a sprinter I was confident I could outrun the swarm. I couldn't.
Very quickly I was surrounded by hundreds of bees. They were in my clothes, around my face and ears. So I did what any sane person would do - I hit my ears to stop the buzzing.
After running for what felt like days, the bees got scared, tired or bored and left.
Then the pain from the stings kicked in. I removed most of the stings but there was one in my ear.
I needed some help to dislodge it and, in the meantime, got to enjoy a few hours of bee venom pumping into my ear.
So bees died in the making of this story - sorry, I was only young.
Another day on the farm and another close call.
This time I almost decapitated myself speeding down a dirt track on a motorbike.
If you know anything about farm bikes, you'll know that you often lose the use of your brakes and the only way to slow down is by shifting through the gears.
On the day in question, someone had left a wire across the track to direct the cows into a paddock.
I was flying along, thinking about nothing in particular, when I glimpsed the wire at the last second. I bent backwards just in time, the wire scraping over my chin and nose like I was playing limbo.
Needless to say I was a little more cautious from that point.
I've always felt it's important to remember the lessons you learn and the hard work that got you to where you are. Life is a constant evolution, always trying to be better than yesterday.
Matt Heath: £200 for eight hours of terror a night
Radio Hauraki host Matt Heath is also a producer, sports commentator, columnist and musician, but it was his job as a security guard that still gives him shivers.
I was the overnight security guard in a haunted Victorian prison in London colloquially known as the Cripplegate Coffeehouse.
The place opened in 1815 and closed in 1870 - by the time I got the job in 2005, it was an abandoned Islington hellhole.
The kind of place that makes your hair stick up on end the second you see it from the street.
They were filming in the prison by day and needed someone to stay the night and look after the gear across three underground levels.
A lighting guy handed me the keys on the first night and joked, 'Be careful, there are unhappy spirits in there'. Thanks, mate.
A generator ran in the day, but at night everything switched off, and freezing tomb-like darkness descended.
I would sit with my back against the massive metal door nearest the street and shine my torch into the grim black abyss my hands shaking with fear.
The place had bad vibes.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, the destitute who couldn't pay their bills would be incarcerated until they could pay up. Many never left.
The Cripplegate Coffeehouse had common wards rather than cells and became famous for atrocities. Hundreds of people went insane, and many took their lives.
All this weighed on my mind three times a night when I did the rounds—trudging with a small torch down into the lower levels.
Crawling through the rows of punishment cells was terrible, but the basement level, knee-deep in water, was the worst.
The sounds of dripping, creaking metal and the odd echoing scream from the street above added to the fear levels.
Eight hours of terror a night, untold unexplained horrific experiences and mild psychological damage.
On the plus side, I got £200 in the hand every morning when the production manager turned up.
But the big lesson was what seems impossible on day one is usually tolerable by day three.
I put a simple system in place that made the job doable - a 750ml bottle of Jack Daniel's from across the road. A snifter before work, the rest on the job. Happy days.
Cecilia Robinson: Trudging door to door in the snow shaped me
The woman behind start-ups such as My Food Bag and new healthcare app Tend was already a budding entrepreneur before starting high school.
My first real job was when I was just 10 and I went door to door as a salesperson for the World Wildlife Fund.
I loved animals and wanted to do something to raise money but I also loved the little rewards you could get from the sales.
It was back in Sweden and it was a Christmas job so it was cold and dark and usually raining or snowing.
It would have been a lot nicer to be at home in the warm with a hot chocolate, but there I was, rugged up, going door to door.
I remember being invited into the neighbours' to have a cup of tea and a cookie to take them through the catalogue.
It was a powerful lesson in how to communicate, how to persuade and how to articulate the message.
I was quite young and walking door to door with this big magazine was an important life lesson.
Most people were nice but you did get some who didn't answer the door, who said no to your face, or who mildly abused you for even walking onto their property. It was a good lesson in how to pick yourself up and deal with those that say no.
I often thought it would be nicer at home in the warm but I was determined and had a goal of selling a few things before I could go home.
All of the goods were delivered to me so there was also that follow-up with the customer and making sure they got the right product and were happy with the purchase.
I learned from an early age the importance of perseverance and goals.
You need that focus in your career. My husband James and I still sit down and write down our goals and how we are going to get there.