2017 Speakers Share: The Jobs They’ll Never Do Again

Working has its ups and downs, but with some jobs, the only high point is leaving. Still, the negative experience made them tougher and informed their future decisions. Some even say that it taught them something valuable about themselves. To help you get to know a little more about our speakers, we took a page from talent recruiters and asked some of our speakers: What’s a job you’ve had, or a task you’ve had to do for a job, that you never want to do again? Check out their answers.  

Nina Tassler

Nina Tassler“I never ever ever want to work the graveyard shift at IHOP again. I used to work there when I was in college, on Fridays and Saturdays, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. The bars in Boston closed at 2 a.m., so you were crazed from then till 4 a.m., and then people who worked the early shift would start arriving for coffee or breakfast at 5 a.m. It was just hard, even for a person in her early 20s.”

Tassler, former chairman of the entertainment division at CBS, will be speaking during Breakout Session II and signing her book What I Told My Daughter in Exhibit Hall 1, in the area next to the bookstore, from 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m.

Kara Swisher

“Retail. I sold ice cream from a cart on the street in Washington D.C., one summer in college. I learned that I hate sales. I’m just not good at it…Maybe I’m too honest.”

Swisher, Recode’s executive editor will be on the Main Stage with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg during the Opening Keynote Session and with former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice during the Luncheon Keynote Session.

Shawn Achor

Shawn Achor“For a while, I wasn’t living what I was researching. I was travelling a lot—I went to 33 countries in one year—and was isolated from my friends. I eventually broke my back on a plane from Switzerland and after standing the whole flight home, I had to lie in bed for six weeks. After that, I moved to San Antonio, where my sister lived, and cut back my travel. Never again will I increase my workload to the point where I don’t have social connections.”

Achor, co-founder and CEO of the Institute for Applied Positive Research, will be speaking during the Opening Keynote Session and signing his books The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness at 9:45 a.m.

Tiffany Dufu

Tiffany Dufu“I worked as a telemarketer one summer—and it was horrible. It was rejection all day, every day. That said, hearing ‘no’ so many times makes you tougher—and it conditions you to separate rejection from your self-worth. I realized that when people said no to me, it wasn’t personal.”

Dufu, chief leadership officer at Levo, will be speaking during Breakout Session II and signing her book Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less from 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m.

Anna Akbari

Anna Akbari“I was a nanny for a summer while I was in college—and you could not pay me to do that again. This was before smart phones and the Internet, so the lack of mental stimulation and adult interaction was mind numbing. It’s also hard to parent someone else’s kids when your ethos aren’t perfectly aligned.”

HVCK Partner and innovation consultant Akbari will be speaking during Breakout Session III and signing her book Start Up Your Life: Hustle and Hack Your Way to Happiness from 4 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Christine Porath

Christine Porath“I never want to work again where the leader is a bully. I had followed my boss from headquarters to a different city and didn’t know how toxic the environment was at the subsidiary. I now know that organizational fit is as important as job fit, and when I go on job interviews I ask the parking attendant, secretaries, anyone I can, how they are treated and what it’s like to work there.”

Porath, professor of management at Georgetown University, will be speaking during Breakout Session II and signing her book Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace from 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m.

Emily Esfahani Smith

Emily Esfahani Smith“In college, I worked in a science lab, where I helped do brain studies using mice. I will never handle mice or mice brains again—thank goodness!”

Esfahani Smith, who manages the Ben Franklin Circles Project at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, will be speaking during Breakout Sessions I and III and signing her book The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters from 11 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and from 4 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.


  Read more from the February 2017 newsletter