I just had a Facebook memory pop up from 10 years ago, where I wrote, ‘I knew my first day at work would be big, but I didn’t realise it’d be that big!’
It was September 4, 2010 and we’d started milking the cows at 4.30 am on day one of my first full-time job as a dairy assistant in Dunsandel. The Christchurch earthquake happened at 4.35 am. I worked 23 hours that day – walking the cows six kilometres to a neighbouring farm with a generator, milking them, then walking them back. It was a crazy start to the industry.
I grew up on a lifestyle property near Lincoln, but only stumbled into farming to cover expenses on the car my parents bought me in high school. Rather than work at a supermarket for $6 an hour, I found a job milking cows for $14 an hour.
The farmer was shocked to see a teenage girl show up for the interview. Afterwards he said, ‘I won’t be offended if you don’t come back. It can be a dirty job.’ I was like, ‘It’s fine!’
Agriculture isn’t something career advisors typically encourage, so I didn’t know you could make a career out of it. I started a Property Valuation degree at Lincoln University, but it felt forced upon me by my career’s advisor, so I left after a year and got the dairy assistant job.
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