It has to start somewhere. No matter what part of your career path you are currently on, you had to have that first, real-life job. Someplace that actually paid you but also required a certain discipline – like showing up on time and following directions.
It is a rare case where someone can begin their journey in their field of passion.
Regardless of whether your first employment was a part-time job or a full-time, we all have that odd, crummy, or memorable first job. They were a first step that led us…anywhere.
We thought it would be interesting – and fun – to look at where the employment journey began for some famous successful people:
Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger started as an ice-cream salesman. He was not alone as both Julia Roberts and Barack Obama began by selling scoops at Baskins-Robbins.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell earned his first paycheck selling cribs and baby furniture at a retail store in The Bronx.
David Letterman began by stocking groceries at the Atlas Grocery in his native Indianapolis. Michelle Pfeiffer and Oprah Winfrey also debuted in the grocery business.
Long before Markus Wischenbart became the CEO of the Vacation Club he was delivering newspapers.
Elon Musk, on the other hand, was shoveling dirt in a boiler room. And, Jeff Bezos was flipping burgers at McDonald’s. Humble first steps that led to some power companies.
Oh, and NBA owner slash Shark Tank star Mark Cuban was honing his craft by selling garbage bags door-to-door.
Actor Warren Beatty’s first profession was very, very close to the stage. He worked at the National Theatre in Washington, DC. Alas, he was not acting. He was hired as a rat catcher. We’re not sure if that was better or worse than George Clooney’s debut – cutting tobacco crops at age 16 in the Cincinnati area.
On the ironic side, Al Pacino was actually fired from his first job – as a cinema usher. Quentin Tarintino also began as an usher but was apparently better at it as he was not fired.
Even Popes have to start somewhere. Pope Francis was a bouncer at a bar in Buenos Aires.
The list is endless. Orlando Bloom launched clay pigeons at a shooting range, Michael Bloomberg was a parking lot attendant, Amy Adams worked (briefly) at Hooters, and Kanye West re-folded slacks at the Gap.
The above examples illustrate, greatness or success – however you may define it – is not limited by how you start. The sky is the limit once that “step one” is taken.