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What was your first job?
Here are some famous/infamous folks first jobs:
Rod Stewart, the grave digger
Rod Stewart is the youngest of five children and was born in Highgate, North London to parents who owned a newsagents shop there. Minutes before Stewart was born, a German V-2 rocket scored a direct hit on Highgate Police Station just down the street. Rod Stewart had trials with the football clubs Celtic, and Brentford (based in West London). He then worked as a grave digger. He soon switched to a career in music joining folk singer Wizz Jones in the early 1960s as a street singer travelling around Europe; this resulted in his being deported from Spain for vagrancy.
Michael Dell, the diswasher
Michael Dell, founder and chairman of Dell Computer Corp., was a dishwasher at a Chinese restaurant earning $2.30 an hour. He is grateful for his early experience: â€œThe best part was the wisdom of the restaurant owner, which I could capture if I came to work a little early. He took great pride in his work and cared about every customer who came through his door.â€
Sean â€œDiddyâ€ Combs: paperboy
Diddyâ€™s first job as a paperboy at 12 years old may have been a humble beginning for the hip-hop mogul, but heâ€™s since soared from lowly to loaded.
Pol Pot, the School Teacher
Before he became a world-famous war criminal, Pol Pot was named Saloth Sar. As a young man, Sar studied carpentry and radio engineering, but proved a poor student so he became â€“ what else? â€“ a teacher. (And you thought your classrooms were scary.) From 1954 to 1963, Sar taught at a private school in Phnom Penh before being forced out because of ties to communism. Ever fond of alliteration, Saloth Sar became Pol Pot and devoted himself full-time to Cambodiaâ€™s Communist Party, eventually becoming the partyâ€™s leader, and by 1975, his Khmer Rouge guerrilla army had overthrown the same government that once fired him. In his four years of rule, Pot killed more than a million Cambodians. When the Vietnamese came to the rescue and invaded Cambodia in 1979, Pot retreated to the jungle, though he continued to orchestrate guerilla attacks until his arrest in 1997.
Oprah Winfrey, the young reporter
Oprah Winfrey was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, to a Baptist family. Her parents were unmarried teenagers. Winfreyâ€™s grandmother taught her to read before the age of three and took her to the local church, where she was nicknamed â€œThe Preacherâ€ for her ability to recite Bible verses. Winfrey was self-helping her way to the top long before the world ever heard of Dr. Phil. Arriving at a radio station to collect a watch she had won through a promotional contest, a 16-year-old Winfrey read for producers and secured herself a spot as an on-air reporter earning $100 per week.
Teri Hatcher, the Cheerleader
An only child, she was sexually abused from the age of 5 by Richard Hayes Stone, an uncle by marriage who was later divorced by Hatcherâ€™s aunt. Hatcher began her performing career as a young girl taking ballet lessons at the San Juan Girlsâ€™ Ballet Studio in downtown Los Altos, California. She later studied acting at the American Conservatory Theater. One of her early jobs (in 1984) was as a cheerleader with the San Francisco 49ers.
Hitler, the postcard painter
As a child, Adolf Hitler attended a monastery school and harbored dreams of becoming a priest, but he dropped out after his fatherâ€™s death in 1903. By then, Hitler had a new career in mind: professional artist. And though the FÃ¼hrerâ€™s precise but emotionless landscapes showed moderate promise, he was rejected twice from Viennaâ€™s Academy of Fine Arts. Bitter, poor, and lonely, young Adolf moved between boardinghouses and hostels, earning a meager living painting postcards. Oddly enough, he might have been just another failed artist had it not been for World War I. Turning in his paintbrush for a pistol, Hitler volunteered as a runner for the German army. Turns out he enjoyed that world war so much that, a few decades later, he decided to start another one.
Sylvester Stalone, the lion cage cleaner
Sylvester Stalone, always the tough guy, was once employed as a lion cage cleaner. At fifteen, his classmates voted him the one â€œmost likely to end up in the electric chair.â€ In the 1960s, Stallone attended the University of Miami for three years. He came within a few credit hours of graduation, before he decided to drop out and pursue an acting career. Stalloneâ€™s career began with the leading role, Stud, in a hard-core pornographic film called Party at Kitty and Studâ€™s. The film was originally hard core and depicted sexual acts, but after Stalloneâ€™s later success, the film was re-cut to soft-core and re-packaged as Italian Stallion (a reference to Rocky Balboaâ€™s nickname). The hardcore footage is apparently lost.
Dan Brown, the High School Teacher
Prior to papering the world many times over with his best-selling art historical novel, â€œThe Da Vinci Code,â€ Brown sculpted young minds as a high school English teacher.
Jennifer Lopez, the Legal Assistant
Long before Jennifer Lopez sang, danced and acted her way to superstardom, she briefly traded in her velour tracksuit for a suit of the pin-striped variety while working at a law office.
Benito Mussolini, the Writer
Before becoming the worldâ€™s first fascist dictator, Mussolini worked for a socialist paper, Il Popolo dâ€™Italia, for which he wrote a serial later published as a novel. The Cardinalâ€™s Mistress tells the tragic story of, you guessed it, a 17th-century cardinal and his mistress. And boy is it bad. Itâ€™s the sort of book where â€œterrible groan[s] burst forth fromâ€ charactersâ€™ breasts, and characters ask one another to â€œcast a ray of your light into my darkened soul.â€
Papa Doc, the Doctor
FranÃ§ois â€œPapa Docâ€ Duvalier was, in fact, a doctor â€“ although we can only imagine his bedside manner. Favoring hypocrisy to the Hippocratic Oath, the dangerous dictator was first a physician in Port-au-Prince for nearly a decade before immersing himself in politics full-time in 1943. Even more surprising, he actually rose to power in a legitimately democratic election. And though he was voted in as president in 1957, Duvalier promptly showed his gratitude to the Haitian nation by killing anyone who expressed the slightest opposition to his government. By the mid-1960s, Duvalier had established himself not only as President for Life but also as a quasi-divine manifestation of Haitiâ€™s greatest (he claimed to have supernatural powers; Papa Doc even said he placed a curse on John F. Kennedy that resulted in Kennedyâ€™s assassination).
Fidel Castro, the frustrated Ballplayer
Persistent rumors would have you believe that old Fidel was a talented baseball player who once tried out for a major-league team in America â€¦ which is completely untrue. The fact is, Castro did play a little ball back in school: he seems to have been the losing pitcher in a 1946 intramural game between the University of Havanaâ€™s business and law schools. But the point there is that he was in law school not so much to win ball games as to study law. Castro graduated and practiced in Havana between 1950 and 1952, when he failed miserably in his first attempted coup dâ€™Ã©tat. After a brief stint in prison and a few years exiled in Mexico and the United States, Castro and his family finally took control of Cuba in 1959.
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I helped sell drafting materials as well as making blackline and blueline and sepia prints of project drafts for new buildings. Big copies. My boss had a break room with a refrigerator stocked with lunchmeat and cold sodas for lunch. He could be a bear, but was always kind and respectful to me. I worked with a young "lothario" wanna-be :wah: and a chatty, friendly elderly lady. A good experience for me.
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50 Celebrity First Jobs
1.Nicolas Cage - Sold popcorn at a movie theater
2.Charles Bronson - Coal Miner
3.David Lee Roth - Hospital orderly
4.Paula Abdul - Laker Girl
5.Clint Eastwood - Pool Boy
6.Sean Connery - Lifeguard
7.Mick Jagger - Hospital Porter
8.Cyndi Lauper - Emptied dog kennels
9.Steve Buscemi - Firefighter
10.Ozzy Osbourne - Slaughterhouse Worker
11.Gwen Stefani - Worked at Dairy Queen
12.Rod Stewart - Grave Digger
13.Queen Latifah -Worked at Burger King
14.Warren Beatty - Rat Catcher
15.Alec Baldwin - Bouncer
16.Kanye West - Worked at the Gap
17.Jason Lee - Worked behind the counter at a Taco Bell
18.Whoopi Goldberg - Bricklayer
19.Mickey Rourke - Movie Theater Usher
20.Claiy Aiken - A counselor at the YMCA
21.Marlon Brando - Ditch Digger
22.Matthew McConaughey - Cleaned out chicken coops
23.Donald Trump - Rent Collector
24.Gene Simmons - Newspaper Delivery Boy
25.Jon Bon Jovi - Made Christmas decorations
26.Keith Richards - Tennis Ball Boy
27.Russell Simmons - Worked at Orange Julius
28.Nancy Grace - Worked the candy counter at Sears
29.Henry Fonda - Worked for a credit agency
30.Pamela Anderson - Fitness Instructor
31.Jennifer Aniston - Telemarketer
32.Lucille Ball - Sold ice cream
33.Michael Douglas - Gas Station Attendant
34.Robin Williams - Street Mime
35.Danny DeVito - Hair stylist
36.Garth Brooks - Boot Store Salesman
37.Drew Carey - in the Marine Corps.
38.Kurt Cobain - Janitor
39.Evangeline Lilly - Flight Attendant
40.Jerry Seinfeld - Sold lightbulbs
41.Sting - Teacher
42.Vin Diesel - Bouncer
43.Eddie Vedder - Gas Station Attendant
44.Christopher Walken - Lion Tamer in the circus
45.Julia Roberts - Worked behind the counter in an ice cream shop
46.James Dean - Tested stunts for the game show â€œBeat the Clockâ€
47.Walt Disney - Ambulance driver
48.Carmen Elektra - Danced at a theme park in Ohio
49.Tom Cruise - Bell Hop
50.Faith Hill - Receptionist
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oh my poor baby.
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6 Benefits of a Bottom-Rung Job
By Paul Facella
What do Jay Leno, Sharon Stone, Jeff Bezos, Carl Lewis and Pink have in common? They're all successes in their fields -- and among the estimated 10 percent of Americans who have worked at McDonald's.
Most careerists think of McDonald's as a job for kids. Still, some of those kids stick it out -- and are rewarded with fast-track promotions and dream-come-true careers. In fact, three out of four mid- to senior-level corporate managers at McDonald's started out as crew members. Likewise, the organization has created more millionaires than any other company in America -- especially among women and minorities. I myself started out behind the grill -- and 34 years later had risen through the ranks to be a regional vice president.
With nearly 15 million Americans now out of work, many job seekers are wondering if the American Dream is fading. Is it possible in today's economic climate to work hard, move up the corporate ladder and get ahead?
No doubt about it. Job seekers who are willing to do low-skilled work initially, want to learn and develop, are ambitious and have a clear vision of where they'd like to be in three to five years are good candidates for bottom-rung jobs. But don't waste your time at the bottom unless you are confident that the company hiring you has your best career interests at heart.
For example, before you take just any "starter job," you should find out if this is a goal- and growth-oriented job, as opposed to a dead-end job. In your interview, it is perfectly fine to ask such questions as: What percentage of your mid- to senior-level managers are promoted from within? What programs and policies are set up for helping high-achieving employees develop new skills? Is mobility at this company limited, or could one apply for jobs elsewhere in the company for which one is qualified?
A low-level job can be a great steppingstone to a promising career, as I know firsthand. Let's look at six key ways a bottom-rung job can help boost your career:
Teaches you the ropes
Be curious, ask questions and offer suggestions. You'll wind up learning more about business than in most MBA classes. You will learn the importance of leading by example, and how powerful that can be in motivating employees when you are doing the same tasks they are. You can learn new skills that can have benefit later on as you move up the management ladder (or return to it). And in this environment, unlike only a few years ago, taking a position for which you may be overqualified will not be viewed as a bad move, but more as an aggressive move to "stay in the game."
Hones your work style
Always work hard -- and never be satisfied. Traits such as these will serve you down the road as an executive or entrepreneur. It will reinforce many principles of managing people, such as "expect what you inspect," and the importance of following up and making sure a job is done well and the bar is set high enough. In other words, having high expectations of others obligates you to be involved in making sure others succeed -- and giving them what they need to do so.The discipline you develop in lower-rung jobs will help you cultivate key management traits that will be useful later on.
Refines relationship skills
Now is the time to perfect your people skills. Practice listening more than talking, resolving conflicts and rolling with the punches. Collaboration and cooperation among your new group can offer a surprising and interesting opportunity to gain insights into a team process. It can give you a subordinate's view of what really works in leadership execution.
Choose wisely and you can move up the ranks quickly. Look for a company with a track record of aggressive talent management and exceptional career velocity. Chances are you will be exposed to a great variety of folks in age, ethnic diversity and gender. All of this can be a great learning experience that will give you insights later on. Exposure to different groups outside of your comfort zone can be challenging and fun.
Take care with your work relationships -- higher-ups, peers and subordinates -- and you'll have career champions for a lifetime. The best organizations have employees who develop, in many cases, lifelong bonds. These can be truly rewarding in many ways. Likewise, they can expose you to groups, organizations and networks you may have never considered previously.
There is no upside to unemployment. Learn to appreciate the goodness of work itself and what a job can teach you. You really have nothing to lose and everything to gain. If you are good, and can prove it, you should be among the first to move up within the organization, and you have already proven your commitment and understanding of the basic job functions. You will have a head start on many of the folks who may be competing for the same job in the future.
Paul Facella is founder and CEO of Inside Management
You gotta start somewhere.