No one starts off their career at the top. It takes a little experience, and often quite a bit of time, to succeed. Even the brilliant entrepreneur and innovator Steve Jobs spent some time honing in on his purpose and direction during his early years, leaving his job as a video game designer to travel through India. The early lives and jobs of super-successful people can be fun to think about, and might teach us something about our own paths, as well. Let’s take a look at some of the early jobs of today’s billionaires.
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- Bill Gates – Computer Programmer.
Bill Gates tops Forbes’ billionaires list for 2016 with a net worth of $75 billion. Gates was always fascinated by computers and he was working with them in revolutionary ways even when he was in high school. When he lost his computer privileges after taking advantage of software glitches to obtain extra computer time, Gates designed a scheduling program for the school … and a payroll program for the computer company he’d hacked into. Although “computer programmer” wasn’t an official (or paying) job for Gates at this point, his passion drove him to do the work just the same.
- Warren Buffett – Newspaper Delivery.
To sum up the beginnings of Warren Buffett’s phenomenal career in business by stating only that he delivered newspapers would be unfair. His early life was actually pretty remarkable. Not only was he identified as having superb math skills early on, but he was always quite ambitious. He made his first investment (his father was a stockbroker) at age 11, and even filed his first tax return at age 13 for his paper route, claiming his bicycle as a $35 tax deduction. Today he’s worth more than $60 billion.
Jeff Bezos (who is worth more than $45 billion) is an entrepreneur, investor, and the founder of Amazon.com. Like so many others on this list, his ambition was evident from an early age. One of his early jobs came in high school when he started his first business, an educational summer camp program that he designed for younger students called the Dream Institute. This work helped pave the was for all that way to come.
- Michael Bloomberg – Parking Lot Attendant.
Michael Bloomberg wasn’t always the billionaire businessman (with a net worth of $40 billion) that you see today. When he was a young man, he paid his way through Johns Hopkins University with student loans and through working as a parking attendant. He also demonstrated an early interest in public service by becoming one of the country’s youngest Eagle Scouts back in 1958.
- Phil Knight – Assistant Professor.
Phil Knight is the co-founder of Nike, Inc., and worth an estimated $24.4 billion, according to Forbes‘ most recent list. Knight wasn’t always sure exactly what he wanted to do professionally, and he worked many different jobs as a young man as a result. He served in the Army for a time, and he also worked as an assistant professor at Portland State University. He did show an interest in athletics at a young age; he was middle-distance runner in college, at the University of Oregon in Eugene, where he studied journalism.
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