While researching the youthful summer jobs of people who went on to become super successful, we stumbled upon this gem about a law school-era Hillary Clinton, from a 1992 article in The New York Times.
The summer between finishing at Wellesley and starting at Yale, the former New York Senator and current presidential hopeful “went to Alaska and got a job in a fish-processing plant,” the Times reported.
“She was supposed to scoop out the entrails, but she began to get worried about the state of the fish.”
Fish processing — and specifically sliming salmon — is not a glamorous business under the best circumstances. According to the book “Ten Difficult Women: Their Impact and Legacy,” which also covers the young Clinton’s brief stint in the fish business, “sliming required workers to wear knee-high boots and stand in bloody water while removing salmon guts with a spoon.”
Though she was new to fish gutting, Clinton felt the salmon didn’t look so good. “They were purple and black and yucky looking,” she recalled in the Times. She had a lot of questions about the condition of the fish — too many, in the eyes of the the plant’s owner, who warned her to stop asking questions. She didn’t, and was fired within a week. (The cannery was soon shut down.)
Despite the brevity of her cannery career, she seems to have fond memories of the gig. On Letterman in 2007, Clinton called it her “favourite summer job of all time,” noting its role in her future success. “Best preparation for being in Washington that you can imagine,” she said.
For more about what successful people learned from their summer jobs, read our roundup here.
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