The least glamorous first jobs of 18 highly successful people

It can be easy to see the world’s most powerful and influential people as occupying a sphere far removed from the rest us.

But many of the most successful people were born without silver spoons in their mouths and started off working odd jobs to earn money.

Goldman Sachs’ CEO Lloyd Blankfein, for example, grew up in the projects and made extra money at a concession stand in Yankee Stadium. Warren Buffett built his savings as a kid by delivering newspapers. And before she found her calling in media, Oprah Winfrey worked at a corner store.

These 18 highly successful people prove that the path to success doesn’t have to be linear.

Dylan Love contributed reporting.

Lloyd Blankfein sold snacks at Yankee Stadium.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty

As the CEO of Goldman Sachs, Blankfein is one of the most influential people on Wall Street.

But he worked his way up from the bottom. According to his biography 'Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World,' Blankfein grew up in Brooklyn housing projects and worked his first job as a concession vendor at Yankee Stadium.

Beth Comstock worked in a Rubbermaid factory.

Comstock is the CMO of General Electric and oversaw the creation of the Hulu streaming service.

But before she entered the professional world, she learned the value of hard work at a Rubbermaid factory that produced kitchenware.

In a LinkedIn post, she explains that she took the summer job after her freshman year of college as a break from academic work but found herself completely overwhelmed. She's still proud of learning how to work as a team to overcome the difficult months of labour.

Kat Cole was a star Hooters employee.

Before Cole became the president of Cinnabon, she worked at Hooters for 15 years, starting as a hostess at age 17 and eventually getting promoted to vice president by the time she was 26.

A star employee, at 19 she was asked by Hooters to go to Australia to help open a franchise location there, and she spent much of her early twenties training global employees and managers, Fortune reports.

Warren Buffett was a paper boy.

Alex Wong/Getty

Buffett has been interested in making and saving money since he was a kid. Today, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway is worth an estimated $US61.2 billion currently, according to Forbes, making him one of the world's wealthiest people.

At the age of 13, Buffett spent his mornings delivering copies of the Washington Post, according to Bio. That same year, he invested $US1,200 of his savings into 40 acres of farmland.

Oprah Winfrey worked at a corner grocery store.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Winfrey's media empire made her the first female black billionaire -- she's worth an estimated $US3 billion today, according to Forbes. Before she made it to the top, she struggled her way out of a difficult, impoverished childhood.

When she was living with her dad in Nashville as a young teenager, she worked at a corner grocery store next to her dad's barber shop, Forbes reports.

David Murdock pumped gas.

Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Murdock, the 91-year-old chairman and CEO of Dole Foods, turned the company into the world's largest producer and marketer of fruits and vegetables. He's worth an estimated $US2.9 billion today, according to Forbes, but he grew up poor and dropped out of high school in the ninth grade.

After quitting school, Murdock worked at a gas station until he was drafted into the Army in 1943, Forbes reports.

Jacki Zehner sold hot dogs at hockey games.

Getty Images/Jerod Harris

Zehner is the CEO of the charity Women Moving Millions, and in 1996 she became the first female partner at Goldman Sachs.

She spent her early teens in Canada working the concession stand at games for her local farm team, the Kelowna Buckaroos. In a LinkedIn post, she says her time spent running a busy stand and making quick transactions proved to be perfect training for the Wall Street trading floor.

T. Boone Pickens delivered newspapers.

Stephen Lovekin/Getty

Pickens is the chairman of the hedge fund BP Capital Management. He showed his aggressive business savvy at a young age.

Like Buffett, Pickens was a paper boy. At the age of 12, he expanded his delivery route from 28 houses to 156 by taking over his competitor's routes, according to Forbes. He has said that this taught him the value of expanding business through acquisition.

Madeline Albright sold bras.

Mike Coppola/Getty

Albright became the first female secretary of state, serving under President Bill Clinton. She made it into the US as a political refugee from Czechoslovakia, since her anti-Soviet family was in danger from her country's communist party, according to Bio.

She got her first job selling bras at a department store in Denver, she tells Forbes, and adds that she probably made next to nothing but learned how to deal with people in difficult situations.

Chuck Schwab sold walnuts and chickens.

Justin Sullivan/Getty

Schwab founded the Charles Schwab Corporation, a brokerage and banking firm, and is today worth about $US6 billion, according to Forbes. He tells Stanford's alumni magazine that he had the entrepreneurial spirit from a young age.

Schwab grew up in an upper-middle-class family in Sacramento, California, but wanted to make his own money. As a kid, he bagged and sold walnuts and raised chickens in his backyard, selling some and using others for eggs to sell.

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