LinkedIn Influencers Recall Their First Jobs

Always remember where you came from, right?

Even though the old adage holds true, it’s hard to believe the following heavy hitters had to start somewhere. The truth? It’s easy to forget they truly did have to start somewhere.

LinkedIn Editor Francesca Levy also writes in her post about some common threads, based on the Influencer experiences:

 “One takeaway from this compelling collection: Start young. About 80 percent of the business leaders that answered our survey were working before they were 18 years old. Reassuringly, these weren’t all prestigious assignments. In fact, when we surveyed participating Influencers on their early jobs, 39 percent said that their first professional gig comprised mostly grunt work.”

Grunt work indeed! Approximately 20 percent of Influencers participating in this series worked in food services whereas 10 percent were retail store clerks. Another 10 percent landed entry-level office gigs and about 10 percent had newspaper routes (how old school is that?).
Here are some of the more memorable first jobs:

Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder — bird breeding. “Despite the setbacks with budgies and Christmas trees, my appetite for the life of an entrepreneur wasn’t sated. Thankfully our next venture, Student Magazine, went a lot better, and from that sprang Virgin Records.”

Jon Steinberg, BuzzFeed presidentretail clerk and ice cream scooper. “I decided that if ever I was in a position to determine things like this I would be generous to my customers, especially when it was a small cost for me and a big show of appreciation to them. I am a large scooper and will always be so.”

Julia Boorstin, CNBC media and entertainment reporter – art teacher. “Other than my experience on the receiving end of teaching, I knew absolutely nothing about how to actually do it: how to control a room, capture students’ attention, keep them engaged, and prevent them from wreaking total havoc.”

Emily Chang, Bloomberg anchor – internship at KITV. “A turtle had washed up on the north shore of Oahu. To me, it was the biggest story in the world. It was the first story I was assigned to write for a newscast on Channel 4.”