10 CEOs with humble first jobs

The journey to the top often begins at the bottom, as these top executives -- and former dishwashers, cashiers and oyster shuckers -- know first-hand.

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Aug 15, 2013 9:36AM
I understand that one of the largest caterers in California started out as a med student, and when his wife and he started selling muffins and sandwiches off-hours to hungry classmates.....He never did finish med school! Just goes to show what hard work and brains can do! Follow your dreams, find something you enjoy doing, and the rest will happen if it's meant to!
Aug 16, 2013 6:17PM
Well, then, there seems to be a glimmer of hope for any one of us. A person can react to their hunger in ways that better their odds significantly - whether the end result is ultimately the title of CEO or something as attainable as a promotion or raise that makes life a little bit easier - our actions and reactions can make or break life's many twists and turns.
Aug 16, 2013 8:06PM

I feel sorry for anyone trashing Warren or anyone that worked their way up to be a pillar of success.

I read so much about the jealousy of these individuals...I have to wonder about the source. 


We have done what some of them have done; Paper boy, cut grass, caddy, washed dishes about 3 days... washed windows, shoveled snow and other shidt...Pumped gas and grocery carry out.Picked berries, pickles and other fruit.

Sold pumpkins, shoes and a few other things......Then started a career.

Wife about the same, baby sitting, root beer stand, waitress and others...She became a CEO and President of her small Company.....I only hobnobbed with mid management , but had a decent life and we are comfortable...


Why be jealous of anyone working hard and going to the top...Many of us had the same chances.

Maybe you missed the part about starting a career....And working harder.

Aug 17, 2013 10:20PM

A very good point "Floating".....And yes I truly understand.

I've seen it with my Children....Younger Sisters and other family members.


And now with G-Children, nieces and nephews...

G-kids just moved 800 miles to keep job.

Nephew about 500 mi for "new job."

One Niece has moved 3-4 times in about 8 years, now back where she started at.

One Sister and hub, moved to Hawaii, in same job...So to speak by choice.


Yes, I am very aware of today's "Mobile Society." You are correct my friend...

But many people in the Article have moved several times also...Seems a way of life for some.

Sometimes doing what we need to do, can get us ahead of the Game...Good luck..

And also correct about how inflation and rising prices have effected this Generation, probably more then many before them....Along with "stagnation in wages."

Aug 18, 2013 9:49PM

Having regrets about life of what you did or maybe what you didn't do, can have long lasting effects on some........Eventually;

Most or many of us should take the attitude that we have done, the best we could, for our families;

Our Children, ourselves, and maybe our parents...

But eventually you have to move on, otherwise that stigma will haunt you to the grave.

And maybe an early one at that.

Aug 18, 2013 12:15PM
A liberal hates this kind of story. It doesn't fit the liberal narrative that all CEO's were born with rich daddies, and did not earn their lot in life. Surely MSN hasn't turned over a new leaf!
Aug 19, 2013 9:35AM
Most every kid did these jobs when starting out.  You don't start out as a billionaire or a news reader. These stories are never told with full disclosure. Middle class is not a bad place to start, seeing that most of us wished we were middle class. These kids had good families and lot's of money managers behind them as the grew up and started businesses. These kids grew up around money and they were taught how to manage it at a early age.  The question you should  ask is, who were the major players in these young money makers lives?  If the news reader is going to make up a story he or she should get the correct information before they make up stories. Also who were the money lenders, what banks and what people started their businesses for them?  I shined shoes in down town Hartford, Ct. at eight years old, washed dishes, shoveled snow, caddied golf clubs all day for $10 dollars, delivered news papers, picked tobacco, and worked nights in a factory in 9th & 10th grade, just to name a few. I lived in a slum and life was a horror, growing up. I never made enough money to last to the next pay check. Kids like me never made a million dollars and never got a break along the way from our rich connected families. I am 65 now and spent my life working to stay alive from pay check to pay check. What about people like me, we don't make the front page or even the news paper, we just make money for the rich kids.       
Aug 16, 2013 8:20PM

Well after looking through some of the show....Yes some were born with "silver spoons"....

Maybe a few were not...

But many were given a chance or pushed into reality...

Sep 2, 2013 7:06PM
You simply cannot compare apples to oranges.  IN almost all the cases reported, it was a different time.  It was a time when corporations paid their employees decently and provided decent benefits like healthcare insurance, vacation, sick days and bereavement.  The corporate leaders back then understood that a happy and healthy employee would produce more and would result in a higher rate of employee retention.  It was a time when employees received "merit" wage and promotions.  It was a time when employees were part of the "stakeholders" of the business.  Now corporations don't even use the term "stakeholder".  They now refer to "shareholders", eliminating the employee.

It was a time when, $1 then, takes at least $2-$3 now.  It was a time when full-time employees were preferred.

While the article does paint a very rosy picture for those who are willing to put in the work, the hours, the commitment, it doesn't mention how much more difficult it is to achieve those goals today.  It doesn't mention that many of these CEO's mentioned in the article are now behind the off-shoring of American jobs, or how their corporations are cutting employee hours and wages, or how their corporations are shoveling trillions of dollars offshore.

I applaud them all for their hard work and achievements.  I would give them a long lasting STANDING OVATION if they were to remember their humble beginnings (at least those who did have humble beginnings) and think to do the same for their employees that the corporations they worked for "back then" did for them.

Evidently it's easy to forget your humble beginings and remember those who treated you with respect for your hard work and efforts once you reach that very hard worked for goal, otherwise, we wouldn't have so many still unemployed or underemployed and our economy wouldn't still be in such a horrible recession.
Aug 19, 2013 12:30PM

Now let's see the hundreds of members of our aristocracy that started rich.


Still waiting for that money to start trickling down that was  promised 30 years ago ... or do they consider the poor, the sick, and the aged being pissed on by Republicans "trickle-down" ?

Aug 23, 2013 12:20AM
These are now the new jobs for middle class if tea party gets its way
Aug 30, 2013 10:46PM
 and I be leave I can help others that have been taken advantage of because of corruption in our local government and in Idaho legislation as of Lynn luker should be voted out of office not re-elected in 2014
Aug 19, 2013 10:07AM
Please tell us more about poor little rich millionaires and billionaires. Just what the poor working class wants to read about. How stupid can you be?  News readers ain't what they used to be. Are you taking your Yacht  out this weekend or is it being painted this week?  How is your sea front home doing, did you add a second addition on this year?  You got it all, sticking in the camera and in print. Remember working people are just a source of income for your lap of luxury life style. Have a nice day and leave some on the table next time.    
Aug 19, 2013 3:38PM
Now wait a minute! They didn't bitch and whine about earning minimum wage or less, starting out with nothing, but instead used those jobs to build a track record and work their way up? That isn't the new America!! Where's OWS when you need them?!
Aug 15, 2013 7:36AM
Lets all give a big round of applause for our CEOs, they are just wonderful and grand, worth every penney of their multimillion dollar salaries, May their wealth grow and the minimum wage decrease.
Aug 19, 2013 9:05AM
Things are very different now for people starting out. Corporate America will keep the little guy down these days, no matter how hard he/she works. Public education is dumbed down; college is outrageously expensive; opportunities for a non wealthy person to move up are disappearing.
Aug 14, 2013 7:56PM
And I'll bet they all made close to the minimum wage and those earnings could not support a family of four!  Sound familiar?
Aug 15, 2013 10:20AM
Ahhhhh..isn't that cute. Almost makes them seem like regular joes.
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