larva - humble beginningsA recent Financial Post article about the early jobs of big enchiladas on Wall Street reminded me of something. Most powerful people do not start out that way.

In fact, early on, many held humble positions that bore little relation to what they do now.

Charles Schwab, founder and chairman of the Charles Schwab Corporation, a brokerage firm he started in 1971, bagged walnuts near Sacramento in his first job.

Warren Buffet,  known as The Oracle of Omaha, is the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. His net worth is more than $53 billion. I guess you could say he started making money early. As a 6-year-old, he went door to door, selling chewing gum. He later sold magazines and Coca-Cola’s. He also delivered newspapers.

John Stumpf, CEO of Wells Fargo, made bread for a bakery in his first job.

David Tepper runs Appaloosa Management, a $12 billion distressed debt hedge fund. Last year, he was the highest-paid hedge fund manager. But when he was in high school, he couldn’t get a job at McDonald’s. In college, he worked at a fine arts library to help pay his way.

I like all of these examples, because they suggest that we are not held back or defined by our first jobs. A lot of professional growth inevitably must occur far beyond those early jobs. They’re just stepping stones to later jobs where we care about what’s going on. In the case of these financial titans, you could say they eventually moved to jobs they were truly invested in.

Source: “The First Jobs of 13 Wall Street Titans,” Financial Post