Unexpected Career Journeys of Successful People

If you feel setbacks in your career, do not worry and never give up. In this guest post, resumenow.com share their research results.

Every accomplished person started their career somewhere and for many, that starting place was less-than-glamorous. Taking a close look at the career progression of successful people who have come from poor, misguided, and sometimes even dangerous situations is a great way to find motivation. If you are frustrated about where you are in your journey or wish you were on a different path altogether, find some inspiration from the rocky starts that many of the world’s most successful people have experienced. 

Barack Obama

In 1978, a 16-year-old Barack Obama was scooping ice cream at Baskin-Robbins in Honolulu with no idea what his future might hold. The next few years of his career journey involved education, underpaying jobs, and eventually a role as a community organizer in Chicago, which eventually pushed him toward government. At the beginning of his journey, as he was scooping and serving, he couldn’t have known that 40 years down the line he would be elected as the first African American president of the United States. Similarly, we never know what our career paths will turn into. 

Reed Hastings

Before Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix started his company, he spent his first year after high-school as a door-to-door vacuum salesman. When he eventually earned his bachelor’s degree he chose to join the Peace Corps instead of jumping into a career. Though he eventually returned and began his career in computer science, the years leading up to it were full of unexpected turns that could have derailed his goals. 

Sarah Blakely 

Similarly, Sara Blakely, founder of women’s shapewear company Spanx, started her career with failed plans and less-than-ideal jobs. After college, she landed a job working as a Disneyworld cast member after failing the LSAT twice forcing her to abandon her law school dream. After a few months, she accepted a sales job at Danka Office Imaging Co. and eventually worked there for seven years while she produced her shapewear line.


Like these successful individuals, you may be experiencing an unexpected start to your career. Whether you are facing layoffs, unemployment, or are working in a job that you don’t see a future in, be encouraged by this visual created by Resume-Now that highlights the highs and lows of the careers of famous successes. As Reed Hastings, you could be right around the corner from your dream career, or like Sara Blakley, you might be in the middle of a long stretch of working in a job you don’t love before discovering your true passion. 

successful career paths of famous people.


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