We all know the names of these famous billionaires and how they acquired the bulk of their fortunes; we even dream of making it big that way ourselves. But have you ever wondered how these rich successful people got their start? Here are some famous billionaires' first jobs. (Net worth figures as of Aug. 15, 2019, according to Forbes.)
1. Warren Buffett
Net Worth: $77.6 Billion
First Job: Newspaper Delivery Boy
Warren Buffett started working on his billion-dollar empire when he was just a boy. At age 13, Buffett had his first job running a newspaper delivery business. Already a budding businessman, Buffett even deducted his bike from his taxes that year. He went on to start a pinball machine business as a teen, looking for business opportunities wherever he went and graduating college with a $10,000 profit from his business ventures. It's no wonder that today so many look to Warren Buffett for financial advice.
2. Oprah Winfrey
Net Worth: $2.6 Billion
First Job: Grocery Store Clerk
Oprah Winfrey is one of those women who are in charge of their destiny: she just seems to get better and richer with everything she does. However, Winfrey got her start in an average menial job at the grocery store next to her father's Nashville barbershop. She quickly made her move to broadcasting, reading the news for the local radio station by age 16 and moving her way up to the media powerhouse she is today.
3. Michael Bloomberg
Net Worth: $55.5 Billion
First Job: Parking Lot Attendant
Michael Bloomberg is best known for his investment and political career, but before his success, he worked as a parking lot attendant. As the son of middle-class parents, Bloomberg paid his college tuition by working and eventually went on to graduate with an MBA from Harvard. He got his start on Wall Street at Salomon Brothers and is now one of the wealthiest people in America.
4. Bill Gates
Net Worth: $102.2 Billion
First Job: Computer Programmer
Who doesn't know Microsoft's Bill Gates? Competitor Apple may like to poke fun at Microsoft's less-than-cool image, but Bill Gates is laughing all the way to the bank. This Harvard drop-out followed his passion for tech from a young age: his first job was as a computer programmer for TRW during his senior year in high school. Gates is now one of the richest people in the world, proving that being a computer geek can really pay off. In 2008, he stepped down from the daily running of Microsoft to focus on his philanthropic endeavors via the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which works to improve education, fight hunger, and develop vaccinations.
5. Steve Jobs
Net Worth: $10.2 Billion (at the time of his death in 2011)
First Job: Summer Job at HP
At the time of his death in 2011, Steve Jobs' net worth was estimated at $10.2 billion. The Apple founder got his start at HP when he was just in high school, where he met future Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Despite Apple's success, the bulk of Jobs' fortune comes from digital animation company Pixar, which he sold to Disney for a cool $7.4 billion.
6. Jeff Bezos
Net Worth: $110 Billion
First Job: Grill Operator at McDonald's
Way before he founded Amazon and began selling everything from books to newspaper subscriptions, Jeff Bezos was flipping burgers behind the grill at McDonald's. Bezos began working at the fast-food chain in Miami when he was only 16 and has often said that he learned one of his business’ most important lessons from that experience: to move things quickly from seller to customer without damaging them.
7. George Lucas
Net Worth: $6.2 Billion
First Job: Teaching Assistant
When you think of George Lucas, you think "Star Wars," the iconic series that made him his fortune. Lucas' start working in the film industry came early, but humbly: as a teaching assistant for the U.S. Military's cameramen. George Lucas went on to pursue an apprenticeship with Francis Coppola and eventually developed his own name as a Hollywood icon, with a $6.2 billion fortune to show for his hard and creative work.
The Bottom Line
We all know that starting as a newspaper boy or parking lot attendant doesn't promise you'll be a billionaire. What is interesting to note about the careers of these billionaires is that they discovered their passion at an early age, be it technology, investing, fashion, or film, proving that following your passion can pay, in the billions, if you're lucky enough.