See What Surprising Thing You May Have in Common with the Richest Americans Like Donald Trump

You may feel you have absolutely nothing in common with some of our country’s wealthiest people. However, you’d be surprised by the one thing about many filthy rich Americans that makes them oh-so-relatable: They toiled away at average jobs when they started out — just like the rest of us.

Here we’ll show you 12 famous Americans who started their careers with average jobs. See where the richest person in the world worked as a teenager (page 4) and the surprising first job of President Donald Trump (page 12).

1. Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

  • First job: Paper boy
  • Current job: CEO, Berkshire Hathaway
  • Net worth: $75 billion

One of the richest people in the world started out delivering newspapers at the age of 13. Warren Buffett woke up at 4:30 a.m. to deliver The Washington Post. To make it interesting, he challenged himself to find ways to serve each of the apartment buildings faster. He then started selling new subscriptions and calendars on the side.

By 15, the future CEO had earned $2,000 delivering newspapers and invested $1,200 of it in a Nebraska farm in a profit-sharing agreement. The rest is history.

Next: This billionaire talk show queen hated her grocery store job.

2. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey smiling

Oprah Winfrey | Mike Windle/Getty Images

  • First job: Grocery store clerk
  • Current job: TV presenter, producer
  • Net worth: $3.2 billion

Legendary daytime talk show queen Oprah Winfrey hated her first job. As a teenager in Nashville, she worked at the corner grocery store next to her father’s barber shop. “I wasn’t allowed to talk to the customers, and can you imagine for me?” she asked. “That was very, very, very hard.”

At 16, she landed a job that suited her much better, reading news on the air for a Nashville radio station.

Next: This former door-to-door salesman is famous for his looks.

3. George Clooney

George Clooney at the Men Who Stare At Goats premiere

George Clooney | Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

  • First job: Door-to-door insurance salesman
  • Current job: Actor
  • Net worth: $500 million

Would you buy insurance from this man? His door-to-door career got off to a rocky start, he confessed to David Letterman: “The first day I sold one [policy] and the guy died.” The now-A-list star also worked as a tobacco cutter and as a salesman in a women’s shoe shop after dropping out of college.

Next: Where the richest man in the world worked as a teen

4. Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos | David McNew/Getty Images

  • First job: McDonald’s employee
  • Current job: Amazon founder
  • Net worth: $126 billion

Working in e-commerce has surely paid off for Jeff Bezos, to say the least. The Amazon CEO started out flipping burgers at McDonald’s when he was 16. While working at the Golden Arches, he learned about customer service and working under pressure.

“You can learn responsibility in any job if you take it seriously,” he said. “You learn a lot as a teenager working at McDonald’s. It’s different from what you learn in school. Don’t underestimate the value of that!”

Next: He got major inspiration as a janitor.

5. Stephen King

Author Stephen King

Stephen King | Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images

  • First job: School janitor
  • Current job: Author
  • Net worth: $400 million

He may have sold more than 350 million books worldwide, but he had to start somewhere: Stephen King worked as a janitor and gas pump attendant to pay his way through college at the University of Maine. He also worked at an industrial laundry. While in college, he also worked for the school newspaper. He was inspired to write his thriller Carrie while working at his janitor job.

Next: A multi-millionaire still thinks about his job at Gap.

6. Kanye West

Kanye West in a tan shirt with his hand on his head looking on

Kanye West | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

  • First job: Sales assistant at Gap
  • Current job: Rapper
  • Net worth: $160 million

Long before he was known for his rap lyrics and outspoken personality, Kanye West worked as a Gap sales assistant. He actually references that time in his lyrics, “let’s go back, back to the gap.” Now known for his own personal clothing label, he talked in 2015 of his dream to be creative director of Gap. “I’d like to be the Steve Jobs of the Gap,” he told Rolling Stone.

Next: From house cleaning to twerking on stage

7. Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus | David Becker/Getty Images for Clear Channel

  • First job: House cleaner
  • Current job: Singer
  • Net worth: $160 million

Before her twerking days, the “Wrecking Ball” singer worked as a cleaning lady. “I had one normal job, and I actually liked it,” she said. I worked at this place called Sparkles Cleaning Service and I cleaned houses. I was like 11 … I can clean toilet bowls.”

Soon enough, her scrubbing days were over when she became an overnight sensation in Disney show Hannah Montana.

Next: A famous comedian who scraped shrimp off plates

8. Chris Rock

Chris Rock at the Oscars |

Chris Rock | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

  • First job: Dishwasher at Red Lobster
  • Current job: Actor
  • Net worth: $100 million

Before he was Comedy Central’s 5th Greatest Stand-Up Comedian of All Time, Chris Rock started out as a dishwasher at a Queens, New York Red Lobster, earning minimum wage. That fact has been the target of many of his standup routines.

“I used to scrape shrimp into the garbage can and then load up the dishwasher,” he said. “That was my real job. I never got a raise, I never got a promotion. They kept me in the back…”

Next: An oyster shucker-turned comedian

9. Ellen DeGeneres

Host Ellen DeGeneres speaks onstage during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California.

Ellen DeGeneres | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

  • First job: Oyster shucker
  • Current job: Host of The Ellen Show
  • Net worth: $400 million

After just a few weeks at University of New Orleans, Ellen DeGeneres decided it wasn’t for her and dropped out to pursue a comedy career. She took on odd jobs to pay the bills, including shucking oysters, selling vacuum cleaners, and shampooing hair at a salon.

Soon enough later, she got her lucky break when doing standup comedy in Los Angeles and appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson — which she called the turning point of her career.

Next: From hair sweeper to one of the biggest stars on the planet

10. Beyoncé


Beyoncé | Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

  • First job: Hair salon assistant
  • Current job: Singer
  • Net worth: $500 million

Beyoncé once earned money sweeping up people’s hair at her mother Tina Knowles’ salon. It was a way for the aspiring singer to earn some cash. However, it wasn’t meant to be for long, as Queen Bey had started singing and dancing at an early age, competing in talent shows. Destiny’s Child landed their first record deal with Columbia Records in 1997 — and the pop star’s sweeping days were a mere memory.

Next: A new British royal did calligraphy.

11. Meghan Markle

Fiancée of Britain's Prince Harry's, US actress Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle | Dominic Lipinski/AFP/Getty Images

  • First job: Wedding invitation calligraphy writer
  • Current job: Representative of the British royal family
  • Net worth: $5 million

Before she was royal, Meghan Markle established her acting career as Rachel Zane on legal drama Suits. When she was starting her career, she made ends meet with a unique skill: calligraphy. When she worked at The Paper Source, Markle earned a living writing out wedding invitations, including those of singer Robin Thicke and his former wife Paula Patton.

Next: Our president’s surprising first job

12. Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Donald Trump | Jim Lo Scalzo – Pool/Getty Images

  • First job: Bottle collector at construction sites
  • Current job: President, United States of America
  • Net worth: $3.1 billion

Although Donald Trump grew up in a wealthy family, when he was young his father took him and his brother to pick up empty soda bottles at construction sites to redeem for cash. While the president didn’t earn much in the endeavor, he said it taught him how to work for his money. “That was my first income,” he said. He later accompanied his father’s rent collectors to see what that was like.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!