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The following men and women may be vying for the biggest job around – president of the United States of America – but they didn’t start at the top.
While many of the presidential candidates went on to become billionaires, CEOs, or senators, their first jobs were far less glamorous.
From secretary to gas attendant, here are the first jobs of 12 presidential hopefuls.
Hillary Clinton supervised park activities.
The Democratic presidential candidate and former secretary of state writes in her autobiography “Hard Choices” that she got her first paying job, other than babysitting, at 13 supervising a small park a few miles from her home in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, Illinois.
Clinton says she had to lug a wagon full of balls, bats, and jump ropes back and forth three days a week that summer.
“My parents believed in self-reliance and hard work, and they made sure we kids learned the value of a dollar and appreciated the dignity of a job well done,” she writes.
Donald Trump collected bottles.
Trump, the billionaire real-estate mogul and Republican presidential candidate, grew up wealthy, but his father wanted him to learn the value of money early on.
As a kid, his dad would take him to construction sites and have him and his brother pick up empty soda bottles to redeem for cash, Trump tells Forbes. He says that he didn’t make much, but it taught him to work for his money.
Martin O’Malley played Irish music.
- Reuters/Brian Snyder
The Democratic presidential candidate and former Maryland governor got his first gig at 17, playing Irish music with his high-school football coach in bars outside of Washington, D.C.
O’Malley told “Late Night” host Seth Meyers his band “hit the supply and demand at the right time,” since there were seven Irish bars in the D.C. metro area at the time and only three Irish bands.
“We played the same 20 songs over and over again every night, but they kept paying us, so we kept playing,” O’Malley said.
As the current front man of the Irish folk-rock band “O’Malley’s March,” O’Malley leads the band on vocals, acoustic guitar, banjo, bodhran, and tin whistle, according to the O’Malley’s March website.
Jeb Bush was a door-to-door salesman.
The campaign of the Republican presidential candidate and former Florida governor told CNNMoney that, as a young man, Bush worked as a door-to-door salesman. What he sold was not disclosed.
Bernie Sanders worked as a carpenter and documentary filmmaker.
- REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
According to the Democratic presidential candidate’s campaign website, Sanders worked as a carpenter and documentary filmmaker before being elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont, in 1981.
Ben Carson assisted in a laboratory.
Having grown up a poor student in inner-city Detroit, the Republican presidential candidate and former neurosurgeon worked his way through college.
According to CNNMoney, Carson got his first full-time job as a biology laboratory assistant at Southwestern High School in Detroit.
Carly Fiorina was a receptionist.
The Republican presidential candidate and former HP CEO was a receptionist at a hair salon during one of the summers while she was at Stanford University, a spokesperson tells Business Insider. She spent subsequent summers during college working various temp secretary jobs.
“It’s only in this country that you can go from being a secretary to chief executive of the largest tech company in the world, and run for president of the United States. It’s only possible here,” Fiorina told “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon.
Chris Christie pumped gas.
- REUTERS/Mike Segar
During his high-school years, the New Jersey governor and Republican presidential candidate was a gas station attendant in Livingston, New Jersey, a spokesperson tells Business Insider.
Marco Rubio built birdcages.
The Florida senator and Republican presidential candidate told local newspaper Good News Florida in 2009 that his brother-in-law owned an import-export company of exotic birds in Miami, and he used to build the cages for them when he was in high school.
Rand Paul mowed lawns.
The Kentucky senator and Republican presidential candidate mowed grass in Lake Jackson, Texas, a spokesperson tells Business Insider.
Lindsey Graham ran the poolroom in his family’s bar.
Most of the South Carolina senator and Republican presidential candidate’s growing up happened in his parents’ combination bar, restaurant, liquor store, and pool hall, the Sanitary Cafe, in a small South Carolina mill town, Graham writes in his memoir, “My Story.”
By the time Graham was 12 years old, he was running the pool hall in the basement and racking tables for 10 cents a pop to help the family business. He also picked up some skills from the professionals that frequented the bar.
“Some people might worry that a poolroom isn’t a suitable environment for an impressionable young mind, especially a poolroom frequented by professional gamblers. I don’t think it did me any harm,” Graham writes. “Actually, it taught me valuable lessons about human nature and how to make a living from understanding it. That’s been a useful skill in most things I’ve done since.”
George Pataki helped run the family farm.
The Republican presidential candidate and former New York governor grew up on his family’s farm in Peekskill, New York, and spent many hours doing whatever was necessary to help, a spokesperson tells Business Insider.
That often meant picking vegetables, weeding, and stocking the farm stand. As a teenager, he and his cousin picked cider apples for 18 cents a bushel.