When you see a celebrity on TV, it’s easy to assume he or she was born successful—that good looks and Hollywood charm paved the way for success, not hard work. But many of America’s most famous faces began their working lives on the bottom rung of the career ladder. And their first job was anything but glamorous.
In our regular First Job Friday feature on Information Station, we profile famous Americans whose first days on the job—and the value that comes with them—shaped their professional lives.
This week, we’re highlighting Jennifer Aniston. Before she ever played Rachel Green in the hit sitcom “Friends” and ascended into Hollywood prominence, Aniston was busy cleaning toilets. That’s right: To earn her weekly allowance, the actress carried out basic household cleaning tasks, specifically cleaning toilets in her neighborhood. “I made my allowance as a kid cleaning toilets,” she told Parade.com. “I’m actually pretty good at it. I grew up with absolutely no money at all. I struggled for a while, but I was happy with my life whether I was making this amount of money, or that amount of money.”
Even though the work was dull (and dirty), it taught Aniston to look at the bright side and find fulfillment in the job at hand. “I always enjoyed where I was working,” she admits. That enjoyment led her to try out several jobs while she was waiting for a big break in her acting career, including waiting tables and selling time-shares to travelers. Put together, those experiences taught her to always strive for more—even when the work was nothing to brag about. “I loved being a waitress. OK, I didn’t like time-share selling, I hated that job,” Aniston recalls. “But people used to say to me, ‘You need to focus on having ambition.’ And I guess sort of following that advice allowed a lot to come to me.”
But it wouldn’t have if she hadn’t gained valuable work experience growing up in poverty. Aniston never loses sight of her humble but rewarding beginnings—even those days scraping muck off toilets.