I was born in 1984 which makes me a member of the Generation X, or possibly a member of the Millennial generation. In a world filled with instant gratification, many members of these generations think they should be running the company their first day on the job. Many of us want the big salary and title without putting in the legwork.
Unfortunately what many of us Gen Xers and Millenials fail to recognize is that in order to make it to the top you sometimes have to start at the bottom. That means working as an intern, volunteering, or even working for free! That’s right…WORKING FOR FREE!
Here are some great examples of 4 Top executives of Fortune 500 companies who started out at the bottom…
Daniel Hesse, CEO of AT&T Wireless
Hesse started as an intern in the late 70’s, only to work his way up to become the CEO of AT&T Wireless.
Kevin Liles, President of Def Jam Records
Liles took an unpaid interenship at Def Jam Records. Seven years later he became President of Def Jam Music Group.
Marry Barra, CEO of General Motors
Marry Barra is the first female CEO of General Motors. Over 30 years ago she started out as an engineering intern.
Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox
Burns became the first African-American woman to run a fortune 500 company when she was named CEO of Xerox. Her first job with the company was working as a summer intern.
So, if you want to make it to the top, remember that it’s okay to start at the bottom. Take that internship, volunteer, or work for free. Who knows…one day you could be the CEO of a fortune 500 company just like these people!