Working at McDonald’s to BILLIONAIRE

Would you work at McDonald’s?  Does a job there seem ‘beneath you’?  Perhaps you’re overqualified and would rather work somewhere that pays better, or utilizes your skills & knowledge.  But would you be WILLING to work at McDonald’s?  Is there anything you could gain from working at a job like that?

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and the richest person on the planet, used to work there.  He worked on the grill, flipping hamburgers…he made Big Macs!

Now why did he work there?  Well, he probably needed some spending money…every teenager has stuff they’d like to buy.  And if you’re unemployed, even a SMALL salary is much higher than NO salary.  But when you’re young, it’s far more important that you WORK When-you-are-young-work-to-learn-not-to-earn.”-Robert-KiyosakiTO LEARN, rather than WORK TO EARN.

Here are 3 things you learn when you ‘start from the bottom’:

  1. Business Knowledge

Jeff Bezos now runs one of the most powerful companies on Earth, and he has used some of the important lessons he took away from his job at McDonald’s:

  • Customer service
  • How to work under pressure (I remember working on the grill at a hamburger restaurant when a bus full of people arrived.  When you look out at a lineup of 80 hungry adults…it’s intense!)
  • Importance of a good manager
  • Power of automation, which is a massive part of Amazon’s business


  1. Soft Skills

Communication, dealing with authority, listening well, handling conflict…these skills are invaluable in the marketplace.

Last weekend my son was going on a camping trip, and he was really stressed about his homework because he didn’t think he would have time to finish it all.  I told him, ‘What you will learn on the camping trip is far more important than what you will learn from your homework.’  What I meant was that dealing with the authority in charge of the weekend, dealing with other kids while they are playing games or making meals, and especially dealing with the other five boys he was sharing a tent with…these soft skills are far more important than memorizing a poem in French, or memorizing the scientific names of plant parts.  All those things can be Googled, but you cannot download soft skills

Working at a place like McDonald’s can give you the opportunity to learn these CRUCIAL skills.

  1. Character

During Jeff Bezos’ first week on the job at McDonald’s, 18 litres of ketchup spilled onto the floor, and since he was the new guy –  guess who got to clean it up!??  How would you respond if you were in his shoes?  Would you quit on the spot and say, “Gross!  I didn’t sign up for this.  I don’t need this.”  Bezos didn’t quit.  He cleaned up the mess, and stuck it out for the whole summer.

“You can learn responsibility in any job if you take it seriously. 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!”

Perhaps the greatest thing you could gain from working at a crappy job is building your CHARACTER!

Barack Obama made ice cream cones at Baskin Robbins.

The Pope was a janitor.

Oprah worked at a hanoute (convenience store).

Michael Bloomberg, worth $50 billion, started out as a parking guardian.

The CEO of Goldman Sachs, one of the most powerful investment banks on Wall Street…he started selling snacks at the stadium.

Warren Buffet delivered newspapers.

Michael Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg

Mark Cuban, another American billionaire – he started by selling garbage bags door-to-door.

Michael Dell from Dell Computers – he used to wash dishes at a Chinese restaurant.

The CEO of Wal-Mart, (Doug McMillion), started working there when he was 18…he’s gone from the bottom to the top!  He was willing to take the lowest position, and over time – grow his experience, grow his skills, until eventually reaching the pinnacle of the company.

Now I’m not putting myself into the same category as some of the legends I’ve just mentioned, but I’ve got some experience with lower-end jobs.

I delivered newspapers as a kid, I was a labourer for a construction company (digging holes, carrying wood), I worked for a plumbing company, I made coffees at Starbucks for 3 years while I was a university student, and I even drove a forklift one summer!battery factory

I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything, because they helped me build character!  So if you shy away from taking a job that you think is beneath you…perhaps you need to read a book like “Ego is the Enemy” by Ryan Holiday – I highly recommend it.

Those who have gone before us were willing to take these jobs, because they recognized it as an opportunity to build character.

If you’re unemployed, start from the bottom – just take a job and get started!  If you’re a hard worker and quick learner, you’ll rise through the ranks quickly.

Even a small salary will help you pay the bills, and in the meantime you’ll be gaining Business Knowledge, Soft Skills, and the most precious of them all…CHARACTER.

To see this blog post as a video…watch here!

And here’s my first ever job…my short-lived career as a male model.  Can you tell which one is me?

Ryan as Gremlins pj model
Yes, those are Gremlins pajamas.  It was the 80s!