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World’s Richest Man Explains How Working At McDonald’s At 16 Set Him Up For A Life Of Great Success

from: 19 . 04 . 18
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Amazon’s founder, who is currently the richest man in the world and worth $120 billion, started his career in retail at age 16, when he worked the grill at the back of a McDonald’s.

Amazon CEO and self-made billionaire Jeff Bezos was always unique, even as a kid. His mother Jacklyn, who became became pregnant with Bezos at 16, remembers his fascination with discovering the way machines and toys worked.

“I knew early on that he was wired a little bit differently,” she says. “When he tried to take his crib apart with a screwdriver, I think that cinched it.”



Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

“I knew early on that he was wired a little bit differently,” she says. “When he tried to take his crib apart with a screwdriver, I think that cinched it.”

So when 16-year-old Jeff got a summer job frying up burgers at McDonald’s in 1980, he learned all he could from the experience.
Bezos instagram profile

Jeff Bezos as a teenager

“I was a cook,” Bezos told Fast Company. “They wouldn’t let me anywhere near the customers. This was my acned-teenager stage. They were like, ‘Hmm, why don’t you work in the back?'” he joked.

As a “grill man,” the most challenging thing for Bezos “was keeping everything going at the right pace during a rush,” he told Cody Teets, author of “Golden Opportunity: Remarkable Careers That Began at McDonald’s.”

The experience was Bezos’ first hands-on brush with retail, according to Wired, and he spent the summer “studying the company’s automation improvements,” like beeps and signals for when to “scramble his eggs, flip his burgers, and pull his fries out of the boiling vat.”



“Now, actually, the french fries raise themselves up out of the oil, which let me tell you is a major technological innovation!” he told Wired

According to Bezos, this summer job not only gave him an early insight into customer service and working under pressure, but it also taught him the value of being a good manager.

“The most challenging thing was keeping everything going at the right pace during a rush. The manager at my McDonald’s was excellent. He had a lot of teenagers working for him, and he kept us focused even while we had fun,” he told Teets.

He added: “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!”

Bezos isn’t the only entrepreneur to glean lessons from working at a fast-food chain. Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian was a waiter at Pizza Hut in high school, after working his way up from a dishwasher.

As a waiter, “I learned basically everything I’ve ever needed to know about customer service,” Ohanian told The New York Times.

Barbara Corcoran, star of ABC’s “Shark Tank, found similar value working as a waitress in her early 20s.

“You learn more in waitressing than you can in any other job,” Corcoran tells CNBC Make It. “The best job you could have to prepare for entrepreneurship is, walk on the other side of the counter and serve people.”

As for Bezos’s time at McDonald’s, his advice for young people is to always keep your eyes open for lessons to learn at any gig, even it’s just flipping burgers.

“You can learn responsibility in any job, if you take it seriously,” he said in “Golden Opportunity.”

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



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