Everybody has to start somewhere, and everybody has to pay the bills somehow.
Long before they became famous, here are the first jobs of some of literature’s most famous and distinguished figures.
Henry David Thoreau worked in his father’s pencil factory.
Arthur Conan Doyle was an ophthalmologist.
William Faulkner worked as a carpenter, as a clerk in his grandfather’s bank, and as the damndest postmaster the world has ever seen.
Wallace Stevens worked as an executive at an insurance company.
Kurt Vonnegut owned and managed a Saab dealership. He was also General Electric’s PR man.
Jack London was an oyster pirate, a job that seems to be a lot more interesting than it actually is.
Jack Kerouac worked at a gas station.
Ernest Hemingway, E.E. Cummings, W. Somerset Maugham, and John Dos Passos were all ambulance drivers during World War One.
Chuck Palahniuk worked as a dishwasher, mechanic, and movie projectionist.
Ken Kesey was a volunteer for a CIA mind control experiment.
Stephen King worked as a high-school janitor.
F. Scott Fitzgerald worked at an advertising agency.
Roald Dahl was a spy during World War Two.
Octavia Butler was a potato chip inspector.
Joseph Heller worked as a blacksmith’s apprentice before enlisting in the US Army Air Corps.