Think about your first job. Looking back, did it help put you on a path to success? Here's what more than a dozen successful executives remember about entering the world of work.
1. Website Builder at 13
"My first job was writing websites from scratch for an ISP in Casablanca in 1998 when I was 13. My parents were teachers in Morocco at the time and I wanted to earn some extra money while doing something that interested me. Luckily enough, building websites turned out to be a full time gig for me, but it was also part of that experience that led me to build Weebly and make the complicated process as simple as possible for people who know zero code."
--David Rusenko, founder and CEO of the website-building platform Weebly.
2. Steakhouse Waiter in Taiwan
"My first job was being a waiter at Wowprime, the largest steakhouse in Taiwan. I learned a lot there before quitting to pursue Web design, getting my second job making websites for a small film production studio. Through this, I found my true passion is building things using technology to express feeling and words."
--Ju-Chun Ko, cofounder of Luna 360, the first consumer-ready, VR-optimized 360-degree camera.
3. Camp Counselor in Idaho
"When I was 13 I was hired as a camp counselor at a local day camp called Kamp Ka-Mee-Lin. I was in charge of 10 to 20 kindergarteners who taught me the importance of play and making sweet sound effects. I also never lost a kid, so that's a plus."
--Konrad Billetz, founder and CEO of interchangeable prescription eyewear maker Frameri.
4. Camp Kitchen Prep Cook
"I was a Camp Kitchen Prep Cook at the local JCC in Monmouth, New Jersey. One of my hobbies is cooking, so when I was younger and looking to make some money over the summers, instead of going to camp like my friends, I decided to work for one. I got a job working in a local day camp and waking up early to prep lunch for the whole camp, and eventually working my way up the camp ladder to become the grill master for the coveted Burger Day. It was a tough job, working in the intense heat of the summer, under a lot of pressure, but I learned a ton."
--Michael Dweck, founder and CEO of men's innerwear and loungewear company Basic/Outfitters.
5. Middle School Entrepreneur
"I started my first company when I was in middle school. It was centered on my passion for photography and it was an extremely fulfilling experience. It taught me that if you are passionate about what you do, it doesn't feel like work. It paved the way for where I am today."
--Constantin Bisanz, founder and CEO of the health and wellness brand ALOHA.
6. Restaurant Hostess
"My first job was actually hostessing at a restaurant in high school. Although I didn't love it, the job really taught me a lot about sales techniques and skills, how to upsell customers, as well as negotiating power--especially when converting upset customers to happy ones in a short period of time. These have all been invaluable skills that I currently use to this day as a cofounder."
--Emily Motayed, cofounder of online interior design platform Havenly.
7. Club Promoter
"My first job was organizing a teen night at a local club with two of my friends when I was in the eighth grade. We convinced the owner to let us use his club on an off night, got a DJ, printed flyers and got all our friends to show up. It was an awesome night...It taught me to that no matter how old you are, anything is possible and that you should always follow your instincts."
--Daniel Silberman, founder and CEO of lllesteva, a high-end eyewear expert and luxury goods brand.
8. Mechanic for an IndyCar Team
"The first real job I had was as a mechanic for an IndyCar team. When I say 'mechanic,' I use that term loosely. I was the most junior person on the team. I got the job through a connection I had when I graduated college and, at the time, was one of the only college educated mechanics on the team. My responsibilities were basically everything that no one else wanted to do. And since I was 'the college kid,' they never hesitated to make the job as difficult as possible. I quickly learned that the only way to gain credibility and respect from a team is to put your head down, deliver as much value as you possibly can, and never complain. It's not until you prove your value to a team, and they realize you can help them move forward instead of holding them up, that you can truly be part of a team and help guide them in new directions."
--David Mandell, cofounder and CEO of flexible office space solution PivotDesk.
"At age 12, I started babysitting, but not for neighbors and family friends. I made business cards and I convinced my mom to let me put ads in the paper, and I responded to ads and treated contacts like business clients. It helped me figure out early on that if you're going to do something, really do it."
--Jean Brownhill Lauer, cofounder and CEO of Sweeten, a renovation matchmaker between consumers and general contractors.
"My first job was dishwashing at a popular restaurant while I was in high school. The place was always busy, so we had to wear many hats at once. The experience helped me develop a solid work ethic that has benefited me to this day."
--Justin Evans, cofounder and chief creative officer of LANDR, a cloud-based audio post-production software platform.
11. Tennis Instructor
"My first job was at 15. I was a tennis Instructor for the summer in Princeton, New Jersey at the Bedens Brook Club."
--Colin Darretta, founder and CEO of customized nutritional supplement service WellPath Solutions.
12. Orphanage Volunteer
"I grew up in Hong Kong where high school jobs aren't that common. My first job was an ad agency internship in college but throughout high school I volunteered at a baby orphanage on weekends, an experience I often liken to my first job."
--Chris Toy, founder and CEO of Bindle, the mobile app bringing people together with shareable chats.
13. Department Store Clerk and Tile Setter
"My first two jobs were in retail and construction. I worked the floor at my neighborhood department store in Lincoln, Nebraska, and laid tile for a local, family-owned business. Working in service taught me the importance of hospitality, attention to detail, and in quickly establishing relationships. Construction taught me the virtues of careful planning, the importance of paying attention to detail and the incredible satisfaction of physical creation."
--Healey Cypher, cofounder and CEO of Oak Labs, makers of the interactive fitting room currently being piloted at Polo Ralph Lauren.
14. Door Greeter at Cold Stone Creamery
"At 14 years old I sang songs and danced around entertaining folks in line--think purple wigs and air guitars. Looking back, this was a great primer for the PR world."
--Elliot Tomaeno, founder and CEO of the PR Agency ASTRSK.