It's easy to feel like you have to have it all together. Like you're not going far enough, fast enough. That it'll never happen for you, or that your dream is too far away. 

That you'll never make it.

If you need a little inspiration--or just want to believe that no matter where you are now, things can get better--look no further than this list.

Because before these people were famous, they weren't. They were just regular people doing the weird, menial, or awkward things we all do to get by. Here are 11 celebrities and the jobs they had before they got big:

1. Johnny Depp

The only thing worse than getting a call from a telemarketer is being a telemarketer. Depp worked as one, selling ballpoint pens. He wasn't terribly successful at it, though, because the whole thing was kind of scammy ("buy 12 dozen pens and you'll get a free grandfather clock") ... he just couldn't get behind it. 

He did manage to some acting practice out of it, though: during sales calls, he often tried out funny accents or mimicked famous actors to customers. 

2. Christopher Walken

In keeping with Walken's general bizarreness, he once worked as a lion tamer in a circus. On the position he told Vanity Fair that the lioness in question, Sheba, was "very sweet, like a dog."

3. Jennifer Hudson

Before becoming a powerhouse singer and actor, Hudson worked at Burger King. "I used to sing at the drive-thru window, she said. "That was my microphone." 

4. Lucy Liu

Liu once held down three separate jobs, working seven days a week to pay the bills and fund her dream of becoming an actor. She was a secretary for five days a week, and on weekends she worked as an aerobics instructor during the day and a hostess at a restaurant at night.

"I knew I needed money if I was going into acting because I was probably not going to be making a lot of money off the bat," she told the Seattle Times. To me it was grueling work, but I was excited by the idea about why I was doing the work."

5. George Clooney

Clooney exudes a sense of dignified humility in many of his roles. He says the difficult job of selling insurance door-to-door was one of the things that helped him learn to be humble. For example, he wasn't able to keep the position due to a lack of success. The same day he secured the one commission of his tenure ... the man died.

6. Rachel McAdams 

Rachel McAdams spent three years working at McDonalds. "I was not a great employee," she confessed to Glamour magazine about the position. "I broke the orange juice machine one day." 

She was also reprimanded for holding up the drive-through due to hand-washing. "I had a little bit of an OCD thing with hand washing and just didn't have time," she said. "They were like, 'Hey, the drive-through's backing up. Stop washing your hands!'"

7. Barack Obama

"Scooping ice cream is tougher than it looks," Obama said, on working at Baskin-Robbins in Honolulu. "Rows and rows of rock-hard ice cream can be brutal on the wrists." At the time, he said, "I was less interested in what the job meant for my future and more concerned about what it meant for my jump shot."

8. Ozzy Osbourne

As someone also known as The Prince of Darkness, it's apropos that Osbourne once worked in a slaughterhouse. "I got used to the smell," he reported, "and once I'd proved myself as puke remover they promoted me to cow killer."

9. Victoria Beckham 

The former Spice Girl and fashionista played a sperm on roller skates for a BBC sex education show. The title of the show? Body Matters.

10. Vince Vaughn

In what seems somehow like a perfect fit, Vince Vaughn was a lifeguard at the YMCA.

"[O]ne day there was a woman in the pool who was not a good swimmer and started to slowly drift toward the deep end," he said. "So I got in the pool and just lightly dragged her over to the shallow end. My boss said, 'Congratulations on your first save.' When I told my dad, he said that there wasn't anything 'save' about it. He took it off the big board, and rightfully so."

11. Evangeline Lilly 

Lilly worked as a flight attendant, and wasn't beneath dealing with problem customers in a less-than-polite fashion.


Whatever your role, position, or status, it's good to remember that greatness often stems from menial beginnings.

You're doing fine. Just keep swimming.