South African-born billionaire and technology titan Elon Musk may be the world’s wealthiest individual, but he has done his fair share of “regular” jobs to make ends meet.
It may be hard to imagine this super wealthy man getting his hands dirty and working like the millions of other people around the world, but as a young man, his future filled with glamour was decades away.
Details of the SpaceX CEO’s early life were laid bare in his biography, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, which was written by Ashlee Vance.
These labour-intensive and “dirty” jobs may be unbecoming of a billionaire, but we all have to start somewhere. Here are some of the unglamorous jobs Musk did in his youth:
According to the book, when he was 17, Musk worked at his cousin’s farm in Waldeck, Saskatchewan, Canada.
“He tended vegetables and shovelled out grain bins at a cousin’s farm located in the tiny town of Waldeck. Musk celebrated his 18th birthday there, sharing a cake with the family,” wrote Vance in the book.
On my cousin's farm in Canada at 17, wearing a hat on a hat pic.twitter.com/U96ClGz5gZ— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 13, 2017
After his stint with farm work, he was taught how to cut logs with a chainsaw in Vancouver, British Columbia. That’s right, the Twitter CEO spent his time covered in wood chips as a lumberjack (a person whose job is to cut down trees to be used in building and industry).
Boiler cleaning is a mechanical or chemical process for removing oil, dust and other deposits from steam boiler surfaces.
Musk landed this gig after he went to an unemployment office and asked for the highest paying job available. He would get paid $18 (R319.05) an hour for the work.
“You have to put on this hazmat suit and then shimmy through this little tunnel that you can barely fit in. Then, you have a shovel and you take the sand and goop and other residue, which is still steaming hot, and you have to shovel it through the same hole you came through.
“There is no escape. Someone else on the other side has to shovel it into a wheelbarrow. If you stay in there for more than 30 minutes, you get too hot and die,” Musk was quoted saying in the biography.
According to Vance, 30 people started out at the beginning of the week. By the third day, five people were left and at the end of the week, it was just Musk and two other men doing the work.