Saturday, February 5, 2011


  1. Jimmy Carter, Peanut FarmerBefore his years in the White House, this down-to-earth leader worked as a peanut farmer after returning home from a tour of duty in the Navy. It is perhaps this humble profession (though Carter was quite a successful farmer) in connection with his commitment to faith that led him to take such an interest in human rights, peace and diplomacy throughout his presidency.
  2. Ronald Reagan, Actor. With many actors and entertainers stepping into the political arena these days, it is perhaps less shocking that this actor turned a career on the silver screen into eight years in the White House. During his theatrical run, Reagan appeared in over fifty films, was president of the SAG and become a spokesman for GE — a move that helped to jumpstart his interest in politics.
  3. Lyndon Johnson, Teacher. Fresh out of college, a young LBJ found work in education, briefly as a principal and then as a public speaking teacher. His work as a teacher actually formed the basis for his entry into politics, as he moved from teaching to Director of National Youth Administration in Texas, and finally into the House of Representatives. Educational initiatives were always a focus during his presidency.
  4. Herbert Hoover, EngineerYou might already have a connection in your head between President Hoover and engineering because of the famous dam named after him. In his career before the presidency, Hoover worked in mining engineering, and by all accounts was quite successful at it, traveling the world to consult and speak. It was this love of the practice that motivated lawmakers to name the dam after him.
  5. Warren Harding, Newspaper Publisher and Editor. After graduating from college, Harding worked as a teacher and an insurance man before finding a job he truly loved – working as a newspaperman. He purchased a failing periodical, worked hard to turn it around and eventually built it into a fairly successful paper, though perhaps with detriment to his health. The stress of the job caused him exhaustion and nervous fatigue. It was not until after his presidency that he sold the paper, at a profit of over half a million dollars.
  6. Andrew Johnson, TailorApprenticed to a tailor at age 10, Johnson spent most of his early years working in a tailor's shop, learning how to sew and mend clothes. He, in fact, had no formal education and taught himself to read and write and was later tutored by his wife. Later in his career, Johnson's tailor shop became a meeting place for politically-minded men where they would debate the issues of the day.
  7. Abraham Lincoln, Postmaster. Abraham Lincoln held many jobs in his years before the presidency, and while he was ultimately to become a lawyer like many other presidential candidates, he worked as a postmaster for a time under President Andrew Jackson in New Salem, Illinois. It was this job that allowed him to develop the connections with people in the community and surrounding areas. It also improved his education, which was a big help when he finally decided to be an elected official.
  8. John F. Kennedy, Journalist. Much of what most people known about JFK centers around his assassination and short but popular presidency. While some may know of his career in the armed forces, fewer still know of his work as a writer before he entered the political arena. After he returned from service in WWII, Kennedy worked as a journalist, a career he loved and might have stuck with if it had his father not placed so much pressure on him to enter politics.
  9. Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of Columbia UniversityWhen people think of former careers for Eisenhower, most remember his work in the armed forces as the U.S. Army Chief of staff and the brains behind D-Day. Yet the military wasn't Eisenhower's only pre-presidential career. After WWII, Eisenhower returned home and became president of Columbia University, a match that wasn't perfect, but motivated Eisenhower to take the job on two separate occasions.
  10. Harry Truman, Men's Clothing RetailerHarry Truman held many jobs before he became president, working as a clerk, railroad timekeeper and farmer before opening up a haberdashery after returning home from the army. Truman was the only president of the 20th century not to attend college, though his lack of higher education did not hold him back from being president. He may have benefited from some lessons in business, as his clothing store went bankrupt only during the lean years of the 20's. READ FULL ARTICLE 

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