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Working Capital - Mission Blog

<<Mission Blog Home Posted: 02-14-2019
Stock image of hand full of fresh peanuts. Field in background.

As Americans we live in generation of great political animosity and polarization that is neither healthy nor good for our nation’s future. At Goodwill of Greater Washington, we think it’s time for a break. Therefore, in order to offer a little political levity at a moment when we all need some, let’s just take a look back through our presidential history. 

Today, many politicians begin their careers in the political arena, starting out as interns, activists, aides or consultants. However, that wasn’t always the case, and at the state and local levels politics was and still is often practiced as a “second job”. Even many of our presidents didn’t start their careers campaigning for votes.

Here are a few of the most unusual jobs once held by U.S. Presidents before ascending to the White House. Maybe this will help us all relate a little better to those seeking office.

7. Jimmy Carter: Peanut Farmer. He was often the butt of jokes while campaigning for the presidency even though peanut farming made him quite wealthy. However, I doubt that sitting behind the Resolute Desk was on his mind while shoveling peanut shells.

6. George W. Bush: Baseball Team Owner. Yes, he once flew jets for the National Guard, but he also snagged fly balls as the owner of the Texas Rangers baseball franchise before shifting his career focus towards the Oval Office.

5. Ronald Reagan: Actor. Ronald Reagan didn’t decide to tackle politics until successfully tackling Hollywood. He had a very lucrative acting career, but eventually found a larger calling in Washington, DC after serving as the governor of California. 

4. Herbert Hoover: A geologist. Herbert Hoover took a very strange path to the White House, having previously worked as a miner, an engineer and a geologist. Then again, in politics you never know what you might find hiding under rocks.

3. Theodore Roosevelt: A police commissioner. The man who coined the phrase, “Speak softly but carry a big stick”, did just that while serving the people of New York City in an effort to reduce crime as its police commissioner for two years.

2. Harry Truman: Retail Manager of a clothing store. He must have been a sharp dresser because he once managed a haberdashery after his service in WWI.

1. Grover Cleveland: Executioner. Yes, you read that right. While serving as the Sheriff of Erie County, NY, one of his responsibilities was fulfilling executions. 

We could go on and on, but these are a few of the more interesting careers of some of the previous occupiers of the Oval Office. If you have any others you’d like to share, please do.

Happy President’s Day!


Working Capital, Goodwill mission blog author
This article was written by: Brendan Hurley
Chief Marketing Officer


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