Tech CEOs’ first jobs: Licorice maker, housekeeper, scuba diver and more

Before their corporate jobs, many tech CEOs got their hands dirty, scrubbing oils stains off asphalt, cleaning bathrooms, and shoveling monkey cages. Here are their stories.

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After working on a fishing boat, Shawn Jenkins set his sights on flying. He got his pilot’s license at 17, achieved an instrument rating, added a multi-engine rating, and then became a flight instructor at 19. “I could get in a plane by myself and fly to other locations. I loved the freedom and independence of that,” Jenkins says. He spent about a year working as a flight instructor, and some of the training has influenced the way he runs a company. “Our managers go through a manager certification program, and it’s patterned after aviation pilots,” Jenkins says. “You have to go through classes and stay current to keep your certification. It’s a direct rip-off from how I learned to fly.”

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