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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Stephane Bourque’s first job was working for Y&S, a licorice maker owned by Hershey. The company had a machine that loaded candies into plastic bags, and “my job was to get the candy and feed the conveyor belt all day or all night,” Bourque recalls. “One night I remember I physically moved 56 tons of Goodies.” One lesson Bourque learned in the factory is the importance of appreciating all employees, especially those who do work that appears unglamorous. “You have to appreciate them and you have to make sure that it gets contagious, so other people appreciate them as well,” Bourque says. “You can’t have a company where anyone is not treated with respect, regardless of their job. Everyone is valuable.”

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