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Full discllosersosure – I’m over 50 – so I have what some would consider a set of old fashioned values.  I’m also the father of two recent college grads, and am concerned about the whole issue of youth underemployment, unemployment, and the inability of college grads to get meaningful jobs in their fields of study.

So it was serendipitous that I got to spend some time recently with Dr. Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute.  Brooks told a story about an impromptu airplane conversation he had recently.

Seems his seatmate was the CFO for a franchisee who owned 450 fast-food restaurants.  At one point in the conversation, Brooks asked the man how he felt about creating so many dead-end jobs.

The man told him that they didn’t create dead end jobs.  He said that if an employee started in one of their restaurants and did little more than show up on time – they’d be a shift manager within 3 months; and a store manager within 2 years – earning a 6-figure income.

In fact the CFO himself started out flipping burgers for the chain – as had the CEO and nearly all the rest of their senior management team.

His story is the story of almost all successful people.  Most of you probably started out in what many today would consider a dead-end job.  Those experiences contribute to our success and help shape who we become.

The fact is – there is no such thing as a dead end job.  There are only dead end people.  In this article, the Huffington Post showcases 11 corporate CEO’s with similar stories.

If you’re in that group of unemployed – or underemployed – or you’re sitting waiting for someone to step up and offer you your dream job, I have a suggestion – get a dead end job – and super-size it.  It could just prove the best – and fastest route to the CEO suite.