We tend to think that the most successful people are those who know what they want their career to be from the time they’re, like, twelve. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth. More often than not, the people we celebrate have gone through a few career changes before finally falling the jobs we know them for.

For these individuals, career changes act as springboards, building off their previous jobs and taking them closer to their goals. You’ll notice this pattern in these four notable people who changed careers before settling into their more well-known jobs:

switching careers1. James Cameron

Although he graduated with a degree in Physics, this future Hollywood powerhouse drove trucks. During this time, he became interested in screenwriting and filmmaking in general. It wasn’t until he saw George Lucas’ Star Wars in 1977 that he decided to officially give filmmaking a spin. You could argue that Cameron has maintained this career path ever since, but he’s also dabbled in technology, undersea exploration, and now mining in outer space.

2. Oprah Winfrey

Before she was an entertainment and women’s empowerment mogul, Oprah started in the most humble of jobs at a grocery store. She also won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant during this time and got a job at a local black radio station, where she did the news. After working as a TV news personality, she started her first talk-show in 1983.

3. J.K. Rowling

You know her as the author of the most successful book series/franchise of all time and the richest woman in England. But just prior to getting her book published Rowling’s career was not nearly as glamorous. She worked as a secretary and a researcher, taught English in Portugal, and was preparing to be a teacher and living on Social Security when Harry Potter finally made it.

4. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

When an injury took this charismatic mountain of muscle out of football, Johnson joined the family business as a professional wrestler. He worked his way up to become one of its biggest stars until, in 2000, he made the jump to his current career in movies and TV.

What other important people have switched careers? How does this change the way you see switching careers? Share in the comments below!

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