Day Jobs of Famous Writers

atkins-bookshelf-literatureBefore they were famous names in the pantheon of literature, many writers held rather typical, mundane — and sometimes very curious — jobs to help pay the bills. Some of the greatest novels were written on the sly, while the employee should have been focusing on his or her day job. Regardless of what they did, these individuals benefited immeasurably by following the advice: “You should really quit your day job.” Literature has never been the same since. Here is a list of famous authors and the day jobs they quit. Given their body of work, some of these day jobs make total sense; others are quite surprising.


Jorge Luis Borges: librarian

William Burroughs: exterminator
Lewis Carroll: mathematician
Raymond Carver: sawmill worker

Agathie Christie: pharmacist’s assistant
Charles Dickens: boot factory worker
Fyodor Dostoyevsky: engineer
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: surgeon
T.S. Eliot: banker
Harlan Ellison: tuna fisherman

William Faulkner: postmaster
John Galsworthy: lawyer
John Grisham: lawyer
Joseph Heller: blacksmith’s apprentice
James Joyce: cinema operator
Franz Kafka: legal clerk
Jack Kerouac: dishwasher
Ken Kesey: mental hospital janitor
Stephen King: high school janitor
Steig Larsson: graphic designer
Harper Lee: airline ticket agent
Jack London: oyster pirate
Herman Melville: bank clerk
Vladimir Nabokov: entomologist
George Orwell: police officer
J.K. Rowling: researcher
J.D. Salinger: cruise activities director
John Steinbeck: fish hatchery tour guide
Bram Stoker: theatre manager
Kurt Vonnegut: car salesman

Read related posts: Random Fascinating Facts About Authors
Random Fascinating Facts About Authors 2

Inventions Predicted by Famous Authors
Sleeping Habits of Famous Authors

For further reading: Infographic guide to Literature by Joanna Eliot (2014) 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-anthony-jones/famous-author-day-jobs_b_5724482.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/02/author-jobs_n_3845323.html
http://mentalfloss.com/article/31026/early-jobs-24-famous-writers

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