Some people know what they want to do from an early age and focus on it relentlessly. Others reinvent themselves, changing careers and industries until they find something that works. Billionaire Mark Cuban struggled when he first started, writing in "How To Win At The Sport Of Business" that "when I got to Dallas, I was struggling — sleeping on the floor with six guys in a three-bedroom apartment." As a reminder that the path to success is not always linear, we've highlighted what Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, and 17 other fascinating and successful people were doing at age 25.
Before her name was known by every American household, Martha Stewart actually worked on Wall Street for five years as a stockbroker. Before that, she was a model, booking clients from Unilever to Chanel.
At age 25, Cuban had graduated from Indiana University and had moved to Dallas. He started out as a bartender, then a salesperson for a PC software retailer. He actually got fired because he wanted to go close a deal rather than open a store in the morning. That helped inspire him to open his first business, MicroSolutions.
Blankfein didn't take the typical route to finance. He actually started out as a lawyer. He got his law degree from Harvard at age 24, then took a job as an associate at law firm Donovan Leisure.
Born Shawn Carter, Jay Z grew up in a housing project in Brooklyn, New York and became known as "Jay Z" at the age of 20. For the next few years he appeared alongside various other rappers, but "remained relatively anonymous" until he founded the record label Roc-A-Fella Records at the age of 27 with two other friends. The same year, Jay Z released his first album, "Reasonable Doubt."
Mark Zuckerberg had been hard at work on Facebook* for five years by the time he hit age 25. In that year — 2009 — the company turned cash positive for the first time and hit 300 million users. He was excited at the time, but said it was just the start, writing on Facebook* that "the way we think about this is that we're just getting started on our goal of connecting everyone."
After graduating from the University of Virginia, Fey moved to Chicago and hung around acting workshops and even worked as the child-care registrar at a Y.M.C.A before improv troupe Second City invited her to join.
Fey told The New Yorker that she joined Second City because she "knew it was where a lot of S.N.L. people started," and in 1997 she sent scripts to Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels who then hired her as a writer.
While working as a stand up comedian, Allen was arrested at 25 in an airport for possessing more than 650 grams of cocaine. He pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges and received two years instead of life in prison for providing the names of other dealers.
Schmidt spent six years as a graduate student at UC Berkeley, earning a masters and Ph.D. at 27 for early work in networking computers and managing distributed software development.
He spent those summers working at the famed Xerox PARC labs, which helped create the computer workstation as we know it. There, he met the founder of Sun Microsystems, where he had his first corporate job.