There's definitely a lot of pressure in life to be successful, whatever your definition of success. Obviously there are a bunch of different ways to consider yourself successful. But when it comes to careers and following our dreams, for some reason we always think it should happen super quickly. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't. The challenge is definitely deciding how long to pursue something that might make your life harder in the meantime. Sometimes you're a starving artist who just doesn't feel like starving anymore. Giving up doesn't need to happen -- just ask the following celebs who weren't successful in their 20s but are household names now. They're definitely not starving, either.
12 Jon Hamm
After college, Jon Hamm became an eighth grade acting teacher, and funny enough one of his students was Ellie Kemper who stars on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. When he decided to become an actor, he moved to Hollywood with $150 to his name and worked as a waiter while living with four roomies. He had a hard start since he looked too mature to play younger roles and gave himself a time limit of making it by 30. He got enough small gigs that he decided to stick around. We're super lucky that he did or we wouldn't have the brilliant character that is Don Draper. Well, he would have been played by someone else probably, but it wouldn't be the same.
11 J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling really hit things out of the park with Harry Potter. She had the idea while on a delayed train at 25 but didn't finish the book for five years. She was working as a secretary at Amnesty International and got fired, married, divorced, had a kid, lost her mom, and was diagnosed with clinical depression. We can definitely learn the lesson that you're not too busy to write a book (or go after whatever your dream is), no matter what's happening in your life.
10 Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman was an incredibly successful actor, but he didn't even land his first film role until he was 42. Alan pursued a career in graphic design but decided to go back to school and for his real passion of acting. It worked out, of course, and among many other memorable roles he played Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films. (Shoutout to J.K.) Sadly, Alan passed away in early 2016 at the age of 69.
9 Matthew Weiner
The Mad Men creator went to film school but had a hard time breaking into the industry back in his 20s. It wasn't until he was 30 that he got his first paycheque for writing when he helped a friend with a script. That was a super smart move that helped get his foot in the door, and after he wrote for The Sopranos, he of course created the advertising drama that we all know and love.
8 Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart grew up working class in New Jersey, and she wasn't exactly unsuccessful throughout her young life but she didn't even start interior decorating until the age of 35. She was a model and somehow became a socialite... and then a stockbroker. She started selling pies and cakes and ultimately launched Martha Stewart, Inc. in 1977. Of course, she's had her share of troubles (like prison), but she made herself into a very rich mogul.
7 Tina Fey
Tina Fey didn't land her job as a writer on Saturday Night Live until she was 27. Before that, she worked at a Chicago YMCA and then joined Second City. She started sending scripts to Lorne Michaels and was eventually brought on board in 1997, becoming the show's first female head writer. Her career really didn't hit the next level until Mean Girls in 2004, which she followed with 30 Rock, a series which made history by receiving 17 different Emmy nominations in 2008.
6 Howard Schultz
You might not be familiar with the name Howard Schultz but you are definitely familiar with his company... Starbucks. You might even be drinking a Starbucks now since it's the biggest coffee chain in the world. When he graduated from college, Howard was a Xerox printer salesman and then worked for the Swedish coffeemaker Hammarplast at 26. Three years later, he opened his first Starbucks in Seattle, and now there's practically one on every block... if not two.
5 Gene Hackman
Gene Hackman didn't land his first credited acting role until the age of 33, and before that he was a doorman. He was actually voted "The Least Likely To Succeed" at the Pasadena Playhouse along with Dustin Hoffman, which just goes to show that no one knows anything. After five decades of work, he won two Academy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, and two BAFTA Awards. Then he retired from acting and became a novelist. The only way he would consider returning to film would be "if I could do it in my own house, maybe, without them disturbing anything and just one or two people."
4 Jay Z
There might still be time to become a rap mogul. He didn't even start going by the name Jay-Z until he turned 20, after some unsuccessful years in the rap game (and years selling drugs on the streets) he decided to start Rock-a-Fella Records with Damon Dash... at the age of 27. As he has said, "It was either give up or create my own company." He has branched out from music and into fashion, liquor, nightlife, and even a talent agency repping some big athletes. His estimated worth? $500 million. So it looks like it worked out for him.
3 Mark Cuban
After graduating from college, Mark Cuban worked as a bartender and lived with five other guys in a three-bedroom apartment. He was even fired from a job at a PC retailer, which prompted him to start his own consulting business at 25. That company grew and he's now a successful businessman who owns the Dallas Mavericks. Today he's estimated to be worth about $3 billion.
It seems like Oprah was basically born into her iconic role, but that's definitely not the case. She attended college on a scholarship and worked as a grocery bagger to make ends meet. She was even fired from her news anchor job at Baltimore's WJZ-TV in 1977. At 24, she got a job hosting a local talk show, but it wasn't until her late 20s that she started hosting A.M. Chicago, which was later renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show. You might have heard of it. A year later, in 1985, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in The Color Purple. Today she's a billionaire, so hard work and perseverance definitely pay off.
1 Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett is one of the richest men in the world with a net worth somewhere around $66 billion. But back in his 20s, he worked at a small investment firm in Nebraska, and worked on Wall Street at 26. When he moved back to Omaha to be close to his family, he started Buffett Partnership Ltd. and then started heading Berkshire Hathaway. The rest is history. As he has said, "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently."