I love comeback stories, and there are few as good as drug-addicted jailbird Robert Downey Jr.’s story.

The actor is now at the top of his game, and the huge opening of “The Avengers,” in which Downey stars as Iron Man, is only going to propel his career further.

I took my nine year old son to see the movie yesterday and we both agreed Iron Man was the best thing about the flick.

That’s why I was so excited to read the latest issue of Esquire with Downey on the cover, and I was even more excited when I read some of his advice about work and careers, which espoused the benefits of having crappy jobs.

The editors just let him talk, and it brought out some great nuggets of wisdom:

“Nothing will serve you better than a strong work ethic. Nothing. And it’s something that you can’t teach. You have to be thrown into it, where you’re going to sink or swim. It’s amazing how self-correcting and how clarifying a good, hard, shitty job can be. Because at the end of the day, any profession I’ve seen anybody in, when you peer behind the curtain of Oh, wouldn’t that be a great job? Wow, what an amazing thing, a philanthropic endeavor! it really just comes down to It’s a fking grind.

I’ve written a lot about successful people who’ve had shitty jobs early on in their careers, and it’s a big part of my book, “From the Sandbox to the Corner Office.” In many ways, those first crummy jobs people hold can build a work ethic and help individuals appreciate the gigs they get later in life, and even make them better at those jobs.

Downey is a hell of a hard-working actor and it shows in his performances. He kicked butt in Avengers because he is in fact an avenger. He somehow was able to avenge himself against himself, are at least avenge the screws ups he made. He makes no excuses for his mistakes, but credits the school of hard job knocks, and a tough dad, for winning the battle.

Downey on his dad:

The greatest thing my dad taught me came one day when I called him from a phone booth and said, “Hungry. No bus token. Please. Out of options. Friends aren’t picking up the phone.”

He said, “Pfft, get a job.”

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