After his terrifying escape from Iran in 1984, Atour Eyvazian took a job as a janitor at a Jack in the Box in Los Angeles.
Twenty-six years later, after rising through the company ranks to become manager of guest service systems, overseeing almost 700 restaurants, he is now co-owner of 59 Jack in the Box franchises, most of them in Houston.
The Sugar Land resident has had other business opportunities but never thought to leave Jack in the Box: “To me it’s almost like a sin” to go somewhere else, Eyvazian said. “I feel like I owe them everything I’ve got.”
Others at Jack in the Box started low in the company and climbed to the very top.
It is a fabled American business story: You are given an entry-level job and rise to the higher reaches of a corporation. But how often does that happen anymore?
Not nearly as much as it once did, according to a corporate recruiter in Houston.
“The guy who goes to work in the mail room” and becomes a high-powered executive in the company — “it’s much more difficult to do, no question, particularly in today’s competitive environment,” said Tom Simmons, managing director of Spencer Stuart, a global executive recruiting firm.
When filling an executive position, corporations are now more likely to value a candidate’s pedigree, such as a Stanford MBA, Simmons said, and frequently recruit outsiders.