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Would you like fries with that financial advice?

Before your investment advisor was recommending that you buy Target stock, he may have been stocking shelves there. He or she may have been flipping burgers at McDonald's, or even unemployed.

Even investment professionals have to start somewhere, and investment advisor representatives are required to report their full employment histories for the last 10 years on an ongoing basis. That includes gaps in employment and non-financial jobs they gave up years ago.

A look at the data shows where the more than 325,000 IARs registered with the SEC worked over the last decade. In the last 10 years, about 50,000 people said they were unemployed. About 10,000 worked at food service companies like McDonald's, Hooters, Starbucks or Red Lobster or for retail companies like Target or Home Depot.

Most of those retail and food service jobs were years ago for the professionals involved. Only a handful of people went directly from a job with McDonald's or Wendy's to being a financial advisor, and some of those people could have been executives at those companies.

Three jobs back, it becomes more likely that an advisor was a student. Work at retail companies like Victoria's Secret, Radio Shack, Blockbuster and Hollister were typically four or five jobs back. McDonald's jobs were about six jobs ago. So the guy filling your fast-food order has a few more steps to go before he's helping you manage your portfolio.

Going from finance to finance

Of course, the vast majority of professional advisors have a history of working at financial institutions. About one in four advisors worked at one of the 10 biggest investment banks at some point in the last decade.

Here are some of the most common places that people reported working (or in some cases, not working) in the last 10 years, compared to the most common places they reported working today: