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Before they were TV doctors, the stars of NBC's 'New Amsterdam' were garbage men, waiters and ticket-takers

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The stars of NBC's 'New Amsterdam' reveal their first jobs

NBC's new medical drama "New Amsterdam," follows Dr. Max Goodwin as he tries to revamp a fictitious hospital. The show, based on the book "Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital " by Eric Manheimer, features a genius doctor with a heart of gold.

It's the type of opportunity actors dream about. But it's also a success that didn't happen overnight.

Before the stars of this new show were TV doctors, they were real life garbage men, waiters and ticket-takers. CNBC Make It caught up with the show's stars ahead of its premiere Tuesday, September 25th at 10 p.m. ET/PT. We talked to Ryan Eggold, who plays Goodwin, and his co-stars, Tyler Labine and Jocko Sims, about their first jobs and how those jobs shaped them.

Tyler Labine as Dr. Iggy Frome
Francisco Roman/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Tyler Labine

These days Tyler Labine plays a child psychiatrist on "New Amsterdam." But in his first job, Labine worked as a recycling swamper, a role he says is a slightly more refined garbage man.

In the post, he'd ride around on the backs of trucks picking up recycled goods. "People didn't know anything about recycling in the '90s," says Labine. "I sorted through, you know, tin cans full of cat food and diapers, because people thought you could recycle used diapers."

Fortunately, the job had some "perks" that Labine grew to love. "It was fun," he says. "I got to break a lot of glass and steal some bike frames and take them home."

Jocko Sims as Dr. Floyd Reynolds
Francisco Roman/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Jocko Sims

You might know Sims for playing Elvis Kelly in "Dreamgirls," but before he was acting alongside Beyoncé, he was an aspiring actor in Los Angeles working as a waiter at a TGI Fridays. He worked at the restaurant while auditioning.

"There was a couple times that we'd turn on the TV in the back, and I had like a co-star on some CBS procedural and we'd be watching there and I'd have to go back and wait tables."

That experience was humbling, he says, but he truly enjoyed the job.

"That was an awesome time," he says. "It really was."

Ryan Eggold as Dr. Max Goodwin
Francisco Roman/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Ryan Eggold

While Eggold's character on "New Amsterdam" is determined to "heal the system," Eggold's first job taught him how to game it to his own advantage.

As a teen, Eggold worked as a ticket-taker at a movie theater. While he'd occasionally rip tickets or sweep, he'd mostly find himself sitting in the back of the theater watching snatches of films. "I didn't do any work," he says. "I took that job to watch movies."

The job taught him an important lesson, he says. "I learned you can manipulate the system."

Video by Mary Stevens.

Disclosure: NBC and CNBC are divisions of NBCUniversal.

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