Jeffrey Dahmer Held Down Several Jobs Over the Course of His Adult Life

Following the release of a Netflix series about him, many want to know what Jeffrey Dahmer did for a living in the years before he was caught.


Sep. 27 2022, Published 10:07 a.m. ET

The release of Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story has many people fascinated by the story behind Jeffrey Dahmer's many murders. As people learn more about Dahmer, some are also curious how he managed to earn a living during the years when he was doing a lot of his killing. As it turns out, Dahmer held a number of odd jobs over the course of his time at large.

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What did Jeffrey Dahmer do for a living?

Dahmer committed his first murder shortly after graduating high school and before going to college. Dahmer, who abused alcohol starting at a young age, was only at Ohio State University for a single semester before dropping out. At his father's urging, Dahmer then joined the military and trained as a medic. He was deployed to West Germany in 1979, but his performance deteriorated as a result of alcohol abuse, and he was eventually granted an honorable discharge in 1981.

jeffrey dahmer do for a living
Source: YouTube
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He was given a plane ticket to go anywhere in the country after being discharged, and worked for a short time as a delicatessen in Florida before ultimately returning to Ohio because he had blown all of his money on alcohol. After moving in with his grandmother in Wisconsin, he then found work as a phlebotomist at the Milwaukee Blood Plasma Center. He was eventually laid off, and remained unemployed for two years thereafter.

In 1985, Dahmer was hired as a mixer at the Milwaukee Ambrosia Chocolate Factory, where he worked six nights a week. It was around this time that he began to kill and assault men again, and he was arrested in 1987 for drugging and assaulting a minor. He ultimately pleaded guilty, but was given a work release so that he could keep his job at the factory, even as he was on parole.

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Dahmer was caught in 1991.

Dahmer retained his job at the chocolate factory as he began to kill regularly, and didn't lose the job until he was eventually arrested. He was caught in 1991 and confessed to the crimes he had committed quickly, saying that he had murdered a total of 17 men between 1978 and 1991. The Netflix series, in which he is played by Evan Peters, shines new light on the serial killer, who has long been a subject of fascination for true crime aficionados.

Source: YouTube
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Dahmer was killed by another prisoner in 1994, only three years into the sixteen consecutive life sentences that he had been sentenced to. After he was arrested, he received psychological evaluations that determined he had borderline personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, and a psychotic disorder. In spite of these diagnoses, Dahmer was declared legally sane and fit to stand trial.

Dahmer's employment wasn't enough for him to buy extravagant things, but it was enough to support him while he killed repeatedly. His early life may have been defined by upheaval and instability, but once he settled into his job at the chocolate factory, much of his life seems to have become more routine.

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