Created By: dragonslip on July 26, 2012 Last Edited By: dragonslip on August 1, 2012

From Boardroom To Burger King

This when a character gets fired & the next job they get is massively lower in pay and perceived dignity then their original

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Page Type:
Trope
In fiction if some body gets fired or even just laid off you can expect their next job to be something that doesn’t pay much, is blue collar and not viewed to be very dignified, regardless or what they did before. In real life this sort of thing rarely happens because even if you’ve been fired a university degree, experience and intelligence still count for something, and often in real life unemployed people will purposefully avoid getting tied down to jobs they feel to be below them selves

Examples

film
  • In the second Transformers movie we see that the guy who was in charge of now closed down sector 7, now works in a deli
  • This happens to Dick in both versions of Fun with Dick and Jane. In the 2005 we see a montage of him looking for work as an executive and as the months pass he gets more and more desperate while their savings dwindle and the bills pile up.


Community Feedback Replies: 24
  • July 26, 2012
    CrimsonZephyr
    On Seinfeld, during "The Chicken Roaster", Jerry meets an old friend of his who is now a high-powered executive. He convinces said employee to blow off an important meeting on his first day. The next time we see him, he's working at the eponymous fried chicken joint.
  • July 26, 2012
    Ryusui
  • July 26, 2012
    nielas
    • This happens to Dick in both versions of Fun With Dick And Jane. In the 2005 we see a montage of him looking for work as an executive and as the months pass he gets more and more desperate while their savings dwindle and the bills pile up.
  • July 26, 2012
    DaibhidC
    • In the Doctor Who short story "Policy To Invade" by Ian Mond, in the Big Finish collection Short Trips: Transmissions, the CEO of the last arms company to be caught up in the Doctor's plans is now selling gourmet burgers on Darius Prime.
  • July 26, 2012
    JonnyB
    Than, not then.
  • July 26, 2012
    TonyG
    In the Futurama episode "Brannigan Begin Again", Capt. Zapp Brannigan, head of Earth's armed forces, is fired and goes to work for Planet Express. In the show's universe, this is the equivalent of David Petraus driving a UPS truck.
  • July 27, 2012
    HonestGent
  • July 27, 2012
    Astaroth
    The Incredibles: Mr Incredible goes from being a superhero to a clerk for an insurance company.
  • July 27, 2012
    animeg3282
    The Real Life part in the description should be snipped.
  • July 27, 2012
    dragonslip
    @animeg3282

    why?
  • July 27, 2012
    zarpaulus
  • July 27, 2012
    forgottenlord
    Real life section needs to be altered at any rate. This is a phenomenon known to happen - during the current recession, there have been many stories about people having to take significantly lower paying/lower quality jobs and often major outsourcing events show a similar behavior. However, it doesn't happen at nearly the rate it happens in fiction because it is a source of drama.
  • July 27, 2012
    dragonslip
    I was thinking of the recession when I wrote this part "unemployed people will purposefully avoid getting tied down to jobs they feel to be below them selves"
  • July 27, 2012
    forgottenlord
    I'm not disputing that (and it is worth mentioning), but there are lots of people who really do just bite the bullet and take it. In fact, most people will accept a significantly lesser job at some point after they've been unemployed. After all, there's been a progressive shift in the labor market for the last 30 years from high-paying manufacturing jobs to lower paying service jobs.
  • July 27, 2012
    jbrecken
    This happens to Kevin Spacey's character in American Beauty.
  • July 27, 2012
    karstovich2
    ^ His name is Lester Burnham. And he does it voluntarily because his job (at a magazine) sucks. And he loves his work at Burger Fool.
  • July 27, 2012
    dragonslip
    @forgottenlord

    but it's uncommon and takes a long time

    "there's been a progressive shift in the labor market for the last 30 years from high-paying manufacturing jobs to lower paying service jobs" But it's a different kind of people going in for both of those kinds of jobs then what is addressed in this page
  • July 27, 2012
    animeg3282
    A lot of people have been having paycuts and being forced to go for 'low' jobs in this recession. But the real reason I wanted to snip it is because really, that doesn't add to the description of the trope.

    BTW in The Company Men Bobby Walker takes a job at his brother in law's construction company after he is laid off from his white collar office job. He gets a lot of ribbing about finally doing 'real work'.

    (this was an american film)
  • July 27, 2012
    dragonslip
    @animeg3282

    It's intended to explain why this is a departure from real life, also besides that I find it amusing when people point out how ridicules something on TV is by making references to what happens in real life so I'm very unlikely to approve it's removal

    "A lot of people have been having paycuts and being forced to go for 'low' jobs in this recession" I doubt what you're talking about is to the extent of what this page is intended to address

    No really relevant but I really really hate people who only think of manual labour as 'real work'

  • July 27, 2012
    forgottenlord
    I'm not saying manual labour is real work. I'm saying that it's a general trend towards low-tier service sector jobs which are significantly lower paying compared to the manufacturing jobs they departed. Which is this trope as described.

    Additionally, tropes don't mean that it always happens or even happens frequently but talk about what is an occurrence under reasonably normal conditions. Yes, predominantly, people will not suffer this kind of scenario, but it is common enough to not be unheard of - in fact, there are situations where this becomes a far more common occurrence. Media isn't trying to refute the idea that they fight against going into lower paying, more demeaning jobs. Media just skips that part for the sake of brevity. The end result is what is important and the cause of the drama and that drama is experienced by many people throughout the world. Media's just highlighting that drama that they experience. Therefore, it *is* Truth In Television.
  • July 28, 2012
    TonyG
    At the end of Osmosis Jones, Mayor Phlemming is demoted to scrubbing the rectum.
  • July 31, 2012
    robinjohnson
    • The Simpsons visit a war-torn African country in one episode. The flight attendant on their plane home is the just-deposed president.
  • August 1, 2012
    Chabal2
  • August 1, 2012
    PS3D
    In Unstoppable, Dewey goes from relatively good job at the railyard to fast food worker.
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