Created By: KingZeal on February 28, 2012 Last Edited By: KingZeal on October 24, 2012

These Look Like Jobs For The Supermen

A Just For Fun article which points out obvious jobs superheroes SHOULD have but dont.

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Comic Book Superheroes follow certain strict genre conventions: superhero costumes, Code Names, Secret Identities, and fights for absolutely no good reason.

But we here at TV Tropes love ruining things you love, so this page is here to deconstruct one question: are there no other, better things, that a Differently Powered Individual could do with their abilities?

A few rules:

See also: Stock Superpowers, Mundane Utility, Boxing Lessons for Superman, Reed Richards Is Useless and Cut Lex Luthor a Check.

See Superhuman Trafficking when supers are forced into these types of tasks, and Super Registration Act for how Muggles would likely categorize these job-seekers.


  • An Ice Person:
    • Refrigeration
    • Climate control

  • Animal Eye Spy
    • Wildlife documentries
    • Game Keeper
    • Lost pet rescue service
    • Naturologist

  • Barrier Warrior:
    • Safety failsafe
    • Crowd control
    • Contact sports official

  • Blow You Away:
    • Aerodynamic research
    • Wind tunnel testing
    • Just about anything to do with Ventilation
    • Wind turbine

  • Charm Person
    • Negotiator

  • Combat Tentacles
    • Massage therapist

  • Compelling Voice:
    • Addiction recovery counselor
    • Motivational speaker
    • Personal training
    • Scheduling Assistant

  • Detect Evil
    • Any type of civil service, justice department or public relations profession. Preferrably as a clerk or advisor, separate from the person who makes final decisions.

  • Dishing Out Dirt:
    • Landscaping
    • Construction
    • Mining
    • Excavation
    • Soil trade

  • The Empath:
    • Mediator for legal disputes or business negotiations
    • Marriage counselor
    • Sex therapist

  • Eye Beams:
    • Laser surgeons
    • Welders

  • Extra-ore-dinary:
    • Mining
    • Manufacturing

  • Flight:
    • Painters
    • Cable guys
    • Maintenance/custodial jobs

  • Flying Brick:
    • On-board air travel security (for preventing hijackings, safe evacuation or even catching falling planes)
    • Towing service
    • Construction worker
    • Superman
      • Short-order cook. He can heat things up, move at superspeed, etc.

  • Gravity Master:
    • Amusement park attraction
    • Heavy lifting
    • Propulsion/transportation
    • Astronaut
    • Human turbine

  • Green Thumb:
    • Farmer
    • Horticulturist
    • Aromatic
    • Herbalist
    • Spice trader
    • Aromatherapist

  • Healer:
    • Meat production (provided they can heal flesh but not resurrect)
    • Beautician

  • Having a Blast:
    • Mining
    • Demolitions
    • Human combustion engine

  • Humanshifting
    • Actor/Impressionist
    • Stunt Double
    • Professional Body Double/Decoy
    • Therapist[[hottip:*:Turning into dead loved ones to give closure, giving a shy person the courage to talk to a crush, stand up to an abuser, or ask a boss for a raise.]]

  • Incredible Shrinking Man:
    • Mechanical repair
    • Locksmithing
    • Watchmaking
    • Building inspector

  • Light The Way
    • Exploration
    • Search and rescue
    • Laser surgery
    • Welding

  • Making a Splash:
    • Drought relief
    • Irrigation
    • Cleaning services
    • Plumbing
    • Human water turbine

  • Master of Illusion:
    • Home entertainment
    • Office presentation
    • Ceremonies

  • Paper Master:
    • Records clerk
    • Toymaker
    • Origami artist
    • Office organizer
    • Corporate shredding

  • Playing with Fire:
    • Firefighter
    • Chef
    • Glass production
    • Limitless energy source

  • Self-Duplication:
    • One-man work crew
    • One-man sports team
    • Film extra
    • Control group for research

  • Super Senses
    • Any type of inspection work
    • Stage magician
    • Security advisor
    • Quality assurance
    • Post war minesweeper
    • Any type of medical professional

  • Super Smoke:
    • Building inspector

  • Super Speed:
    • Messenger/Delivery Service
    • Census taker
    • Human turbine

  • Super Strength:
    • Construction worker

  • Teleporter:
    • Travel guide
    • Messenger/Delivery Service

  • Technopath:
    • Pretty much any tech support job
    • Technological research

Community Feedback Replies: 40
  • February 28, 2012
    Eye Beams, laser eye suegery. ^_^
  • February 28, 2012
    ^ or welding.
  • February 28, 2012
  • February 28, 2012
    Superman could a short-order cook. He can heat things up, move at superspeed, etc.
  • February 28, 2012
    • The Empath
      • Mediator for legal disputes or business negotiations
  • February 28, 2012
    This reminds me of the episode of Spongebob where he inflates his pants and flies all around, doing odd jobs he doesn't want to like cleaning Mr. Krabs' garage and painting a house.
  • February 28, 2012

    see also: Stock Superpowers, Mundane Utility, Reed Richards Is Useless and Cut Lex Luthor A Check

  • February 29, 2012
    • An Ice Person: Know they'd be a popular person down here in Texas during the summer!
  • February 29, 2012
    The Dark Knight Returns has The Flash's Super Speed put to use: by running him in a giant treadmill, he provides power to at least a third of the United States. In addition, Incredible Shrinking Men are used to perform surgeries.

  • February 29, 2012
    Making A Splash: Relief for drought-stricken areas
  • February 29, 2012
    Shrinking man: dentistry.
  • February 29, 2012
    Thor actually did a stint as a construction worker, right after his mortal identity was eliminated. And I believe Buffy did, also.
  • February 29, 2012
    Please add actual examples to Mundane Utility.
  • February 29, 2012
    Does it make an example invalid if someone actaully does this?
  • February 29, 2012
    No. If it's "uncommon", then the job can be listed. However, the actual example where it occurred (such as Flash and Thor above) should be taken to Mundane Utility.
  • February 29, 2012
    • Blow You Away: Aerodynamic research, wind tunnel testing, ventilation, wind turbine testing (limitless free energy!).
  • February 29, 2012
    Eh, limitless free energy is either everything on this page, or none of them.
  • March 1, 2012
    Should we also mention Power Perversion Potential?
  • March 1, 2012
    Time travel - archeology, postal service
  • March 1, 2012
    ^^ As long as its a job, trade or craft.

    ^ Hm. I honestly don't see Time Travel as acceptable here. It's a lot like Reality Warper: the list of applications is so huge, we might as well not even list them.
  • March 1, 2012
    Someone who possesses Immortality could provide much to history by writing their autobiography, provided that they can prove beyond a doubt that they are centuries or millennia old. This assumes that they don't suffer The Fog Of Ages.
  • March 1, 2012
    Actually, that comes up quite often.

    So often, in fact, that we should make a trope out of it.
  • March 1, 2012
    • Light The Way: Exploration, search and rescue, industrial welding (if they have the power to generate lasers).
    • Super Senses: Inspection work, Magician Act, Stealth Expert's mentor/trainer/final exam, Quality assurance, Post war minesweeper.
    • Animal Eye Spy: Wildlife documentries, Game Keeper, Lost pet search service, Naturologist
    • Barrier Warrior: Super powered sparring match/contact sport referee
    • Combat Tentacles: Massage therapist.
    • Detect Evil: Defence Attorney (they'll always know when to have their clients make a deal), Philosopher (or would that be a Required Secondary Power?)
    • Humanshifting: Actor, Stunt Double, Emergency person replacement (to replace a sick performer, for example), Body Double/Decoy
  • March 1, 2012
    • Seer: It depends on how far into the future they can see:
      • Several years: city planner, political policy-maker
      • Several days: stock trader
      • Several seconds: hockey goalie, professional gambler.
  • March 1, 2012
  • March 1, 2012
    Left out the following:

    • Detect Evil: Being an attorney wouldn't count for much. One of the major elements of a court of law is providing empirical proof that can be verified by all persons present at the proceeding. Detect Evil would be taking one person's word for it. Even if they had some sort of outward indicator that a person was "evil", it would still be argued that if it's not repeatable by independent science, it's inadmissible.

    • Seer: Like Time Travel and Reality depends on rules that we can't possibly predict. Only the writer of a story can determine the limits of abilities like that, so we can practically have them accomplish ANYTHING.
  • March 1, 2012
    [[comment deleted]]

  • March 1, 2012
    Also, i still think "municipal energy source" is a bad occupation to have here. Continuous grinding demand, Big Blackout of you get tired or call in sick, possible Powered By A Forsaken Child concerns, glaringly obvious violation of energy conservation, and it would go on too many different powers.
  • March 2, 2012
    Compelling Voice: Lawyer?
  • March 2, 2012
    @King Zeal: As I pointed out, it wasn't the fact that someone with Detect Evil could detect innocence or guilt in lieu of a trial as much as they could easily choose what clients to take on (hence why I specified a defence attorney, a procecuter would be just making a case against anyone in the dock).
  • March 2, 2012
    Charm Person, Compelling Voice: politician, diplomat.
  • March 2, 2012
    ^^ I see now. That makes more sense. Though, in that case, they would make a better clerk or assistant for a lawyer than lawyer themselves. That way, they could screen their boss's potential clients.

    ^ I think I have to make another rule, but I'm not sure how to word it. For most of these jobs, we have to assume that the individual is using their abilities without breaking any laws or subverting the concept of free will and self-agency except as a last resort. Thus, adding professions under Charm Person/Compelling Voice must be reserved for situations where the subject consents to being controlled or compelled(as in the occupations listed above) or where the person is not deemed not capable of making rational decisions (such as the suicidally insane).
  • March 2, 2012
    Launching today if no one has any more logistical issues.

    No more examples until page launch, please.
  • March 2, 2012
    The power source issue? ^^^^^^
  • March 2, 2012
    It's not really an issue, provided the energy they create can be stored somewhere or more conventional energy methods are altrnatives. Powered By A Forsaken Child isn't relevant, because we're assuming this is a job they volunteered for and could quit at any time.
  • March 2, 2012
    'Miner' has already been mentioned twice, but since Superman can turn coal to diamonds with his hand, he could get a job as a diamond miner and his crew could just loaf around each day until around 4:30, go to town, get a bag of charcoal briquettes, and have Supes do his thing.
  • March 2, 2012
    ^Actually, he would more probably be hired by a maker of synthetic diamonds.

    I still think the power source job reeks of "something for nothing". I mean yeah, most supers do violate energy conservation, but this particular application does so in an unpleasantly blatant way.
  • March 3, 2012
    Yes, but the thing that makes it interesting is that it's a specific something for nothing. The problem with stuff like Reality Warper and Shapeshifter is that the "something" you can get varies from medium to medium and is literally dependent upon the writer's imagination. They could pop anything into existence or change themselves into any shape no matter how impossible or bizarre, so there's no point listing what jobs they could have because the answer would technically be "every job ever".

    But in this case, you're talking specifically about one thing. A super-strong person can generate tons of mechanical force. A fire-person can generate lots of heat. A Gravity Master can move things. These are all specific forms of energy that, because they're superheroes, we assume to come from "nowhere".

    Also, let me state that in most form of energy generation, the biggest problems come in the form of figuring out how to collect energy safely and in a form that can be stored and manipulated. Technically speaking, there's more "energy" on Earth or near it than we could probably ever find use for, but we have way of collecting or using most of it. Most superheroes with physical abilities are thus our solution to that problem.
  • March 29, 2012
    Still don't like it, but no one seems to agree with me so I'll go with it. Added my hat.
  • October 24, 2012
    Dishing Out Dirt--what about stress-testing architectural prototypes against earthquake damage?