Created By: Westrim on January 18, 2012 Last Edited By: Westrim on April 15, 2013

No Resume Inertia

What you\'ve done and know won\'t be considered

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They're great in their field. Dozens of missions, numerous arrests, hundreds of named species, or even a more mundane line of work. But they get a new boss or screw up one mission and suddenly, none of that matters. They now have to get another season of closed cases under their belt to get the boss to acknowledge their skill, or show how competent they are to the investigator, never mind the 48 murder cases they've solved in the last two years.

Think of it as a version of "yes, but what have you done from me lately?"

Compare Never Live It Down for the opposite side, where they really did mess up badly enough or spectacularly enough that it overshadows the numerous accomplishments. Contrast Dude, Where's My Respect? where everyone is self centered - you killed the dragon, great, now run this chicken over to Steve.

Examples:

Live Action TV:
  • Rick Castle spent three seasons working in the NYPD only for a new captain to attempt to kick him out, necessitating another call to the mayors office. No mention is made of his efforts in cases the previous seasons; catching serial killers, defusing a dirty bomb, etc. Half a season in, they're still worrying that if the mayor turns out to be crooked and resigns, he'll be out too.
  • On Flashpoint it gets subverted when they're debriefed by an internal investigator after stopping a spree killer. The investigator questions everyone's competency and actions, but it later turns out that she just has a beef with the team leader.
  • Psych: Every week Shawn solves, or helps the police solve, seemingly intractable cases using strange methods. And every week, he gets identical hostility from Lassiter, firm skepticism from Da Chief and complete reluctance from Jules.
    • Gus points this out in the season four finale after Da Chief calls one of Shawn's theories "nonsensical." As he says, "You know, I think our track record speaks for itself."
  • Usually averted in Nikita, but there are still a few too many instances where the loyalty and competency of people that have solidly proven both occurs. Justified, since as a spy drama there's an awful lot of back stabbing.

Comic:
  • The Black Templars comic has the initiate's mentor be killed in battle. When assigned to a new one, he outright tells him nothing he did under the old one matters and they'll start anew from scratch. However, as this is Warhammer 40K, and the Black Templars are one of the stricter Space Marine Chapters, it's entirely justified (the initiate himself doesn't mind).

Western Animation:
  • In an episode of The Mighty B! an ice cream man gets pissed off at Bessie because she reported him for missing a stop sign to his manager, which put him in extremely hot water. Apparently his 10 years of experience didn't count for much.

Real Life:
  • There's a famous saying regarding Hollywood that "you're only as good as your last picture."
  • Benedict Arnold felt like this was the case for him, and there's a good deal of evidence for that view.

Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • January 18, 2012
    Westrim
    This is obviously based on the Castle examples and a few other instances I remember but can't place. It needs fleshing out and some focusing so we don't end up with Never Live It Down examples or irked examples of characters that genuinely did screw up badly or turn out to be useless.
  • January 18, 2012
    Treblain
  • January 18, 2012
    Westrim
    Thanks for the drive by yell of a trope name. In what way are they the same? Did you actually look at Dude Wheres My Respect and compare them, or just the image you have of it in your mind?

    Yes, I hate drive by trope drops on YKTTW and think they're lazy, how did you guess?

    Dude Wheres My Respect is very specific, both in name and in the description, that it is about someone doing far greater things getting menial jobs and no discounts for saving everyone's ass. This is about a person excelling at whatever they do, then having a superior or investigator ignoring that and focusing on the recent thing that went wrong or until they prove themselves personally.

    Put another way, under Dude Wheres My Respect the warrior that's slayed hundreds is asked to deliver some packages. Under No Accomplishment Inertia, the warrior that's slayed hundreds is bumped to guard duty by his new commander because he's never seen him fight.
  • January 18, 2012
    nman
    Look closer at the laconic and examples for it. Here's some stuff from that page:
    • Psych: Every week Shawn solves, or helps the police solve, seemingly intractable cases using strange methods. And every week, he gets identical hostility from Lassiter, firm skepticism from Da Chief and complete reluctance from Jules.
      • Gus points this out in the season four finale after Da Chief calls one of Shawn's theories "nonsensical." As he says, "You know, I think our track record speaks for itself."

    Now, though, the difference between the description and examples might make this a TRS issue, who knows?
  • January 18, 2012
    Westrim
    The Laconic is "Sometimes doing heroic things doesn't garner you the reverence you deserve for it," which fits it well. This trope doesn't involve heroism or reverence, just acknowledgement of experience.

    The Psych example shows the need for this trope (although it's turned Up To Eleven by having it happen every single episode.) He's doing the same job and not getting acknowledged. If someone asked him to run a chicken cage over to Ventura and get some beer, then it would be Dude Wheres My Respect.
  • January 18, 2012
    nman
    Okay, then we should probably move that example to this trope.

    I guess this is the inverse of Remember When You Blew Up A Sun? In that one, people remember someone's accomplishments, in this one, they don't.
  • January 18, 2012
    SKJAM
  • January 18, 2012
    Westrim
    Not quite, since that's one giant act. Someone ignoring all the missions SG-1 did so they could criticize them would be more in keeping with the trope.

    SKJAM, that's a good idea, but it won't cover when only the boss is changing. Resume is better than accomplishment though, and that may avert some of the confusion.
  • January 18, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    "Resume" just makes the name confusing. Also, is this related to the notion in Hollywood that "You're only as good as your last picture"?
  • January 18, 2012
    Westrim
    Why is it confusing? And yes, that's a good Real Life mention of the trope.
  • January 18, 2012
    TwinBird
    Westrim, this is just Dude Wheres My Respect. The thing about "drive-by mentions" is that since the page is linked, there's nothing else to say. They are the same because they are both failure to acknowledge accomplishments that would be vast in the real world, and that's all your "new" page is.
  • January 18, 2012
    Westrim
    Considering that we're having a discussion about differences of perception, there absolutely is more to say, and knowing why someone believe them to be the same helps immensely. I disagree with your summary; the accomplishments need not be vast, they only need to be ignored. Since we're talking about characters interesting enough to be written about they're usually big accomplishments of course, but it could just as easily be a delivery driver with a flawless 30 year safety record that gets canned for running a stop sign or has his skills questioned by the new shift manager.

    And the reaction is different; under Dude Wheres My Respect they may say or imply "thank you for slaying that dragon, now save my chickens," but the importance of the dragon slaying under No Resume Inertia will instead be ignored or pooh-poohed it "you had that Infinity Plus One Sword the kingdom gave you, we're still kicking you out for damaging a door." One is self-centeredness, the other is extreme myopia.

    And stop yelling *rubs ears*.
  • January 19, 2012
    Chabal2
    The Black Templars comic has the initiate's mentor be killed in battle. When assigned to a new one, he outright tells him nothing he did under the old one matters and they'll start anew from scratch. However, as this is Warhammer 40 K, and the Black Templars are one of the stricter Space Marine Chapters, it's entirely justified (the initiate himself doesn't mind).
  • February 19, 2012
    pawsplay
    Maybe this would work better as Heroic Job Insecurity.
  • March 6, 2012
    Westrim
    Although there aren't any examples of it yet, this should also cover instances where they lose their job and can't find another despite their skill and mostly good record, so I don't think that name will work.
  • February 1, 2013
    Westrim
    Reviving, adding a tag for more examples.

    EDIT: Okay, how does one remove an accidental tag?
  • February 1, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Dunno if it fits, but there is an example on 'Bad Humor Truck' of an ice cream man that is very vicious towards the main character (the series is 'The Mighty B') because she reported him to his supervisor (for running his first stop sign in ten years working as an ice cream man) which put him in extremely hot water (may or may not have had him almost fired-would need to review the episode-but it's implied to have been a very bad chewing out by the supervisor, nevertheless).

    It really would depend on the context of the scene and whatnot, but a veteran of many years getting chewed out by Da Chief fits either here or Dude Wheres My Respect.
  • February 1, 2013
    StarSword
    @Westrim: Only moderators can remove tags. Put a request on Ask The Tropers.
  • February 28, 2013
    Larkmarn
    ... this continues to still be covered by Dude Wheres My Respect.

    Tropes Are Flexible after all and there's really nothing here that's not covered by it.

  • February 28, 2013
    Westrim
    But that's about people of great deeds/ position who are asked to do inane tasks. This is about people of great deeds/ position who get no future consideration for it. It's a complete reversal in the flow of action, and one can happen without the other. Trying to push them into the same slot renders a Square Peg Round Trope.

    For some real world correlation, consider diplomatic immunity. They may well still do the errands like grocery shopping, per Dude Wheres My Respect, but if they get a misdemeanor such as a traffic ticket, they can shrug it off- they have resume inertia in their job description. Of course, they lose that inertia when they are no longer diplomats. Other people with various forms and duration of inertia include Medal of Honor recipients, Members of Congress and the President, and anyone with a pension, most of whom still have to do fetch quests. Conversely, many former members of the military get plenty of respect, sometimes in the form of free drinks at bars or something, but find they have No Resume Inertia because no one apparently wants an artillery gunner. That's an after job example, but in job inertia can also be highly variable, such as a worker of several years at a company claiming to get fired because of one missed quota.
  • February 28, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Except it isn't. DWMR is about, well, not getting the respect a character deserves after doing something great. It often shows as having to do inane tasks in video games, but based on the actual description (which boils down to "You need a favor? Well, you haven't done anything for ME so it doesn't count) and the laconic, that's not the only thing it's about.

    It is, admittedly, a problem with the fact the trope pretty much has example as a thesis
  • March 20, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    This is a regular problem for Amateur Sleuth s or Cowboy Cop s.

    Two examples would be The Mentalist (Da Chief just doesn't approves of Jane's rampaging antics nor that the agents allow him that) and NCIS (Team Gibbs (and especialy Jethro) have had to deal with two new Da Chief s (once because the previous Chief was reassigned, once because the Chief was killed in action). Jenny's beef with Jethro was partially UST while with Vance it was almost an example of Jerkass Has A Point (too many Cowboy Cop antics for his taste-that is, until he got used to it) He even disbanded Team Gibbs for a while and only allowed them back together because Jethro really wasn't working as well without them (and, I think, some blackmail)).
  • March 29, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    On the CSI franchise, this is pretty much a running fear by most of the characters whenever a new supervisor comes forth. For the most part it's subverted, although it *do* pushes the characters to do their best and get defensive about their faults until the supervisor tells them that it's all right.

    So... would that be playing with the trope or something?
  • April 15, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    YKTTW Bump.

    I think another example is pretty much every animated Marvel show (good examples are Maria Hill on Avengers Earths Mightiest Heroes and Spidey on... well, every animated show ever about him.) Either Hill is not giving the Avengers even so much as the benefit of the doubt when the Bad Situation or Monster Of The Week starts wrecking the place, and no matter how much Spidey toils, he shall ever be seen as a menace by J. Jonah Jameson (and Peter will always be on the wrong end of the George Jetson Job Security working plan).

    Heck... we could also add George Jetson Job Security to this trope (as a 'compare'). No matter how long the character has been working, how hard and effectively he has been working, or even how much necessary the work actually sounds like to keep the company afloat and how nobody else even *wants* to have it, all they need to do is miff their boss even once for any reason and they'll be fired on the spot, consequences be damned.
  • April 15, 2013
    MorganWick
    So, what I'm seeing here is, is Dude Wheres My Respect Too Specific, and is the solution to broaden it or create a supertrope? This may be a job for TRS...
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=9eyki5cwo5yk8bkzoxv1xg4g