Shortly after the story begins, the protagonist loses his comfortable ordinary job. This provides him with both a strong motivation to find a new source of income and a lot of free time to engage in more adventurous activities.
- Batwoman gets kicked out of military academy (job training counts right?) because she was making out with her girlfriend, this allows her the free time to start training to become Batwoman.
- In Office Space, the main protagonist doesn't lose his job (by sheer chance) but his two co-protagonists do, kicking off their scheme.
- In God Bless America, Frank wakes up, goes to work, and finds out he is fired, adding one more reason for him to go on a killing spree.
- Aspen Extreme starts with TJ employed as a low level unskilled machinist. His boss offers him a promotion; TJ takes this as the opportune time to quit his job so he can follow his dream of becoming a ski pro.
- Mrs. Doubtfire begins with Robin Williams' character walking out of a cartoon voice-acting job in protest at the cartoon character smoking.
- In the 2005 remake of Fun With Dick And Jane, Jane quits her job and Dick's company goes pear shaped due to Enron-style corruption on the same day. Since Dick was used as the scapegoat for the company, he's unable to find work, which drives most of the plot. In the original, only Dick loses his job, since Jane was a housewife.
- At the beginning of Bruce Almighty, Bruce is fed up with his job as a news reporter because they only give him crappy personal interest stories. He throws a tirade live on the air that ends with an F-Bomb, which immediately gets him fired. This causes Bruce to accuse God of messing up his life, thereby kicking off the main plot of the movie.
- Daniel Jackson is laughed out of academia at the beginning of Stargate, allowing him to join the super-secret military program.
Live Action TV
- Right at the start of Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept cycle of books, the hero, Stile, loses his job as a jockey because he has been nobbled by another stable - they sent a hit-man out to laser his knees and render him useless as a jockey. Stile's Citizen boss then terminates his contract.... all this is to give him an incentive to explore the parallel world of Phaze, where he discovers he is the missing Blue Adept.
- The Millennium Trilogy has Mikael Blomkvist suspended from the magazine giving him the free time to work on the Vangar case, which is how everything gets rolling.
- In American Gods, Shadow is released from prison and is travelling to his home to a job waiting for him, only to learn that his job is gone as the guy who was giving it to him is dead, leaving him free to work as Mr. Wednesday's bag man.
- Vorkosigan Saga: Near the beginning of Memory, Miles is fired from his job at ImpSec.
- Just Shoot Me!: Maya is fired from her job as a writer at a newscast in the pilot, and is forced to work for her father's fashion magazine.
- Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 opens with June arriving to her first day of work at a financing firm, only to find it in the midst of shutting down as the boss is being arrested. Thus she is unemployed before she even started work.
- In the beginning of the Burn Notice pilot Michael Westen is in the middle of a dangerous mission for the CIA when he discovers that he has been 'burned' by the agency. Not only was he fired but the CIA also froze all his bank accounts and none of his coworkers and contacts will speak to him now. He is dumped in his home city of Miami and has to find out why he was burned while trying to build a new life for himself.
- Beginning of Community has Jeff Winger lose his job as a Lawyer as he got his licence from Columbia (and now he has to get it in America!) allowing the wacky hijinks of the community college setting to kick off.
- Sometime before the beginning of the story, but really the catalyst for the whole thing, in Veronica Mars Keith Mars loses his job as the sheriff because of Lily Kane's murder, allowing him to open up his private detective firm and allowing the titular Veronica to start getting experience as a Private Eye
- Girls' Hannah Horvath starts the first episode off being cut off from her parents and fired from her internship (when she demands it turn into full time employment). Hilarity Ensues.
- Futurama's "Bender's Big Score" subverts it; first there's an opening montage of what everyone's job is, then the professor says "You're all fired!" because the company is going out of business (or "cancelled", as part of the movie's thinly-veiled Take That to the Fox network); then within minutes, they're rehired.
Will go under Beginning Tropes