Created By: Koveras on July 20, 2012 Last Edited By: Koveras on August 18, 2012
Troped

Out of Job, Into the Plot

The protagonist loses his/her job at the beginning of the story.

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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.

Examples:

Comic Books
  • 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.

Film
  • 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.

Literature
  • 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.

Live Action TV
  • 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.

Western Animation
  • 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.
Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • July 20, 2012
    Arivne
    You might want to re-write the Laconic and description to say "a protagonist" instead of "the protagonist. That will allow your first example Office Space to fit.
  • July 20, 2012
    AgProv
    literature: right at the start of Piers Anthony's Adept cycle of books, the hero, Stile, loses hs 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 parellel world of proton, where he discovers he is the missing Blue Adept.
  • July 20, 2012
    randomsurfer
    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.
  • July 20, 2012
    Koveras
    ^^^ Semantics. "A protagonist" would sound like there must be multiple protagonists in the story, so there is no easy way around it. I call Tropes Are Flexible on it.
  • July 20, 2012
    TonyG
    • 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.
    • Dont 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.
  • July 20, 2012
    NimmerStill
    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.
  • July 20, 2012
    nielas
    • In the beginning of the Burn Notice pilot Micheal Weston 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.
  • July 26, 2012
    Koveras
    Bump.
  • July 26, 2012
    spellraiser
    Deleted. My example was already on the list.
  • July 26, 2012
    robinjohnson
    Mrs Doubtfire begins with Robin Williams' character walking out of a cartoon voice-acting job in protest at the cartoon character smoking.
  • August 14, 2012
    Koveras
    Bump.
  • August 14, 2012
    ccoa
    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.
  • August 14, 2012
    piscula
    Needs A Better Title

    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • August 14, 2012
    spideydude
    • 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.
  • August 14, 2012
    Koveras
    ^^ Suggestions?
  • August 15, 2012
    Koveras
  • August 15, 2012
    StarSword
    Could Daniel Jackson being laughed out of academia at the beginning of Stargate count?

    Also, edited Burn Notice example: Mike's name was misspelled.
  • August 15, 2012
    surgoshan
    The example from the Apprentice Adept series is slightly flawed; he's now free to explore the world of Phaze, not Proton (where he's originally from).

    • 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.
  • August 15, 2012
    piscula
    Starts With A Discharge is better.

    Maybe Fired For The Plot or Job Loss Plot Gain or something that more clearly explains what it is. The current title confused me a lot when I first looked at it and I had to go to the description to even figure out what it was going for.
  • August 15, 2012
    Antigone3
    I'd vote for Fired For The Plot
  • August 15, 2012
    Koveras
    Yeah, Fired For The Plot does convey the idea, but not all examples on the list are technically about being fired. Some (see Shadow) above find themselves jobless for other reasons. Any ideas how to make the title more inclusive?
  • August 15, 2012
    StarSword
    Job Loss, Plot Gain sounds pretty good to me. Or you could go with Fired For The Plot and add a note in the trope description.
  • August 15, 2012
    JoeG
    • Vorkosigan Saga: Near the beginning of Memory, Miles is fired from his job at ImpSec.
  • August 15, 2012
    Koveras
    How about Out Of Job Into The Plot? Kind of a play on this.
  • August 18, 2012
    Koveras
    Last hat, anyone?

    To whoever tagged this one with "improve description": can you please outline your points of critique?

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=fvzfczbar8q10j8iun7kjbjo&trope=OutOfJobIntoThePlot