Just For Fun / These Look Like Jobs for the Superman

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:

  1. The occupation must be what the superhuman does as the primary application of their powers. Being a mild-mannered reporter by day and a neverending crusader for justice on the off hours doesn't count.
  2. The occupation must be one that rarely shows up in comic books. Fighting is already common in comics, thus, "Vigilante", and any violent form of security, militarism or law enforcement, should be right out.
  3. The profession must not violate any person's body and mind, free will, agency or ownership unless said person willingly allows it or if the target would be deemed legally unfit to decide for themselves. So jobs like "Con Man" for Humanshifter or "Politician" for Compelling Voice are disqualified.
  4. We must have a wiki page for said power already, such as Super Strength and Super Speed. Or a combination, such as Flying Brick.
  5. Rule 34 and Power Perversion Potential are kind of a given, so no listing "sex worker", "escort" or "prostitute" in any of these categories.
  6. The power must be simple enough that New Powers as the Plot Demands is minimized as much as possible. The following abilities are banned, because the rules are either vague or how they operate varies from work to work.

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. See also Mundane Utility for everyday applications of fantastic powers in general and Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids for other examples that fall under the rules of this game.


Examples:

  • Animal Eye Spy
    • Wildlife documentaries
    • Game Keeper
    • Lost pet rescue service
    • Ecologist
    • Search and Rescue

  • Astral Projection
    • Building Inspector
    • News collector
    • Search and rescue, especially in dangerous conditions, or time critical ones (such as identifying whether there are people in a burning building)

  • Auto-Revive
    • Hazard control
    • Drug testing (including poisons)
    • Safety inspection
    • Anatomically accurate crash-test dummy

  • Barrier Warrior:
    • Safety and security
    • Crowd control
    • Contact sports official

  • The Beastmaster
    • Animal control
    • Ranching
    • Gamekeeper
    • Pigeon post
    • Zookeeper
    • Circus animal trainer

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

  • Casting a Shadow
    • Espionage (Including Corporate, which isn't often seen in fiction).
    • Stage magician
    • Emergency blackout station
    • Light pollution counteraction at an astronomical observatory

  • Charm Person note 
    • Child services note 
    • Family counseling
    • Hostage negotiator

  • Cold Flames
    • Stage magician (for tricks involving fire)
    • Mood lightingnote 
    • Air conditioning if it's actually cold

  • Combat Tentacles
    • Massage therapist
    • One-man band
    • Concierge
    • Juggler

  • Compelling Voice:
    • Addiction recovery counselor
    • Crowd control, to prevent panic and riotsnote 
    • Motivational speaker
    • Personal training
    • Hostage negotiation note 
    • 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.
    • Ethics specialist at a law firm. Heavily depends on fineness of the skill.note 
    • Corporate Recruiter
    • Any sort of managerial or leadership position.

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

  • Dreaming of Times Gone Bynote 
    • Historical research
    • Accident investigation
    • Expert Witness
    • Credit inspector

  • Dream Spying
    • Search and rescue
    • Psychiatrist

  • Dream Weaver
    • Therapist
    • Messenger

  • Emotion Control
    • Suicide prevention counselor / hotline operator.
    • Riot control.
    • Priest / Missionary / Televangelist
      • An ethical use of this power would be to instill a sense of hope, community and peace of mind among your flock, or to help console people experiencing grief.

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

  • Eye Beams:
    • Laser surgeons
    • Welders
    • Precision carving/sculpture

  • Extra Ore Dinary:
    • Demolition
    • Foreman
    • Mining
    • Manufacturing
    • Sculptor

  • Extreme Omnivore
    • Demolition
    • Landscaping
    • Waste disposal

  • Flight:
    • Courier
    • Painters
    • Cable guys
    • Maintenance/custodial jobs (can access ceiling fixtures without a ladder, doesn't need to step on freshly waxed floors)
    • Human weather balloon
    • Safety monitor for skydivers or hang gliders
    • Delivery service
    • Window Washers
    • Motion Picture Cameraman (save a LOT of money on helicopters and cranes)

  • Flying Brick:
    • On-board air travel security (for preventing hijackings, safe evacuation or even catching falling planes)
    • Towing service
    • Construction worker
    • Airliner engine
    • Air combat target drone
    • Superman (The Trope Namer)
      • Short-order cook. He can heat things up, move at superspeed, etc.
      • Space vehicle launch. He can put satellites into orbit much more cheaply and safely than a space rocket.
      • One Silver Age comic had the Man of Steel perform "super landscaping".
      • Robert P. Murphy lists a whole lot of professions that the Man of Tomorrow would be good at here.

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

  • Green Thumb:
    • Farmer
    • Horticulturist
    • Aromatic
    • Herbalist
    • Spice trader
    • Aromatherapist
    • Florist
    • Flood control — through quick growing barriers
    • Crowd control — the same
    • Demolition — tree roots can break open stone
    • Landscaper

  • Healer:
    • Meat production (provided they can heal flesh but not resurrect)
    • Beautician
    • Plastic surgeon
    • Paramedic / doctor
    • Faith Healer / Televangelist
    • Veterinarian

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

  • Humanshifting
    • Espionage (Including Corporate, which isn't often seen in fiction).
    • Actor/Impressionist
    • Stunt Double
    • Professional Body Double/Decoy
    • Therapistnote 
    • Model
    • Process Server

  • An Ice Person:
    • Refrigeration
    • Climate control
    • Firefighting
    • Ice sculpture
    • Creating an ice rink

  • Immortality
    • Historian
    • Legal counselnote 
    • Stock trader
    • Safety inspector/tester
    • Test Pilot

  • Incredible Shrinking Man:
    • Mechanical repair
    • Locksmithing
    • Watchmaking
    • Building inspector
    • Assistant to microsurgery
    • Espionage
    • Microorganism research

  • Intangible Man
    • Surgery (X-Ray Vision may also be needed)
    • Disaster response
    • Some locksmith services

  • Light The Way
    • Exploration
    • Search and rescue
    • Laser surgery
    • Welding
    • Emergency light supply
    • Tanning salon (depending on type/variety of light produced/controled)
    • Lighting technician for stage, film or photography.

  • Magma Man
    • Volcanologist
    • Geothermal energy producer
    • Glass maker

  • Making a Splash:
    • Drought relief
    • Irrigation
    • Cleaning services
    • Plumbing
    • Human water turbine
    • Firefighting
    • Various types of fountains, sculptures and entertainment
    • Flood relief
    • Lifeguard

  • Master of Illusion:
    • Home entertainment
    • Office presentation
    • Ceremonies
    • Movie Effects
    • Simulated scenarios (ex. Recreating the events of a crime for the jury)
    • Actor. The role doesn't even have to be of a human.
    • Magician

  • Nigh-Invulnerability
    • Firefighter
    • Civilian demolitions expert
    • Hazard control
    • Safety inspection
    • Animal control
    • Crash test dummy
    • Live target practice
    • Volcanologist, and other research in dangerous environments
    • Professional Wrestler (assuming Pro Wrestling isn't real)
    • Stunt person

  • Paper Master:
    • Records clerk
    • Toymaker
    • Origami artist
    • Office organizer
    • Corporate shredding
    • Casino worker (dealing cards for blackjack, poker, etc.)
    • Paper recycling

  • People Puppets
    • Personal trainer
    • Wish-fulfillment fantasynote 
    • Physical therapy
    • Riot control note 

  • Plague Master note 
    • Vaccine creation
    • Mass vaccinations
    • Pandemic management
    • Disease research
    • Doctor

  • Playing with Fire:
    • Firefighter
    • Chef
    • Glass production
    • Limitless energy source
    • Welding
    • Sterilization — particularly of sealed environments.
    • Lighting

  • Power Copying:
    • Research & Development
    • Training instructor

  • Psychometry
    • Archeology
    • Identifying amnesiacs and/or corpses from their effects
    • Expert witness about whether goods were stolen

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

  • Sex Shifter
    • A valuable subject of research or testimony regarding differences between biology.
    • Actor/Actress (if both forms are recognizable, might be more useful as extras).
    • Fashion/make-up model for both genders.
    • Tailor for both genders.
    • Personal trainer for both genders.

  • Size Shifter
    • Search and rescue
    • Natural disaster prevention
    • Many utility jobs, such as construction or telephone wire repair.
    • Manufacturing and production, depending on where they get the extra size from and how stable it is.
    • Most of the abilities listed in Super Strength, depending on Square/Cube Law.
    • Some of the abilities listed in Incredible Shrinking Man, if they can increase the size of other things and have enough space to do so.

  • Shock and Awe
    • Limitless power source
    • Lightning rod
    • Electronics repair
    • Stage magician

  • Speaks Fluent Animal
    • Veterinarian
    • Animal-human diplomat
    • Animal trainer/educator
    • Animal psychologist
    • Neurologist note 
    • Animal lawyer (yes, that's a thing)
    • Court translator (animal witnesses)
      • Or Investigator, if animal testimony isn't allowed in court, they could still be used to find other evidence.

  • Super Reflexes
    • Any type of caretaker position.
    • Any type of medical profession.
    • Any kind of work in dangerous environments (where other safety precautions are impractical).
    • Play-by-play commentatary
    • Sports officiating
    • Pro athelete
    • Pro gamer
    • Juggling
    • Stuntman

  • Super Senses
    • Any type of inspection work
    • Stage magician
    • Security advisor
    • Quality assurance
    • Post-war minesweeper
    • Any type of medical professional
    • Astronomer (no need for a telescope!)
    • Surveillance

  • Super Smoke:
    • Building inspector
    • Engine repairman (No need to take the engine apart! That is, given that no part actually needs to be removed.
    • Search and rescue: locating victims of fallen structures or cave-ins

  • Super Speed:
    • Messenger/Delivery Service
    • Census taker
    • Human turbine
    • Inspector/scout (get in and out quick)
    • Typist
    • Riddler note 
    • Wigmaking note 
    • Process Server — not only to deliver but to get away safe — so especially for serving processes on the superpowered.

  • Super Strength:
    • Virtually any job that requires the movement of heavy materials/machinery.
    • Depending on the volume and mass that can be moved at once and speed sacrificed, anything from mining, towing, cargo transportation, and landscaping.
    • Any type of demolition/destruction or compaction work.
    • Food pulping/mashing.
    • Diamond production
    • Human turbine, again
    • Professional Wrestling (assuming you have enough control to not hurt anyone by accident)
    • Rescuer: clears fallen structures and cave-ins to free victims

  • Talking in Your Dreams
    • Messenger

  • Telekinesis (including some forms of magnetism)
    • Transportation of supplies especially for hard to reach locations
    • Blockade runner during wartime
    • Disaster relief.
    • Cleaning. Lift dust off of surfaces, or simply lift all of the items on a crowded surface.
    • Massage therapist
    • Tasks in sterile or otherwise sealed environments
    • Salvage of underwater items, or from other dangerous environments.

  • Teleportation:
    • Travel guide
    • Courier
    • Messenger/Delivery Service
    • Paramedic (particularly if (s)he can teleport others)
    • Space shuttle (depending on their limits of carrying)
    • Magician's assistant

  • Technopath:
    • Astronaut
    • Pretty much any tech support or information technology job
    • Online community manager
    • Repairman
    • Corporate Espionage
    • Technological researcher
    • Engineer
    • Security and Surveillance Consultant

  • Telepathy:
    • Witness examiner note 
    • Psychotherapist
    • Distance communication (dependent on range)
    • Search (in Search and Rescue) (dependent on range)
    • Communication faciliation (Movie director wants a stage set like this? Telepath could put the image right in the set designer's thoughts.)

  • Voice Changeling
    • Voice actor
    • Musician
    • Stand-up comedian/impressionist
    • Virtually any customer service job over the phone
    • Sound research (depending on how wide their range is)

  • Walking Wastelandnote 
    • Deforestation
    • Groundskeeping (needs extremely finite control)
    • Pest control
    • Corpse disposal

  • Weather Manipulation
    • Meteorologist
    • Drought relief
    • Directing hurricanes and tornadoes away from populated areas
    • Firefighter, especially effective for forest and grass fires
    • Farmer or farm hand: who needs irrigation when you have controlled rainfall?
    • Environmentalist/conservationist

Alternative Title(s): These Look Like Jobs For The Supermen, These Look Like Jobs For The Superman

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/JustForFun/TheseLookLikeJobsForTheSuperman