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. Thus, "Vigilante", and any 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. 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:

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

  • 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 failsafe
    • Crowd control
    • Contact sports official

  • The Beastmaster
    • Animal control
    • Ranching
    • 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
    • Negotiator

  • Cold Flames
    • Stage magician (for tricks involving fire)

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

  • Compelling Voice:
    • Addiction recovery counselor
    • Motivational speaker
    • Personal training
    • Scheduling Assistant
    • Hostage negotiation
    • Crowd control, to prevent panic and riots

  • 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 

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

  • Dreaming of Times Gone Bynote 
    • Historical research
    • Accident investigation

  • Dream Spying
    • Search and rescue

  • Dream Weaver
    • Therapist
    • Messenger

  • Emotion Control
    • Suicide prevention
    • Hostage negotiation
    • crowd control — both against riots and against panic

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

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

  • Extra Ore Dinary:
    • Mining
    • Manufacturing
    • Sculptor

  • Extreme Omnivore
    • Waste disposal

  • Flight:
    • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Immortality
    • Historian
    • Stock trader
    • Crash test dummy

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

  • 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 film or photography.
      • On a related note, stage lighting.

  • Made of Iron
    • Reconnaissance of dangerous situations
    • Rescue in dangerous situations

  • 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.

  • Nigh-Invulnerability
    • Firefighter
    • Civilian demolitions expert
    • Hazard control
    • Safety inspection
    • Animal control
    • Crash test dummy
    • Live target practice
    • Vulcanologist, and other research in dangerous environments

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

  • Plague Masternote 
    • Vaccine creation
    • Mass vaccinations.

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

  • 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

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

  • 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
    • 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))

  • Super Speed:
    • Messenger/Delivery Service
    • Census taker
    • Human turbine
    • Typist
    • Riddler note 
    • Wigmaking note 

  • 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

  • Talking in Your Dreams
    • Message delivery

  • Telekinesis (including some forms of magnetism)
    • Transportation of supplies especially for hard to reach locations, so
    • 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.

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

  • Technopath:
    • Pretty much any tech support or information technology job
    • Technological research
    • Surveilance

  • 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.)

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

  • Weather Manipulation
    • Drought relief
    • Directing hurricanes and tornadoes away from populated areas

Alternative Title(s):

These Look Like Jobs For The Supermen