George Jetson Job Security
J. Jonah Jameson:
Where were you? Photographing squirrels? You're fired! Betty Brant
: (Chief, the planetarium party.) Jameson
: Oh, right. You're unfired! Get back here!
Employees of large companies walk a fine line in sitcoms
or sitcom-related shows in which being fired could come at any moment. Our hero may have worked for the business for 10, 20, 30 years or more and been the model of efficiency and dependability, but if he screws up just once in front of the boss it's all for naught. And heaven help the employee who's railroaded into putting on a Disastrous Demonstration
, even if the product on demo is one they'd never even heard
of before being shoved on stage.
The mistake may not even be work-related. Losing a game while paired with the boss at the company picnic is just as bad as, if not worse than, falling asleep at your desk. Refusing to participate in the boss' latest Zany Scheme
(which may or may not be illegal) could also bring the axe, as can refusing to spend personal time babysitting his bratty kids or entertaining his demanding relatives. (Or, agreeing to, and then doing a subpar job.)
Bosses in the TV world have apparently never heard of such things as wrongful termination or hostile workplace lawsuits. And neither has the poor fired employee, who will likely spend most of the time dejectedly scanning the want ads while his concerned family looks on instead of planning some kind of legal recourse.
Fortunately, a boss who'll fire you for such asinine reasons will also be just as capricious in his hiring, and the fired character often gets their job back anyway
, either by the end of the episode
or by the start of the next one
— making the lack of job security more of a Running Gag
than a real threat to their well-being.
Named for George Jetson of The Jetsons,
who seemed to be fired (and then rehired) on a daily basis
by his hot-headed, near-Napoleonic
boss, Mr. Spacely.
See Ultimate Job Security
for the other extreme, in which employees who legitimately should be fired somehow don't get fired, Vetinari Job Security
for cases where employees are too indispensable to be fired, and and No Such Thing as H.R.
for when nobody seems to be in charge of personnel at all.
See You Have Failed Me
for when screwing up gets you terminated with extreme prejudice
. Also compare this with Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?
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Anime and Manga
- In the infamous filler episodes, Tsunade almost constantly threatens to send Naruto back to the academy.
- Peter Parker and J. Jonah Jameson. Need more be said?
- Subverted in the first cartoon series:
Jameson: Tell him he's fired.
Betty Brant: You can't fire him, he's a freelancer.
Jameson: Well, put him on the payroll and then fire him.
- Used in Spider-Man 2 where Peter is fired twice and the film still ends with him employed. In one scene, he is fired and then re-hired within the space of three seconds.
- In the video game adaptation of that movie, your first interaction with Jameson ends up with you "fired". After he leaves the office (to get more pictures for the Bugle), Spidey muses that that was "The fifth time J.J.'s fired me this week." And if J.J.'s office is open, you can "talk" to him; one of the randomly-generated responses is "you're fired." It's possible to get this result several times in a row.
- Really, JJJ could easily be the poster boy for this trope.
- The Story The Magnificent Seven (minus 4) Caballeros by Don Rosa opens with Scrooge firing Donald Duck:
Scrooge: You're fired! And be back here at work all the more early tomorrow to make up for the time you lost by getting fired today!
Huey Dewey or Louie: Poor Unca Donald, Unca Scrooge fires him at least once a week!
- To elaborate on the above point: The European Donald Duck comics printed in weekly magazines popular in the continent (and elsewhere) has Donald giving the Trope Namer a run for his money at the very least. Comics where one page (or more) is devoted just to Donald getting fired from job after job is not unheard of - due to the Negative Continuity the comics have, there's just nothing stopping poor Donald from either:
1. Working with shining Scrooge's coins to slave-like conditions.
2. Getting one (or multiple) jobs - if one job (2a), he has total success until the end, where it becomes a failure of massive proportions and he is fired as a result - if multiple (2b) it's the rapid-fire firing mentioned above.
3. Having to live with chronic unemployment.
4. Or multiple / all of the above. In the same comic, even.
- Older than Television: It's hinted that Mr. Wynant may be something of a Mr. Spacely in The Thin Man:
Wynant: Tom, show this... Where are you going?
Tom: Home. I'm fired.
Wynant: Who fired you?
Tom: You did.
Wynant: Ah, forget it. Will you show this gentleman around?
Tom (smiling): Yes. Right this way, sir.
- Jack Taylor in My Boss Daughter is this kind of boss.
- In All of Me Edwina tells Roger's boss to fire him simply because She doesn't like him. Subverted in that Roger isn't really fired, his boss just wants to placate the wealthy and megalomaniacal client who's going to die soon anyway.
- In both the remake of The Nutty Professor and its sequel, Sherman Klump ends up getting fired around the third half of the movie, but gets his job back at the end.
- In Here Come the Girls, Stanley keeps messing up every play he's in, and he keeps getting thrown out of the troupe. He's begged to come back in order to trap a serial killer, and they try to bribe him, but since he'll just get fired right after it's done, he demands a run-of-the-play contract.
- In the Tim Dorsey novel When Elves Attack, Jim Davenport has made a career out of inducing this. His consulting firm is regularly hired by companies that want to justify massive unnecessary layoffs of qualified personnel in order to manipulate their stock prices. Then a few weeks later, the companies realize that they can't meet their business obligations after laying off a large portion of their manpower, so hire the same firm to act as a headhunter, at which point Jim rehires all the people he had just sacked.
- Constantly an issue in the Sano Ichiro series, as Sano fights to maintain his position in the shogun's court. Given fickle nature of the shogun and the schemes of Chancellor Yanagisawa, merely being fired isn't usually an option, though. At best, it's likely exile; at worst, it's execution. So far, Sano has only manged to be demoted once, but he's since made a comeback to his previous position.
Live Action TV
- Buddy Rich was a notorious Jerkass to his band and routinely fired band members for incredibly trivial things like looking away while Rich was playing a solo. The same musicians would often be hired back later. An audio example with NSFW language.
- The fictional columnists in Private Eye. Most columns end with "You're fired, Ed", but they're always back next issue.
- At least one column had the above note in the middle of the column, with the next paragraph having a note saying "This is dreadful. You're hired again".
- This is done in Professional Wrestling all the time, with the authority figure du jour putting characters he doesn't like in "You're Fired" matches, where, as the name implies, the loser is fired.
- The "You're Fired" (originally "Loser Leaves Town") match was most common in the pre-Sports Entertainment era, when wrestlers traveled from promotion to promotion more often, and would be the culmination of a heated feud. The stipulation would also be used when a more prominent wrestler wanted time off and/or to heal from legitimate injuries, with some explanation given when the "fired" wrestler returns. And then, there was the "masked stranger" that would show up to cause trouble for his (almost always, heel) foe, with the masked wrestler acting on the "departed" wrestler's behalf; invariably at some point, the masked wrestler would be exposed and the feud would turn up another notch.
- Which in fact makes this trope Truth in Television for pro. wrestling. Employees have lost jobs with WWE for posting blogs about being cheated on by their girlfriends, being associated with the competition in any vague way (friends of Hulk Hogan generally get their walking papers when he and Vince McMahon are having one of their semi-regular Real Life feuds) or having "heat" backstage with a member of management.
- Or for looking at the boss funny, for being too fat, being too skinny, too short (but never too tall for Vince McMahon!), screwing up a match's scripted finish just once, getting into altercations with wrestlers backstage that are favored by the management.
- In kayfabe, Jim Ross seems to be fired whenever they need to give a heel 'boss' character some cheap heat. Double points if the firing takes place in his home state of Oklahoma.
- In the musical Anything Goes, Billy Crocker gets fired by his boss, Elijah Whitney, only to remind him about an amalgamation deal he apparently forgot the paperwork for, which leads to Billy getting hired again. Billy also lampshades this trope by telling Reno Sweeney that "[his boss] hires and fires me every eight minutes."
- Death of Insanely Overpowered Fireballs (originally) in Irregular Webcomic! is constantly demoted, re-promoted, fired and rehired by Head Death. Other Deaths also suffer from this from time to time.
- Mostly subverted in Quitting Time. Nate is constantly getting fired, but once he's employed again, it's (almost) always at a different place.
- Inverted in Narbonic, where Dave talks about quitting/ threatens to quit/ quits Narbonic Labs about twice a story arc, but just can't seem to leave.
- Dr. Chester in A Loonatic's Tale. In spite of being so apathetic as to medicate any and every patient regardless of what their actual problem is, the sanitarium directors keep him around because from a pure skill standpoint he's the best psychiatrist on staff (excluding themselves), and they're hoping he'll get his head out of his ass and put it to good use. Since he never does, they occasionally hand him a case with the stipulation that his continued employment hinges upon its success.
- Played with in The Trenches. One can get fired on perfectly reasonable (or unreasonable as the case may be) grounds, but thanks to Credenza's little management quirks, getting re-hired is as easy as applying under a different name, since they suspect the boss has face blindness. Then "Rarley" he gets fired again, and the boss takes a photo of him and gives it to security with instructions not to let him in the building.
- Parodied in the Bastard Operator from Hell stories when Simon is fired by his boss, only to be rehired by the company's HR department for the same job with higher pay only 5 minutes later. Later on it become a Running Gag that he'd get his boss fired instead, going through a series of them over the past few years.
- Recurring Butt Monkey characters Chingo and Alt-Luakel from AH.com: The Series are subject to this - whenever they appear, they're fired from their normal Burger Fool job at the start of the episode and then re-hired at the end.
- In Dave Madson's Looney Tunes Intro Bloopers, Sam fires and re-hires Shield Guy about every other episode for putting up the wrong titles in a short film's opening sequence.
- The Jetsons: As the page description itself points out, George Jetson is the Trope Namer. However, Mr. Spacely promoted him to vice president nearly as often as he fired him. One episode ended with George saying, "Does anyone need an unemployed vice president?"
- One episode had George threatened with firing if he didn't vote for Mr. Spacely's poodle in a dog show that Astro was also competing in.
- Interestingly, another episode had Spacely sign a contract George wrote up that prevented him from being fired for life. So Spacely made him his shoe-shine boy.
- Another episode (from the 1980s episodes) had Spacely, instead of his usual firing of George, dispatch him to Outer Moongolia following a computer glitch.
- Fred Flintstone from The Flintstones was fired by Mr. Slate just as frequently, not surprising since the two shows (The Flintstones and The Jetsons) were
Recycled cousins of each other.
- On one episode of King of the Hill, Peggy loses her job as a real estate agent.
Peggy Hill: (After listing all the jobs she's lost) Bobby, look on the internet and find out who holds the record for most jobs lost.
Bobby Hill: I think that'd be George Jetson.
- Occurred in another episode when Dale gets a desk job at an adhesives company. His supervisor places Dale in charge of firing employees whom she hates. Dale then develops the habit of firing employees for no reason but see them cry.
- The Simpsons
- This happened to Inch High, Private Eye in every episode of his series, except "The World's Greatest Animals".
- Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law hangs a lampshade on it in an episode where Inch does sue his employer after his latest firing, since he was essentially fired for being short.
- On the other hand, Inch's employer is well within his rights to fire Inch for being shitty at his job (which he is, but Inch is able to make his claim because he's shitty in a way that's very height-flavored). Compare a pizza delivery boy filing for wrongful termination after causing his sixteenth on-the-job twelve-car-pileup.
- In fact, this is often the way Phil Ken Sebben enters the room, clearly intending to fire Birdman and being interrupted by something.
Phil Ken Sebben: Aaaaaaaand you're fi- wait a minute...
- The British children's series Alias the Jester made a Once per Episode Running Gag of this, with every episode ending the same way: "Jester?" "Yes, your majesty?" "You're fired." "Yes, your majesty." (The only exception is the first episode, in which it's "You're hired.") Of course, he always has his job again at the beginning of the next episode.
- Kappa Mikey has Ozu threaten to fire the entire cast and/or cancel the show on a regular basis, often for ridiculous reasons, or because of something one of them (usually Mikey) did.
Ozu: "Okay, you're all hired again, but only until I remember why I fired you in the first place."
- Family Guy
- Averted when Peter lost his job at the toy factory due to his boss dying and the factory closing, he was unemployed and seen doing various odd jobs for nearly an entire season before he got a new job at the brewery.
- Peter was fired from the brewery in "Peter-Assment" after refusing to have sex with his boss Angela. He was rehired at the end of the episode after doing so, although it was actually Mort who did it.
- Mission Hill also intended to go against this trope, by having Andy change jobs every eight episodes. Unfortunately, the series only lasted long enough for him to change jobs once.
- Jonesy Garcia from the cartoon 6teen attains and is fired from a new job every episode. For some reason, none of the stores at the mall seem to think a teenager with a four page long resume is a little suspicious.
- He even lampshades that as a good thing for getting future jobs.
- Maybe they think he's special and feel sorry for him, because word's gotten around.
- In one episode he realizes that he's about to be fired again and declares, "I QUIT! ...Man, that feels good!"
- Stan Smith of American Dad! has been suspended or lost his job in some way a number of times, yet at the beginning of the next episode, he's always right back at work.
- An episode of Inspector Gadget had Gadget fired and replaced by a crime computer.
- On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Lucius fired Heloise for an incredibly trivial reason (and, in the same episode, hired Jimmy so he could fire him). Justified, since he runs Miseryville and is The Caligula.
- Benson threatens to fire Mordecai and Rigby from Regular Show so often, it's pretty much become his catchphrase.
- This is lampshaded in "Brain Eraser", when Mordecai, Rigby, and Skips are traveling through Mordecai's memories and have to climb through a huge mob of Bensons. Every one of them is shouting "You're fired!" Lampshaded again in "A Bunch of Full Grown Geese", when after 100 episodes Rigby calls Benson out on either never carrying out his word or firing them only to rehire them less than a minute later.
- Bloaty the Tick from Rocko's Modern Life had Mr. Ick, who exaggerated this trope to ridiculous extremes. Every time he spoke, he would say "You're fired", and then correct himself. ("You're fired! ...I mean, good evening." "You're fired! ...I mean, pass the salt.")
- In SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick went through a super-fast version of this with Mr. Krabs during a board game:
Patrick: It's off to jail for you, Mr. Krabs!
Mr. Krabs: Patrick, you're fired!
Patrick: But I don't even work here.
Mr. Krabs: (puts a Krusty Krab hat on Patrick's head) Would you like a job, starting now?
Patrick: Boy, would I!
Mr. Krabs: (yanks hat away) You're fired.
- Littlest Pet Shop (2012): Brittany and Whittany Biskit often talk about how their butler François LeGrande is going to be fired for helping Blythe or in any way hindering the Biskits' schemes, even if he does the morally right thing. Though, as mere teenage daughters of a filthy rich pet shop owner, they don't really have much real authority over François's job.
- New York Yankees manager Billy Martin, whom owner George Steinbrenner fired in 1978. And 1979. And 1983, 1985, and 1988. At the time of his death in 1989, he was preparing to pick up the managing reins again for the 1990 season.
- Very much truth in television before unions were invented. Not that it was the only problem with employment back then.
- However, working in Asia is practically working under this plan, and the worse part is getting a lunch break is impossible due to the seemingly fast pace workplace and coworkers which will leave you in the dust if you even consider getting a bite for a minute.
- The USA has a few reasons why someone can't be fired; a specified employment contract, race, religion, gendernote , disability (as long as it doesn't interfere with your job), and a few others. Except for those, you can be fired for any reason, since almost everyone practices "at-will employment". Boss doesn't like your haircut? You can be fired. 12.3 percent of wage and salary workers are members of a union, which usually gives them greater rights.
- If you're unskilled and working in a country illegally, then you'll have to be pretty lucky to stay hired long enough for this trope to even come into play. And if you do find salaried work, you probably can't afford to attract attention by protesting if you're fired without cause.
- In order to avoid paying severance and all that, they invented "constructive discharge." You don't get fired, they just make working conditions less and less humane (by piling on more work, making unreasonable rules and restrictions, what have you) until finally it gets to the point where your options are to quit, or murder all your coworkers. While this does mean you essentially have Ultimate Job Security as long as your patience holds out, your time would almost certainly be better spent looking for a better job than holding out at a job where you're required to write all your reports by dipping a live squirrel in ink and smearing it across the paper.
- Many companies in the US implement what is known as at-will employment. That is the employer can fire the employee for any reason or no reason at all. However, the employee can also leave the company for any reason or no reason. That is, either party need not have a just cause for termination of employment.
- This is a very American trope, as many European countries have laws that make firing someone on a whim nigh-impossible. It's not unheard of for multinational corporations doing a corporate-wide layoff to let US employees go several months before their European counterparts, because it takes that much longer to jump through the hoops required by the legal system there.
- Chuck Jones was almost fired from the Warner Bros. animation unit because his Looney Tunes cartoon "The Dover Boys at Pimento University," his first attempt at a more stylized animation form, was considered too weird by the WB suits. The company wasn't able to find a replacement for Jones, so they kept him on the payroll.
- American Apparel randomly requires its employees to submit full-body photographs to its HR departments. Anybody who isn't pretty enough is labeled "off-brand" and released from the company. Why were they hired in the first place? Female employees can be (and have been) fired when they refuse owner Dov Charney's sexual advances.
- Can't they file for harassment and hostile workplace for that last one?
- Ralph Bakshi is known within the animation industry for this, especially on the Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures show. John Kricfalusi in particular has stated that he lost count on how many times Ralph fired him from the show.
- Any freelancer can attest this is Truth in Television.
- Roman Abramovich of Chelsea FC is almost as bad as Mr. Spacely. There have been nine different managers (Ranieri, Mourinho, Grant, Scolari, Hiddink, Ancelotti, Villas-Boas, di Matteo, Benitez and Mourinho again) since 2004.
- It's hard not to feel sorry for Roberto di Matteo - Abramovich's actions showed that he didn't want him as the manager, and only after Pep Guardiola made it clear that he was taking a sabbatical did he appoint di Matteo as the manager. Abramovich constantly interfering didn't help, and di Matteo was out by November.
- If former employees are to be believed, working at Apple under Steve Jobs was like this.
- Heinz Guderian, who refined the blitzkrieg strategy. Hitler fired him twice.
- Arguably the most notable example in football (soccer) is Maurizio Zamparini, chairman of the Italian club Palermo. Since 1987 he has fired (as of March 22, 2013) 51 coaches, including 27 since taking over of Palermo in 2002. Several managers have been hired and fired multiple times. In the 2012/2013 season alone he fired Giuseppe Sannino after three weeks, replaced him with Gian Piero Gasperini, who was in turn turfed out in favour of Alberto Malesani, who was fired 19 days later and replaced by... Gian Piero Gasperini. Gasperini's second spell lasted less than two weeks before he was fired and replaced by none other than Giuseppe Sannino, the coach from the start of the season.
- Similarly, many American Football teams can go though numerous head coaches, coordinators, and players every season. Especially true for perpetually under-performing teams where you're lucky to get more than a year or two to show improvement or it's out the door and on to the next team. Many professional sports have players/coaches who've changed teams so often that they are considered "journeymen", only hired to be average-performing placeholders until better talent comes along.
- Henry Ford cranked this Up to Eleven with a very large number of paranoia-driven dismissals.
- Amazon.com, while not noted for its firings, tends to have absurdly high rate standards (pick rate at 100% is an estimated 1200 picks per day which turns out to be a pick every 1/2 minute). Given that most workers are temps until "converted" this means potentially every new worker has this type of job. On the bright side, they are a good holiday employer.