M: I knew it was too early to promote you.
James Bond: Well I understand Double-0's have a very short life expectancy, so your mistake will be short-lived.There's a job opening, in what seems like a comfortable position. But it's hard. So hard, that no one lasts long. Many quit before the day is over. Many quit without waiting to take the money. Many quit while screaming, without looking where they were going as they fled, and were only seen again muttering about "Twenty bucks an hour" over and over and over again. In some cases, they never even got a chance to quit, and instead died in a suspicious accident or, in especially dangerous jobs (such as "The Sheriff of a lawless Wild West town"), the line of duty. In some cases, the difficulty isn't with the job itself, but with the viciousness and/or stupidity of the boss. This may cause the character to be fired or even killed for failing to satisfy the boss' unreasonable demands. Usually the "no one can hack it" circumstances are shown by a montage of characters of different types attempting the task before leaving. Some of these may be Shout Outs to recognisable characters who would be good at the task in hand... but not quite good enough. This is commonly used for nannies, teachers or babysitters to unruly children, to show how horrible the children are. Alternatively, it's the secretary to an utterly unreasonable boss. This is a common set up (or sometimes reveal) for a New Job Episode, showing the previous failures at the task, warning the characters of the horror they face. As a rule, if the new employee is not a main character, we'll see how the job is so horrible, and even this "hard to crack" character will eventually fail to the nightmare that is the task. But if the new employee is a major character, they'll be a little bit different. Perhaps they have a warm heart and honest demeanour that will soften the hardest heart. Or perhaps she'll be the first to turn around and tear their Pointy-Haired Boss down as vengeance for all the previous employees.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Great Teacher Onizuka:
- Everyone who tried to teach the class Eikichi Onizuka was assigned to was driven mad, with one in particular joining a cult.
- Inverted later on. When he needs money fast, he takes on a job "tuna fishing" — picking up the bits of people that get run over by trains. He doesn't last long.
- Noragami: Yato's shinki quit so fast that the shinki who quit in the first episode lasted for three whole months, which impresses another god's shinki. Apparently it's due to Yato not being able to provide for their daily needs, being a homeless unknown minor deity who doesn't even have a shrine. He also apparently doesn't smell very pleasant and the shinki complain of his sweaty hands.
- In Remote, the Unsolved Crimes Division, Special Unit A is renowned for this, as Inspector Himuro puts a lot of strain on his legwork partner with his special quirks and demanding personality. The heroine and newest legwork partner, Ayaki, despite being a Plucky Girl, nearly breaks down and resign from the post several times at the beginning of the series, until she gets used to the job and to Himuro's personality.
- Weiß Kreuz: Kritiker personnel in general have a very high mortality rate. The protagonists go through three direct superiors and four handlers over the course of the series, and they themselves are something like the fourth incarnation of Weiss, the members of the previous incarnations having either been killed or gone Ax-Crazy. In the last episode of Gluhen, Rex discusses forming a fifth incarnation of the team.
- This is also the case with Head's manservants in The Amazing Screw-On Head.
- A heroic example, the Wreckers from various Transformers continuities tend to burn through their roster rather quickly. Sometimes, your first day as a Wrecker is also your last. In one piece of tie-in fiction for The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers, we're given an estimated fatality rating for the Wreckers, which due to a complicated situation involving two members is either 38% or 42% depending on whether Rack'n'Ruin count as separate people. The rating has increased since then.
- In Transformers: More than Meets the Eye the Lost Light can't seem to hold down a Director of Security, to the point that it almost comes off like a dark Running Gag. Red Alert, Fortress Maximus, Ultra Magnus, and Trailcutter have all held the position so far, and of those four only one is still on the ship and he stepped down from it. The others have either left it or died.
- Judge Dredd:
- The office of Chief Judge (pretty much the dictator of Mega City One) has seen a pretty high turnover rate since the start of the comic, with many not being in office for more than five years tops. Several Chief Judges have been murdered or committed suicide during their terms in office. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Judge Dredd himself has always refused the big seat.
- Averted by Psi-Division, which has had Judge Shenker in charge for over twenty years.
- Being a prosecutor in Dirty Sympathy, as the Prosecutor Office realized that they lose their prosecutors by them either quitting or getting arrested for some crime. They don't have much hope for Klavier to the point of betting when and how he going to leave. Inverted that Klavier does leave his position when he and Apollo's crimes are nearly exposed.
Films — Animated
- Rango discovers that the position of sheriff of the town of Dirt is like this, complete with a brief shot of a cluster of graves in the town cemetery.
Films — Live-Action
- In The Sound of Music, no nanny can cope with the entire Von Trapp family, until Maria comes along
- Equally Nanny McPhee is the first to survive her role.
- And Mary Poppins.
- In Walt Disney's The Happiest Millionaire, the Biddle family have a very hard time keeping house staff, mainly due to Mr. Biddle's penchants for keeping alligators in the conservatory and hosting mixed Boxing/Bible study classes. The only people they seem to be able to hold onto consistently throughout the movie are butler John Lawless and housekeeper Mrs. Worth.
- The main premise behind The Devil Wears Prada.
- ... as well as Morning Glory, also by screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna. Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) is the fourteenth executive producer at Daybreak in eleven years.
- In The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader goes through several commanding officers, often promoting the person under them in the process. One amusing scene has him force strangle the elderly Admiral Ozzel who had failed him while talking with his ship's Captain, Piett. As the admiral gasps his last, Vader says, "You are in command now, Admiral Piett." Piett's face is priceless as he doesn't know whether to look grateful or worried.
- Mr. Thackery was one of a string of teachers in To Sir, with Love; the kids drove one of his predecessors to suicide.
- The live-action Casper movie. The villainess Carrigan brings in a priest (specifically, Father Guido Sarducci from Saturday Night Live), Ray Stantz and even a wrecking crew. Eventually, the protagonist's father, a psychic psychiatrist, is contacted to try and exorcise the house.
- This Is Spinal Tap: Spinal Tap's drummers have a tendency to expire in a number of strange ways. Two of them spontaneously combusted.
- Addams Family Values: The family go through nannies at such a rate, the agency finally suggests they get a Dobermann instead. The one nanny who can handle Pugsley and Wednesday is a Black Widow after Uncle Fester's money, and the general hardiness of the Addamses drives even her Ax-Crazy — well, Ax Crazier.
- Good Will Hunting: The therapists Will Hunting goes through before Robin Williams comes along.
- In Dirty Harry, it's mentioned that Harry works alone because he tends to go through partners at an alarming rate; this trend holds true as the series progresses through 5 movies (3 dead, 2 seriously injured). On the positive side, it's mentioned in the first film that only a few of his partners actually get killed, with most only being seriously injured or simply finding his Jerkass Cowboy Cop attitude difficult to work with and transferred to other responsibilities.
- In the Hulk Hogan film Mr Nanny, Hulk's character Sean Armstrong enters the household just as the kids send another nanny packing. The cook tallies off another name on a short list and explains;
Corinne: This is like the roach motel; 'The nannies check in...'Armstrong: '...But they don't check out.' Well, that doesn't seem like a long list.Corinne: Huh! (Pushes button on list, revealing it's a very long list folded over several times)
- Men in Black - it's implied that no-one stays K's partner for long, which is why he spends the first movie training J as a *replacement*, who neuralizes him the same way K did his last partner at the start of the movie. By II, a dissatisfied J has started dismissing and neuralizing his own partners so quickly the boss is getting annoyed.
- After Frank's wife died in the original Yours, Mine, and Ours, he tried to get a house keeper to mind his 10 children, all of whom were angry over their mother's death and father's negligence (he spent much of his time gone in the Navy). They were all shown storming out horrified at the children. The final housekeeper actually set up the first real meeting between the main couple when she embarrassed his eldest daughter to the point that she fainted, necessitating a trip to the infirmary where Helen works.
- In the Mission: Impossible Film Series, the leader of the IMF is a different person in each film, usually played by a prominent actor (notably Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence Fishburne, Tom Wilkerson, and Alec Baldwin). The position appears to be political in nature (akin to a cabinet secretary), so given the 4-6 year gap between each film, it is plausible that the position changes every election cycle or so.
- In the novel Going Postal, Moist von Lipwig takes on the job of Postmaster General after several previous occupants of the post died in odd accidents. Given the ruin he was put in charge of he'd assumed these deaths had occurred when they stopped delivering mail decades earlier, and was distraught to learn that it had been last month - none of the recent appointees had survived long enough to clean the place up.
- Equally, Kings/Patricians before Vetinari and Archchancellors before Ridcully used to have quite short tenures; one king was killed less than two seconds after his coronation, and became known to history as King Loyala the Aargh. Patricians always seemed to end up going crazy and needing to be replaced or assassinated, while the wizards were firm believers in Klingon Promotion. Vetinari got around this by being irreplaceable, Ridcully by being virtually unkillable. The last patrician before Vetinari, Mad Lord Snapcase, lasted about a decade. Homicidal Lord Winder is also implied to have lasted a good while. The Archchancellors, by comparison, were replaced once per book, implying tenures counted in single-digit months.
- Passepartout's predecessors in Around the World in 80 Days couldn't live up to Phileas Fogg's exacting standards.
- In Anne McCaffrey's Tower and the Hive series, Afra Lyon takes up the role of second-in-command of Callisto Tower, where the Prime in charge, The Rowan, has gained a reputation for going through them like gum (a combination of candidates being unwilling or unable to cope with her temperamental nature and her simply sending them packing because she didn't like them). He becomes her best friend and later, her son-in-law.
- The infamous Defense Against the Dark Arts post at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter novels. Which was literally jinxed by Voldemort when he was refused the job, and as a result, no single instructor in the position lasted more than a year. It's not explained how Voldemort did this, or why Dumbledore didn't abolish the post and replace it with something non-cursed. Following Voldemort's death, however, the jinx on the position is lifted and there is now a permanent DADA instructor at Hogwarts.
- Almanzo's school has gone through several teachers in Farmer Boy because a gang of older boys comes every winter to beat them up. No teacher has ever finished a winter term, and at least one was beaten so badly he died of it later. Everyone expects the same thing to happen to nice, young Mr. Corse, until he uses a blacksnake whip to drive them off.
- Mayors in the Dr. Sam Hawthorne mysteries by Edward D. Hoch died in various impossible manners.
- In Diana Wynne Jones's The Lives of Christopher Chant, Christopher goes through a long string of governesses; in this case, however, they have no trouble with Christopher himself, but rather can't tolerate the stormy relationship between his parents.
- The In Death series: Portrait in Death has Eve and Peabody question a photographer named Dirk Hastings about some murders. Hastings has this sort of situation, because he is apparently such a tyrant and Jerkass that he scares off a lot of young assistants. He even says that he goes through assistants like toilet paper, and consequently has a hard time remembering them!
- The office of Hand to the King in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire has seen several characters take the office. It is officially the Number Two to the King and is essentially the same as "Prime Minister" or Grand Vizier, with the expectation they serve as The Good Chancellor to The Good King. Since good kings are in short supply during the War of the Five Kings, a lot of different people give the post the old college try. Three of them (Jon Arryn, Ned Stark, Tywin Lannister) get killed on the job for political and/or reasons. One of them, Tyrion Lannister, proved to be hyper competent but was overwhelmed by his own family and bigotry for being a dwarf and when Cersei Lannister becomes Regent for Life, she fills it with Yes Men with predictable results. According to Jaime, the turnover of Hands was worse under Mad King Aerys due to his tendency to execute people who displeased him, to the point where he didn't bother learning the names of most of them, and thought of them by their coats of arms.
- Lordship of Harrenhal is another. The castle has had several owners throughout its history, due to the fact that every house or individual that has held it has suffered a disastrous end. Because of this, Harrenhal is widely believed to be cursed and lordship of it has become something of a White Elephant. Of the several characters that have held it throughout the series thus far, five of them have perished: Tywin Lannister, Gregor Clegane (sort of...), Amory Lorch, Vargo Hoat, and Janos Slynt.
- The Imperial Guard novel Fifteen Hours is named so because that's the average life expectancy of new soldiers in the book's war zone.
- Jumpers from The Sirantha Jax Series. Jumpers are people born with the "J-Gene", which allows them to safely navigate ships during grimspace jumps (people without the J-Gene can't perceive the beacons left behind by The Makers while in grimspace, and thus would likely be lost forever). The problem comes from the fact that grimspace travel is like an addictive drug for Jumpers, causing them to experience orgasmic euphoria when jumping. Not only can this have severe psychological effects, but it can also cause brain lesions to form, which results in Jumpers eventually making a jump and coming out of it brain dead. This is called "navigator burnout syndrome" and means that Jumpers rarely live past 30, being constantly replaced; even individual ships will frequently go through multiple Jumpers throughout their active service.
- The Aeon Legion's training program is extremely brutal since the instructors can just heal the recruits from most injuries. The training's high standards eliminates many recruits the first day and many more drop out voluntarily. The training starts with thousands of recruits and ends with around a hundred.
Live Action TV
- Game of Thrones: The small council and the office of Hand in particular become this during the series after nearly two decades of relative stability.
- Gilmore Girls: Running Gag: Lorelai's mom Emily can't keep a maid because she has such strict guidelines on how she wants things to be done. Either they fail to live up to her standards and are fired, or they reach their limit for abuse and quit.
- In the second series, Edmund mentions that Head Executioners have a nasty habit of getting into nasty accidents, such as accidentally brutally stabbing themselves in the stomach while shaving. Inevitably, this is just before he gets the job in question.
- Most amusingly, when Blackadder assumes the latest Head Executioner was murdered, he is informed that though they usually are, this time the man just signed his name on the wrong dotted line and they came for him while he slept:
Blackadder: He should have told them they had the wrong man.
Melchett: He did, but you see, they didn't, they had the right man and they had the form to prove it.
- In the first series, the post of Archbishop of Canterbury is similarly undesirable, mostly because previous archbishops had a habit of persuading dying noblemen to leave their lands to the Church instead of to the KING.
- The Prisoner: Sometimes a mysterious overlord changes the local boss if they fail in their objective. For instance, this show: there is often a new Number Two, because the last one failed to break Number Six.
- Picket Fences: Mayors in this show either died, or were involved in a scandal of some sort.
- Merlin (1998): King Vortigern's architects are frequently imprisoned or executed for destructive errors in the construction of Vortigern's "impregnable" castle; the final architect is given a lenient sentence of unemployment, and told to leave before Vortigern changes his mind. Somewhat justified; none of them noticed the incredibly obvious stream running out of the hill under the walls which Merlin spots instantly, and the resulting collapses killed many workers. Likewise, the Royal Soothsayer seen in the film is the third employed that month, and he meets a similar fate as the final architect: Merlin himself notes that the King seems to get through them at an alarming rate, only for the Soothsayer to remark, "He gets through everything at an alarming rate."
- Murphy Brown:
- As Dan Quayle is well aware, the title character is a single mother, but beyond that, she can't get a decent secretary and has to keep firing them. Except one, Carol, who is perfect, she's the best one in the world. She's so good, her former boss, Bob Newhart, comes on the show and begs her to come back to him and Jerry. (Of course he'd need to have her back, he was never running a bed-and-breakfast in Vermont, the whole show was All Just a Dream and he was still a psychologist in Chicago.)
- In the last season, Murphy has to stand before a Joker Jury made up of all her fired secretaries. After Murphy gives her "Reason You Suck" Speech and they let her go, she meets up with one secretary who had perfect qualifications and no trouble with the job whatsoever. Murphy can not remember firing her.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Doublemeat Palace has a suspiciously high turnover rate - it turns out to be because of a customer who loves the taste of the employees. Fast food servicing indeed.
- Danger: UXB: Being about bomb disposal, mentions this early on.
- 24: Milks this trope, particularly in the arena of who will be the president in any given stretch of episodes and the high mortality rate of Jack's bosses. The number of the latter is debatable depending on who all you count as being is boss (i.e. all direct superiors or just agency directors?) but there are no fewer than 6 people that have been presidents in 24's 8 seasons. The number rockets to 9 if you include whoever was president in season 1, Logan's vice president taking over when he resigns and take President Taylor's resignation in the series finale into account.
- It's a wonder this universe's version of the United States can keep it together at all. The series takes place over about 14 years, that's 9 presidents spread out over about three presidential terms worth of time. Holy shit!
- Earth: Final Conflict: Gene Roddenberry's show is both a straight and meta example, given the high turnover rate of its cast and characters. Due to assorted production and inter-personal issues, main actors tended to leave the show after only a season or two, leading to a constantly changing roster of lead characters (which also had elements of Klingon Promotion, ironically enough, as each departing character tended to have their role in the plot replaced by the supporting character most directly under them). In fact the only character who lasted through all 5 seasons was the secondary antagonist and Starscream, Agent Sandoval.
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: While they do usually manage to last a couple seasons each, this show goes through Assistant D.A.s at a pretty brisk pace, especially when you consider the core of the S.V.U. department has remained constant throughout the years. About 50% eventually ended up being terminated with prejudice (in one case seemingly literally, and another case actually literally) for one reason or another.
- Mad Men: Don Draper cannot keep a secretary for the life of him:
- Peggy: Don makes her a copy writer.
- Lois: Transferred back to switchboard after making one mistake too many.
- Jane: Fired by Joan for helping the rest of the cast break into Bert Cooper's office, rehired by Roger because he has a grudge against Joan, quits to marry Roger.
- Allison: Quits after she sleeps with Don and he keeps acting like it never happened.
- Mrs. Blankenship: Dies of natural causes.
- Megan: Marries Don and becomes a copy writer. Her replacement quits in the first episode of Season 5. This trope became lampshaded around this point.
- Dawn: Worked for Don without any problems but then Don was put on forced leave and Dawn was almost fired by his replacement. Joan instead promotes her to office manager.
- In season 7A Don is put under severe restrictions at work and must accept Meredith as his secretary.
- Misfits: In this show's world, do not become a parole officer. You will die, your body will never be found, and, seemingly, the authorities will ignore your disappearance.
- Star Trek: Enterprise: It is mentioned that before T'Pol, no Vulcan has lasted more then ten days on a Human ship.
- The Thick of It: The Minister for Social Affairs and Citizenship never lasts long. One senior civil servant remarks that she has served under five different ministers, or, as she puts it, "a box-set". That was in the first episode of the show - she has now served under eight.
- Las Vegas: Montecito owners are usually killed or bought out, with the notable exception of Sam Marquez and outright subversion of AJ Cooper.
- The Inspector Lynley Mysteries: When the main characters, DI Tommy Lynley and DS Barbara Havers, are initially paired together, all of Scotland Yard starts betting on how long the partnership will take to implode, as neither of them can keep partners for very long (he's a smug asshole, she has a temper that makes Guy Fawkes Night pale into insignificance). Nobody gives them more than thirty days. By episode three, Barbara flatly declares to Lynley that "You resign, I resign." Seven series later, the two are going strong with no signs of slowing down, although there's still plenty of bickering to be had.
- Deadliest Catch: It's been stated that 80-90% of greenhorns on Alaskan crab boats last less than a year after they're first hired. If a crabbing vessel needs to fill a vacant position for whatever reason, one can expect them to go through several failed candidates before finding a suitable one.
- Criminal Minds: While the BAU team has otherwise remained consistently the same for 10 years (other than Gideon's replacement by Rossi in Season 2 and J.J.'s 10-Minute Retirement in Season 6), the 7th member slot has had a consistently high turnover rate, especially in the last few seasons. The position was first held by Elle Greenaway in Season 1, then by Emily Prentiss in Season 2 to 5 and 7, then by Ashley Seaver in Season 6, then by Dr. Alex Blake in Season 8 and 9, Kate Callahan in Season 10 and most recently by Dr. Tara Lewis in Season 11. If you go by Harry Potter logic, you might think that Elle, the first person to hold the position, put a jinx on it when she left by performing a vigilante execution of a serial rapist.
- On Arrow mayors of Starling City do not have a long life expectancy. By the start of season 4 no one wants to run for the position and the city is run by a council of senior city officials, none of whom are willing to accept the title of Acting Mayor. Even that does not help and most of them are soon killed.
- In The Wire, Rawls likes to use Lieutenant Charles Marimow to break up problematic investigation units that he doesn't care for (even calling Marimow his Trojan Horse). Because Marimow is known for being an arrogant, obnoxious, unreasonable prick, all but the most dedicated or foolhardy detectives voluntarily transfer out of units that he commands.
- While the main cast of NCIS lasts for years without changes, episodes in which replacements are necessary generally feature references or montages that it takes a while to find agents who are willing to put up with Gibbs (or vice versa) for more than a week.
- Generally happens in any I Am the Band situation.
- It's said that no guitarist other than John Frusciante was meant to play for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Over the course of 27 years, they have gone through 9 guitarists, most of whom didn't last more than a few months.
- The Other Wiki has a page dedicated to cataloging all the former members of The Fall.
- It's an old joke that when a woman Really Gets Around, they say she's had more members in her than The Doobie Brothers.
- Jethro Tull has this, particularly with bassists and drummers.
- Rainbow, Ritchie Blackmore's post-Deep Purple band had such a high rate of turnover, they never recorded two albums with the same lineup.
- Welcome to Night Vale: Interns at the radio station have such a high mortality rate that the wiki has an entire page on it. As of Episode 49, fifteen interns (and one intern's doppelganger) have been lost. Six have been confirmed dead, three are missing and presumed dead, two are no longer human, three were lost in space and/or time (although two later returned alive and unharmed), and two are presumed KIA or at the very least MIA.
Cecil: ...To the parents of Chad the intern, we regret to inform you that your son was lost in the line of community radio duty, and that he will be missed, and never forgotten.
- Troubleshooters (the player characters) in the RPG Paranoia; there's a reason they come in cloned six-packs.
- Asking what that reason is is treason, which is punished by summary execution.
- On a completely unrelated note, cans of beer are often sold in six-packs.
- The Cheiron Group of Hunter: The Vigil goes through employees at an alarming clip. Which is why the player characters can get signed on.
- Warhammer 40,000: This is part of the reason the Black Templars are tolerated by the rest of the Imperium despite violating the Codex Astartes's limits on chapter size, having a standing army of at least 5000 Battle Brothers at any time compared to the prescribed 1000. While most Space Marines are considered indispensable works of biomechanical art who are expected to serve the Emperor for at least a couple of centuries before something manages to kill them in battle, the insanely aggressive tactics practiced by the Templars mean that they're constantly losing Marines at least as fast as they can recruit new ones and if they didn't do their best to keep the chapter massively over-strength, it would go extinct overnight.
- The Imperial Guard is the Imperium's main fighting force, and numbers in the billions. A large part of their fighting doctrine includes overwhelming the enemy with large numbers of line troopers, most of whom aren't very well equipped since only the most basic armor and weapons are standard issue, but they can be experienced veterans who has survived actions like that many times before. The ones that become veterans are invariably the few troopers who survive. However, it should be noted that the other half of Guard doctrine involves their massive numbers of heavy tanks, self-propelled artillery, and various other vehicles.
- Orks are like the Guard, but...more. They come in huge numbers, riding in hundreds of ramshackle vehicles (relatively few of which can stand up to much punishment), and most troops carrying some goofy guns that are more for making loud noises than to hit something, but the guns they do use for hitting something pack a lot of hurt. They also breed explosively, by asexually and passively shedding spores throughout their lifetime, but especially at death. That means that their style of war not only has a high attrition rate, but relies on it so that conflict can replace casualties, and, if no countermeasures are put in place, bolster their numbers and make them stronger as a conflict grinds on. On worlds where Orks are the sole inhabitants (or if they wiped out everything else), Ork tribes make war on each other until they reach a "critical mass" and a leader unifies the tribes and finds a way to travel to other worlds in a combination holy war and mass migration (also a twisted form of pub crawl, since Orks also love to fight).
- In Anathema it's entirely possible for a player's shroud to succumb to despair and suffer annihilation within a few hours of their creation, if they aren't careful. No one ever said that culling the human population was an easy job.
- In one of the Umineko: When They Cry Visual Novels, it's mentioned that working for the Ushiromiya family pays really well, but most servants can't handle the stress.
- In Ghostbusters: The Video Game, it's implied the reason that the team refers to the player primarily by nicknames (specifically "Rookie") is due to this trope since your primary purpose after all is to be the team Guinea Pig for highly dangerous experimental technology.
Venkman: Ah-ah, no names, Ray. I don't want to get too attached to this one.
- In Heroes of Might and Magic 2, the Royal Seer is responsible for adjudicating between the late king's two sons. Four in a row die in successive accidents.
- The Guards in RuneScape, particularly the ones in Falador, have a roughly 100% turnover rate, and they're lucky to make it a couple of minutes without being randomly killed by players. A quest lampshaded this in conversation between two of the guards, in which one mentioned that they have a life expectancy of about 30 seconds and then a npc come in and kills them both.
- Sewer Jockeys in Sewer Shark, as explained by Ghost (the player's "backseat"note ):
Ghost: "Crash and burn! CRASH AND BURN! The sewer jockeys come, and they go!"
- The night guard position in Five Nights at Freddy's, even the player character only makes it seven nights at most.
- Buzz Aldrin Race Into Space has this trope for 2 reasons:
- Anyone can die, often in a fiery, suffocating or explosive way (but can also be an from anticlimactic traffic accident).
- Astronauts have every right to quit when they want to and they often do. Reasons include the fear of being one of those who experience anyone can die, not getting the glory they want, personal reasons, or preferring a job in the military.
- The webcomic Freefall... every other mechanic Sam has taken on has run away screaming within a day. In some cases literally. But of course, Florence IS a bit different...
- A short arc in Suicide for Hire focuses on a normal business offering nachos and other foods to contrast the eponymous job, while tweaking the trope a bit by having the main character be unsuccessful. The incredibly idiotic customers typically drive any worker intelligent enough to add insane within a few days. Arcturus lasts a few days before trying to strangle a man with red rope licorice, and only a week before trying to murder a man over a burger. That's still beating the spread by four days.
- In Exterminatus Now Eastwood and Virus once mention that Lothar and Rogue are their first hired guns to make it to the bi-annual review. Before them the record was held by Smitty, or was it Jonesey, who survived ten months.
- D-class personnel are the SCP Foundation's equivalent of Red Shirts. They're recruited from death row inmates for a reason: as if the extremely lethal positions they're given aren't bad enough, D-class personnel are killed one month after being demoted to this level. Exceptions are very rare, usually for skill sets (even the Foundation needs lab techs), the poor schmuck's a living victim of an SCP's effects retained for study, is the SCP in question, or required to keep containment.
- Due to the rate the Foundation goes through D-class how much they depend on them, this was eventually changed so that only the D-class that have been in contact with contaminous/memetic scps are killed, and the rest simply have their memories wiped of the last month and start over. "Sacrifice D-Class to the scp until you understand it" is still standard procedures, though.
- The Bastard Operator from Hell goes through bosses pretty fast, to the point that the employment agencies start sending their absolute crap there, knowing that he'll get rid of them. The company's accountants and auditors also have a tendency to "disappear" or suffer "accidents".
- The Night Vale radio station goes through interns at a laughable rate.
- The Boondocks featured, in one episode, a series of flashbacks to the many babysitters who couldn't handle the Freeman boys. They never find one who can. Even the new guy, Uncle Ruckus, lasts about five minutes.
- The Simpsons ran this with babysitters, before finding a character who was in no way whatsoever like Mary Poppins. She is still driven mad by the anxiety of looking after the family.
- In South Park many nannies attempted to tame Eric Cartman's horrifying behavior; all rapidly became mad.
- However a suitable caretaker is eventually found... however, it's The Dog Whisperer, who only manages to deal with Cartman's cruelty and racism by treating him like a disobedient yappy dog.
- No love for Nanny Skeksis?
- Metalocalypse: The employees of the band Dethklok seem to have a high turnover rate in general, but the chefs they employ apparently have to be replaced so often that even the band members (who unknowingly cause death and destruction among almost everyone they come in contact with) believe them to be cursed. This seems to end with Jean Pierre, who suffers a horrible accident but survives and continues to serve them after being poorly sewn back together (they even write a song about it called, appropriately enough "Sewn Back Together Wrong").
- Just the training to become a Klokateer has a guaranteed fifty percent death rate: the very first task is to pair off and fight to the death. On the other hand, every recruit that makes it to the branding is insanely loyal.
- Even Jean-Pierre's insanely loyal: right before getting in the accident, he said he'd rather scoop out his brains with a melon baller than miss the opportunity to serve Dethklok — right after they detailed what happened to his predecessor.
Fry: Well, at least my assassin gets what's coming to him.
- The Emperors of Trisol (the water people planet) tend to last only a week on average. When Fry ascends to the throne, we see his royal portrait is already followed by blank frames for Fry's Assassin and Fry's Assassin's Assassin.
- It's implied a few times throughout the series that Professor Farnsworth was used to a somewhat high turnover of the flight crew until the present one managed to avoid death. The dangerous-sounding missions might have something to do with it. On one occasion when the crew doesn't return as soon as anticipated, Farnsworth is seen already welcoming a new crew to Planet Express.
- In the episode when Mrs. Beakley was introduced on DuckTales (1987), she is preceded by a montage of nannies terrorized by the nephews' antics, but unlike the others she immediately learns their names and can differentiate them.
- Happened to the Sheriff of Scabstone in Rocko's Modern Life, the job being taken by Bloaty and Squirmy as the old sheriff continued running across the Fatlands.
- Also happened to Heffer during his stint as a security guard at Conglom-O.
- Debt Collection has an extremely high turn-over rate, with nearly 85% of callers quitting within a year of being hired. The same can be applied to telemarketers, or really any job where you have to call strangers with the objective of getting money. Getting yelled at on a daily basis is not a terribly great incentive.
- Often true for those receiving the calls from strangers as well, such as in customer service. It is slightly better in that the customer had to call you rather than the other way around, but they are usually no less angry. Unfortunately, the customer service rep is often powerless to do much more than take the complaint. In addition to angry customers, the rep may have to deal with incompetent users, especially for customer service relating to technical products such as computers or mobile devices. Trying to explain (seemingly) simple instructions to a tech-illiterate customer over and over every single day gets tiresome very quickly. That's not even counting those who wind up being the fifth or sixth representative to get an increasingly irate customer who got shuffled around by other reps who didn't want to deal with them, or who have to explain to businesses that what the sales department promised them was impossible, and that they were lied to, and that no, there is no eleventh-hour magic that can be worked.
- According to Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation, most major fast-food chains have a 100% turnover rate every year, with the average employee lasting only three months. McDonald's, in particular, is a big offender, and managers have been known to bonus based on how many employees they fire (which saves the company the expense of offering perks like health insurance and PTO). Do note that as with most franchises, different managers may be treated differently especially as the economy changes.
- The New York Stock Exchange also has high quitting rates, mostly the ones on the floor.
- Being a freelance mercenary has one of the highest attrition rates of any job, and there is an epic list of reasons for this. 1. The work is illegal, so no protections or benefits. 2. Places where you do work suck. 3. The work is often very boring. 4. People who go in for this are often unpleasant if not vile, and fuckups to boot. 5. The pay is not great. 6. Boredom will make you 'crave' anything for stimulation. 6. Employers like to exploit and underpay. 7. You can literally get killed doing this. 8. All the stresses of being in a war with none of the perks of being a 'real' soldier. 9. Most mercs are highly opportunistic. If you find yourself with a band that consistently pays what they promise on time, isn't full of people who spend more time addled than sober, and actually participates in combat operations, it's a keeper. There is a reason why old-school "wild geese" are dying out and replaced by Private Military Contractors, who offer much better job prospects for recruits.
- The most decorated unit in the British Army is a unit specialising in Explosive Ordinance Disposal. There is a reason for this.
- Apple's factory in Cork City, at least with production staff. They hire through an agency and it is
not unheard ofquite frequent that staff would be let go the day they are hired because the order they were hired for is no longer required.
- Prime Minister of Italy, esp. since 1953.
- The retail industry (at least at the store level) sometimes have a turnover rate over 100% for part timers - how is that possible, you ask? It occurs when all positions have been refilled more than once in a given year. Full timers average 60% turnover. Anyone who has worked retail can attest that these figures are pretty accurate.
- Awkward hours, pay that averages only slightly better than fast food, and constant abuse from customers and corporate don't quite foster faith and loyalty in an organization.
- Sometimes it's done deliberately. Since operating a cash register and stocking shelves doesn't require a lot of skill, some managers encourage turnover to get the experienced (and more expensive) employees out of the way so newer (and cheaper) replacements can come in. Since some places offer mandatory pay increases after a probationary period, some places encourage "constructive discharge" by making the employees so miserable they want to quit.
- And many of the retail positions are seasonal, such as the Christmas rush. A lot of stores hire large numbers of people to help out in late October and early November, and then let most of those people go sometime in January.
- Average tenure for a Prime Minister of Japan since the end of World War II is less than a year each. Because the PMs are the primary Scape Goat for bad governmental policies, they tend only to last until the next party scandal or cock-up.
- Throughout the War on Terror, there has been a bit of Black Humor amongst the American intelligence community is that this is the case for the third-in-command for Al Qaeda, the job position evidently hitting that sweet spot between low enough in the chain to require exposing himself to actually do his job, and being high enough in the chain to make him a high-value target for one of the most powerful modern militaries in the world.
- Becoming more and more the case throughout the world as the ruling class attempts to push business (and other endeavors) toward a "lean" or "agile" model, replacing long-term, secure jobs with benefits with short-term, lower-paid, unbenefited positions. The economic and psychological costs are immense, but since these costs fall on relatively powerless people instead of those who benefit from such penny-pinching policies and control the media and government, they are little discussed.
- Special Operations. Everything about it is apt to make even the toughest bastards wash out or give up. The work inside is just as harsh and demanding. Spec Ops is a highly stressful, difficult, dangerous lifestyle, and you can't talk about anything. Imagine seeing your best friend captured and then burnt alive with Molotov Cocktails and then having to pretend nothing happened.
- Library/information science, especially the desk clerks and shelvers.They are either going to school and working there temporarily or using it as a starting point to move up to higher positions later. Director,reference and computer jobs aren't this,though.
- College sports, by definition. With rare exceptions (such as an extra year of eligibility due to an injury), college football and basketball players spend at most four years with their schools' teams, and that's only if they don't transfer or declare for the NFL or NBA draft before what would otherwise be their senior year. Because of the cyclical nature of college athletics, fans of college football and basketball teams, as compared to their pro counterparts, tend to support the team as a whole to a much greater degree than showing their devotion to individual players, because the nature of college sports makes long-term loyalty to any one player impossible (unless such a fan follows the player with his pro team while continuing to cheer on the college team with the new players, which many fans do).
- High turnover in college sports isn't restricted to players. Most coaches, especially in the so-called "revenue sports" of football and men's basketball, are always on the lookout for their next position—whether it's a head coach moving to a higher-profile program (and often bringing assistants along); a dismissed coach finding a new landing spot; or an assistant moving on to a better assistant job, or becoming a head coach.
- An extreme example of this coaching turnover took place in Arkansas State football in the 2010s:
- 2010: After a second consecutive 4–8 season, the Red Wolves let head coach Steve Roberts go, replacing him with offensive coordinator Hugh Freeze.
- 2011: The Red Wolves dramatically improve, winning the Sun Belt Conference title and finishing the regular season 10–2. Freeze then takes the head coaching job at Ole Miss, taking four assistants with him. They lose their bowl game under an interim head coach (one of the assistants who stayed on).
- 2012: Gus Malzahn, previously offensive coordinator at Auburn, comes in as the new head coach. A 9–3 regular season and another Sun Belt title follows... and Malzahn is hired by Auburn again, this time as head coach. A second assistant is named interim head coach, and this time they win their bowl game.
- 2013: Bryan Harsin, who had shared offensive coordinator duties at Texas, becomes head coach. They aren't quite as successful, going 7–5 in the regular season, but still share the Sun Belt title. Immediately after the season, Harsin is named head coach at Boise State. The same assistant who had led ASU in its 2012 bowl game again serves as interim head coach, and the Red Wolves win again.
- 2014: ASU hires Blake Anderson as head coach. In an attempt to stop the turnover, a hefty buyout clause is written into his contract. His initial salary was $700,000, and his buyout was $3 million in each of the first two years of the deal. So far, it seems to have worked—Anderson is still in Jonesboro.
- An extreme example of this coaching turnover took place in Arkansas State football in the 2010s:
- While professional sports doesn't have quite the extreme turnover rate of college sports, a team ravaged by injuries can experience it. The 2015–16 Memphis Grizzlies took this Up to Eleven:
- Of the 12 players who saw action in the season's first game, only four played in the team's final game, the last of a four-game sweep by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs. Among the missing were stars Marc Gasol (who missed most of the season to a foot injury) and Mike Conley (who missed the last month of the season and the Spurs series to an Achilles injury).
- The Grizzlies were forced to use 28 players during the season, a record for a playoff team. NBA rosters are limited to a maximum of 15.
- The pro-Soviet Communist parties in the West during the Cold War, especially the Communist Party of Great Britain. Because they were outspoken enemies of "the Establishment" and the inequalities and injustices of modern capitalist society, they tended to appeal to a young, radical, non-conformist demographic - who were then expected to become obedient drones and stick to "party discipline". Furthermore, a lot of those who didn't quit before the end of their university education would eventually rise to rank in the parties - but this was a problem, because most of the pro-Moscow parties took "Moscow gold" (i.e, financial assistance from the KGB) in order to stay afloat. Unfortunately, they told their young members to denounce this as a capitalist calumny to try and discredit them. When those members found out the truth, many left in disgust.
- This problem was also present, although to a lesser degree, in the Trotskyist parties, due to the way many of them were set up: the system of democratic centralism is in theory designed to ensure internal debate but external unity. Many used a system whereby activists had to debate party policy in a narrow window between a couple of conferences, and then shut up after a course of action had been decided. This tended to lead to simmering ideological feuds that eventually boiled over outside conference time, leading to mass-resignations or splits.
- Professional Sports Team rosters change somewhat from year to year, but the New York Knicks go through players like water.
- European football coaches, especially when the team is going through a crisis. Clubs facing relegation have managed to go through half a dozen coaches in one year.
- The academics have become this, with prospective scientists going from one underpaid temporary post-doc position to another for years, hoping they could somehow miraculously get tenured.
- The job of Australian Prime Minister has been compared numerous times to Game of Thrones and it had truly earned it's reputation for this, a la Italy and Japan, although in this case it seems to be somewhat cyclic: between 2010 and 2015 (5 years), Australia has had 4 Prime Ministers, and one of them was PM twice. Between 1975 and 2007 (32 years), Australia had another 4 Prime Ministers. Between 1966 and 1975 (9 years), Australia had 5 Prime Ministers, although one of them was a caretaker PM after his predecessor disappeared. Between 1949 and 1966 (17 years), we had just one. It's reached the point where paramedics no longer ask who the Prime Minister is as a way to check the mental state of a patient, because it's not inconceivable that even a completely alert person might not know.
- Command of the Army of the Potomac in the American Civil war changed frequently over the course of the four-year war: Irwin MacDowell, George MacClellan, Ambrose Burnside, Joseph Hooker, George Meade, John Parke (acting commander on four occasions when Meade was called away from his command). With the exception of Meade and Parke, all of them were dismissed by Lincoln for botching the command.