New Job as the Plot Demands
aka: Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs
We've met you many times, Ms. Naegle. Why do you keep changing jobs? Lindsay Naegle:
I'm a sexual predator
This is when a character frequently changes their job to serve the plot's purpose.
May overlap with Honest John's Dealership
. Compare Inexplicably Identical Individuals
and Recurring Extra
, which is a less specific and less likely to be plot relevant version, and The Generic Guy
where the character has little relevance to the plot at all. Also compare when a person has a steady job (for now, at least) but who seems to have had insane numbers of former jobs which pertain to everything from plumbing for royalty to fighting to unusual research projects.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- The character of Mabel in Cathy shows up as a clothing store clerk, travel agent, bank teller, etc.
- Uncle Ruckus of The Boondocks, everything from ice cream trucks to school buses to janitorial duty.
- In one episode, he mentions he holds down 32 jobs at the same time. There is no explanation how he has time to do anything else(or sleep for that matter).
- Pearls Before Swine: Rat has been everything from a stockbroker to an oil executive.
- Donald Duck has done many different jobs. Many of them while forced by Uncle Scrooge to do so. His uncle Scrooge is no slouch either: before becoming rich he did the shoe shiner, the firewood (later peat) seller, cared for cows on the boat that brought him to America, the sailor on his uncle's river boat, river captain, sailor again, cowboy, a brief stint as a sailor on the Cutty Sark, an actor for the Wild West Show (according to Buffalo Bill, Scrooge actually came up with the idea!), the prospector, another stint as a sailor to pay the travel for Klondike, and the prospector again. After becoming rich he did the banker, directed a sawmill, armed ships, SOLD LEMONADE, and traveled the world to create and buy companies, mines and other things that would make him richer (including the ENTIRE STOCK MARKET in 1929), before settling in Duckburg. And I probably missed a few jobs...
- Big Nate has "School Picture Guy", who when not the photographer has shown up as a clown, a reporter, etc…
- Hieronymus Jobs in one story by Wilhelm Busch. (He's just the 18th century equivalent of a spoilt upper class son.)
- Dogbert from Dilbert is definitely this. In a single anthology that ranged from the 5/19/91 strip to the 12/13/92 strip, Dogbert had no fewer than forty jobs: a teacher at "Dogbert’s School of Hard Knocks," a business consultant, an encyclopedia writer, a tabloid newspaper writer, Dilbert’s lawyer, the manager of "Dogbert’s Find-A-Friend Service," a pop psychologist and lecturer, a used car salesman, the despotic king of Elbonia, the host of "Dogbert’s World of the Unexplained," a Supreme Court justice, a prophet, a newspaper critic, a babysitter, the warden of a private jail for the rich and famous, an insider stock trader, a square-dance caller, a Presidential candidate, the host of "Dogbert’s World of Amazingly Ignorant People," a tax preparation accountant, an industrial spy, an economic advisor in Washington, a MTV reporter, a greeting card designer, an advertiser, the host of "Healing for Dollars," a teacher at "Dogbert’s School of Common Sense," a newsletter writer, a marriage counselor, the leader of a vegetarian movement, a hitman, a private detective, a demagogue and author, a hypnotist, a doctor, the manager of a dating service, a time management expert, a driving instructor, a teacher at "Dogbert’s School for Jerks," and the Supreme Ruler of the World. He also ran a "Pet Me" stand, an "I Will Listen to Your Sad Story" stand, a "Confess-O-Rama" stand, and a "Parent Licenses" stand.
- Arguably Dogbert still only has one job, Con Man, and these are basically scams he runs.
- Also, Ted. He's been fired twice, quit twice, and even arrested once.
- Condorito constantly changes jobs in most of his appearances. In his 70's apparitions he had a stable job in a garage/car wash unless it was needed to be otherwise for the sake of a joke, but this started to quickly fade out of use when the comic started to rely more and more in the creation of different worlds to make the jokes work. Sometimes Condorito is the major of a rural colonial Pelotillehue, and others a hobo in a huge Pelotillehue metropolis.
- A humorous InuYasha fanfiction has Sesshomaru. As Kagome and crew travel to all fifty of the United States. Any time they stay in a state for any length of time, they will find Sesshomaru has a job there relevant to what they are currently doing. The author even encourages people to spot how many times he pops up. The only time the group ever arrive anywhere before Sesshomaru, it was because they ran him over on his way to work. Story can be found here. Roadtrip Around the USA
Films — Animation
- Wallace & Gromit seem to change careers during their last three features; in A Close Shave, they had a window-cleaning operation; in Curse of the Were-Rabbit they ran a humane pest-control service, and in A Matter of Loaf and Death, they converted their home into a bakery.
- It looks like the fatal flaw in their plan is usually the attempt to integrate Wallace's fundamental inventorship into the new job; it seems like everything Wallace invents is useful for the plot of the feature, but once they've saved the day, the market dries up. If they wanted a stable job, they should look at what the neighborhood is in constant need of, and then invent something to deal with that. But then there wouldn't be any more plots.
- This is continued in Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures, where Wallace starts up an ice cream business, a detective agency, a beekeeping business and a seaside resort — the latter two operating out of his cellar.
Films — Live-Action
- Bert in Mary Poppins goes through several jobs and street performances in the course of the film: one-man-band, pavement chalk artist, chimney sweep, kite seller. He also mentions selling hot chestnuts, though we don't see him doing it. This follows the books, in which he is a jack-of-all-trades. The chimney sweep is a separate character, but they just added it to Bert's repertoire for the movie.
- Che, in the film adaptation of the Webber/Rice musical Evita, appears as a waiter, valet, projectionist, student protester... indeed in just about any capacity other than Marxist icon Che Guevara, who was the narrator and Deadpan Snarker in the original stage version. In contrast, the film's Che (no last name) is not only a Lemony Narrator but also The Everyman.
- Ramone in The Proposal is seen as a waiter, a stripper, a store employee, and a priest at a wedding. Possibly justified in that it's a small town....
- Gordon Urquhart in Local Hero is an innkeeper, lawyer, town mayor, and drives a cab during the busy season due to living in a small town.
- Chico's character in A Night At The Opera. "[You thought I worked at] The circus? That was ages ago. Last week. I have lotsa jobs since then."
- In Brain Donors, the character played by Mel Smith is not only a cab driver, but also cleans swimming pools and runs his own toupee business. In fact, he's only driving the cab as a sideline. As soon as he gets his drivers license, he's out of there.
- Name all the jobs The Three Stooges have had. It may take a while. Granted, during the Great Depression, quite a few of the occupations were "vagrant", "drifter", "bum", and "none".
- From Scott Pilgrim vs. The World:
- A bunch of activists in PCU keep changing causes.
- Bruce Campbell's unnamed character moves upwards in society through the Spider-Man Trilogy. In the first movie he's a wrestling announcer, in the second he's an usher at a posh theater, and in the third he's working at a fancy French restaurant (speaking with an awful fake accent).
- Shawn Ogg in the Discworld novels set in Lancre is, among other things, the captain of the guard, its standing armynote , the Royal Historian, a footman, the postman, and the conductor of the Lancre Light Symphony Orchestra. But his most important job is cleaning the privies. You can do without a Royal Historian for a week, but if the privies haven't been cleaned, you'll know about it.
- Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler is another prominent example. Sure, he inevitably returns to his primary business of selling what are technically sausages "inna bun", but whenever a new industry begins to form in Ankh-Morpork, you can rest assured that Throat will try to cash in on it. All while employing the same level of quality control that he does with his sausages.
- Ponder Stibbons, the Only Sane Man at Unseen University, keeps acquiring new job titles and duties simply because no one else wants them. By Unseen Academicals all those titles give him a majority vote on the University Council, meaning he's technically the most powerful person in the entire university.
- And before Ponder Stibbons was the Only Sane Man at the Unseen University, Rincewind had every job that actually meant doing anything. He got extra buckets of coal for his troubles and sometimes some extra food.
- In Loyal Enemies, before being taken by Magic Knight Veres as his student, Rest was, among others, apprentice to a tailor, a blacksmith, a baker and a furrier. He was kicked out of each of those jobs, although the reasons for it remain Noodle Incidents.
- In Star Wars: Knight Errant this become a plot point: the Protagonist Kerra Holt slowly discovers how not one, but several bystanders change their occupations during the brief stay at Arkadia's base of operations. She eventually discovers that inhabitants are constantly rotated between absolutely different positions on a completely random basis: it serves the Sith purpose in a pretty twisted way.
- The father in The Swiss Family Robinson spent "a large portion of his childhood" in the workshops of pretty much every craftsman known to man. Admittedly he doesn't say he was working with them, but he had enough exposure to each to recreate their machinery from memory.
- In Star Trek: The Original Series, one crewman (Lt. Leslie) filled a bewildering number of jobs aboard the Enterprise. He has been a security guard, helmsman/weapons officer, navigator, medtech, bridge crewman, technician, engineer and transporter chief.
- This is actually true of all red shirts on TOS, though none have been quite so prolific as Leslie. Only one redshirt (Lt. Kyle) has a consistent job (transporter chief), and even he was seen pinch-hitting at the science station and the helm. (In his cameo in Star Trek II, he is communications officer for the Reliant).
- Between The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and his back story, Miles O'Brien has been a tactical officer, flight controller, security guard, a transporter chief, tactical officer again (briefly), one of the greatest engineers in the galaxy, and then moves on to teaching at Starfleet Academy. Not a bad career path for an enlisted man.
- Fellow Transplant Worf has been communications officer, security chief, tactical officer, ambassador, lawyer (okay, that one's sorta cheating. He played his identical and identically named grandpa in a TOS movie.) and back to tactical whenever crossing back over for the TNG movies, and when Data was thought to be dead, Worf was the one who was going to get his jobs, too (meaning he'd have been doing his, Tasha's, and Data's jobs all himself at once had Data's death been for real.)
- In the Star Trek Novel Verse, he's promoted to first officer of the Enterprise (which likely would've been Data's job had he not died in Nemesis).
- Star Trek: Voyager. Out of sheer need and a desire to be useful (so the nice people don't kick him off) Neelix has been a jack of all trades. Morale officer, cook, diplomat, babysitter and much more as the plot calls for it. His background had given him a deep understanding of these jobs.
- He's actually totally incompetent at most of them. His survivalist skills get people killed the one time they try to employ them, no one but his girlfriend can stand his cooking (and he once crippled the ship with cheese), and as morale officer he's so annoying that Tuvok tests his control in "Meld" by creating a hologram of Neelix and timing how long it takes for him to strangle the little rodent to death. They let him keep them because no-one else wants to.
- More successfully, because there are people who would not watch him die with a broad grin and he seems to actually know a few things about anything, Tom Paris is the Officer In Charge Of Everything. He's an ace pilot, engineer, negotiator, and transporter chief, and his training in biochemistry has made him the official nurse as well. Because obviously in a situation where you need a nurse there is no possible way you could also require a pilot.
- In Charles In Charge, Ben Stein played an Obstructive Bureaucrat in various settings (bank, mental institution). Initially played as Inexplicably Identical Individuals, but lampshaded in his last appearance, when it is revealed that delusions of grandeur have led the character to repeatedly "promote" himself to increasingly higher-status positions.
- Mr. Haney on Green Acres appeared whenever Oliver needed a specific service or item.
- Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined):
- Poor old Helo. He gets shoved around from job to job regardless of his actual rank. He's actually a trained Raptor copilot, so his job is to sit in the back, play on a computer and get bossed around by his pilot. But during the course of the series he ends up as second-in-command to Galactica itself, caretaker to a community of refugees, and even CAG - commander of all Galactica's fighters and Raptors, despite no evidence of him being able to fly anything himself. "Copilot" implies actually having piloting skills, since the primary function of a copilot is to act as a backup pilot when necessary. We see Helo piloting a Raptor during the assault upon the Resurrection Hub. Much like the real-world US Navy aircraft carrier commanding officers, it seems that Colonial officers aren't eligible for command unless they have some amount of stick time in a cockpit.
- Lee Adama started as a Viper pilot visiting from another ship and was promoted to Galactica's CAG by the end of the miniseries. Since then, he's had a number of jobs, including military advisor, Raptor pilot, military police, battlestar commander, lawyer, Quorum representative, and even president of the Colonies on various occasions. Sometimes he's held several of these positions at the same time. Lampshaded in one episode during some argument with Tom Zarek saying, "Excuse me, I'm confused, but what exactly is your job this week?"
- Major Marks, recurring character in the Stargate Verse, has been an officer aboard all five of the Air Force's star ships over the course 3-4 years of three shows. No explanation has been given for his frequent transfers, and in one instance he might have been in two places at once.
- Xander in Season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a new job in just about every episode. This was the season where his friends went to college and he was trying to find himself. Eventually, he settles into a construction worker.
- Mr Pitt appears in The Beiderbecke Affair and each of its two sequels, having taken what he describes as a 'sideways career move' each time.
- This is Shawn's entire background before forming the eponymous detective agency in Psych. He seems willing to keep this up if it helps the case, too, as when he took a job at the museum in "From the Earth to Starbucks."
- In Disney Channel's Wizards of Waverly Place, a woman appears in some of the episodes of the first two seasons, sporting a new job, and it's not like she only does normal jobs either - she also appears at the Wizarding School. She is easily identified through her monotone voice and short, dark hair and always seems to hate whatever she is doing for that episode.
- After being fired from Shortywood on an episode of Pit Boss, Ronald switched jobs constantly. He did get his old job back, though.
- In the last season of The A-Team, Murdock is released from the V.A. Hospital to be with his friends, and this becomes his gimmick for every episode.
- Henry on Eureka, complete with a different Velcro patch on his uniform for each of his jobs. In season 3, he gets a "Mayor" patch. He doesn't actually switch jobs a lot, he holds multiple jobs at once due to his expertise in many areas.
- A Running Gag in Austin & Ally is that Trish gets, and gets fired from or quits, her job each episode. She even had a Catchphrase of "Guess who got a job at the...?" This joke seems to have been retired for the third season.
- On Undercover Boss, we have an unfortunate variation of this trope, where a woman ends up with three or four different jobs... all at the same time, and with the same company. Downsizing's a bitch. She literally runs from building to building, frantically skipping from job to job. After she's promoted in the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, her job is replaced by two people and an assistant.
- Nick on My Family had a new job in almost every episode. On one occasion, he was able to afford a motorbike because he'd been saving up the severance pay every time he was fired. Later in the series, Abi went through a large number of jobs as well.
- Jeffrey of Monmouth in Merlin. His official title is "Court Genealogist", but he also runs the library and (even more oddly) officiates various court ceremonies, like crownings.
- Kramer from Seinfeld doesn't really have a designated job, but he is regularly seen taking on odd jobs or getting caught up in various get rich quick schemes. A last-season episode revealed that he has technically been on strike from his bagel store job for the entire run of the show, and he managed to get himself fired immediately after going back.
- The 60s-70s Brit Com The Worker may count as a variation. The title character, played by Charlie Drake, can never hold down a job for more than one episode, but his reason for getting fired is never the same twice.
- Wrestlers often go through many personae in their career. Newer wrestlers may be given gimmicks related to cover up their relative lack of experience, and older wrestlers may be given them to cover up declining skills. Sometimes, it's to give a wrestler a change of pace when one characterization has become stale.
- In the mid 90's, a common trope was the Wrestling Professional. One of the classic examples is Thurmond "Sparky" Plugg, later Bob "Spark Plug" Holly, who was a wrestling race car driver. Also around at the time, T.L. Hopper, the wrestling plumber, Duke "The Dumpster" Droese, the wrestling garbage man, and The Big Bossman, the wrestling prison guard. Most of these characters can safely be called WrestleCrap.
- John Cena, after debuting was directionless until management saw him jokingly rapping back stage. His first major character in WWE was as a white rapper in the vein of Vanilla Ice. While his freestyle raps were later abandoned, vestiges of this character are seen in his current ring persona.
- These job changes can be dramatic. In the early 2000's The Undertaker took a turn from an undead, supernatural zombie character to a brutal biker, still called The Undertaker. He later returned to the "Deadman" gimmick due to negative reaction to the "Bikertaker".
- The undisputed king of changing jobs in professional wrestling is Ed Leslie, most well known as Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake in WWF in the late 1980's. As a close friend of icon Hulk Hogan, he was always given preferential treatment, despite a relative lack of skill. To keep him at the front of people's minds, his character changed frequently. Some of his other gimmicks included "Brother Bruti", a fanatical follower of Hogan, and "The Bootyman", a Lothario. He in total has kept about 10-12 different on-screen characters, far more then most wrestlers do in a career.
- If wrestling bothered to pay, maybe they wouldn't need to switch jobs so much.
- This became part of Mick Foley's persona, late in his career: At various times, he had been the Psycho for Hire Cactus Jack, Surfer Dude Dude Love, and Psychopathic Manchild Mankind. Foley played them off less as jobs than as alternate personalities, culminating in a memorable Royal Rumble where Foley competed as all three of his personae (He got eliminated as Cactus Jack, went back stage and came out as Mankind, and later returned as Dude Love).
- Grover on Sesame Street. His most well-known position was as a waiter at Charlie's Restaurant, opposite the Blue Man, and even these expanded into a wider variety of spots — as a hot dog vendor, a taxi driver, elevator operator, etc. — all thoroughly incapable of satisfying his one recurring customer.
- In the '70s Grover frequently appeared as a door-to-door salesman, usually calling on Kermit the Frog. Each time he'd be peddling a different item, and always something a frog would have no use for: earmuffs, toothbrush, nose warmer, etc.
- A full list of his jobs can be found here.
- Gwen on Johnny and the Sprites. She liked to try out a lot of different jobs as her aunt had a saying that "You never know what you can do until you try out something new."
- The Pajanimals has Edwin, who is a magician, but is always pretending to be some type of job or role each time the Pajanimals visit him, often royal stuff such as a king or a knight.
- Neddy Seagoon and many other characters in The Goon Show.
- Round the Horne: Julian and Sandy tried a new job every week while waiting for their acting careers to pick up. The standard set-up for their sketches was for Kenneth Horne to enter a shop or some other place of business and be unexpectedly greeted by Julian's catchphrase. "Oh 'ello, I'm Julian and this is my friend Sandy."
- Hancock's Half Hour had an unnamed character the writers called 'Snide', who has a different occupation in every episode he appears in. The minute Kenneth Williams (who also played Round the Horne's Sandy) coos " 'ello", the audience burst out laughing, anticipating Tony's horrified reaction.
- In Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, the character of Ko-Ko is the Lord High Executioner. The character of Pooh-Bah is "The Lord High Everything Else". At the most extreme he changes jobs six times in one paragraph twice in the course of a single sentence.
Of course, as First Lord of the Treasury, I could propose a special vote that would cover all expenses, if it were not that, as Leader of the Opposition, it would be my duty to resist it, tooth and nail. Or, as Pay master-General, I could so cook the accounts that, as Lord High Auditor, I should never discover the fraud. But then, as Archbishop of Titipu, it would be my duty to denounce my dishonesty and give myself into my own custody as First Commissioner of Police.
- A rather creepy version is the baritone guy in Death in Venice, who appears in seven different forms and jobs. It's the same singer, and, well, most likely a symbol for This guy.
- The appropriately named Common Man in A Man for All Seasons fills all the various minor odd jobs in the play.
- In Our Town, the narrator himself appears in the play several times, each time having a different job.
- Barbie has been everything from a stewardess to an astronaut, which is lampshaded in an episode of Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse.
- The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys would often include the turtles in various jobs such as soldiers, spies, samurai, emergency services etc. Those jobs make sense considering the turtles' heroic nature, but when you have Surfer Michelangelo or Rock Star Leonardo, it's getting out of hand. If you watched the 80s cartoon, Surfer Michelangelo would be far more likely than soldier or spy!
- Namingway from Final Fantasy IV DS. He finds his calling 17 in-universe years later in Final Fantasy IV The After Years, however, as the Challenge Dungeon Manager. Rather hilariously, every time he changes his job, he also changes his name. So in effect, he's still fulfilling his original purpose (changing names), but only for himself.
- Stan from the Monkey Island series is running a different business in each game. In order, they are: used ship salesman, used coffin salesman, life insurance salesman, time-share representative and attorney-at-law-who-makes-a-side-income-by-selling-souvenirs-based-on-his-cases. His job changes are often explained as a result of something that Guybrush did in the previous game.
- Sybil Pandemik from Telltale Games' Sam & Max adventure games. She has a different job in every episode of Season One, and each of them is coincidentally useful in solving the case.
- Well, almost all of them, she's already been through about 3 or 4 jobs by her first appearances. By the end of Season One she's been: interior decorator, taxidermist, tattooist, psychotherapist, tabloid journalist, professional witness, dating service, carbon-dating service, beta tester, and Queen of Canada. In Season Two she uses her office for other purposes, such as choosing a new boyfriend and planning her wedding, though she doesn't do anything commercially.
- All throughout Season Three, whenever you meet someone new (at least for that season) it takes a snapshot of them, and provides (usually) three "useful" facts about them. When Sybil shows up, it shows "former Psychotherapist, Former Brain Surgeon" and trails off the screen. You can hear the amount of jobs she's had speeding up and continuing to list past the screen!
- Sam refers to it as "Attention Deficit Career Disorder", or something like that, which is an apt name, as with each career change, Sybil gushes about how convinced she is that she's finally found her one true calling.
- Ace Attorney:
- Larry Butz constantly switches jobs between cases, usually to get closer to his latest girlfriend. By the end of the first three games, he seems to have found his knack in painting. It doesn't last.
- Wendy Oldbag, meanwhile, is a security guard in a different venue every time she shows up. The first time it's justified — she snipes at Phoenix about how Global Studios fired her following the first game. Although in Investigations she seems to have taken a part time job wearing costumes for Gatewaterland. Edgeworth wishes she'd kept the mask on.
- Maggey Byrde is more or less forced into this due to her bad luck.
- Mona from WarioWare has been a gelato server (original), a pizza delivery girl (Twisted), a rocker (Touched), and a cheerleader (Smooth Moves), and she even develops microgames on the side. She Must Have Lots of Free Time.
- Given her appearance (and that cheerleader part at the end), some players think she's a high-schooler jumping between part-time jobs.
- Squicky that she's clearly Wario's love interest, then. Or at least a cosplaying fangirl.
- She's now also been a Wario Park (aka theme park) employee in WarioWare Snapped, and in ''Wario Ware D.I.Y.", she's an explorer like Indiana Jones!
- Not to mention that in Smooth Moves, she's not just a cheerleader in her level, but also a steamed bun vendor in Young Cricket and Master Mantis's level.
- In Game & Wario, she's a news reporter.
- In Psychonauts, you meet a mysterious Almighty Janitor occupying various jobs in various locations. He turns out to be the legendary superspy Ford Cruller, the commander of the Psychonauts, and it later turns out that his mind was shattered into fragments in the past. Despite appearances he's not merely keeping an eye on things with his different jobs, each one is a different fragment of his mind.
- A good deal of the Super Mario Bros. cast. To date, Mario alone has been a carpenter, a plumber, a doctor, a demolitionist, a grocer, a pizza delivery man (in the Donkey Kong record album), a kart racer, and a toy maker, on top of constantly rescuing Peach from Bowser.
- And all that is if you don't count referenced cameos in games not specifically mentioned as something involving the Universal-Adaptor Cast. He's also played baseball (Baseball), golf (Mario Golf), soccer (Mario Strikers), refereed and played tennis matches (Mario Tennis), and even worked the count in the boxing ring (Punch-Out!!). This might explain why Mario holds the record for most appearances in a video game.
- Funky Kong in Donkey Kong Country has been a plane/helicopter salesman, ran a boat hire firm in the third game, ammunition/weapon maker in Donkey Kong 64 and racer in Mario Kart!
- Less of a reach, though, as all of his DKC services involve building and subsequently selling/renting machines. As for Mario Kart, just about everyone in the extended Mario universe seems to do that (presumably he built his own karts.)
- In No More Heroes, protagonist Travis earns his money in both games by doing every job imaginable, however, his boss in each job is always the same. It probably has something to do with "the unspoken laws of Santa Destroy" he keeps babbling about.
- According to the Team Fortress 2 War! Update comics, the RED Demoman's father held something like thirty jobs simultaneously. (The Demoman himself works three jobs.)
- Besides being The Hero, Link himself has had many oddjobs. A world traveler in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, a blacksmith's apprentice in The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, and a rancher in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. These jobs later turn out to be Chekhov's Skill when helping others on side quests or fighting a monster.
- Fallout 3: "Name's Lucas Simms. Town sheriff. And mayor too...when the need arises."
- Bea Bear from the SPY Fox series. The game Operation Ozone had her explain why she changed jobs.
- Sheep Man in Mega Man 10 originally herded sheep; he was built for that purpose. He got bored and worked to test static cling at a textiles factory. He grew bored of this too and was about to change jobs once again when he was inflicted with Roboenza and went berserk.
- The Thief series' recurring duo of "Dumb Guard" and "Smart Guard"
- The radio stations for the Grand Theft Auto series almost always include Lazlow Jones hosting at least one segment of a station - the explanation being that, within about two decades, he's been fired from six stations across three different states.
- As the only non-LARPer in the Fargarths, Sunset Overdrive's Wendy is constantly changing roles is an attempt to fit in better.
- Bubs of Homestar Runner can always be found behind the counter of his concession stand, but what goods and/or services he has available at the time is often plot-dependent. This could be seen as him just being an opportunist and spontaneously catering to whatever need the others happen to have at the time (regardless of whether or not it's within his areas of expertise), but notably he once switched from selling "questionable medical insurance" to selling donuts before it came up as a plot point. And was very upset when it turned out to be one, in the form of Homestar also setting up a donut stand about five feet away.
- And Senor Cardgage, who has been, so far, a mortgage consultant, a used car salesman, an "Intregway" seller, author of "The Homeless Romantic", a movie theater usher, and (probably creepiest of all) a daycare owner.
- Many characters in Happy Tree Friends have been seen with various jobs, but Lumpy is definitely the worst offender. He's been a farmer, surgeon, carol singer, etc.
- Achewood's Ray Smuckles sees a business opportunity around every corner, from Williams and Sonoma Erotic Fiction to machine rolled marijuana cigarettes.
- 8-Bit Theater's Akbar runs a different shop every time he appears, always with blatantly deceptive marketing.
- Real Life has this with Alan Extra, who is basically anything from a pilot to a movie theater worker, to a random guy on the street who gave the main character directions.
- In fact, one of the comics states flat out that Alan Extra is everyone who isn't a named character. Store Clerk? Alan. Tech Support? Alan. Guy in panel 1 who looks different from guy in panel 4? Both are Alan.
- Recon A. Dye serves this purpose in Pokemon X. Yes, the Author Avatar. Leads to a lot of You Look Familiar.
- Earl of College Roomies from Hell!!! personifies this trope.
- Butterwort, the insane one-eyed rabbit, in Murry Purry Fresh And Furry is always showing up in various jobs. Lampshaded here.
- Vess MacMeal from Platypus Comix first appeared in Keiki comic, as a spokesgirl for a blackmailing service. She later starred in her own comic, as a teacher. Today, she runs a Q&A column in Portland, Oregon periodical BANG! The Entertainment Paper, and claims to have many other side jobs. Incidentally, her name intentionally sounds similar to that of Tress MacNeille, who voiced Lindsay Naegle in The Simpsons.
- The Yurble Janitor/Foreman/whatever outfit he's shoved into next plot in Neopets.
- Played with in The Joker Blogs: the Joker recruits a homeless man named Ted to help film his exploits. Over the course of about half an hour (if that), Ted claims to have been a cameraman for the news, a priest, a medic and a delivery man. It's unclear if he's desperate to sound useful or genuinely unwell.
- Sometimes he remembers it one way...
- Or he could have actually been fired from all those jobs. He didn't say he was good at any of them.
- Season 2 confirms that he was at least telling the truth about being a GCN cameraman, and that he was married to Summer Gleason while employed there.
- A running gag with Kanoko on Gaia Online was her constant short-lived attempts at employment in various Chance Item storylines. Eventually she managed to find long-term work as a shop assistant at two shops, but she still applied to be a Halloween mascot the next year, which led to a Lampshade Hanging.
So, for Halloween, I was thinking sort of a cute, elegant
... wait, why am I still looking for a job?
- Ben Schwartz's character on Jake And Amir never appears with the same occupation twice. Thus far, he's shown up as a dating coach, a couples therapist, a private eye, a painter, a mountain hiker, an interrogator, a milk man, a doctor and an usher.
- Mocked in The Nostalgia Chick's review of Jem: the Jem dolls might just be a blatant money-making fad, but at least she knows what she wants to do with her life, while Barbie (see above) seems to have ADHD or something.
- So far, the Ugly Old Hag (from Shaggy Dog Stories) has been seen running a trap store, a video rentals store, a pet shop, and an 'Authentic Italian Cuisine' stall.
- Spaced Out has Guy, who turns up in pretty much every job on the space station besides its custodian, school teacher and supply shuttle pilot. His official job description is being the station's "Everything" (it's occasionally implied that he is actually a robot). Especially curious, considering that the station is the size of a large town and has fully stocked amenities (all run by Guy) despite their being a total of eight other residents.
- The recurring red mustache guy from Courage the Cowardly Dog holds many different jobs depending on the episode. Many of his jobs include working as a Nowhere police officer, an archaeologist, a captain, a pilot, a New York police officer, a ranger, a general, a pirate, and a mayor.
- Yosemite Sam of Looney Tunes fame. Starting out as a Western outlaw, he has since been a pirate, a prison guard, a Hessian, a claimjumper, a Medieval knight, a sheik, a politician, a Roman centurion, a Confederate officer, and many more.
- Inspector Willoughby, until he became—well—an inspector.
- Miss Rabbit in Peppa Pig - doing every random job is a running joke.
- Mr. Ford on Frisky Dingo. He's been a mental hospital worker, a pet store clerk, gun store clerk, security for underground rabbit fights, polling consultant for Killface's presidential campaign, political analyst for a news show, US Secretary of State, and US President.
- DoorMouse from Team Umizoomi. He can go from guarding doors to guarding bridges to even capturing sharks. So far he's doing a good job at it.
- Crunchy from Dan Vs. Most of the time, he changes jobs because Dan makes him lose his in one way or another.
- Even though she's usually a singer, Betty Boop is often shown working at different jobs in her cartoons.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender has an episode where we meet a guy under the identities of Dock the ferryman, Xu the shopkeeper, and Bushi the river cleaner. Word of God has it that he has a split personality because his mind is screwed up from the pollution in the river where he gets his water.
- Groj Band: Barney who works everywhere.
- A running gag in George And Martha was a certain creepy lizard guy always showing up as an employee of whatever franchise the titular hippos were frequenting. Usually right behind George.
- Laurence "Larry" Needlemeyer from The Amazing World of Gumball has this, seen working in almost every video/video game store, a gas station, a grocery store, and a pizza place. Word of God explained that he holds these jobs simultaneously and this was formally addressed twice:
- In "The Finale", he explains that the Wattersons have caused so much property damage, he needs to have a ridiculous amount of income sources in order to pay for the repair of the shops he owns/works shifts at.
- In the The Pizza, he has such a bad day at work that he quits his ALL of his jobs and moves out of Elmore. And since he had practically every blue-collar job in the city, society crumbles down and the apocalypse begins. All within fifteen minutes.
- Treeflower, Norb's Love Interest from The Angry Beavers always seems to have a new job, and new personality aspects to match. This is lampshaded in the episode where Norb and Dag try to tease her and end up being teased right back by the tribe of female raccoons from an earlier episode.
- On Peg + Cat, Ramone seems to regularly change from one job to another.
- The title character of Maisy, apparently little girl mouse, nevertheless does everything from being a doctor to flying a plane.
- A lengthy resume — especially one where several short-lived jobs are indicated — may raise some red flags for potential employers, particularly if the applicant is not a college student.
- Lampshaded in one of Dane Cook's routines about "The Scary Guy at Work":
"Even now at your job, there is a freak. There is a weird guy at every job... And the strange thing about it is, it's the same guy, at every single job you go to. He's there, you quit, you go to the new job, and you're like "Oh my God, isn't that the guy from the other job?! 'It's the guy! THE SCARY GUY!'"
- "Hi. My name's Mike Rowe. And this is my job."
- This is basically what being a hobo means. You wander from place to place, briefly taking whatever odd jobs present themselves.
- This is what many university students end up doing; either taking different jobs every summer or having to change jobs often to find one that balances with school hours.
- Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. There actually was a reason for them; they would totally master something, get bored, and move on.
- Vladimir Putin has alternated between being President and Prime Minister of Russia in order to abide by the constitution (which limits presidents to two terms served consecutively, but not total).
- Winston Churchill. Besides being a soldier, journalist, novelist, painter, and historian, within the British government he was Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary, First Lord of the Admiralty, Undersecretary of State, President of the Board of Trade, Minister of Munitions, Secretary of State for War, Secretary of State for Air, Secretary of State for the Colonies, Minister of Defense, Conservative Member of Parliament, and Liberal Member of Parliament. This doesn't include all the obscure honorary positions he accumulated, like Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports or Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He was also a licensed bricklayer.
- Many high schools tend to do this by hiring an extra teacher whose specific job is to cover other teachers who're off sick, regardless of what the teacher's actually trained to teach.
- This actually was tried in the commune New Harmony, Indiana started by Robert Owen. He insisted doing this too, and became a baker... unfortunately everyone agreed that his bread was inedible. A sign that his idea wasn't that great, and subsequently, the commune faltered.
- In NASCAR, from 2010 to 2013, Kurt Busch has gone through four teams and four different car numbers: the #2 Miller Lite Dodge at Penske Racing in 2010, the #22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge at Penske Racing in 2011, the #51 Chevrolet at Phoenix Racing in 2012, and the #78 Denver Mattress/Furniture Row Chevrolet at Furniture Row Racing in 2013.