: I don't understand. Don't any of these characters have jobs? Charlie
: I don't know, Mr. President. I think one of them is a surgeon. Bartlet
: They seem to have a lot of free time in the middle of the day.
A vaguely-defined job that somehow pays well, yet gives the character a conveniently enormous amount of free time for the plot. This free time is open to any point of the day and leaves plenty of opportunity for a Zany Scheme
or two. Usually you'll never see the job actually performed, except in a few throwaway scenes, and don't expect the character's job to ever be a plot point. Somehow it always pays enough for a place with "Friends" Rent Control
The reason for this trope is that going to have adventures while you're supposed to be working is not a good work ethic (unless you have the kind of job that's a conceivable part of), and no audience wants to watch someone at work with nothing interesting going on for any long amount of time. However, when you only ever see a lot of free time, and at times of day when the character really should be working, you may wonder
how the character manages to earn anything.
Common jobs include columnist and artist — a decent writer can indeed pump out a newspaper column in about an hour if under the gun (though the resulting column itself is not guaranteed to be decent). Nevermind the fact that most columnists have other
responsibilities at the newspaper like editing and reporting — you know, the things journalists actually go to school for. And an artist works not based on total hours spent on a project and so can drop "work" whenever needed.
For the childhood equivalent of this trope, see Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?
. Compare The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything
(who are literally their profession In Name Only
), Obliquely Obfuscated Occupation
(when the profession isn't even named), and the Rich Idiot with No Day Job
, Gentleman Adventurer
, and Socialite
(who have money but are not presented as holding down a real job).
This can also be contrasted to shows that take place primarily around the profession (when the profession itself is exciting enough, or can be made exciting through creative license), where the focus can be almost entirely on the work itself
. Examples are Grey's Anatomy
for medical drama, Band of Brothers
for drama about soldiers, and M*A*S*H
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Anime and Manga
- Soun Tendo's job in Ranma ½ as city councilor seems to give him an inordinate amount of free time (enough for a few training trips and playing shogi all day with Genma), yet yields enough cash to pay the taxes and bills on his Big Fancy House and attached dojo, plus the costs of martial artist-induced repairs, as well as support his daughters, and still fit in family holidays to the seaside or mountains. He does complain about the bills, but it's only been twice in the entire anime and manga that they've ever been shown to be a problem and one of those was immediately after the Saotomes show up implying it was more of an immediate liquidity problem than gross income issues.
- Not even Nayuki in Kanon knows what her mother does for a living. The hours and pay seem very good, though, as she is still there with no sign of leaving soon at eight AM and will be there whenever Yuuichi gets home from school as well!
- Ayu goes to a school that lets her come and go basically whenever she wants, and doesn't even require a uniform. The explanation for this is finally given near the end, though, and turns out to be an important plot point.
- Yotsuba&! is an interesting case. Mr. Koiwai is a
trainspotter translator, which basically means he works from home on his computer and can set his own hours provided he meets his deadline. Of course, this serves as a good excuse to have him home with lots of free time to play with his daughter, Yotsuba. Note, however, that being a working-at-home translator is indeed a real occupation and we do see Mr. Koiwai working a fair bit; he often requests that Yotsuba not disturb him sometimes in order to get more work done, giving her a perfect excuse to spend time with friends or neighbors.
- Deconstructed in episode 8 of Best Student Council. On the eve of a difficult exam, one character remarks that the protagonist, Rino, has done nothing but play ever since she arrived at the school, leaving her unprepared for the test. Rino spends the rest of the episode studying and barely passes.
- Lampshaded in Durarara!!, where Mikado and Anri are surprised to learn that Walker and Erika actually do have jobs—Erika makes jewelry, and Walker's an ice-sculptor. They're freelance, though, so their schedules are flexible.
- Fullmetal Alchemist plays with this. Ed is a state alchemist for the military, but seems free to swan off with his brother to Dublinth, wander the countryside without any immediate obligation to call in or report, and even act against the government's plots without bothering to inform his superiors. When he DOES do something like fight off terrorists, it's often because he ended up in the situation by accident. He is also clearly paid a ridiculously large sum of money for this, including a research grant of which he spends fairly casually. It's shown early on that most State Alchemists are supposed to either do research or fight as Super Soldiers, and even though most people would guess that Edward is doing the latter, he's officially supposed to be researching the Philosopher's Stone... which he is. In a heavily mobile fashion. At one point he's shown remembering he has to submit his research findings to keep his position, and he just shrugs and throws together some bullshit on the train, since he's so good he makes it look easy, and/or he's too good for the State to risk giving up and knows it. Of course, the government already knew all about the Stone, and what he tracks down initially is mostly his employers' evil schemes, but that's okay, because the program wasn't actually instituted to increase alchemical knowledge or even harness Super Soldiers; it's a Honey Trap for potential human sacrifices.
- The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer averts it, but mostly because the villain is Affably Evil. Only a handful of the Beast Knights have regular jobs, and several have full-time classes, but the villain considers it all a game and is willing to work around the schedules of the "other players" (and his minions and super weapon take a lot of time to prepare anyway, so no rush). As such, most fights happen on weekends and holidays, or in the evening. Of the Beast Knights, only one was likely to be seriously inconvenienced: Nagumo, a police detective who quit his job and lived off his savings and lottery winnings to avert this trope, and also because he'd grown disgusted with corruption in the force.
- Magellan, the chief warden of Impel Down from One Piece, only worked about four hours a day, but this was justified. He ate poisoned food to fuel the lethality of his Doku Doku no Mi Devil Fruit power, and while it gave him the power to create the deadliest poisons imaginable, it also gave him terrible diarrhea, requiring him to spend ten hours a day in the bathroom. Given that he also had to sleep, he could only work about four hours a day. Still, he did an admiral job running the place until the mass breakout.
- Lois Lane can be like this. Clark Kent as well — They wanted him to have a job where he could plausibly disappear for hours a day to save the world without raising too much suspicion from his co-workers.
- Belgian comic book hero Tintin is supposedly a journalist. He introduces himself as a journalist and occasionally takes out a book to take notes in an interview, but really he's a detective in all but name. We see him working as a journalist in the early adventures. You could also assume that he writes about his many adventures.
- Blacksad's sidekick Weekly, a scrawny little weasel journalist, tries to convince Blacksad that the nickname is because his work is so good that he can get away with only showing up at the office once a week or so. Eventually he admits that it's because the pungent odor Blacksad noticed when they first met has given rise to an office rumor that "weekly" is how often he bathes. He never elaborates on how often he actually shows up at the office, so he might be encouraged to stay out in the field to save his coworkers from his scent, but he evidently wasn't kidding about the quality of his work, because either way he's still employed.
- Nearly literal for Mandy Krieger of American Flagg. She has a legitimate job as the air traffic controller for O'Hare Chicago Plexport... which only has two flights per week.
- Apparently most of the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz. They sing, "We get up at twelve and start to work at one, / Take an hour for lunch and then at two we're done! Jolly good fun!" (This can't be fully literal, since the heroes do get some work done on them in preparation to meet the wizard.)
- Sonny Koufax, the Cool Loser protagonist of Big Daddy, works in a New York City toll booth only one day each week. He gets a lot of grief from his dad for this, since he's a law-school graduate and should really be studying for his bar exam. It's explained that he made a killing in a lawsuit involving a car accident and has invested it very wisely since, so his job income is only supplementary.
- The Mommy Market in Trading Mom is only open for one hour per week, giving customers very little time to decide on a new mom.
- Subverted in Delivery Man. It is mentioned repeatedly that David's misadventures throughout the movie are occurring while he is supposed to be delivering meat.
- The landowners in Jane Austen's novels seem to personify this trope (Mr. Darcy, for example).
- Pretty much the definition of a 'gentleman' in Austen's world is a landowner who receives rents and therefore doesn't actually have to do anything. Darcy, we know, didn't even have to administrate renting the land he owned- he could afford that to be contracted out to a steward. (Wickham was the son of his father's steward.)
- Even those gentlemen in Austen who technically have jobs as clergymen are usually like this (Edmund Bertram takes the job a bit more seriously, but only because he chooses to.) This was Truth in Television at the time (see below.)
- Patrick Bateman in American Psycho seems to have one of these types of jobs—it's a high-paying position in a prestigious Manhattan firm, but he never seems to ever do that much actual work and appears to have lots of free time on his hands. This is probably one of the things that contributes to his extracurricular pursuits...
- This one is part Nepotism (His father is mentioned as basically owning the company) and part cultural statement (Patrick and his friends have fabulously wealthy lifestyles They didn't earn and look down on others because of it).
- Buck from Left Behind is ostensibly a reporter, but is not only never seen doing any work, but the work that he does do is pretty mediocre, based on few examples the audience is shown.
- Malone (after quitting his lawyer job) and Sutherland in Andrew Holleran's Dancer From The Dance. More generally, as noted here, literature for gay men tends to use this trope a lot.
- Qwilleran from The Cat Who... Series is a columnist of this sort. His column is mentioned pretty frequently, but doesn't curtail him solving murders, taking up esoteric hobbies, and traveling all over the place.
- Sherlock Holmes' friend Dr. Watson is portrayed in his capacity as a doctor maybe four times in sixty stories, and that's if you really stretch it. One Sherlockian scion society is actually named "Dr. Watson's Neglected Patients". This could be a sly allusion to Arthur Conan Doyles's own life, like Watson, Doyle tried to establish a medical practice a few times but all of them failed, he finally gave up and devoted himself to writing full-time instead.
- Justified, since he's living off his army pension until he marries Mary Morstan, and his work with Holmes becomes more sporadic, and even then it's mentioned his medical practice is never really profitable. When Holmes returns in "The Empty House" and with no wife to support, since Mary passed away, he sells it off and moves back to Baker Street.
- Sherlock shows John working as a GP about twice (he shares a practice with Sarah in "The Blind Banker" and "The Empty Hearse" features a lengthy scene of him working, the point of which is that he should be having exciting adventures with Sherlock instead). The rest of the time he's Sherlock's full-time sidekick. He also has a very popular blog, which he is often shown working on.
- The 2009 Sherlock Holmes starts just as Watson is moving out and reducing his involvement with Holmes to get married. He is still a respected enough doctor to be called upon to confirm Blackwood's death when he is hanged.
- Kitty Norville is a radio talk-show host, and a werewolf. Luckily this means she only has to show up for work once a week, in the middle of the night. (On workdays when the moon is full, they have to run an old "Best Of The Midnight Hour" tape.)
- In the Elenium, there are monks whose sole responsibility is to perform rituals that are only done during the Archprelate's funeral. Which basically means that they only have to do about fifteen minutes of work each every twenty to thirty years. Granted, they are still monks, so it is presumably expected of them that they pray every now and then in between.
- In the epilogue of Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Ivan turns his being Reassigned to Antarctica to this. Upon being transferred to a minor consulate on a backwater world for his role in causing a major government headquarters to drop into a massive man-made sinkhole, he quickly discovers that most of the actual work is done over the phone, so he relocates the consulate from the rainy capitol to a tropical island and reorganizes the workload so that he can fulfill all his consular duties while only working three mornings a week, essentially turning his exile into an extended tropical honeymoon.
- In Jinx High, Diana specifically tells the students in her writing seminar that writing is not this trope; she spends at least 8 hours per day at her desk.
- Ready Player One has Wade putting in one day at his technical support job, as a way to explain how he's paying for his fairly expensive immersion rig and in game costs. The reader sees him putting in one day, and it's not mentioned again.
- In New Moon, Bella gets a job at the hiking equipment store that Mike's mother owns. Not only does Edward have a very easy time getting her let off of shifts for things like her birthday, but there's at least one time when Bella is simply sent home as soon as she arrives for her shift on the grounds that there isn't enough work for her that day. Granted Forks is a small town, but still. There's also Carlisle's job as a doctor, which he seems able to skip out on frequently for "family camping trips" (really to stay indoors when it's too sunny) and quit at a moment's notice when the family leaves Forks in the second book. While keeping such an erratic schedule would almost certainly get him fired no matter how talented a doctor he is, there's never any mention of him getting in trouble for it. In fact, by Breaking Dawn, there's no mention at all of him going to work.
Live Action TV
- In FoxTrot, Andy is (or was) a columnist, but this hasn't really been shown or mentioned since about 1995 and now she just seems to be a stay-at-home mom. Even Roger is rarely shown at work, even though there are a lot of strips in which he leaves for work or returns from work.
- There have been a few strip arcs that focus on Roger's job, such as the one where he quit to spend more time with his children. When that failed, he returned to humbly ask for his old job back, and was hired back on the grounds that with him gone, the office's computers haven't crashed in months and everybody was stressed out from all the work.
- Zits made Connie (Jeremy's mother) a child psychologist trying to write a book, but this was almost completely dropped after the first year and hasn't been seen in the last decade.
- Walt, Jeremy's dad, averts the trope. He's an orthodontist, and he has, on occasion, been known to recognize people by their teeth.
- Averted in Calvin and Hobbes, where Calvin's dad is specifically stated to be a patent attorney. Admittedly, a patent attorney who still has plenty of time for biking, reading, and telling his son outrageous fibs, but there have been several strips where his working was relevant, usually in the context of not being able to play with Calvin.
- The protagonists of the German comic Lula und Yankee also qualify: Lula plays in a girls' rock band (OK, they have one guy, but everyone overlooks him). Yankee doesn't seem to have a job at all.
- Cutter John from Bloom County is a particularly big example; we're told he's the new town doctor in his first appearance, but we never see him doing anything remotely medical. Maybe Bloom County's residents are just so healthy that he has all the time he needs to make out with his girlfriend and play Star Trek with the local Talking Animals.
- Player characters in The World of Darkness games tend to have jobs like this. Many PCs are musicians, since on paper, it grants them the flexibility needed to be Vampires/Werewolves/Mages/whatever and still pay their bills on time. In practice however, they don't perform or tour nearly enough to support themselves on their music alone.
One of the freelance writers for White Wolf, Matt McFarland, has said he's surprised most PCs don't take the private eye/Occult Detective route. What with the mind-reading and mind controlling powers of vampires, the scent tracking and shapeshifting abilities of werewolves, and the... well, everything of mages, it would be a snap.
- In Genius The Transgression it is mentioned that mad scientists tend to need a lot of funds for their experiments. The pdf suggests that a player character's income should be explicitly stated and offers some suggestions to the drawbacks of each. Admittedly not all the jobs listed earn enough to both pay the bills and fund a secret laboratory but then, a lack of money is stated to be one of the common problems facing mad scientists.
- It can come up for player characters in d20 Modern as well. Unless the PCs explicitly work for someone or something that pays them to adventure, then it's very easy for their day jobs to get eclipsed by the events of the game. The Profession skill exists explicitly to enable this - you take it, and it represents having a day job that you handle in your downtime during and between adventures. Unless your GM wants to be strict about realism or to make work issues part of the story, you rarely need ever acknowledge even what your job is after character creation.
- Ace Attorney:
- Phoenix Wright works hard when he gets a case, about once every three months. On the other hand his lack of funds is a running joke. He stays afloat but Maya's hamburger addiction takes its toll on his wallet.
- The games are also a bit inconsistent regarding Phoenix's workload. Sometimes it drops hints that we're only seeing the most interesting of his cases, and other times the game implies that the cases featured in the games are the only ones he's ever taken. One example of the former comes from Maya suggesting that Phoenix puts up photos of all the defendants he's gotten acquitted. Phoenix then thinks to himself "But what about the cases we've lost?" One possible explanation is that he takes cases that don't involve going to court.
- In the fourth game, he's a professional poker player. His daughter also chips in as a magician, as well as Apollo's assistant, and is implied to work really hard at her job.
- Also in that game is Klavier Gavin, international rock star and prosecutor. Not only was he a musician before he became a prosecutor, he's clearly working hard at prosecuting as well. The other members of his police-themed band are also in law enforcement.
- It's a great puzzlement to the cast of Tsukihime as to what Arihiko's sister actually does for a living. So far, they know she's not a writer or a couple of other odd jobs.
- Averted in The Sims. When a Sim leaves to work it's usually 8 hours during which (s)he is unavailable to the player.
- Played straight, however, when the Sim gets their income from producing things (ex. paintings, books, toys, lawn gnomes...) or is self-employed.
- Professor Layton is an archaeology professor. The number of times throughout the games he can be seen doing anything related to archaeology or being a professor can be counted on one hand.
- From the third game on, one of the locations is the University Layton works at. No one there seems to mind the fact that he just wanders in and out at his leisure. And bear in mind he's Flora's legal guardian, so he's actually got two mouths to feed. Luke doesn't count, as it's mentioned in Unwound Future that he lives with his parents.
- Averted in Azran Legacy: The plot involves actual archaeology from the outset, and Layton arranges for support from the university and a substitute teacher while he goes on an expedition.
- Persona 3 and Persona 4 have a variation, as the Player Character can take on a variety of part-time jobs and maintain a completely random schedule without getting fired. You can go one day, get paid for that one day, and then not come back for months... but the job will still be waiting for you. Persona 4 sort-of justifies it with several of the jobs, which are work-from-home projects that don't have a fixed schedule but instead pay based on output, but others like day-care work and tutoring fall right back into the same problems.
- Justified: the hour in question is the live broadcasts of the reality show, Last Res0rt. Of course, when your job can kill you, it's implied the rest of your time better be spent finding a way to avoid that fate, and to be fair they're filmed for the purposes of the show (and general security) 24/7 anyway. Still, they're not exactly shown using the rest of their time pumping weights or other military-like regimens, though this could just as easily be blamed on the pace of the comic.
- Happens a lot in Sluggy Freelance, though there is the occasional work based storyline. It's lampshaded with Torg when he works for Adversion Advertising, since he has rather...unique views on time off. He gets away with this because he somehow convinced his boss's boss that he's an "advertising genius."
- But his views on free time aren't unique — they're perfectly consistent with this trope. The entire arc was extended Lampshading.
- Parodied in Shortpacked!: Robin spends most of her working hours in a toy store, despite having been elected to Congress during a Cadbury Creme Egg induced sugar rush. No one seems to care about this. Robin has also repeatedly stated that she considers her Congresswoman position to be "just a hobby" and prefers the reduced responsibility of her job at Shortpacked (which fits completely with her character).
- However, her congressional position has been used as the focus for a few storylines, especially when she's up for re-election.
- Lampshaded by Jean in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, since we'd seen Bob actually working at his newsstand (which should be a pretty time-consuming job) a grand total of once over the first five story arcs. Later stories have made it clear that Bob misses work a lot because of his adventures, and his customers don't appreciate it.
- At first played straight, then later averted in Questionable Content: Coffee of Doom is half the cast's job. On the other hand, Marten was originally a cube-worker that only had a few strips of actual workplace (and half of them were after he got fired), and then he became a librarian at Smif (and his boss became a tertiary member of the cast.)
- Living with Insanity averts this with Alice, but plays it straight with everyone else. She's seen working a lot and being exhausted from it, but David and Paul are only occasionally seen working on their comic.
- The comic Sequential Art shows Pip doing the eBay trading variant. Note that the graphic artist Art, the photographer Kat, and even the poet/writer Vanity are not shown to be that idle during daytimes.
- And then the site freezes Pip's account, forcing him to get a job at a consignment store. With a hot woman who was Kat's school rival. Who manipulates and actively drugs him so he thinks they're in a real relationship, while she's actually dating a much-hotter guy and building connections to get a better job. Which effectively reduces her to a Zero Hour Work Week.
- Zac in What the Fu lampshades that he never really understood what Dries does for a living.
- Dr. McNinja spends relatively little time actually working as a doctor, yet has no trouble hiring contractors to rapidly rebuild his entire doctor's office after it gets blown up.
- In Precocious nobody remembers what Gene Et's job description is or what he's responsible for. He's literally paid to sit in an out-of-the-way office and play video games all day.
It's okay if you want to punch him.
- In Better Days, Sheila is a single mom who is never shown or mentioned to have any sort of job. It's possible the roomy, two-story house she lives in was paid off before her husband (allegedly in the military, later revealed to be a member of a very well-paying undercover organization) died, but it doesn't really explain how she's able to afford plenty of food, clothing, and outings for her two children. One of her husband's old army buddies is mentioned to have given her "help" when her husband died and she was still pregnant and it's possible she received some sort of compensation following her husband's death, but it's not specified.
- New York Magician: Michel's job as a financial consultant allows him to take a lot of time off. Of course, it's his company, and he specifically arranged matters that way.
- At times, Barney's job(s) on The Flintstones. At other times he simply works in the quarry with Fred.
- The Jetsons has a twist on this, as George Jetson's slave-driving boss cruelly forces him to work three-hour days. As a button pusher. Who sits as he pushes buttons.
- On The Simpsons, there are far too many instances to list on this page regarding Homer's most common job as a nuclear safety inspector.
Bart: Do you even have a job anymore?
Homer: I think it's pretty obvious that I don't.
- Given an implied Hand Wave by the fact that Mr. Burns seems to have Laser-Guided Amnesia for everything related to Homer every single week. His inability to remember Homer's name was flanderized to the point where he is incapable of remembering the man's central role in everything he's done for the past few years. As such, it seems as if even Homer has caught on to the fact that he will be forgotten, if not explicitly forgiven, for everything from multiple industrial catastrophes to flagrant dereliction of duty, and as such, can pursue his Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny! with impunity. Groening himself has stated that he's lost track of how many times Homer's been fired and re-hired, so they just default to him being at work when the jokes require it.
- It's also been stated that the best way to keep the plant safe is for Homer to not do his job.
- In "Mobile Homer", Homer blasts Marge, who is madly Cutting Corners after he is denied insurance, for controlling the money he earns from working hard. Marge retorts by telling Homer he barely goes to work at all.
- Family Guy's Glenn Quagmire works as an airline pilot - which is surprisingly accurate as pilots work many fewer days (albeit longer ones) a month than most other professions.
- Likewise Cleveland owning a deli was only mentioned and shown in a few early episodes the rest of his appearances are hanging out with the gang. When Cleveland moved on to his own show, he got a job at a cable installer, giving us this exchange:
Donna: If you can get the time off work...
Cleveland: Oh, right, work! I keep forgetting I'm supposed to go to that!
- For the longest time in King of the Hill, we were never treated to Boomhauer's job and how he can afford such expensive things. A few episodes suggested he worked at some sort of factory; however, the last episode reveals he is a Texas State Ranger.
- Every character on the show falls under this trope. Some, like Peggy or Dale, hold part-time or infrequent employment while others like Bill and Nancy work regular full time jobs but still have all the time needed to screw around. The most blatant examples of this trope are Hank and Kahn; Hank works a regular 9-5 day and loves his job so much that he won't leave 10 minutes early on a Friday when he literally has nothing to do but sit at his desk and stare at the wall. An entire episode revolves around Kahn's job, in which he gets on with a 2 hour commute that is forgotten about a few episodes later. Notice that most episodes take place over several days; basically, the show falls under the rule of only showing the characters working when it suits the joke.
- Applies varyingly in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (of all places). Most often played straight with Pinkie Pie, who's rarely ever seen working at Sugercube Corner (though throwing parties is practically her second job). Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash are rarely seen "on the clock", but the unusual natures of their jobs (micromanaging the local fauna and weather, respectively) let Fluttershy set her own hours and let Rainbow do her job in "ten seconds flat." Averted with Twilight Sparkle (Celestia's student, seen studying more often than not, who functions as the caretaker and librarian of the library she lives in), Applejack (apple farmer), and Rarity (fashion designer), who are often shown working; in fact, entire episodes have revolved around the latter two's lines of work and one of Applejack's major character flaws is workaholism.
- Averted with Princess Celestia too, as most of the time when she appears, she's either working, giving out work, off to attend some sort of work-releated activity, or generally being diplomatic and working to keep Equestria safe and peaceful.
- Since Twilight's official assignment is to "study the magic of friendship", maintaining the library could be assumed to be her hobby, whereas she's actually on the clock whenever there's parties, or picnics, or spending time with her friends and learning important friendship lessons. Some fans also argue that Fluttershy's animal caretaking is a hobby (most of them are either wild beasts or her own pets) and that she gets money from something else, such as having a trust fund or secretly being the author of the Daring Do series (until the latter theory was Jossed in "Daring Don't").
- Although they work for a delivery company, the characters in Futurama are rarely seen doing deliveries, unless the plot calls for it. This has been flanderized with the new season, as the crew seem to do even less deliveries then before.
- Even when actually doing deliveries, they only ever deliver one package at a time with their spaceship.
- SpongeBob SquarePants apparently has to work 6 days a week 23 hours a day (or 24, if the joke calls for it). However, these figures only ever appear when the jokes calls for them, otherwise Spongebob is free to demolish Bikini Bottom or harass Squidward every 10 minutes or so, which is lampshaded by the latter. He also apparently has time to attend school every day in spite of all this.
- Exactly what Darkwing Duck does for a living in his civilian identity of Drake Mallard is never addressed. (In fact, this was lampshaded in one episode where some kids from "our" reality asked him that, and he was interrupted before he could answer.)
- A sinecure used to be a government position that gave you a fancy title and a salary, but few or no responsibilities. It was awarded to people to either reward them for past services, or to enable them to concentrate on their art (Goethe held one, for instance). As the article points out, a few straight examples are still scattered around
- The Master of the Mint position awarded to Isaac Newton was supposed to be one. However, much to the shock of everyone, Newton actually took it quite seriously, instituting Britain's shift to the gold standard and cracking down on counterfeiters.
- Sinecures still exist in Japan in the form of "amakudari" which is pretty much the same things but involves moving high-level ex-bureaucreats to private positions.
- This was the original intent of being Poet laureate of the United States- aside from "promoting poetry" they don't have any real responsibilities. But the stipend for being US Poet laureate hasn't been adjusted for inflation since the position was introduced in 1937, so while it used to be a One Hour Work Week nowadays it's more a reputation thing, or a nice bonus while you work a real job.
- Some freelance positions can appear like this, not because they never work, but because they tend to be able to stagger their hours so they can get time off at certain times. They can, for example, do a majority of their work Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday so they can have Thursday and Friday off, or they can work late at night.
- In some areas, retail and service industry employees may appear like this as well, thanks to the recession and certain laws that give employers incentive to hire only part time workers. And depending on your view of unemployment, it may qualify as well.
- Service workers may also work strange shift patterns that give this impression (though in Real Life they have to squeeze sleep into their day somewhere)
- The increasing trend of both work-from-home and "Flex hours" results in people who work in otherwise normal 9-5 jobs look this way; being able to have off every Friday afternoon (or whole day) seems like an unwarranted vacation, until you find out that instead of working 9-5 (or 9-6 with an hour lunch), it's 8:30-6:30 with only a 30 minute lunch. Or the jealousy of "always being home" without realizing that you still need to punch in an eight hour day instead of spending all your time lazing around the house.
- Workers at remote mines in Canada usually have a two-week in/two-week out work schedule. While some people jump at the job thinking having two solid weeks off is great, they often fail to note that the "two-weeks in" is a solid two weeks: 14 straight days, no days off. And those are often 12 hour work days, so over a 14 day period they'll work roughly the same amount of time in that two weeks as they would in a normal 8.5 hour job/5 days week over in a month. Many people end up not being able to deal with it, while others thrive and even have a second job in their two weeks out.
- Many people think clergy fall under this trope, not realizing that many are required to have attended a school of preaching, and must study throughout the week in order to plan their weekly sermon, and would have other responsibilities at their house of worship as well. And if the congregation isn't very large, they might also work a regular job in addition.
- And even ones who don't have a secular job still tend to have other responsibilities during the week such as running charities or other church functions and tending to the pastoral needs of their congregation.
- There was some truth in this historically, in the days of near-universal tithes, before they were mostly abolished late 19th century. It was acceptable in times of low literacy for clergymen simply to read out from a book of sermons, or delegate the whole business to their curate.
- Many of these men actually made good use of the time it freed up: a lot of important research in natural sciences done in Britain throughout the 19th century was carried out at home by clergymen.
- The White House employs a full-time movie projectionist. While White House projectionists apparently do have to be "on call," it seems like a pretty cushy gig, even with presidents who are relatively avid movie-watchers.
- While technically not work, unschool education is a school where there are no test, no assignments, no report cards and best of all no grades. There is no punishment for not going to school so children spend their free time either independently learning or doing whatever they want.
- In fact, probably the second most common misconception that the general populace has about homeschooling (the first being that homeschoolers don't get socialized) is that all homeschoolers have one. In fact, it's more of a spectrum, with unschoolers at one end, super rigid homeschoolers (the type that have desks and uniforms in their own homes) at the other, and most homeschoolers in-between.
- Depending on the institution, subject and level, English and Welsh universities expect students to be anything from 50% to 95% 'self-guided' while still technically on a full-time course. Of course this in theory should mean they spend 50% to 95% of a working week studying in libraries or their rooms, but as they're generally young people living away from home for the first time, most of them regard their brief as this trope (and in fairness, university culture tends to be fully aware of this, or at least that changing it is a prolonged learning curve. Allegedly it stays because self-motivation is an important life skill.)
- Unlike movies would like you to assume, sitting in a corporate board is far from a full-time job. In fact, most people sitting in them also sit in multiple other boards at the same time to fill their hours and pad their paychecks even further, as well as create vital connections to potential business partners. The ethics of this have been brought to question many times over, since in practice a surprisingly small number of people controls the grand majority of major businesses in the entire world and may hold positions in supposedly competing corporations.
- Unlike actors for typical movies, porn actors (especially the more well-known ones) often work a full day's work for a shoot (maybe even more than 8 hours) and then have the option to take off as much time as they'd like until they need to take another job. One (well known) actress stated in an interview that she loved that it meant working two or three days a month, making more in a day than some people make in a month.
- The same pay-to-work ratio is granted professional speakers who retired with some prestige from their job title alone. All they need to do is show up and regurgitate old speeches or ramble at will to take away bundles of money. In this regard, ex-Presidents, former CEO's, and Dan Rather are more like porn stars than actors.