Follow TV Tropes


Eternal Employee

Go To

A character who works at a business or store and seemingly is scheduled for all hours of the day. Whenever any main characters drop in, he or she is always on the clock. This particular person may own the business in question, or they may just be a low-level employee. What's important to note is that they are always at work.

It doesn't matter if it's day or night, they'll be there. Computer problem going to wipe out civilization? No problem, Bob's got your back at the local Big-Mart. Aliens invading you say? Don't worry, Alice will help you at the local Ray Gun store. It's flu season, and you need some medicine? Don't worry, Dr. Ell Egal has some nice pills for you, and they probably work, too. After all, the good doctor never seems to be sick. In fact, none of the characters of this trope ever seem to get sick, and never take personal days. Video game NPC often act like this as an Acceptable Break from Reality to ensure that players are generally able to access their services without worrying if they are actually present (although exceptions can be found, especially in games that operate under a time management system).

Rain or shine, you can count on these characters to always be at work. Always working. Always.

An exception to the rule is if the characters are featured in a Day In The Lime Light episode. Often played for humor.

A Sub-Trope of Economy Cast. A sister trope to Always on Duty. See also, Absurdly Dedicated Worker and Married to the Job. Contrast New Job as the Plot Demands.


    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Mr. Mobsy of The Suite Life shows seems to be working for Mr. Tipton 24/7 when not forced to do something else.
  • Wanda from Corner Gas seems to always be working at the gas station. But to be fair, her boss Brent lets her get away with quite a bit, so she probably enjoys practically living there if only Brent would leave her alone. The "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue says that she returned to college and got a PhD in theoretical physics... and then used it as leverage to negotiate a small salary raise out of Brent.
    • Likewise, the town's only two police officers are rarely seen off-duty, although they don't do much to begin with. In fact, one episode had them decide to "work to rule" and only do the bare minimum amount of work required as a form of protest against their boss, the mayor. They quickly found out that said bare minimum is significantly more work than they are used to doing.
  • Gilmore Girls: Luke seems to work at least 16-hour days at the diner. Justified in that it's his diner, but it doesn't seem to matter what time the girls drop by, Luke is always there to take their order. This despite the fact he has staff.
  • Rob Schneider's character from the "makin' copies" sketches on Saturday Night Live never seemed to even leave his desk.
  • Somewhat justified on Schitt's Creek as it takes place in a town with one street. For the first couple of seasons, Stevie is the only employee at the motel and does all the jobs. Twyla is also the only waitress at the cafe, and this leads to Johnny subbing for her when she hurts her foot.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In the Garfield comics, Irma is always seen at the diner.
    • Lampshaded in one strip where she dozes off while pouring coffee and says she's considering hiring an assistant.

    Video Games 
  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf has Isabelle, who seems to be available at the town hall all day, every day, only leaving for certain special events.
  • Despite it being established that all the shopkeepers in Atelier Rorona have lives outside of their work, you will always find them at their respective stores 24/7 and they never close. The only exception is Tiffani closing her shop for one day due to getting a cold. Gets wonky when characters have events outside of their shops, making it possible for you to buy water from Tiffani's shop and then immediately go straight to Iksel's cafe afterwards to find that Tiffani is somehow already there and already incredibly drunk.
  • Mortal Kombat 11: Kabal's ending deconstructs the role of Keeper of Time as he describes it as an unpaid job where your shift "lasts forever."
  • The guild owner in Recettear is lampshaded to spend almost all of his time in the guild office, citing problems at home with his overbearing wife being the reason why.

  • Dora from Questionable Content may fit here, as she seems to always be at the coffee shop. She does have a slight excuse though, since she owns it. They mention that she works so much that she doesn't sleep all that much, and she has much less free time compared to the rest of the main cast. This might explain her occasional bad days.

    Western Animation 
  • Averted in Futurama; the guy who works at the 7/11 shop is always there when the protagonists are shopping, but he's seen outside of it occasionally (although he's hard to recognize without his suit of plexglass armour, as the DVD commentary points out).
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: 'Lazy' Larry, an everyman who slacked in school and paid for it by becoming the blue collar worker of Elmore. Every time there's a shop, or a delivery service, or some obscure low-paying job that's purely meant for the plot, Larry will be manning the table while Gumball is around. While we occasionally see him go to sleep, it turns out he also has a full night shift at convenience stores, which means he somehow works 24/7 while also getting mandatory sleep.