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"Sooner or later you will be found out. Hopefully by that time you'll have made yourself indispensable and they will look the other way. This is called reaching the Churchill Stage. This is that glorious state when you have made yourself appear (it doesn't have to be true) so invaluable that you can walk around the office with a bottle of bourbon hanging from your hand and no one will breathe a word."
Frank Kelly Rich, Juicing on the Job

In fiction, there are certain characters who may be damn good at what they do; however, their general behaviour should have gotten them fired or at least severely disciplined long ago. If the good guys have this, expect it to be eliminated when the Tyrant Takes the Helm. Common to Work Coms, and Cowboy Cops. May be decreed by Status Quo Is God.

Unfortunately, this is Truth in Television in a number of places, since bosses often see it as a trade-off. Note that the employees might not always want this, since the ones who actually care about doing a good job are forced to spend a lot of time cleaning up the messes made by coworkers who milk this trope. When that happens, the employees might be just as happy to see their coworkers gone.

Compare Contractual Immortality, Bunny-Ears Lawyer, Mildly Military, Nepotism, Vetinari Job Security, Permanent Elected Official. Contrast George Jetson Job Security. For office conflicts that seem to have no outside recourse, see No Such Thing as H.R.. If you have Ultimate Job Security whether you want it or not, see Resignations Not Accepted.



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  • Johnson, an office drone in commercials for Kellogg's Raisin Bran Crunch cereal. He seem to do nothing but sit at his desk all day eating the advertised cereal. His low-level boss, Smith, really wants to fire him, but is unable to because the bosses at the company are idiots who somehow seem to think anything Johnson does is brilliant, even giving him Employee of the Month in one of the ads.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Ugen Kokonoe of Cage of Eden blows up his classroom on a regular basis and has never been arrested, let alone fired. The students are completely baffled as to why.
  • In Durarara!!, Shizuo's property-destroying antics would have (and has) gotten him fired from any other job long ago, even with Tom vouching for him. Shizuo himself is aware of this and really has no clue how he's held on to this one job for as long as he has other than the possibility that his manager is just really, really nice. That and his antics make him scarier than Satan which is an asset in their job.
    • His antics do have a detriment — all the property he destroys is paid for by the agency, and they dock his pay in return. Seeing as Shizuo really can't get a job anywhere else and that his little brother is an idol who is undoubtedly filthy rich, he doesn't really care. If anything, he's more surprised that he's paid at all.
  • Eyeshield 21:
    • Gaoh, who constantly and deliberately injures opposing players, even to the extent that they will never be able to play again. Everything Gaoh does is strictly within the rules of football, as he's never seen hurting a quarterback after he's gotten rid of the ball. He's just insanely strong, such that he can cause bruises with his pinky.
    • Forget the opposing teams, the main example is Hiruma. Of course, it's more his extensive blackmail files that keep him from being expelled or banned, but even those rarely get brought up later on because, hey, he wins.
    • If it weren't for the fact that Shinryuuji's coach is more like something out of a martial arts movie, Agon probably would've been kicked off the team a long time ago.
  • Gunslinger Girl. In the first episode cyborg girl Henrietta flips out and kills an entire roomful of terrorists. Jean wants her reconditioned despite the objections of his brother, but Chief Lorenzo overrules him. Justified as Section 2 is a new unit that's still proving its worth against rival departments — it's better for Lorenzo to pass this off as a success than admit to glitches in the cyborg program.
    Lorenzo: "I agree Henrietta's got some problems, but she's an excellent assassin. Besides, we got the man we were looking for, and lost none of our own. You need to look at the bigger picture, Jean."
  • Quenser and Heivia of Heavy Object should have been either kicked out of the military or arrested for some of the stunts they've pulled, especially those times where the knowingly disobeyed orders or opened fire on their fellow soldiers. Despite this both are still in the military and the same unit. It's all but admitted that the higher-ups want to keep them for their ability to take down Objects and are worried that they'll defect to another supernation if punished too much.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry has Dr. Irie, whose behavior around Satoko would get anyone fired, let alone the only doctor in the Village.
  • Koi Kaze: Odagiri's persistent perverseness and obsession with high-school girls ought to get him fired from almost any job... and he works for an arranged dating company. How did he even get through the interview?
  • One Piece:
    • Vice-Admiral Garp is known as "The Hero" to the common man. He was going to report that he let Luffy escape on purpose, and implicitly would have gotten away with it. His subordinate convinces him that a simple lie would at least be less trouble. He can brag about his son, considered by the Marines to be one of the most dangerous men in the world, in public and be beyond punishment. Basically, nothing he does will ever result in discipline. It helps that his boss is also his best friend.
    • The Seven Warlords of the Sea can get away with a lot. Only an extremely public scandal and/or defeat to a rookie, or a significant amount of Badass Decay can get anyone kicked out. As long as they're still perceived as strong enough to be useful to the World Government, and don't attempt outright rebellion against it, they're virtually guaranteed to keep their very cushy positions. For perspective, one was able to get away with planning a Zombie Apocalypse, until his Badass Decay got him kicked out.
      • And another of them was able to form an alliance with Luffy, who by this point has twice openly declared war against the World Government, which is considered the worst crime anyone can commit. When this was discovered, one of the Admirals told him that he could still keep his position as Warlord, so long as he declared Luffy to be his minion rather than his partner, nothing more than a token display of loyalty to the World Government.
      • Averted by the end of the Reverie Arc. The shit they pulled throughout the story led to the abolishment of the Warlord System, with their former 'allies' gladly baying for their blood immediately after.
  • Team Rocket of Pokémon. Despite almost never succeeding in anything, as well as spending large amounts of money on Humongous Mecha, Giovanni still hasn't just fired them.
    • Since he no longer pays them, and reassigned them to Hoenn/Sinnoh, it's likely that Giovanni simply doesn't consider them to be a part of the organization anymore. Letting them roam on their own is much simpler than filling out the paperwork necessary to fire them.
    • Eventually averted. After Jessie, James, and Meowth wind up taking credit for the takedown of Team Galactic, Giovanni assigns them to be the Rocket Admins of Unova, at which point the massive confidence boost makes them incredibly effective at their job.
    • They trio eventually get reverted back to comical incompetence, but proceed to continue a pattern of maintaining their employment by convincing Giovanni that they're the ones taking down criminal organizations in other regions that potentially pose a threat to Team Rocket.
  • Dojima in Witch Hunter Robin comes in late, leaves early, takes extra-long breaks, and spends most of her time looking at fashion magazines, plus she was only hired because of who her father is. Subverted in that she's really there as a spy for the parent company, which is suspicious of the new procedures instituted by the Japan branch - she acts like a slacker who owes her job to nepotism, but this may just be her cover.
  • Mahiru Inami from WORKING!! Can't serve male customers without punching them on the face and breaks walls, yet she has no problem keeping her job, with the weak Hand Wave of the manager being too lazy to care. Because money for repairs grows on trees.
  • Rosario + Vampire: Several of the teachers at Yokai Academy have committed felony-grade crimes against the Newspaper Club; for example, Kotsubo nearly raped Mizore twice and almost got her expelled by manipulating events to make her look like the aggressor, Ms. Ririko brainwashed students to force them to study while dressing up as a dominatrix, and Hitomi Ishigami petrified her students and used them as art subjects. The most they ever get is temporary suspension, nothing more.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho has Mr. Iwamoto, Yusuke's teacher. He encourages Mr. Akashi to erase an answer on Kuwabara's test so that he could get his friend fired from his job, steals from his students and frames Yusuke for it, and (though in his defense, under the influence of the Makai Insects) assaulted the principal while attacking Keiko. Despite those incidents, he still has his job by the end of the series.
  • Mr. Kimura from Azumanga Daioh is an ephebophile who openly admits he only became a teacher so he could look at high school girls, and he'll even skip his own class if it means he can look at the girls during swim lessons. Despite the girls and other teachers being aware of this, and even with him making some strong advances on Kaorin, nobody seems to actually do anything serious about it, mostly just telling him to buzz off.

  • Dilbert: Wally is a notorious slacker with a bad attitude, but has avoided being fired through a combination of office politics and the Pointy-Haired Boss' inability to judge the contributions of (or remember the identities of) his subordinates. Methods include: personal favors to the PHB, reporting his more ambitious colleagues to threatened superiors, having the PHB beaten on the occasion he *was* fired, tricking the PHB into signing favourable documents without reading them, and... just plain being lucky (the PHB admitted once that he's fired bald guys at least 7 times after mistaking them for Wally.)
    • Borderline case of Cut Lex Luthor a Check - if he put as much effort into work as into protecting his work-free lifestyle, he'd be at least as productive as Dilbert. Based on a coworker Scott Adams had in Real Life, who was deliberately attempting to get fired after having discovered that the company's severance package is better than its pension plan.
    • In Wally's specific case, he's been on the job long enough that he remembers some things about the company's old computers that no one else knows, which contributes to his job security. This was the engine for an episode of the Dilbert TV show.
    • Lastly, there was an elderly employee who could never be fired due to knowing secrets of the company that keep it alive. He ended up passing the secrets to the person sitting closest to him at that time before passing away... that person was Wally.
    • An appearance by the Grim Downsizer at a training course:
      Downsizer: I'm here to decruit the entire training staff and anyone who has enough time to attend these courses.
      Wally: My name is Dilbert. I'm here in place of Wally, who is working hard to build a better tomorrow.
    • Carol, the department secretary, is bitter and unproductive. The PHB tried to fire her once, but he couldn't fill out the termination paperwork without her. She also has a dark version of this trope and can't get out of her job even though she wants to. It was revealed once that she has an MBA, but her secretary job creates a stigma.
    • For that matter, the PHB himself. He once hired Dogbert to read his boss's mind to learn what his boss thought of him. Dogbert later told him that his boss knows the PHB is an inefficient oaf, but doesn't want to go to the trouble of firing him, and then having to hire someone else.
    • Also the case for many, many minor characters, be they sociopaths, convicted criminals, or simply morons who dedicated their lives to roaming from cubicle to cubicle talking about how hard they work and carrying a coffee cup. One, whose name may have been "Irv", never did anything but couldn't be fired because he'd written the company's accounting software in the mid-80's as a deliberate Black Box - a million lines of undocumented spaghetti logic.
  • Tintin: Thomson and Thompson are probably the worst detectives in the world (they were reasonably competent in Cigars of the Pharaoh but then...), yet they keep being sent on important missions. The pinnacle of this trope at work is undoubtedly Destination: Moon/Explorers on the Moon, where they are assigned to protect the Syldavian space program (!!) and end up reporting for duty wearing traditional Greek outfits, "arresting" a doctor's skeleton model, and accidentally stowing away on the Moon rocket (thus jeopardizing their oxygen supply) due to deciding to "guard" said rocket and believing the launch was at 1:34 P.M as opposed to 1:34 A.M.
  • The title character of the comic Gaston Lagaffe, he's asleep more than awake on his job, his backlog of work is enough to fill the whole office, he accidentally set fire to things several times, keeps playing with toys during work hours, builds crazy inventions and lets them loose in the building, at least once blew up part of the building and on all occasions there where managed to mess up the signing of important contracts. Yet, no matter what chaos he causes and despite him only having a minor job as a office courier and errand boy, he never seems to get fired.
    • Well, he was once put in charge of the company archives, and turned it into a veritable sea of books and files, where only he could find anything without full spelunking gear...
    • On a side note, he was fired once but was re hired shortly after, said incident was when the artist took a holiday which meant the next comic had some delay. That aside not even throwing a plunger in his bosses face got him fired.
    • The in-story explanation is apparently that he somehow endeared himself to the in-story newspaper readers, enough for his de-hiring to provoke an outcry and a lot of mail demanding his return. This is probably linked to his other function in the real-life paper, which was appearing on the first page cosplaying as the hero of one of the comics.
  • In Dark Reign: The Hood, the Controller's power play and constant attempts to undermine the Hood's authority are outweighed by his intelligence strategic acumen. Realizing he can't kill him, the Hood places one of the Controller's own slave discs on him to keep him in line.
  • Ola Bog Rise, the goalie from the Norwegian football comic Sleivdal. Every player on that team are terrible - that's the premise of the comic - but Ola is the only one that the coach is, for inexplicable reasons, actually pleased with.
  • Frumpy the Clown was this with his teaching job, the running gag being that the Principal wanted to fire him but can't due to the powerful Teachers Union. However, he was finally fired in the end of the strip's run, when the budget cuts gave the Principal an excuse to get rid of him.
  • Superlópez: López has been threatened with being fired several times, not to mention that he keeps disappearing from work without warning whenever some villain attacks his city and taking holidays left and right so he can fight evil abroad. And in the early comics, he spent the little time when he actually was staying at work just practicing origami.
    • Okay, he actually was fired once in Los alienígenas. That's pretty much it.
  • For years, Courtney in Retail was this. She was rude to customers, and did very poorly at her job, but she never seemed to get close to be fired, with Stuart flat out saying he kept her on over more competent cashiers because her wages were lower. This was finally averted when Marla, who was promoted the store manager, fired her. She hasn't been seen since 2013.
    • Also with Cooper, who manages the stock room. He frequently goofs off, pranks people, and openly insults Stuart, the district manager, on a frequent basis, but he's never fired due to him being good at his job. The one time Stuart did try to fire him, Lunker (a big, intimidating, incredibly strong man) threatened him, which probably helps keep his job.
  • In Big Nate, the titular character created a character of his own named Dr. Cesspool. He is a buffoonish doctor who, despite botching most of his operations and an early strip stating that he's a serial killer off the clock, manages to keep his job.

    Fan Fiction 
  • It's noted in Radiant Garden Renegades, set in the same universe as Kingdom Hearts 3: Final Stand, that Braig's idea of playing with baby Kairi was taking her toys and going so far as to dangle her upside-down over a flight of stairs. Aside from an Armor-Piercing Slap from Kairi's mother Rimi and discipline from Kaname and Ansem the Wise, the former the Captain of the Guard and Kairi's father, he was allowed to keep his job. In real life, doing something like dangling an infant over a staircase wouldn't have just gotten him fired; it would have gotten him arrested.
  • Child of the Storm features a variant. According to Loki, the only reason Fudge is still Minister of Magic by Ghosts of the Past, despite his epic string of blunders in the first book, is because literally no one else wants his job, because they neither want to have to clean up his mess nor deal with the encroaching power of MI13 (specifically Director Wisdom, for whom tormenting the Ministry is one of his few pleasures in life).
  • Slipping Between Worlds gave us Fusilier "Head-butt" Powell, whose skills on the rugby field are such that everyone from the Colonel down to Second Lieutenant Holtack pull every string to not have him ejected from the service. That doesn't stop them from dropping every conceivable other boot on Powell, and his not rising above Fusilier (E-1) in eleven years of service is clear testament to his skill at getting into trouble.
  • From Kill la Kill AU, we have Rei "the Drunk Secretary" Hououmaru. With her drunken antics, one would think either Soichiro or Ragyou would have fired her or, at least, gave her more restrictions, however, with her being an Addled Addict, neither one felt it would be right to do so (as, apparently, she probably won't fare well otherwise).

  • Indiana Jones' many unprofessional tendencies are lampooned here. Fortunately for the world, it is mentioned in the first film that he had been at "Marshall College" for ten years, and he is referred to as "Professor" which is the highest faculty rank, and not as some think a courtesy title (especially in The '30s). Therefore he had published his articles, gotten his tenure, and then gone on to do what he really loved — which is what they all do.
    • However, even tenure isn't enough for him to avoid getting suspended during the Red Scare for (involuntary) association with Soviet agents raiding a top secret facility - though at the end of the movie he gets cleared offscreen and then gets promoted to assistant dean.
  • James in The Hurt Locker. He disobeyed orders, messed around with the disarming procedures, left the base without any orders, went hunting insurgents through the alleys on the night without orders, backup or any clue about what he's doing, getting Eldridge shot and severely wounded in process, and generally act like an all-around douchebag. One wonders how did he pass the EOD training, let alone keeping his job. Twice.
  • The nanny in Just Go with It. She is clearly uninterested in her job and often uses her hours to do things other than take care of Katherine's children (such as hit on men and watch Showtime). But somehow, she stills holds down the job and even joins them in Hawaii.
  • Ted takes this one step further with its main character and his job at the groceries. His generally raunchy attitude and highly inappropriate behaviour not only got him hired, but repeatedly gets him promoted. In the epilogue, after being caught eating potato salad off of his girlfriend's ass, he gets promoted to manager. Subverted in the sense that Ted was trying to fail the job interview so he wouldn't have to get a job, and from then on, was trying to get fired.
    Manager: You had sexual intercourse with a co-worker on top of the produce that we sell to the public?
    Manager: That took guts. We need guts. I'm promoting you.
  • In The Heat no one, including the captain, particularly cares for Mullins, but they're all so afraid of her that they just let her demean and talk to everyone however she pleases without any repercussions. As noted by Ashburn later, she's probably one of the most dedicated cops in existence.
  • Office Space has a very odd version with Peter, whose Brutal Honesty about how oppressive the work environment is (including five managers for one employee) results in a series of rewards and promotions for him, while his comparably timid coworkers are on the chopping block for cutbacks. In the case of Milton, it's played with for either black comedy or plain awfulness: he was fired but a clerical error not only meant he was not told he was fired but he still got a check, so he kept coming to work. When the Bobs discover this, they stop the checks but still don't tell Milton that he is fired (just expecting him to stop coming to work once he figures out he's not getting paid) and Bill Lumbergh (who hates him) doesn't tells him either, just escalating in his demeaning behavior.
  • Probably the only reason Dante Hicks and Randall Graves keep their jobs as Clerks is because their boss is far away and only communicates to them by phone.
  • Corporal Miller spends most of The Guns of Navarone being chronically insolent, but Mallory is forced to put up with him because as the team's sole demolitions expert, he's the only person they have capable of destroying the titular guns.

  • Foaly in Artemis Fowl gets away with insulting his boss because his skills are literally irreplaceable. Not only is he the best techie they've ever had, but even if they did find somebody else who could at least do the job competently, the entire security system is rigged to completely fail unless Foaly himself accesses it.
  • Bastard Operator from Hell: Simon Travaglia. True, his job as a sysadmin is only partly protected by being very good at what he does, and largely by means of threatening, blackmailing and (in extreme cases) killing anyone who might try to replace him.
    • It probably helps his job security that his assistant is the nephew of the CEO of the first company he works at in the Register-era stories, and indeed got them both jobs at the company.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The fact that Hogwarts even remains in operation despite having a running body count has got to be an example in and of itself (though, being a school for magic, this is probably something of an occupational hazard), but a surprising number of the teachers also count. And that's not even getting into the fact that Hogwarts hasn't had a Defense Against the Dark Arts (which is arguably the most important class taught at any school) teacher last longer than a year - though that is thanks to a curse.
    • The ghost Professor Binns, who is noted as being able to make "bloody giant wars seem dull and boring". Seems Hogwarts teachers never get fired, they just retire or die. Binns didn't let death stop him, and there's a rumor that he hasn't even noticed that he died, so Hogwarts students will forever be stunted in terms of their historical education. In turn, it probably made it a self-perpetuating problem, as no one likes/knows enough about magical history to qualify as a replacement.
    • As a Seer, Sibyl Trelawney's got only two accurate predictions under her belt sprinkled among numerous failures, including predicting the deaths of a number of very much alive students over the years. As a teacher, she's got a similar record, which isn't helped by her untreated alcoholism. Save for Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil, every single student she teaches doesn't take her seriously and they've been known to make up fake predictions just to pass her class, which they do because she doesn't realize they're making it up. Even the other members of the Hogwarts staff (even Dumbledore) doesn't respect her, as McGonagall makes no secret of the fact that she thinks Trelawney is a total fraud. It eventually turns out that Dumbledore wanted to get rid of the Dinivation classes a long time ago, but the Board of Governors and parents kept demanding it stay on the curriculum; he only relented when he hired Trelawney because he needed an excuse to keep her safe at Hogwarts to protect her from Voldemort since she was the one who made the prediction about his defeat. Furthermore, it's implied that being a true Seer is something that you can't actually teach— even the far more competent Firenze basically says that it takes years to master; besides, most of the time, it doesn't even work, and most don't see much. You either have the gift or you don't.
    • Severus Snape, while an unmistakable genius in the field of potion-making, is decidedly less qualified as a teacher. He consistently plays favorites with the Slytherin students and bullies and degrades any other students, particular Hermione Granger and Neville Longbottom (who is legitimately terrified of Snape). And at the best of times, Snape treats Harry with utter disdain for the things that happened between Snape and Harry's father before Harry was even born!
    • Argus Filch, a borderline sociopath who's one step away from being a serial killer. He explicitly enjoys causing students pain because he's jealous that they're learning magic while he's incapable of using it. At no point is the idea of firing him ever entertained. As with the example of Binns, it's quite possible that no one else actually wants the job.
    • Peeves also counts. Why don't they expel him? Really looks like Dumbledore wants a bit of weirdness in Hogwarts. Rowling stated that Peeves is like bad plumbing; it always comes back. Dumbledore is just better with a spanner then most others. To clarify, Peeves is an incarnation of chaos. Get rid of Peeves, you'd have a new one appear soon after. It's a case of Better the Devil You Know, because a new poltergeist might not be cowed by the Bloody Baron, or be occasionally loyal to the school.
  • In the novel Red Square, Arkady Renko asks a Russian defector working for Voice of America in West Germany why the American bosses don't fire him for his insubordination. The defector replies that they try to once a year but that German labor laws are designed so that Germany isn't stuck with a lot of unemployed foreigners, so they always fail to meet the legal requirements to do so.
  • The War Against the Chtorr. The Uncle Ira Group protects the protagonist Jim McCarthy despite him committing several acts liable for court martial (including desertion, assaulting a superior, leading renegades to a secret US military stockpile, appropriating military property and personnel, and summarily executing civilians) partly because he's good at his job, but also because McCarthy's habit of causing disruption can be turned to their political advantage.
  • The hiring process for faculty members at Unseen University in Discworld is less "become an expert in your field", and more "find an empty room, turn up at meal times, and try to keep out of the way of students". This is because the job description of a Discworld wizard consists of "not using magic". On the Disc it is really not difficult at all to turn someone into a frog (though making them stay that way can be a bit more difficult); it is much more difficult not to turn everyone around you into frogs once you realize how easy it would be. Every time in history the wizards got off their collective asses and actually did stuff, horrible things happened, with frequent parallels being drawn between major magical conflicts and all-out nuclear war. The certifiably insane Bursar is probably the most extreme example, as he's still a member of the faculty even though he no longer has any significant control over his magic and is useless even for his nominal responsibility of keeping the University accounts (which is mostly done by Ponder Stibbons).
    • Speaking of Stibbons, he can't be fired either because of his practicality: he's the one level-headed wizard out of the bunch. This tendency causes him to take up the responsibilities other wizards aren't using, to the point where in Unseen Academicals we discover he constitutes a faculty majority vote all by himself.
  • In Transformers: TransTech, Commander Cheetor is the head of the Offworlder Zone Security Administration. Even though he frequently annoys his superiors via Bothering by the Book to help give some justice to the downtrodden offworlders often at the expense of uppity TransTechs, he'll never be fired. Why? Because he's the only one willing do it, especially since it was a case of Reassignment Backfire to begin with.
  • The eponymous organization in The Laundry Files hires most of its employees not due to their competence, a great need for employees, or them even applying for a job, but because it's been calculated that lifetime wages and pension for a low-level civil service job add up to less than the projected cost for the government to assassinate one of its citizens who happened to stumbled upon the paranormal. Once hired, they've ensured you're neutralized. If you want or are capable of being useful (to a widely varying degree of "useful"), that's good. But most employees aren't doing anything really worth doing, or get any opportunity to make mistakes with consequences beyond getting themselves killed. Which is also usually good. And the exceptions are, if not irreplacable, too valuable to let go of over anything not worth killing them for. Either way, the Laundry doesn't fire anybody for anything - or kill that many of its people either.
  • In Heart of a Dog, Dr. Philip Philipovich Preobrazhensky gets away with regularly flipping off the House Committee, lives technically alone in seven rooms while most of his contemporaries barely get one, spits out blatantly anti-Soviet views and nostalgically longs for the cultured old times. He can afford it because not only is he really good at his job, the authorities use his surgery services as well.
    "You know, professor," said the girl with a deep sigh, "if you weren't world-famous and if you weren't being protected by certain people in the most disgusting way," (the fair youth tugged at the hem of her jerkin, but she brushed him away), "which we propose to investigate, you should be arrested."
  • Age of Fire: Dragons for the most part don't view the lives of their thralls as worthwhile, but Rayg still manages to carve out a niche for himself in the Lavadome anyone, since his near-universal scientific skills make him too important for the dragons to dispose of.
  • The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn: In the sequel The Dark Secret of Weatherend, Miss Eells is in danger of losing her job as Head Librarian of the Hoosac Public Library after being magically hypnotized into ruining a tea party being held by Mrs. Hanson Oxenstern, head of the library board. Then the last chapter reveals that this trope is in play - when she was made Head Librarian, her predecessor was the one who drew up her contract and, knowing what Miss Eells was like, included a clause stating that she could not be fired for any reason, something Miss Eells had forgotten about until it was pointed out when she was formally reinstated.
  • McAuslan: Wee Wullie is a complete incompetent as a peacetime soldier, and has a charge-sheet as long as his (considerably oversized) arm, but his wartime actions have ensured that the Colonel will move heaven and earth to keep him in the Battalion and out of trouble with the Provosts.

    Live Action TV 
  • Angel:
    • Cordelia Chase. You can't fire her. She's Vision Girl. *sticks out tongue*
    Angel: Well, I know she can't type or file. Until today, I had some hope regarding the phone.
    • Justified in that Cordelia is a direct line to the Powers That Be, making her utterly indispensable to Angel's mission. Angel is rudely awakened to this fact after he does fire her.
  • Ash vs. Evil Dead: It's established from the very first episode that Ash is a terrible Value Stop employee, having done such things as take phony sick days using his pet lizard as an excuse. His Jerkass boss, Mr. Roper, outright tells Ash to his face that the only reason he hasn't fired Ash is because he has seniority.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Pretty much every member of the original main cast (i.e. not including Bernadette and Amy) as well as Barry Kripke, seem to have this at their jobs.
    • The guys cause all kinds of mayhem at the university, squander university funds for personal use (such as Howard using them to build a sex robot and using a hundred-thousand dollar machine to heat sandwiches) or damage building property (Sheldon and Kripke drive fighting robots through the hallway and the doors) and are accused of sexual harassment (Howard practically lived at the H.R. office before he got into a steady relationship) and never face any lasting disciplinary consequences.
      • Except for one time, when Sheldon got himself fired and nobody would hire him back because of his huge ego and belittling tendencies. He was only rehired because his mom traded the boss some sexual favors, and even then, he has to be reminded he can fired at the drop of a hat.
    • Penny, by her own admission, is bad at her job, but only leaves the Cheesecake Factory when she quits on her own.
  • The BBC's Banished has a spectacularly lethal version of this. Because they're the only Western settlement in Australia and the next nearest settlement is months away by ship, the penal colony utterly depends on their one and only blacksmith Marston, to the extent that the Governor is willing to let other convicts starve to death in order to overlook Marston's food theft. It's only when Marston is killed by the person he was starving that those in charge realise how ludicrously they behaved because they thought he was indispensable.
    • 'Indispensable' is a word used a lot by the replacement blacksmith when he is about to be shot. But Major Ross clearly wants to avoid this trope.
  • Ted Baxter from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, was a bumbling fool, yet in the series finale he was the only member of the news room not fired, while all of the more competent characters were. Presumably he was good enough at what he did (i.e. reading the news and acting as the face of the network), and in the latter seasons as Baxter's character was softened – at Ted Knight's request – the emphasis was less so on his mistakes.
  • The Office (US): Michael Scott.
    • Though it does help somewhat that everyone at Dunder Mifflin seems to be pretty incompetent at times and the fact that, out of all the branches in a struggling economy, the Scranton branch makes the most profit (probably because of the much more competent employees).
      • The show seems to suggest that Michael is either kind of a paper-selling savant or has a lot of business savvy at the expense of all other intellectual abilities.
    • Dwight's employment is easily the most baffling. Start with his possession of weapons in the office and go from there. Go on, I've got time.
      • He was salesman of the year. As with Michael, Dwight is shown to have amazing abilities when it comes to selling paper, despite his other failings.
      • It may also be that it's very apparent that any and all accomplishments at Dunder Mifflin are the only thing Dwight has in his pathetic life (in one episode he nearly has a breakdown when Steve Carrell's character admits that Dwight's position was actually a fabrication to keep him happy, and he has no authority over any of the other employees). They may just not want to have a suicide on their consciences.
      • The Grand Finale reveals that once Dwight manages to get his life in order, his loony tendencies tone down significantly and he is able to turn the company into the #1 paper supplier in the region.
    • One could argue that as long as Michael is in charge of the branch all of the employees there have ultimate job security (except Toby, but he doesn't seem to do anything to deserve to be fired). He is softhearted enough to find it difficult to fire anyone who has worked for him for a long amount of time and once he even said that "I don't want my employees to think their jobs depend on their performance."
    • Subverted in the UK version, where the second series has David Brent being made more accountable for his actions and decisions, and where ultimately he is let go.
    • Andy, when it was revealed to the district manager that he had been gone for three months shortly after he was promoted and lied about it was never fired because the manager owed his job to Andy. Even so, Andy lost a ton of respect from the other employees and would use his absence as an excuse whenever they wanted to leave.
    • Kevin only keeps his job because Michael likes him. He is the third accountant in an office that only needs two and it becomes apparent that the other accountants do all the real work. When his work is finally audited, it is revealed that he invented a new number just so he could balance his books.
    • The Grand Finale reveals that when Dwight becomes regional manager he actually fires the incompetent and useless people like Kevin and Toby and the branch becomes much more efficient as a result.
  • The title character in House is one of the best doctors in the world, but constantly bullies his fellow staff and patients. Not to mention that he violates both laws and ethics left and right - not only can't he be fired, but apparently can't be arrested either. Luckily, House only takes on a few patients, and even some of them die.
    • Also slightly averted in that House's job has been repeatedly threatened over the course of the show. Each time he gets out of it only because of his skill and with help from Wilson and Cuddy. Cuddy has also pointed out that the hospital got him cheap because of his demeanour - nowhere else would even hire him.
    • And then further averted with Foreman, affectionately called "House Lite" by Cuddy, not being able to find a job after he uses a House-esque protocol-breaking procedure to save a patient.
    • Cuddy mentions that some of the funds go toward a special cause: to pay for lawsuits in case of House's antics. This is yearly though it has been mentioned that it's never been used fully nor sometimes actually needed.
    • It's mentioned that part of the reason House became such a good doctor is after seeing the doctors of a Japanese hospital all having to ask for help from a brilliant 'untouchable' working there as a janitor. He figured that if he was a good enough doctor, he'd be able to get respectable work no matter how much of a jerk he was.
  • If it wasn't for the direct intervention of Hogan's Heroes on many occasions, Colonel Klink would probably be at the Russian Front. He's not a bad administrator, but he has no real control over his camp.
    • Yes, but as far as Klink's superiors can tell, he's an ass kisser who is absolutely ruthless as a camp commandant.
    • Schultz, on the other hand, is known to be incompetent to everyone who knows who he is and is usually very lax around his superiors. The prisoners count him as an ally (he's in on it, though he wishes he wasn't) and have to pull strings to keep him around.
    • Either Klink or Schultz has to be the deep penetration agent who routinely gives them information. Klink is shown struggling to keep his job and is helped out from time to time. But Schultz is able to use his vast wealth as a Toy manufacturer to make his superiors suck up to him for a job after the war.
  • In Doc Martin, Dr. Ellingham's first receptionist, Elaine, was lazy, disobedient, surly, and incompetent to the point of being a liability to Port Wenn's public health, but the Eccentric Townsfolk were so attached to her that the one time Ellingham tried to fire her, he ended up having to rehire her to make the townsfolk stop shunning him.
  • Scrubs
    • Todd is said to be a very good surgeon; however, he spends most of his time sexually harassing the female staff. More recently, he has also sexually harassed the male staff.
    • Dr. Cox in the same series is also a bully, to the extent that House may have been Inspired by... him. Except that Dr. Cox has been disciplined. He even got suspended from the hospital in the second episode. The only reason he hasn't been fired is his ex-wife is on the hospital's board of directors. Plus he's a damned good doctor. And Kelso admitted that he needs him in order to balance out his own focus on the bottom line on occasions when an uninsured patient really does need care.
    • And then there's poor Doug Murphy, who was constantly killing his patients with such incredible ineptness, everyone called a major goof-up anyone did "A Doug". He got put in charge of the morgue. To his credit, he is in fact a brilliant pathologist — largely because he's done most of the crazy crap that killed the patients.
    • Ted, most definitely not an example of Bunny-Ears Lawyer is repeatedly called incompetent and is essentially to Law what Doug is to Medicine and yet somehow still maintains his job.
    • The one who really has this is the Janitor. He never does his work, and is constantly pulling pranks or messing with people in other ways, to the extent that he trapped JD in a water tower for an entire day and got off totally scot-free. Of course, it turns out that the main reason for his security is because Dr. Kelso openly doesn't care what the hospital employees did as long as the money rolled in and he got to enjoy the perks of his job. Upon Kelso's retirement, he's replaced by Dr. Maddox, who actually acts like an administrator, having the Janitor fired on the spot when she sees him trip JD in the hallway.
    • Dr. Zeltzer actually drugged not just a senior doctor but a board member and is still somehow employed and not incarcerated.
  • Tracy Jordan on 30 Rock; justified by the fact that he is a major celebrity. This is referenced in several episodes:
    Jack: You're a star; you can do whatever you want to. That's your job. It's our job to make it go away.
    Tracy: I love this country!
  • Linda in Becker is ditzy to the point of incompetence, yet she's still hanging around after multiple seasons. This is due to her being popular with the patients.
    • May be justified by Becker being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
    • Becker owes her dad a lot of money her job is the repayment. This is in the subtext of one episode in Season One, where it's hinted he owes her wealthy father money.
    • Ironically, she was actually a very competent employee, while on vacation.note 
  • Pretty much all the surgeons in M*A*S*H. To be fair, given the shortage of medical staff in the Korean War, this would appear to be an exaggerated Truth in Television.
    • A documentary done for one of the show's anniversaries included interviews with real MASH doctors, who said the show was frighteningly less exaggerated than most people thought for this very reason.
    • Frank Burns is perhaps the biggest question mark - he's a greedy, lying, manipulative hyper-conservative who sticks to the letter of the law and refuses to bend for anything, but he's also so incompetent in his actual job the he shouldn't even be permitted to play the "Operation" board game. In one episode the writers tried to Hand Wave this by saying Frank cheated on his medical school exams. Most of the other staff have excuses for their Ultimate Job Security:
    • Hawkeye and Trapper are a pair of alcoholic slackers who constantly play practical jokes on everyone else, but they're also exceptional doctors and pretty much the entire reason the unit's survival rate is as high as it is. Lampshaded in one episode when Henry said he would have fired them long ago if they weren't the two best surgeons in South Korea. This opinion comes to be shared by more than one guest star general.
    • Henry is an indecisive, easily dominated scaredy cat who has no business running a military unit - but he runs a damn good hospital.
    • Margaret Houlihan is one of the most difficult people to get along with (especially at first), she tends to drive the other nurses in particular crazy, and she doesn't always make life easy for the doctors either note . But she's also probably the best nurse they could have when things get tough. Even Henry, who she clashes with on a regular basis, decides he can't let her go when she wants to leave, because she's just too important to the unit's success.
    • Charles is a pompous, arrogant jerkass who complains loudly about anything and everything and was seen making racial slurs toward the priest in one episode. But unlike his predecessor Frank Burns, he's actually a very competent (if slow) surgeon, with cardiac expertise the others lack.
    • Radar, the company clerk, is childish to the point of flanderization, sleeps with a teddy bear, and keeps unauthorized pets, but he's a Hypercompetent Sidekick with an uncanny ability to anticipate the Colonel's needs, to the point that he's often running things himself (see Henry above).
    • Not that anyone in the 4077th wants to be there, but Klinger was actively trying to get out on a Section 8, and they never even get rid of him. Although when he tried to pull it on Colonel Potter in his first appearance, Potter saw right through him, told him to get into uniform and stop acting like an idiot. Klinger complied - for that episode. He still wore dresses during the Potter years until Radar left and he took over his position as Company Clerk.
      • It's been noted that the one thing Klinger won't do, even to get out of the Army, is do anything that would compromise the unit's ability to give the wounded the best care possible (even when he pretends to think he's in Toledo, he still helps with the wounded, claiming he thinks he's helping out after a bad traffic accident). Unfortunately for him, that's what everyone cares about.
  • Agent Mulder in The X-Files, and to a lesser extent Agent Scully and Skinner. Averted when he got a less understanding boss than Skinner.
  • Jack O'Neill in Stargate SG-1 gets away with talkback, insubordination, and disobeying orders which would have gotten him court-martialled at least six times over if he was in the real US Air Force.
    • Somewhat justified, as he was already retired before the series and they dragged him back forcefully to head the titular team.
    • And Samantha Carter got away with openly saying no to him in the first season at least twice, sometimes in situations in which a leader really, really needs to be able to expect that his decisions will be followed. This is long before flanderization brought about his childlike third season personality.
    • Also lampshaded in a Clip Show with the new president marveling at how the entire team is still employed.
    • Jack and Hammond seem to be good friends, and due to the secretive nature of the SGC, the rules seem to be a little looser... but Hammond nonetheless dutifully hangs a lampshade on it in one episode where he produces a file he's apparently kept on O'Neill's behavior since he joined the SGC.
    • Truth in Television, really. When the Chief of Staff of the Air Force made a guest appearance on the show, Richard Dean Anderson asked if there were Air Force colonels as bad as him. The answer? "Worse."
      • Most militaries have an unspoken rule that says that if your skills are truly irreplaceable, then they have to put up with you to get those skills, and that sometimes means frequently looking the other way when one of your officers is an insubordinate jackass.
    • Of course it helps when you're very VERY popular with Earth's strongest allies, who happen to be the most powerful and advanced race in existence at that point and the only thing that has kept the Big Bads in check for the past few hundred years.
    • Being able to keep a score about saving the Planet probably helps as well.
    • In Stargate Atlantis an IOA agent noted that Sheppard and others were often insubordinate. It was then brought up that they were the best at what they do.
    • The Stargate-verse is Mildly Military in general. In the case of SG-1, O'Neill's insubordination isn't too much weirder than putting an archaeologist and an alien on a combat team. (Officially, that team is the "first contact" team, so in-universe it just makes sense to have a broad range of expertise on it, but the free rein given Jackson and Teal'c is as implausible as that given O'Neill.)
  • In 24 it's common for characters to assault superiors who they disagree with or suspect of wrongdoing, and you'd expect to wind up in prison, let alone still working there. However, they still have their jobs when the dust clears. CTU's turnover remains high, though, for other reasons.
  • Harmon Rabb from JAG is quite prone to this trope. Half the stunts he's pulled off should have had him drummed out of the Navy, or at least left him with very poor chances of promotion. No matter how egregious stunts he pulls off: Status Quo Is God. Even when did quit for good he got reinstated by the Secretary of the Navy due to a lack of personnel.
  • Star Trek: James T. Kirk consistently put himself and most of his senior officers in danger in mission after mission by taking them on Landing Parties, put his ship in danger with his "cowboy diplomacy", disobeyed direct orders from his superiors and lest we forget, treated the Prime Directive—the Federation's most serious rule, which Starfleet personnel are supposed to uphold with even their lives if necessary—as little more than a suggestion. Any real ship's captain who behaved even remotely like Kirk would be instantly court-martialed and—at the very least—permanently stripped of any command authority at all. Of course, this being an action-adventure TV series with sci-fi window dressing, and later a series of movies, the Rule of Cool reduced all this to "business as usual". Made all the more outrageous by the fact that in the episode in which Kirk is court-martialed, there is much talk about how upstanding a starship captain has to be. Kirk's supposed crime in that episode, which he is of course innocent of, is really a minor infraction compared to the stuff he really got up to. Note that, in the films, the only way they were able to haul his ass out of the captain's chair was by giving him a better one on Earth. And one of those was voluntary because he was feeling too old to do the job.
    • Justified in that if you have a deep-space exploration ship continually getting mixed up in situations where one wrong decision can lead to the end of human civilization at the hands of cosmic powers, and you know of only one officer who has the talent for continually making the right call in such situations, you keep that man employed no matter what he does. Organizational discipline is one thing, but species survival trumps it.
    • Lampshaded in one NextGen Expanded Universe novel in which an admiral opines to Picard that Kirk obviously had so much contempt for Starfleet Command that he would just invent stuff for his reports, "including that one ridiculous incident in which he claimed someone stole his first officer's brain." Kirk was never removed from command because of the absolute loyalty of his crew, who always backed him up.
    • Lampshaded again in Star Trek: Voyager. Janeway and Tuvok were talking about when Tuvok served on the Excelsior (during the events of Star Trek VI). Janeway said that if Sulu, Kirk, or any of them had been Starfleet Officers today, they'd all have been kicked out.
      • Justified in another episode of Voyager when Chakotay mentions that there are always a few young officers who prove to be unsuited for deep-space duty during their first starship assignment, but given their particular situation there's nothing they can do about it. They can't just reassign or dismiss someone, so they have to do everything they can to get the best performance out of every crewmember.
    • It makes sense if you think of it in terms of the Age of Sail rather than modern militaries. The captain had a lot of power compared to what we think of today.
    • Sisko from Deep Space Nine. His aggressive behavior, antics and use of biological weaponry on a planet population should have had him court-martialed. But like Kirk, he is the commander of the figurative Fort Apache in space and the literal Messiah of the Bajorans. It's not as if they can replace him.
      • There are also a few suggestions that Starfleet specifically assigns him to jobs when they need this approach. For instance, his ruthless tactics contained the Maqui rebellion despite it being led by Starfleet defectors and he planned several major offensives in the Dominion war despite his relatively low rank.
      • By the end of the war he was de facto the head of the alliance and the most powerful man in the quadrant. His direct superiors accepted his 'recommendations' so readily that you'd think the ranks were reversed, the Klingon Chancellor is a personal friend that he indirectly put into power, and the Romulans (who's membership in the alliance he was directly responsible for) tended to just go along with the other two.
  • NCIS
    • Leroy Jethro Gibbs. What makes him stand out from his entire team of Bunny Ears Lawyers is that their job survival is at least plausible, given that Gibbs is using his senior position to cover for them. He, on the other hand, not only bears the bad karma for all of their eccentricities on his own shoulders, but also has the habit of treating all orders from above as polite suggestions — at best. This is to the point where he has twice expressly defied the direct orders of the Secretary of the Navy for the purpose of doing it his way. Yes, he continually delivers brilliant success after success, but you still wonder just how patient his bosses can be.

      Well, in the cases where it doesn't go higher than the director of NCIS, it's mostly that Gibbs could pretty much with one phone call become the director himself. The others occupy the position because Gibbs really doesn't want to be the director of NCIS. Besides being damn good at his job, Gibbs has also built up a lot of friends in high places, or people who control them (Holly Snow, anyone?), and he is always very close to the director (with Jenny and her predecessor), or has a big load of dirty laundry (with Vance). Simply said, he can coerce or blackmail anyone who has any chance of getting him fired.
    • One episode features a large group of Navy codebreakers who all fit this trope. Their commander flat out states most of them would fail the military psychological exam due to various mental disorders (neuroses, paranoia, etc.)
    • There are those who would say Genki Girl and resident hot Lab Rat Abby would also qualify. She never wears a uniform, has strange tastes in everything, and doesn't take much better to orders from on high than Gibbs himself does, unless it's Gibbs who gives the order. However, she's also supposedly one of the single most gifted forensic scientists in the country, if not the world, and NCIS would not dare give her reason to leave, as most other agencies would be chomping at the bit to get her to work for them if she ever quit. It's explicitly stated in one episode that she receives a handful of lucrative job offers every year, and she turns them all down - because she loves NCIS, and Gibbs, too much to leave. Plus she's friends with Gibbs. Shepherd tried to make her follow the rules. That lasted until Gibbs found out about it.
    • All NCIS personnel seems to benefit from getting quite some leeway from their director, especially in the early seasons. This may be because NCIS was originally introduced as a small, underfunded organization, that relied on creative methods to stay ahead of big players like the FBI in the Interservice Rivalry.
  • Semi-subversion: The uber-incompetent Matthew actually was fired from his job on NewsRadio at one point; however, he got it back later in the season.
  • Schemer in Shining Time Station somehow manages to keep his job as the titular station's arcade manager, despite being an obnoxious jerk who's not above lying, cheating, and occasionally even stealing to earn a few extra nickels. In one episode, he even takes other people's belongings without asking them, and tries to sell them. And yet, the worst Stacy Jones (who runs the station) or J.B. King (the head of the railroad) do to him is tell him he's been bad, and not to do it again.
    • Maybe they should have tried hair care — in one episode, after Schemer's semi-identical ambiguous relation Schemie fails to squirm his way out of getting caught, Schemer punishes him by combing the family trademark cowlick flat. This distresses Schemie far more than pretty much anything anyone has ever tried on these two before or since.
    • Later justified when it's revealed that Schemer isn't an employee of the station, but leases the space for the arcade from the railroad. Clearly despite the income loss from the juke box, he's doing well enough that it's not worth terminating his lease.
  • In My Hero, Mrs. Raven's open hostility to patients (and everyone else) might have been a problem for her were her boss not perpetually distracted by his own self-admiration. Also, as Dr. Crispin finds out after temporarily firing her for wanting a raise, she's made herself indispensable by organizing his patients' files in such a way that she's the only one who knows how to find anything.
  • For quite a while, Mr. Lucas, the cheeky junior salesman in Are You Being Served? was able to get away with insulting his higher-ranked fellow employees and superiors every episode. Then, later on, he disappeared from the show. The only hint of an explanation for his disappearance was a passing line from Captain Peacock mentioning a time where the store didn't make any money and they fired the junior. This line was meant to intimidate Mr. Lucas' successor, Mr. Spooner — who managed to get away with insulting Mrs. Slocombe and Captain Peacock (though without Lucas' panache) until the final episode of the series.
  • Torchwood:
    • Ianto kept a Cyberman in the Hub's basement (directly endangering the world) and disobeyed orders to shoot her. But he still manages to stay on the team.
    • In a season 1 episode, Gwen takes the newly-resurrected Suzie out of the Torchwood Three base to see her father. Upon seeing this on a camera, Jack mentions that she is "getting herself fired", but she ultimately remains part of the team. Likely because Suzie was manipulating her.
    • The season 1 finale involved the entire team—having been driven over the Despair Event Horizon—having a mutiny against Captain Jack. Owen even goes as far as to shoot Jack in the head, killing him. Of course Jack can't die, but Owen does not know that at the time of said shooting. Their actions afterwards unleashes a giant monster upon the city, though Jack ends up stopping it. Despite the fact that he told them many times not to open the Rift (which led to the aforementioned incidents), he forgives his entire team.
    • Justified in the opening credits - Torchwood is "Outside the government, beyond the police." Jack is pretty much autonomous once Torchwood London at Canary Wharf goes down.
  • The entire cast of Pizza and Swift & Shift Couriers are terrible at their jobs, and are capable of screwing out routine jobs, but manage to stay employed... the latter mainly because the hapless boss gets blamed for everything, the former because the boss is just plain Ax-Crazy.
  • Mad Men: Don Draper can apparently disappear from work for days (possibly weeks!) without any long-term consequences. But this cuts both ways, as Don discovers he can't have Pete Campbell fired for endangering an account, because Campbell's family is wealthy and connected.
    • As Duck Phillips discovers to his dismay, even if Don were fired, he could always go straight to another ad agency because he has no contract, and therefore no "non-compete" clause.
    • The entire office seemed to have this. Among other things, one employee was openly dismissive of Madison Square Garden's plan to tear down the old Penn Station while they attempting to land that client. Not only is he not fired, he is not even taken off the account. Not to mention the secretary who ran over a guy's foot with a lawnmower in the office.
    • This is deconstructed in the sixth season, as Don's dysfunctions for the first time weren't worth his contributions to the company, as he immediately lost the first major account he brought in in months. Despite being a full partner in the company at this point, the other partners force him to take leave for several months—but he's still being paid, to some of their annoyance.
      • By that point he was not only under contract, but owned a significant portion of the agency as a partner. The other partners would have had to buy him out, which was more money than they easily afford. Thus he had even more job security, the only thing the partners could do was try to shame him into resigning.
  • First footman later under-butler Thomas Barrow from Downton Abbey is a thieving, manipulative and overall unpleasant character, but he's actually good at the job so nobody has the heart to fire him.
    • Each season ends with him weaseling his way out of a situation he really shouldn't have been able to weasel out of, and then getting promoted. The third season ends with him being outed as gay in 1920 and managing to not only stay out of jail, but be promoted from valet to under-butler.
  • Justified in Battlestar Galactica. As illustrated when the Pegasus arrives, the ship is essentially a frat house, and crew members commit what should be career-ending offenses on an alarmingly routine basis. Hell, even Adama is getting stoned and having an affair with the president. Of course, given that they're all that's left of the military, they're really lenient by necessity.
    • Some of what happens on the show should get some of them fired. For example, Starbuck may be a great pilot, but her unpredictability would cause any leader to lose faith in her during one of her less lucid moments.
    • Similarly, Apollo disobeys direct orders on a routine basis and ends up getting promoted up the chain of command.
    • Tyrol essentially commits mutiny and is told he'd have been executed if he wasn't needed.
    • It is somewhat implied that the Galactica was a dumping ground for the Colonial military to put their incompetent, or at least, least-effective personnel. It was old and about to be decommissioned even before the Cylon invasion began. Adama and Tigh had been given command of the Galactica as a punishment for screwing up an intelligence operation (they'd even been drummed out of the Fleet and had only managed to get back in due to Adama's wife's political ties). It's the great irony of the series that this is the only warship of consequence to survive the apocalypse.
  • A major theme in Yes, Minister is that it is practically impossible for a civil servant to lose their job, regardless of how incompetent, malicious or damaging their conduct. As such, whilst the politicians come and go, the civil servants are there practically for life, which is one factor which has allowed them to cement their control over the running of the country.
    • Truth in Television: this actually happened a lot in the ancient world when one kingdom or empire would overrun another. While the top leadership and the elites were executed/dethroned/etc., the civil servants would be retained by the conquerors because they actually knew how to run the country. The Mongol conquest of China is a very good example.
  • Detective Stabler from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit routinely ignores Capt. Cragen's instructions, has beaten suspects in the interrogation room on multiple occasions, beaten suspects while apprehending them, and punched another cop in the face all while somehow keeping his job.
  • Detective Goren from Law & Order: Criminal Intent is eccentric, moody, and generally behaves like he should be in Bellevue rather than the NYPD. But he is one of the best detectives on the force with a ridiculously high closure rate. Even when he does get fired, it doesn't stick because his new Captain pulls some strings to give him back his badge.
  • Patrick Jane of The Mentalist breaks laws left and right in his methods of solving murder cases. He's a pretty shady Bunny-Ears Lawyer and breeds trouble, yet the agency wouldn't dare fire him because he's just that good. However, every antic of his brings his supervisor, Agent Lisbon, closer to being fired in favor of someone actually able to control him.
    • Of course, she's got this too eventually, because when they do fire/indefinitely-suspend her over one of Jane's messes, they discover Jane is unwilling to work with anybody else (intentionally playing his new "handler" into embarrassing his own boss with his bosses). She may not be able to control him, but she's the only one he's willing to cooperate with.
    • Does Jane even work for the CBI? He is a consultant and not an employee. They just need him to catch bad guys, which is even lampshaded in the show.
    • Ironically, his investigation into the Red John case (his whole motive for working with the CBI), ends up revealing secrets and corruption which get the entire CBI disbanded, costing himself and the entire main cast their jobs. But when he's later recruited/drafted by the FBI, he forces them to hire Lisbon to work cases with him, giving her Ultimate Job Security again based on his indispensability
  • Miles Hutchison, the Secretary of Defense on The West Wing, holds the President in open contempt, attempts to screen promotion candidates based on their political views, and uses the media to undermine foreign policy initiatives so frequently that Bartlet and Leo attempt to plan around it. He lasts the entire length of the series.
  • The title character of Get Smart. At one point, the Chief actually does threaten to fire him, and Max replies that the Chief wouldn't dare: According to CONTROL's seniority regulations, if Max is fired, then the Chief would have to promote Larabee into Max's job. Also, Max is the local steward for CONTROL's branch of the spy union.
  • Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane on The Dukes of Hazzard. Despite being corrupt and a bumbler, he remains sheriff because Boss Hogg wants someone he knows he can control, and the people of Hazzard County keep electing him because they'd rather deal with the devil they know than the devil they don't know.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • Buffy is given a job as a guidance counselor at the new Sunnydale High School in the seventh season. The reason for her hiring was so she could protect the students from the Hellmouth under the school. Good thing too because we are shown and told that she isn't a great counselor. Whenever she asks about her great counseling skills the person she is talking to gets an amused look on their face. And whenever she is seen talking to a student she seems too prone to thinking about the monster-fighting part of her job to properly listen to what the students say. Previously, she had blackmail material on a fast-food chain and used it to get her shitty job back. Excusable only because she was pretty much dead inside at the time, and their "secret" was that their menu was secretly Vegetarian (using a convincing tofu substitute for beef and chicken). Having said that, she was offered money in response to the blackmail, and took the shitty job instead, and was unfailingly polite despite the fact that she basically had the blackmailed person by the balls.
    • Even earlier, Giles had this with the original Sunnydale High. Snyder quickly figured out why you should never mess with someone whose nickname is Ripper.
    • For that matter, Snyder. His extreme disdain for children makes it clear he should be nowhere near the educational field. He got the job specifically to keep the Hellmouth and all the deaths it causes out of the public eye.
    • Not to mention Buffy in her job as The Slayer pulls some pretty outrageous stunts that the Scooby Gang just have to put up with, other than voicing their disapproval. As Buffy points out to Giles in What's My Line, "Y'know, if you don't like the way I'm doing my job, why don't you find somebody else? Oh, that's right, there can only be one." (Given that Tempting Fate is a Running Gag in the series, a second Slayer promptly turns up).
  • Michael Kelso from That '70s Show somehow manages to become a police officer, and despite all of his antics, he's never fired. These include breaking into the police academy, losing his supervisor's squad car, and setting the academy on fire with a flaregun. In one particularly funny instance he was "guarding" Eric when he was arrested after being caught in one of the group's antics (Hyde, Donna, and Kelso ditched Eric after the car wouldn't start). After it was revealed that he was also part of the prank, a senior officer shoved him into the cell with Eric.
  • Corner Gas: Fitzy and his position of mayor. He doesn't seem particularly good, and at one point is afraid of losing it, only to be told that "nobody wants your job". Subverted and averted in one episode though. Emma runs for mayor and wins. The exception is A) She flat out admits during an interview that she doesn't even want the job, she's simply running out of spite over Fitzy telling her husband to shut up, and B) the entire episode was just a dream anyway.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • There was a rebellion seventeen years previously, resulting in the overturn of a three hundred year old dynasty. Varys, Pycelle and Barristan are all survivors from that regime. They were kept on as each of them is too good at what they do to have been removed from their respective posts.
      • Varys is actually the one best fitted for this trope. Pycelle keeps his position mainly because it's really difficult to remove a Grand Maester, and Barristan gets to keep his because he's A) a true knight and exceedingly honorable, and B) without Barristan, the remaining Kingsguard on duty with the most seniority would have been Jaime Lannister.
    • Littlefinger tries to bump it up to Vetinari Job Security, right to Cersei's face, but she reveals that she's impulsive and capricious enough to just up and kill him, no matter the consequences.
  • Rick Castle can always get his consultancy position back even if the police commissioner wants him gone by calling his buddy, the Mayor of New York City.
    • This was seriously threatened in one episode where said Mayor was a suspect in a murder investigation. Had the Mayor been guilty, the first thing the captain (who is much less appreciative of Castle than her predecessor was) would've done was get rid of Castle and it was made clear that there was nothing anyone could've done about it.
    • Castle eventually did get tossed when he sought assistance from a mob family to identify a killer, which resulted in said killer being taken out by a mob hit. The situation was so serious even the Mayor wouldn't protect him. Castle does eventually get back after a number of episodes when he's charged with assault and the charges are dropped in exchange for 1500 hours of community a consultant to the NYPD.
  • Almost the entire cast of F Troop. Captain Parmenter is an 1860s Col. Potter who also would trip and fall over thin air. Sergeant O'Rourke uses his position to run a side business trading with the Indians - a 19th Century equivalent of a staff sergeant doing business with Cuba. Corporal Agarn is a hyperactive Frank Burns who also is O'Rourke's business partner. The bugler can't play a tune, the lookout has 20/400 vision and no one can fire the cannon without hitting the lookout tower. However, it's more than hinted that Fort Courage is another example of those aforementioned military "dumping grounds" for incompetents; it's actually stated in one episode that everyone was put there in hopes that they would all kill each other.
  • Almost every character on WKRP in Cincinnati is a complete screw-up who never even comes close to getting fired. It's lampshaded many times, and finally explained in the last episode when it's revealed that the owner actually wants the station to lose money so she can use it as a tax write-off.
  • Gilmore Girls: French Jerk (with a heart of gold) Michel keeps his job as a hotel concierge despite ignoring and even insulting customers on a routine basis.
  • Averted by "The Second Act" episode of The Middle. After three seasons of her not, as far as we've ever seen, actually selling a car, Frankie gets laid off (although her boss suggests she wouldn't be likely to be rehired).
  • In general: anyone who's been called a 'loose cannon cop on the edge' or some variation thereof.
  • Ed from the Good Burger sketches in All That. Ed is incredibly incompetent, and he screws up nearly everything he's put in charge of. A frequently asked question by fans was why Ed was never fired. Dan Schneider couldn't answer that.
  • Criminal Minds.
    • Lampshaded in "Elephant's Memory"; out of concern for the UnSub, Reid not only goes out to confront him at the end of the episode, he elongates his arms as he talks to him to "shield" him from his own team's guns. Since the UnSub is holding a gun himself- visibly- and is known to be extremely violent, Reid was playing with fire by getting so close to him. Not only that, Reid neglected to tell the rest of the team that he figured out- before they did- that the UnSub was even going to the police station, having only Prentiss (who was already with him) to provide realistic cover, and Reid even thwarted Prentiss at times. Fortunately for Reid the UnSub is apprehended without incident, but on the plane flight home, Hotch tells Reid that he "should fire (Reid) for what he did" and that next time he will fire him, before commending him on his work.
    • Erin Strauss counts too. Her witch hunt of Hotch and Gideon in Season Two likely wouldn't sit too well with her superiors, as well as her rather comical mishandling of the crime scenes in "In Name And Blood" at the beginning of Season Three. How she keeps her job is beyond me.
    • One episode had Penelope allow a major computer hack because she was playing an MMO at work with an unsecured private laptop. She never faces any repercussions for this, even though it would get you fired from a basic, entry level office job, let alone of the arms of the country's national security protection. Not to mention the fact that she was a criminal hacker who only got her job in the first place because she was given the option "work for us or go to jail." She shouldn't just have been fired, she should have been arrested.
  • Grover from Sesame Street keeps his job as waiter at Charlie's even though he constantly gets his customer's order wrong, though Grover means well. Of course, Charlie's Restaurant is one of the few places Grover is shown to be employed at regularly (he also worked at the Mail-It Shop during its brief run, but seems to have been more competent in that job). Who's to say that he DOESN'T get fired from all his other jobs...
  • Married... with Children: As a shoe salesman, Al Bundy is a disgrace to his profession. He constantly insults the fat women who make up most of his clients, has forgotten how to work the cash register due to the fact that he hardly ever sells any shoes, plays with the shoes like toys, insults his boss Gary to her face, and on the very rare occasions when he actually does manage to sell some shoes, he just pockets the money. Despite all this, he's never fired. It may be because, aside from Al's Token Black Friend Griff, Gary can't find anyone else besides Al who's desperate enough to work in the shoe store. In one episode she does fire Al and Griff because she manages to find replacements for them. The replacements immediately quit when they realize what they'll have to put up with and Gary's forced to hire Al and Griff back.
  • Carrie from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody is a hotel lounge singer, hardly a secure job to begin with, and she manages to keep the job in spite of Zack and Cody's disruptive and destructive antics.
  • Vince and Howard of The Mighty Boosh have this in series one. They work at a zoo helmed by two insane madmen who openly dislike them and routinely try to kill them, but for some reason Bainbridge and Fossil never think to simply fire them every time they survive. In the entire series, it took the zoo closing to upseat them from their jobs.
  • Eli Stone cannot be fired from his law firm, no matter what craziness he gets up to (and since it's Eli Stone, there's plenty of it). There's actually a legal agreement to this effect, part of a deal made with a client he represented in the Pilot.
  • Breaking Bad: The only reason anyone (most notably Gus Fring, who usually chooses his employees much more carefully) is willing to put up with Walter White's erratic behavior, greed, and power-madness is because he's just that good at cooking meth.
  • Community: Everyone who works at Greendale Community College. Except Professor Kane, who quit after Star-Burn's death. Justified by Dean Pelton and the board members' lax standards.
  • One episode of Last Man Standing has Mike finding out his neighbor was laid off by his accounting firm and he wants Ed to hire him at Outdoor Man. Ed tells him he can't do it because there aren't any openings and he can't fire any of the incompetent workers in the department because they all have this for various reasons (one is an alcoholic protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, another is a woman who will most likely file a gender discrimination lawsuit, etc.)
  • In Westworld Dr. Ford personally built a huge chunk of Westworld, has complete access and unparalleled control over its Hosts, and insists on keeping all of their data onsite. The Delos board would like to get rid of him, but they're afraid he'll destroy decades of research out of spite if they try it. Their representative was engaging in corporate espionage against their own company in an attempt to get hold of their own research, and Ford has her murdered - with the implication he's done this once or twice before and they knew it might happen.
  • In one episode of I Love Lucy, Ethel was having difficulty getting a passport, with the office going to close at 5'o'clock sharp. Ethel threatened to report the man to Washington and get him fired, but he countered that as it was civil service, he wouldn't lose it until he died.
    • Ricky enjoys massive job security as a bandleader. Even when he does get fired in Season One's "Ricky Asks for a Raise," he gets a license to pretty much choose his own job when his former workplace, The Tropicana, has trouble keeping its guests when they find out that Ricky isn't working there anymore.
    • [1] In the Season 4 episode "Ricky Needs an Agent," Lucy gets him fired from MGM after dressing as an agent.
  • Deputy US Marshall Raylan Givens on Justified. When the audience first meets him, Raylan is in trouble for a questionable shoot of a drug lord against who Raylan had a personal vendetta. Over the course of the series we see him shoot first and ask later to the point that in season 3, when he's actually framed for a shooting crime he didn't commit, his boss has trouble getting him clear because his reputation precedes him. We also see him help his ex-wife replace money she stole from the evidence locker, moonlight as a bounty hunter (which Raylan is explicitly warned is against Marshal rules and grounds for immediate termination), and arrange the execution of a mob boss that threatened his family. His boss describes why he keeps him around despite Raylan's tendency to break the rules to deliver justice as he sees fit:
    Art:You're a lousy marshall, but a good lawman.'''
  • On Cheers Rebecca Howe can be seen as enjoying Ultimate Job Security despite her many shortcomings.
    • In season six, Rebecca had a crush on her Lillian Corporation boss Evan Drake even going to the point of invading his home while barfly Norm Peterson was doing a painting job. There was just one problem: Evan returns from a business trip and intends to get some well deserved sleep. Or, there are only two problems: Evan is a light sleeper and Rebecca is stuck in his closet.
    • A story line spanning seasons 8 and 9 features Rebecca having a friendship with another boss named Robin Colcord. There is only one problem. Robin is convicted of embezzling Lillian. After taking a loss by selling the bar back to Sam for pennies, Lillian fires Rebecca only to have Sam take pity on her and hire her as an assistant manager.
    • In the Season 11 episode The Little Match Girl, Rebecca's smoking habit results in a fire at the bar. But she is back to work like nothing happened in the season's third episode.
  • Attila: Flavius Aetius knows that he is given a lease on life by the ruling dynasty in Rome because they need him to fight their current enemies. So in order to make himself irreplaceable, he purposefully makes such an impression on the young Attila that he can argue to the emperor that Attila won't invade the western empire because he fears Aetius. Placidia points out how awfully convenient it is that Aetius' good health has become so important to them now.
  • In Doctor Who, the main character and Scientific Advisor for UNIT during the '70s (or was it the '80s?) is a Deadpan Snarker to everyone up to and including his (nominal) boss, has no use for paperwork, can barely let an episode go by without sniffing at primitive humans, and it's unknown whether he ever deposited his checks (or whether he even understands the concept). He also has centuries of experience fighting aliens of all kinds, an encyclopediac knowledge of the universe, Super Intelligence, and a fierce dedication to protetcing this little blue globe and its inhabitants.
    • In fact, it's mentioned several times that the Doctor never officially tendered his resignation, meaning that after a few decades, he's still technically on the payroll and under UNIT's nominal command.


    Professional Wrestling 
  • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin spent most of his time beating up his boss (Vince McMahon), humiliating him, ruining his prize possessions, etc., just to get a rise out of him. How he kept his job varied by storyline; either Vince kept him on just to make his life a living hell right back, or he kept him on because, regardless of the fact that he was absolutely miserable, he was still making tons of money because the fans adored Austin, or an independent authority figure (the commissioner, the board of directors, etc.) would thwart Vince's latest attempt to get rid of him.
    • There was actually a storyline where Vince did get so sick of Austin and all the problems he caused that he fired Austin, proclaiming that even the buyrates and money weren't worth it anymore. Austin actually showed up the next night in an infamous segment where Austin threatened McMahon with a gun, only to reveal it was a toy. In retaliation, Vince hatched a plot where he pretended to feud with his son Shane McMahon. In retaliation for demoting Shane to lowly referee status, Shane revealed he had signed Austin to a five year contract. Eventually, they revealed their plan while screwing Austin out of a title match using Shane's new found referee power. The point of this plan was to make the next five years of Austin's life a living hell.
    • This could apply to Austin in real life as well. Since 2002, he's walked out on WWE on multiple occasions, usually over gripes about where he was being put in a storyline, forcing WWE to officially "part ways" with him (one such incident caused him to lose a multi-picture deal with WWE's Films division). He also has been charged with assaulting women on at least a couple of occasions, not making for good PR. Still, despite all that and him not being in a match since 2003 due to his broken-down body, WWE will keep bringing him back for any small appearance because they know the crowd will always erupt upon hearing that sound of broken glass.
  • Shawn Michaels was such an indispensable part of WWE in the mid-'90s that he got away, without punishment, for the ultimate sin — breaking Kayfabe by sharing a group hug with his departing friends Razor Ramon and Diesel, as well as Hunter Hearst Helmsley, in the middle of the ring at the end of a live show in Madison Square Garden, despite the facts that, not only were Michaels and Ramon faces and Diesel and HHH heels, but Michaels and Diesel had just finished a brutal steel cage match against each other. HHH, on the other hand, wasn't so lucky; while he avoided being fired for the incident, he did lose out on an opportunity to win the 1996 King of the Ring tournament (this instead went to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin) and spent some time doing penance as a jobber-to-the-stars.
  • People tend to have this if Vince McMahon is interrupted before uttering the words "You're Fired", and the smart heels have picked up on this. In 2009 Randy Orton punted Vince before he could finish and went to WrestleMania that year. He threatened to sue if he didn't get his guaranteed title shot, but the idea of firing him before he won the Royal Rumble never seemed to occur to anyone. In 2013 Paul Heyman had Brock Lesnar interrupt and beat up Vince in order to remain on the roster.
  • Joey Styles in Real Life. The crap he gets up to on Twitter alone would get any other employee fired — besides spoiling major events on WWE programming mere moments before they actually happen, he regularly and happily insults much of the stuff WWE has put out, including WWECW, and acknowledges (and rips on) on several WWE-considered nonentities such as TNA. It seems the only reason Vince doesn't just outright fire him is because the mutants would burn WWE Headquarters in a fit of rage the next day.
  • Kurt Angle. WWE released him due to health concerns, including a refusal to go into rehab for his painkiller addiction. He promptly jumped ship to TNA, where he got arrested no less than five times, four of which involved being pulled over for a DUI, before finally checking into rehab on his own. Angle had been TNA World Heavyweight Champion at least one of those times, and was booked to retain the title in spite of this. If it had been any other performer (such as Matt Hardy, who got fired after one DWI), they would have been shown out the door ages ago. But since Angle is arguably the biggest star in TNA, he got away with a lot more than any company, WWE included, would have allowed.
  • Jeff Hardy had this for a while. His massive Popularity Power often prevented him from getting fired or from getting de-pushed — especially in TNA. Then Victory Road 2011 happened, Jeff was sent home, and when he came back, he was told this would be his last chance. He's managed to stay on the wagon since then.
  • As detailed in The Death of WCW, by the late 90’s Scott Steiner was an unstable, rage-fuelled crazy person who: got legitimately arrested multiple times, was almost certainly abusing steroids, ran down the company and his coworkers in unscripted promos on Nitro, threatened executives and came close to blinding Diamond Dallas Page in a backstage shoot. As one of the last few remaining proven draws the company had during its dying years, he continued to be pushed as a main event star, and was often punished by short “suspensions” with pay, effectively receiving a paid vacation every time his behaviour became really bad.

    Puppet Shows 
  • On Bookaboo, Bookaboo is a somewhat whiny Manchild puppy dog in a band, who won't play for the band unless he's read a picture book every day because without this he doesn't have his "bojo." The New Year's special with Paula Abdul indicates that the reason he keeps his job is because his fellow band-members, Paws and Growler, are in awe of him, considering a far better drummer than anyone else in the world. Also, their previous drummers had even more serious problems, so basically they're happy to have him because despite his issues, they could be dealing with worse problems.

    Tabletop Games 
  • GURPS makes Tenure the blanket term for this sort of job security. Interestingly, priests are given as an example of people with Ultimate Job Security.
    • Truth in Television. Teachers, priests and similar individuals are easier to pass to another district or parish than to fire, defrock or imprison.
  • Orsus Zoktavir in Iron Kingdoms. He's insane, Ax-Crazy, prone to team killing and indiscriminate destruction. The favor he carries with the Empress and usefulness as a Person of Mass Destruction are the only things preventing his own faction from getting rid of him.

    Video Games 
  • Captain Bannon from World in Conflict manages to be everything an officer in the Armed Forces should not be (cowardly, insubordinate, whiny, arrogant, incompetent and many more), yet the worst thing that happens to him career wise over the course of the game is a transfer to another front. Somewhat justified by the fact that World War III is occurring and there is a shortage of officers... though Bannon's bungling occasionally reaches levels where he could be considered a bigger danger than the Soviets. If it wasn't for his Heroic Sacrifice near the end, he would have surely been court-martialed or possibly executed.
  • Commander Shepard from Mass Effect becomes a Spectre and does a few questionable things (one way or the other) and has this mainly because the main government of the galaxy is Too Dumb to Live and refuses to believe evidence of their impending doom. Repeatedly. But s/he's so needed that s/he gets Resurrected for a Job, and can get reinstated as a Spectre and still continue to screw up whatever he wants to his/her heart's content. The Council does ask that s/he keep his/her cowboy ways to the Traverse and the Terminus Systems, but that's an empty request and Shepard knows it.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda:
    • Assistant Director of the Andromeda Initiative's Colonial Affairs William Spender is colossally incompetent, and acts like he's just the outright head of Colonial Affairs, while making decisions that endanger the lives of everyone onboard the Nexus (at one point, he's found stopping an engineer from trying to repair the station's life-support systems). He gets away with this crap because his boss, despite acknowledging his incompetency, also notes he'll do difficult jobs regardless. It takes Ryder bringing serious proof that he's ridiculously corrupt to boot, having engineered the riots and violence that befell the station before Ryder showed up, and trying to kill all the krogan in the Initiative, before she'll have him imprisoned or exiled, admitting she should've done it ages ago.
    • For a less harrowing version, one of the second wave of defrostees, Hunter Kerry, cheerfully notes that between one thing and another thing with the Initiative, the whole situation is an organizational nightmare, which is perfect for him, because it means job security.
  • Inphyy in Ninety-Nine Nights is only a senior field commander of the Temple Knights with several ceremonial and administrative posts above her. She's also astonishingly racist even by the standards of a faction called the Forces of Light and quickly goes careening toward the Moral Event Horizon when she mows down hundreds of unarmed goblin women and children. Despite this, she can't even be disciplined due to their allies seeing her as the spiritual figurehead of the entire crusade. Only her equally-ranked and equally-exalted brother dares to talk down to her, and this lack of repercussion for her actions makes it difficult for her to keep her moral compass in check.
  • Notable meta-aversion: Riot Games know exactly what kind of people the competitive Multiplayer Online Battle Arena scene tends to attract and recently made it abundantly clear getting your username on the webcasts doesn't mean you're above punishment: when a well-known American pro player ran afoul of the Tribunal enough times to get his main account slapped with a one-year ban, Riot informed him he could sockpuppet like everyone else all he liked, but he was also personally banned from sanctioned competition for the duration.
  • Deep Rock Galactic: Hoxxes IV is such a dangerous place that the only four dwarven miners that even dare venture into its depths for its rich mineral treasures immediately earn this, even as newbies. You can kick barrels around and into the launch platform or escape pods to your heart's content, get as tanked as you want at the bar, screw around with the base's gravity controls, barge into restricted areas and dance really, really badly in front of everyone in-between missions, and all Mission Control can do is make ineffective threats to cut your paychecks and generally berating you like he's at the end of his rope. Dwarves so brave and/or nuts as to brave the planet's dangers are far too scarce to fire. That, and if they really are incompetent they're gonna die soon anyways, solving the problem.

  • Least I Could Do:
    • Rayne. He got a job as an executive at a multi-national corporation, with the goal of sleeping with the hot female CEO. He routinely sexually harasses all his female co-workers, including the aforementioned CEO and her assistant. He has climbed through the office's air vents ("You'll appreciate it if and when Hans Gruber shows up"), climbed the building with a homemade grappling hook when the lift was out, come to work dressed as a Stormtrooper (Star Wars, not Nazi) and once had a prospective employee used as a pinata. He keeps his job, because he's somehow increased company profits to record levels, and his perverseness/immaturity/loose grasp of reality seems to be seen by every other character as amusing or endearing. Yes, he's an outrageous Mary Sue, but that's sort of the joke.
    • It's interesting to note that this trope also applies to the aforementioned prospective employee. Despite being a complete Jerkass to everyone at the company ("So what's it like to be on the other side of the poverty line?"), including and especially his interviewer (Rayne himself), he still gets the job because he has all the practical skills required. One can only assume that the world of LICD has extremely strict equal opportunity employment laws. The selling point with "Archie" was that for all his stuck-up rich snob attitude, he had the skills, education and prospect ideas to really benefit the company. Even Rayne had to admit his proposals were sound, much as he wanted to kick the kid out the door anyway. We haven't seen much of him since, but presumably he keeps his attitude tightly reined in for fear of what Rayne might do to him.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Del has Ethan, who doesn't even turn up to his job at a video game store half the time, is a Jerkass to staff and customers when there, and completely walks away from the job for weeks on end. Not only does he keep his job, he ends up OWNING the damn place. Though that last one is justified because Ethan was holding the deed, and the previous owner flat-out didn't care.
  • Davan of Something*Positive can always keep his job as a medical bill clerk. This is because his job is so horrible that probably no one else would want to apply for it, and because he is the only one left in his group who actually does any work. He realizes this power when he oversleeps in one comic, and after a split-second of believing he'll be fired, promptly goes back to sleep.
  • In Misfile it's getting increasingly hard to understand why Ash's father is still a doctor, much less employed. The man continually breaches patient confidentiality by talking about female cast members' vaginas (he is an OBGYN) and breasts, and likes to publicly mention his "nimble fingers".
    • Of course it would appear that among other things, he's nothing but professional in front of his patients - well, except Emily. It would also appear that Tempest is a small town, which may mean he's the only gynecologist, and with the fact he occasionally lectures at Harvard, it can be presumed he is actually highly qualified.
    • The part about him being professional in front of his patients is jossed; the entire town describes him as "freaky creepy." The only explanation is that he really is that good.
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • Principal Verrückt, as Susan notes. Heck, one of his idiotic decisions should have gotten his school shut down. (He funneled the budget for maintaining the fire alarms into wall murals, and as a result the sprinklers don't work.)
    • Mr. Verres also qualifies. As his boss noted, he has far too many important contacts in both the extraterrestrial and paranormal communities to get rid of without causing an incident. That doesn't save him from getting Kicked Upstairs though.
  • Josh in Comic Critics once left his job for months, and found it still waiting when he came back. As he explains it, he understands the storeowner's psychology in such a way as to avoid being fired: "I look at a life filled with bad decisions that led him to this point, and figure there's no reason for him to stop making them now."
  • Lampshaded in Mike: Bookseller. No one is quite sure how Carol is still employed at Booksellers.
  • MegaTokyo zig-zags this with Largo, who was actually hired as a "catastrophe management officer" because of his insanity and willingness to break numerous laws in the line of duty, but he eventually gets fired for taking it too far. His teaching job, meanwhile, is a straight example: he gets hired due to mistaken identity and keeps his job even though he rarely actually teaches English and constantly endangers the lives of his students and himself. This is repeatedly lampshaded by Junko.
  • Questionable Content's Tai routinely shows up to her job as a college library supervisor stoned out of her mind on either marijuana, LSD, or both, and never suffers any sort of disciplinary action for it. Contrast this with Faye, who appeared to play this trope straight by maintaining employment at Coffee of Doom despite being openly abusive to customers (justified in-universe by having the customers actually enjoy her abuse) and her co-workers, but finally crossed the line and lost her job when she showed up to work drunk and was caught topping up with a Quick Nip. This has caused more problems for Dora since Faye actually did a lot of work around the shop despite her issues, and Dora's working herself into exhaustion picking up the slack.

    Web Originals 
  • Agents of Cracked is an extreme example — Swaim manages to keep his job despite going on at least one killing spree. And the kidnapping. And the bomb threat. And the sexual harassment. Him getting fired for selling jokes to the competition is thus quite surprising, but his comedy savant abilities seem to be the only reason the Chief lets Swaim stay.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!: The episode "Toy Whorey" had a teacher who was explaining to Steve's class that he has tenure, and thus it's "virtually impossible" for him to get fired no matter what he does. As soon as he's finished that sentence, he proceeds to karate-kick a random student in the face right in front of the entire class.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Squidward Tentacles may be this trope incarnate. He openly despises his job at the Krusty Krab, often belittles and insults the customers to their faces, regularly sleeps on the job or dumps his workload on SpongeBob, and it's even implied from time to time that he's actually trying to get fired... and yet Mr. Krabs never does fire him. It's even a plot point in the episode "SpongeBob, You're Fired"; Mr. Krabs states that the only reason he's firing SpongeBob instead of Squidward, despite SpongeBob being a far more competent employee, is because Squidward has "seniority."
  • Archer: The titular character, as his mother is the head of ISIS, but the entire cast under her supervision could count, with countless cases of insubordination, incompetence, using company equipment for personal use, drug use on the job, and unprofessional sexual behavior, yet no one has been fired. It also helps that Archer is actually a highly effective field agent, if primarily in matters involving violence and assassination.
  • Futurama
    • Ogden Wernstrom was given tenure by the mayor in an emergency, only to abandon the city in its moment of need. The Mayor's thoughts on the subject? "Well, I'd fire him, but he's got tenure."
    • Which brings us to Zapp Brannigan, who somehow manages to keep his job despite being a vain womanizing idiot whose subordinates tend to die horribly. Subverted in "Brannigan Begin Again" where he and Kif were fired after Zapp stupidly destroyed the new headquarters of The Federation. They were then hired by Professor Farnsworth, prompting Zapp to later hijack the Planet Express ship and try to use it in a suicide mission against a neutral planet. Leela saves the day and is fully prepared to testify as to Brannigan's actions until she realizes that doing so would mean she'd be stuck with him - at which point she swears up and down that he was the hero of the piece, enabling him to get his job back and thus get him out of Planet Express.
  • Camp Lazlo: Bean Scoutmaster Algonquin C. Lumpus, who is generally extremely incompetent and apathetic, and doesn't even like being a Scoutmaster. At least until the Grand Finale, where he's finally removed... because it turns out he was never actually the Scoutmaster — he'd actually locked the previous Scoutmaster in a closet and stolen his job; The Reveal here gets him imprisoned as a dangerous lunatic.
  • The Simpsons: Homer Simpson takes this to the extreme. He's grossly incompetent, monstrously stupid, and frequently leaves his job to pursue insane "lifelong dreams" and spur-of-the-moment opportunities, yet keep coming back to the same job he's always had at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. To make matters more baffling, Monty Burns even seems to actively dislike him most of the time, yet even when Burns does fire him, Homer still winds up with the same old job again by the next episode (if not by the end of the current one).
    • It can be noted that Burns probably just doesn't care. He's cut so many corners in the plant that even if Homer was a model employee there'd still be glowing green ooze dripping from the ceiling. As for the dislike thing... keep in mind if you ask him at almost any point in time, he'll respond by wondering who this 'Simpson' chap you keep talking about is. Besides, you might as well apply this trope to everyone who works at the power plant, as they've all been repeatedly shown to be every bit as incompetent, lazy and stupid as Homer. If Frank Grimes hadn't been driven insane by Homer, the rest of his coworkers would have made it happen anyway.
    • The one time Homer was a model employee (in the "Flowers for Algernon" Syndrome episode HOMR), he got the plant closed for its numerous safety violations because his job (after the first couple episodes) is safety inspector. He's probably kept for his laziness and incompetence — he fills the (presumably required) "safety inspector" position without making waves.
    • "And Maggie Makes Three" brings up another factor: schadenfreude. Homer had previously quit the job (because he hated it), but had to return because the bowling alley didn't pay enough for him to support three children. Burns enjoys watching this pathetic doofus who made a fool of him too many times suffer. He even made a demotivational plaque just to rub it in (which ultimately didn't work).
    • Also, remember that the plant employees have a powerful union (The International Brotherhood of Jazz Dancers, Pastry Chefs and Nuclear Technicians) and Homer is the second-most senior employee after Smithers, so he's probably protected by the contract.
    • In one episode, Burns tries to silence the inspectors who require Homer to be fired, or get a real training. At this point it looks like Burns keeps the least competent employee in a nuclear power plant just For the Evulz.
    • Homer is hardly the only example of this trope in the series, and might not even be the worst one, as his security gets at least some explanation. There's Chief Wiggum, a morbidly obese and grossly incompetent cop who rats out his own undercover men by accident and releases dangerous criminals on the condition that they go to his son's party; Skinner, who is respected by nobody and barely manages to keep the school open; frankly virtually all the staff at Springfield Elementary, who show precious little care for their students and violate basic health principles like smoking and drinking in class; Mayor Quimby, an incredibly corrupt womanizer who still manages to stay in power for all eternity; and Lenny and Carl seem to be in much the same boat as Homer when it comes to nuclear incompetence. It's safest to say that Springfield is just made of Apathetic Citizens.
      • Lionel Hutz is a particular example. Up until the tenth season, the Simpsons family would always hire him for cases, even when they were actually better at law than him (mostly by virtue of his blistering incompetence). The fact that he's extremely cheap may have helped.
      Hutz: Mr. Mayor, is it true that you rigged the election?
      Bob: No, I did not.
      Hutz: (Beat) Kids, help.
  • Beavis and Butt-Head have never once shown any ounce of competence at their fast food job and have gotten the place closed for health code violations at least once, not to mention blatant workplace violations such as fighting each other in an attempt to earn workman's comp or going "on strike" and just refusing to work for no reason. Yet they were never shown having been fired.
    • Mr. Buzzcut is a sociopath who berates his students, assaults them, encourages bullying, and threatens his students with bodily harm. Despite this, he manages to keep his job, presumably because Principal Mc Vicker respects his views and often covers for him. The closest he gets to losing his job is in P.T.A., where Beavis and Butt-Head out him for his abusive behavior, which puts him under investigation. We are most likely meant to assume that the investigators visited the school offscreen and-unfortunately-the boys own behavior got Buzzcut cleared within 10 minutes (or less).
  • Gargoyles: In a more realistic world, Elisa Maza's tendency to lose guns, and her unannounced six-month disappearance, would have landed her several visits by the Internal Affairs department, if not outright dismissal. She remains a valued member of the 23rd Precinct. Word of God is that her boss, Cpt. Chavez, used to work under Elisa's father, and is a friend of the family, so she cuts Elisa a bit more slack than usual. Also, Elisa has a pretty solid arrest/conviction record, and her absence made her an ideal choice for an undercover operation in a new gang that popped up while she was away.
  • In his first appearance on The Fairly OddParents, Crocker mentions his tenure is so good he could get away with killing one of his students' parents with one of his fairy catching devices.
    "If they survive, they're FAIRIES!! If not, I HAVE TENURE!!"
    • This was averted in the Dutch dub of said episode however, in which Crocker stated he would get life in prison if he killed Timmy's parents (yet he was so convinced they were fairies he was willing to take that risk).
    • There is much more about Crocker that shows how good his tenure is; everybody, including the principal of his school, thinks he's crazy, his students constantly fail their tests since Crocker actually enjoys handing out F's, and don't forget how cruel he gets on March 15, yet he still has his job. In real life, a teacher like that would have been fired a dozen times by now.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, despite facing George Jetson Job Security in one episode, Heloise seems to get away with betraying her boss fairly often. This might be because the above mentioned incident ended with Lucius begging her to come back to work.
  • Occasionally lampshaded by Chief Quimby, who wondered why he continued to put up with Inspector Gadget after our hero had repeatedly blown him up with exploding assignment messages. The facts that the rest of the Metro City Police force was almost as incompetent as Gadget and the Inspector's extremely high success rate (most of which was due to Penny and Brain, although Gadget himself often made important contributions) probably had something to do with it.
  • King of the Hill episode, "Junkie Business" provide an example. The newly-hired Strickland Propane employee, Leon, is a drug-addict who barely does his job. He cannot be fired because he went to rehab before being officially fired and is diagnosed under Americans With Disabilities Act protecting him on the job. He takes advantage of the workplace (with the help of Anthony Page) adjusting to his settings and his behavior causes Hank to quit. This created a loophole reducing the workforce below the minimum requirement for AWDA to take effect, so Strickland promptly fires Leon.
  • On 6teen, Nikki is usually seen slacking off or insulting the clothes she's supposed to sell at the Khaki Barn. In the rare instance where she gets fired or quits on her own, Chrissy always re-hires her (usually by one begging the other), despite Nikki's past treatment of her and Kirsten and Kristen.
  • Most of the teachers in Daria should probably not be allowed to work anywhere near a school (save for maybe Ms Defoe or Mrs. Bennett), but special mention goes out to Mrs. Barch, a Straw Feminist and Sadist Teacher who has openly discriminated against the male students in her class, beat up another teacher on several occasions, and had a fling with Mr. O'Neal despite Ms. Li's rule against employee fraternization. Then again, Ms. Li has proven she isn't the greatest boss in the world either.
  • As revealed by Ron in Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama, the Cafeteria Lady, despite always dishing out mostly mystery meat to the disgust of the students, can not be fired.
  • DuckTales (2017) episode, "The Great Dime Chase!" invokes this. Scrooge's accountants want to fire Gyro and Quackfaster, but Scrooge tries to defend them, claiming that they're vital employees and not as insane and dangerous as their antics seem. After Gyro's latest invention turned evil barges into the meeting, Scrooge goes the other way and concedes that, yes, they are insane, but they're also insane enough to seek revenge if fired. The accountants unanimously agree to keep them employed, far away from their offices.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, Numbuh 13 seems to be universally despised by the entire organization, and for good reason. He's rude, incompetent, and a Walking Disaster Area who causes more problems than he helps solve, and blames everyone but himself. When he's kidnapped by the villains, the good guys don't want him back, even though the villains want them to take him back. For some strange reason, however, nobody in the organization's leadership has ever considered decommissioning him.
  • The Slimer! segments of The Real Ghostbusters had Slimer pal around at the Sedgewick Hotel with a Surfer Dude bellhop named Bud, who never gets fired in spite of all the time he spends slacking off his duties to hang out with Slimer.
  • Zhao in Avatar: The Last Airbender, no screw up is too big to get this guy into Ozai's bad books. Get publically humiliated by the Fire Lord's hated disappointment of a son? Have the Avatar handed to you on a silver platter and let him slip through your fingers? Lose the Avatar and the notorious deserter General Jeong Jeong in the same day? You'll not only keep you job, you'll get promoted and eventually become commander-in-chief. You have to wonder what Ozai would have done if Zhao's "doom the planet" strategy had worked out as intended.

    Real Life 
  • Until the sex abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was made public, Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno had the ultimate job security. Minor infractions with the NCAA, disagreements with the administration, several successive poor seasons and underachieving teams ... none of that seemed to matter until Sandusky's arrest in November 2011. When the facts became clear, Paterno – who had been the head coach since 1966, and part of the coaching staff from 1950-1965 – was quickly outed for failure to show leadership and refer an alleged incident involving the sexual assault of a child (which purportedly was reported to him) to law enforcement.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court. While it is technically possible to impeach and remove someone from the office of justice of the Supreme Court, the last time it was attempted was when Justice Samuel Chase was impeached in 1804. He was acquitted. Effectively, only the icy scythe of death snips judges out of office.
    • That being said, it's not unheard of for Supreme Court justices to resign of their own volition before their term is up, usually because they are so old they can't be sure they'll survive the next President's term and don't want to die when their political opponents are in charge of replacing them.
    • Impeachment (attempted or otherwise) against United States federal judges at any level is quite rare, to the point where it's basically unheard of. Eight have actually been removed, and three resigned under pressure after proceedings began.
  • Most nations have some mechanism that makes it very difficult to dismiss judges, in order to prevent the executive or legislature dismissing judges who make decisions they don't like. Whilst it doesn't always translate into this trope, it can. The great British judge Lord Denning stayed on the bench until he was 83, by which point his mental faculties were...patchy.
  • This mentality and how it happens in real life was lampshaded by Jaison in Survivor: Samoa, where he said that every job had two people like Natalie and Russell Hantz. Russell Hantz was that person who was very good at the job but is clearly not working there to make friends, and is naturally the person who only cares about work and nothing more. Natalie meanwhile is the person who's there to make friends and is invited to all the office parties - and keeps the morale going because people want to work with them.
  • Computer programmers sometimes jokingly call poor coding practices and examples thereof "Job Security". The reasoning is that they can't fire you if you're the only one who understands the code enough to maintain it. People who attempt to take advantage of it will either code in round-about methods or maintain traps and back doors to ensure that nobody else can do their job.
    • It's worth noting that tech companies have gotten smart about this and will fire someone on the spot for attempting this. There are strict guidelines about code syntax to make it easy to read, and breaking them is grounds for immediate termination, precisely because they don't want to lose six months of work upon replacing the only person who understands the program. If your coding sucks and you're new or they're desperate for help, they may give you one chance to clean it up. That is, unless it's obvious that it's intentionally bad in order to give yourself job security or your bad coding resulted in something getting seriously messed up. Even then, it's a matter of "you have one chance to make this right and stop coding incompetently, as we're all sick of maintaining what does work and fixing what doesn't after we figure out what you're even trying to do with it".
    • In 2008, Governator Schwarzenegger ordered the firing of every temporary and part-time employee of the State of California, and the reduction of the survivors' pay to minimum wage. Only then did he discover that the only people who knew the state's payroll software well enough to implement the latter directive had been victims of the former...
    • As a joke goes, programmers never retire, they just move to consulting about systems written in outdated programming languages.
    • The above explains why Gerald Weinberg, in The Psychology of Computer Programming (written in the 1970s, and still applicable), states that if a programmer becomes indispensable, you should fire him immediately. On the other hand, Michael A. Jackson tells of bosses who find indecipherable complexity a sign of genius and simple and elegant solutions just dumb luck.
    • This can be a problem at the academic level if you have a professor who teaches students to find their own coding style and go with what works best for them. This is one of the worst things that you can teach; while it is good to figure out a style that works for you, it's imperative to make sure that others can understand it; professors who see bizarre coding styles as something to be embraced rather than corrected are setting students up for a long line of job-related difficulties. As many a veteran programmer has said, "you may have a style that's all yours, but I don't want to be the one who gets stuck having to maintain it".
  • Computer System Administrators. Bitter, angry, many bordering insanity. On the other hand, you don't want to fire someone who has root-access to your computer system unless you really really have to.
  • Tenure for academics is not quite this, but it's very, very close. Although granting it is supposed to be based on credentials and accomplishments (and limit favoritism and arbitrary dismissals as well as foster loyalty), it's not uncommon for members of a board to try to block people they don't like from becoming tenured just because it means they'll be stuck with them as coworkers for the foreseeable future - sometimes decades.
    • Example: It can take as long as seven years and $350,000 dollars to fire only one incompetent teacher in the New York City Public Schools.
    • Another example: Los Angeles Unified School District has a policy of 'housing' teachers accused of being unfit for their jobs - placing them on indefinite paid leave, as opposed to firing them or putting them in non-teaching duties (this is based upon management's interpretation of the teacher contract, and, well, not wanting people to do jobs they aren't qualified for). A 2009 case involved Matthew Kim, a former Special Education teacher with Cerebral Palsy, who had been on the payroll for seven years since being removed from teaching over a sexual harassment accusal, costing the school district $2 million in salary and legal fees over that time without either teaching or otherwise performing work for LA Unified (though, to be clear, much of that figure comes from the murky results of the lawsuit Kim filed alleging he had been specifically targeted because of his handicapped status). Of course, the counter-argument is that accused is the key word, and that any public employee has the right to appeal to an independent body. (story)
  • It is nearly impossible to fire some people from their day jobs because they are prominent members of unions. If the company does fire them, then they can expect the union to pull out all the stops, much more so than firing a normal union member. That said, if the employee's union decides that someone else could do their job in the union better, they are no longer protected.
  • In Japan, labor laws make it quite hard to outright fire an employee. So instead the company would gradually relieve the employee of duties (and the associated pay), until he resigns.
  • Job security in Sweden has been criticized for being ultimate. This is not quite true - the law recognizes dismissal on the grounds of harassing your co-workers or gross misconduct - but we're talking really bad stuff here, like endangering other people. It is doubtful whether you can be fired for slacking around. If the employee in question is friends with the worker's union, most employers find it easier to buy them off, as they (the employers) will face lawsuits or strikes otherwise. Oh, and even when doing layoffs, you don't get to decide who stays and who has to go. The law says that the employee hired last has to be fired first. All this goes only for salaried workers, while temps and hourlies can be more easily laid off. And then the unions wonder why employers tend to avoid employing on a monthly basis whenever possible.
  • The banking system in general: Even after a string of notorious crashes and bailouts, nearly everyone in any position of responsibility still has their job, having created a financial system so complex that no individual could neither fully understand its machinations, nor be held particularly responsible for its dysfunction, and all those who come closest are probably already employed in the system. It's a really, really crappy situation for anyone not in such a position. Which is to say, pretty much every other taxpayer.
    • This is also Vetinari Job Security: any other system to manage financing in a modern economy would be just as complicated.
  • Public jobs in Brazil: you're unlikely to get fired unless you royally screw things up (e.g. are caught stealing from your workplace).
    • Likewise fonctionnaires (civil servants) in France. The general perception being that they do no work and have a truckload of perks, but are essentially impossible to fire.
    • A lot of the problems with Greece's finances stem from their civil servants enjoying this trope.
    • It is also present in Germany, but is compensated for with civil servants being forbidden from unionizing and having to accept whatever the government feels like paying them.
    • And in Britain, much to the chagrin of the British military, who usually bear the brunt of budget cuts and are known for having George Jetson Job Security. After a cock-up left the British Army with a completely useless assault rifle, they nicknamed it "the Civil Servant": it doesn't work and it can't be fired.
    • Note that this can also lead to frustration among the public servants themselves, at least the ones who care about actually doing a good job. The Beleaguered Bureaucrats who are forced to spend a lot of time cleaning up the messes their coworkers make would be just as happy to see the incompetents shown the door, rather than have to keep putting up with them.
  • Hans-Ulrich Lutz, a pilot with the now-defunct Swiss airline Crossair, managed to keep his job despite several on-the-job blunders-such as retracting the landing gear of a plane while it was still on the ground and nearly landing at the wrong airport due to a navigation error. Unfortunately, this would come back to bite Crossair when Lutz crashed a plane near Zurich, killing himself along with 23 other passengers and crew.
  • Monarchy. There is often only one way to fire a monarch. Hopefully they Know When to Fold 'Em.
  • This is quoted as one of the main reasons of unemployment in private companies in France. Nobody wants to hire because, unless your employee commits an Epic Fail that potentially endangers the company or actively tries to sink it, you have to go through a precise legal procedure where even a tiny mistake (such as sending a letter too soon) can result in a trial against you (the guy will still need a very good lawyer in case of a major blunder, though). If the employee can prove he/she's been fired due to a bias of the employer (discrimination, minor fault, etc.), in 99 cases out of 100, you'll have to re-hire the employee or pay very large fines and severance packages.
  • James St. James, a Millikin University professor who turned out to have murdered his father, mother and sister back when he was 15, yet was allowed to keep his job and remained popular with his students even after this fact was revealed.
  • Averted in characteristic fashion in the Soviet Union under Stalin - the idea was that if anyone made themselves indispensable, it was time to dispense of them because they were working against Soviet ideals and trying to take advantage of others and their expertise. But it was more like Stalin wanted to get rid of anyone who could ever hope to be a threat. This caused predictable problems in fields like wartime intelligence.
    • This backfired horribly when the Germans invaded in World War II. The competent military leaders had all been purged or reassigned to Siberia as it was assumed they posed a threat. When the Germans invaded, the results were disastrous, and only the size of the Soviet Union kept them from being overrun. After the war, most were quickly reassigned back, but some like Marshal Zhukov were too good, and popular, to get rid of.
    • Played straight at the same time - sure, it was easy to get arrested in USSR, but getting fired was a much bigger challenge; one tiny mistake made by your HR department, and you can force your way back in. This resulted in a common practice, which continues even in modern Russia, of employers trying their best to reach some sort of understanding with employees and convince them to resign of their own volition, rather than go through a complicated legal process.
  • Shepard "Shep" Smith, anchor for right-leaning Fox News, has no qualms whatsoever about challenging the party line on an astonishingly regular basis and making conservative and liberal guests alike look like idiots when they don't have their facts straight, including calling out Republican Senators for blocking the 9/11 First Responders' healthcare bill, asking why so many Republicans are firmly seating themselves "on the wrong side of history" regarding gay marriage, harshly condemning Fox's spreading of panic about ebola, using a Precision F-Strike to punctuate his vehement opposition to torture, and utterly debunking the idea that climate change isn't real. Virtually every clip of him on YouTube has at least one comment wondering why he hasn't been fired yet. He is also responsible for the highest-rated show on the channel (and the second- or third-highest-rated news show on TV), polled as the second-most-respected news anchor in the country, and has been with Fox News since there's been a Fox News. He really is just that good.
    Shep Smith: Our talk shows are what they are. This is the news.
  • Ike Perlmutter, chairman (formerly CEO) of Marvel Entertainment, appears to have this. He has acquired such a stake in Marvel thanks to his toy company helping the comic company get out of bankruptcy that Disney can't fire him despite virtually no one in the company liking him thanks to his excessively cheap ways (Mickey Rourke was originally offered just $250K to co-star in Iron Man 2) and less-than-subtle bigotry (it was reportedly his doing that there were few Black Widow toys for years, and he said all black people look the same as his excuse for replacing Terrence Howard with Don Cheadle as War Machine). The best Disney could do was restructure Marvel Studios in 2015 so Kevin Feige is now completely in charge of the movies and reports directly to Disney's chairman, leaving Perlmutter to just run the comics side of Marvel.
  • Jeff Fisher, Head Coach of the St. Louis/LA Rams and, before them, the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans. With the exception of two seasons, he's been a Head Coach since 1995. In that time, he has had 6 playoff appearances (of which he's lost 3 times in the first round). He's had a .500 record or lower in 16 of his seasons as a head coach. He has also not had a record above .500 since 2008, spanning his final 2 seasons in Tennessee, and his last 4 in St. Louis/LA, and not including the current (2016) season. Overall, his coaching record with both is barely above .500. For comparison, following the 2015 season, former Giants head coach Tom Coughlin was fired (or rather asked to resign) for having 3 consecutive sub-.500 seasons and 1 playoff appearance in 7 years, despite having won 2 Super Bowls with the Giants. In 2016, Jeff Fisher received a contract extension in the middle of what will be a 5th consecutive sub-.500 season with the Rams.
    Eric Dickerson: I’ll say it again; where are the naked pictures? Who has them? Because something is going on here to hire this guy back again for another two seasons.
  • A rather negative example of this trope. Until Buzzfeed published an article about it during the fallout of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, this was the case with former DC Comics editor Eddie Berganza. He was a serial sexual-harasser, and was reported to their HR department, but very little action was taken against him. This went on for over a decade until the aforementioned article gave DC enough of a bad publicity to finally fire him in November 2017.
  • Several comic book writers remain employed despite the low quality of their work and unprofessional conduct towards fans.
    • The industry was hurting over a decade ago and never fully recovered from the collapse of the 90's, and all the writing talent moved on to independent work, so these companies hired the cheapest talent they could find - the aforementioned writers. In the grand scheme of things, monthly books are a single-digit percentile of Marvel's IP (DC is very much the same). The comic books exist for the sole purpose to 'pad the shelves'.

    • Most of these writers believed that by the time it got to that point, their pet projects would have TV/Movie deals and they'd have steady royalties from that. They also believed that if Marvel or DC cut them- they'd have work elsewhere.

    • That is why they were so absurdly volatile on Social Media; they didn't have 'an agenda', they wanted to draw attention to themselves and they knew that hitting these hot-button topics and lashing out on divisive topics would draw focus to them, and thus the odds of that Movie/TV deal got better, exponentially.

    • This behavior is potentially coming back to bite them due to the recent Covid-19 pandemic requiring self-quarantine; money is scarce and big publishers are stopping most work on comics. These writers now have to self-publish instead of depending on Marvel or DC to foot their bills.

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