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Playing With / Lonely at the Top

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Basic Trope: A character who becomes successful starts to loathe the success because of what it cost them.

  • Straight: Bob works hard to ascend the corporate ladder at the expense of anything else in his life. However, when he becomes a CEO, he realizes there is no one left to celebrate the success with him.
  • Exaggerated: Bob becomes a CEO and is the most loathed individual in town, to the point that even his subordinates avoid talking to him unless necessary.
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  • Downplayed: Bob works hard to become the CEO. Despite the necessity in sacrificing other things in his life, and making unpopular decisions, he works hard to keep his integrity and to keep in touch with other aspects of his life. Some of his "friends" and "relatives" move on, but Bob's immediate family and true friends remain as true companions.
  • Justified:
    • Bob really had to do some unsavory things to get his high position. He didn't really see what he was doing until he got all the way there.
    • Alternately, Bob had to make unpopular and seemingly dumb choices to preserve his integrity in his mission. His superficial and not-so-superficial friends moved on, considering him a prudish loser.
  • Inverted:
    • Bob wants very badly to succeed, but doesn't because he's afraid he'll compromise his morals.
    • Alternatively, Bob, formerly an arrogant CEO, starts quitting jobs and moving down from career ladder. In the process, his personality changes to be much more friendly and makes friends along the way. At the end, he's a simple worker, but very happy and with lots of friends.
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    • The Last DJ.
    • Bob wants to be alone, and he chooses to do so by getting promoted to the top of the company, alienating everyone he knows in the process so he doesn't have to interact with them anymore.
  • Subverted: Bob seems to still have several friendships that have survived his various deeds.
  • Double Subverted: However, it becomes clear later on that those people are just hangers-on who are only into Bob for his success.
  • Parodied: Bob is an office worker who gets a promotion to middle management. Immediately afterwards he becomes a veritable pit of self-loathing because of the people he may have hurt.
  • Zig Zagged: Bob seems to have several friendships that later appear to be superficial. But even among those people, there are some that truly care for Bob.
  • Averted:
    • Bob doesn't do anything despicable when he's becoming successful.
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    • Bob is actually selfish enough to care about no one but himself and what he wants, so he doesn't care if what he did to achieve his position brought misery on somebody else.
  • Enforced: "Ambition Is Evil, right? So let's show a successful character who had to do bad things to get where he is!"
  • Lampshaded:
    • "Agh, why did I do those things? All I have to show for it is this lousy corner office!"
    • (Gesturing to his office) "Behold, the throne room of the king of the world, everything at his fingertips." (Gestures at himself) "Behold-the king of nothing he wants anymore."
  • Invoked: Pyrrhic Victory
  • Exploited: Bob's Gold Digger Hot Consort motivates him to achieve, no matter what it takes, so she can enjoy a life of luxury in exchange of her company since he's got no one else to spend leisure time with now.
  • Defied: Bob flat out refuses to do anything that compromises his morals.
  • Discussed: "I should have realized from those soap operas my ex watched that the successful guys are always lonely."
  • Conversed: ???
  • Deconstructed: Bob is never able to reconcile what he did with his current position, and as a result is never able to fully enjoy his success.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Bob eventually comes to terms with his wrongdoings and rebuilds the bridges he once burnt.
    • Bob made decisions that were unpopular, or just simply detrimental in the short term, and as a result, 90% of his friends and acquaintances left him. Initially, Bob felt lonely for a while, until his immediate family, his true friends, and his few faithful subordinates reminded him that his integrity was what brought him to the top.

It's Lonely at the Top. Care to keep a trope company?

Example of: