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Basic Trope: Time Travel or a Flash Forward shows that a character will be extremely successful in his future career.

  • Straight: Average Joe, who works at a Burger Fool job, travels into the future and discovers that in just four years, he will be vice president of the national corporation that owns the chain. He's also married to a supermodel.
  • Exaggerated: Joe travels four years into the future and discovers that his future self is king of the world.
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  • Downplayed: Average Joe, who works at a Burger Fool job, travels into the future and discovers that in four years, he will be promoted to the manager of the restaraunt he was working at, after his four years of dedicated work is finally recognized.
  • Justified:
    • Joe's future self got rich by using Time Travel for Fun and Profit, the same method of Time Travel that his present self was using. With a copy of The Wall Street Journal for next week, he knew which stocks to invest in.
    • Alternately, Current!Joe already put all the events in motion that led to Future!Joe's success; all he's seeing is how those plans turned out.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted: Future Joe talks with Present Joe and claims to be extremely successful. But for whatever reason, he was lying.
  • Double Subverted:
    • The future self at first appears to be a highly successful doctor. This turns out to be a fake. However ... the reason for the fake was that he is a highly successful FBI agent busting a scheme to harvest people's organs without their consent.
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    • Future Joe was lying, but Joe becomes successful in Future Joe’s future.
  • Parodied: Present!Joe gets drunk for the first time, and passes out in a ditch. Then he falls asleep and dreams about a highly successful future for himself. This successful future reminisces about how "The last mistake I ever made was that day, four years ago, when I got drunk and passed out. Ever since then, everything I've ever done has been successful, so here I am, with everything I ever wanted."
  • Zig-Zagged:
    • Alice, Bob, and Joe travel into the future, and they are naïve enough to think that they will all be overnight successes. In their future, only Joe is Ridiculously Successful, Bob is a Future Loser (much more of a loser than in the present), and Alice is just as average as she is in the present.
    • Four years in the future, Joe is ridiculously successful. But he also travels forward eight years, and finds that all his success in Year Four has been undone. Joe-from-eight-years-in-the future is no more successful than you would expect from the character traits and cirumstances of Present-Day!Joe.
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  • Averted: Pretty much any life path but extreme success. Or no time travel at all, or there is time travel but it doesn't involve finding any knowledge about the main characters' future selves.
  • Enforced: The writer had wish fulfillment as his motive for writing his story, just as this is his readers' motive for reading it.
  • Lampshaded: Joe thinks to himself that this reminds him of a quote from The Devil's Dictionary:
    Future:
    n. That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured.
  • Invoked: See "Justified."
  • Exploited: Joe borrows money from his future self for his own present-day purposes, figuring it will just grow his own future wealth.
  • Defied: The Rival time-travels from the future to the present to undo the "wrong" (from his own envious point of view) of Joe's becoming so rich.
  • Discussed: "I can't wait to see my own future as a rich rock star!"
  • Conversed: "Why do you watch this show? Oooh, this loser becomes a millionaire! But instead of thinking up a plausible reason for this to happen, they just sent him four years into the future and said that every event in his life made him become rich! Well, I suppose I shouldn't be taking it so seriously."
  • Deconstructed: Joe travels into the future, finds that his future self is ridiculously successful, and given the way time travel works in this fictional Verse, Joe has the option of just staying in the future and enjoying his future self's success, without having to work for it. However, he ends by learning the Aesop that he can't be truly successful if he avoids the character-building and skill-building that made his future self successful.
  • Reconstructed: The future self gives a character-building explanation: the same Aesop above. This Aesop is, in fact, the reason why he was able to grow as a person and become this successful in the first place.
  • Played for Drama: Joe travels fourteen years into the future and finds out he'll become President of the United States, and will bring world peace right when the world was on the brink of nuclear war. But presently, Joe has no idea how he becomes President and even less of an idea how he'll bring world peace. In fact, Joe doesn't know the first thing about politics, but he must find a way to become President and bring world peace within fourteen years, or else the world will be subjected to nuclear armageddon.
  • Played for Laughs: Joe is determined to make something of himself, but when he does, he finds he's even more a figure of fun than before.
  • Implied: Joe only sees himself walking past Burger Fool on his way to his job by then, not whether he'll have moved up or down from that. He chooses to believe it will be up.

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