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Basic Trope: A character vacates their job, and nobody else can do it properly.

  • Straight: Bob is vice president in charge of accounting in a large company. When he retires, newcomer Alice is assigned his job, and makes serious mistakes that cost the company millions.
  • Exaggerated: Bob is the leader of a large country, which instantly collapses upon his death.
  • Downplayed: The accounting department is thrown into chaos for a week, but the problems are fixed once Alice figures a few things out.
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  • Justified: Bob is very good at his job, and it is harder than the new VP was expecting.
  • Inverted: Bob was incompetent, and when Alice takes over she fixes most of the problems he created or exacerbated and helps the company greatly.
  • Subverted:
    • Alice is shown to be relatively incompetent, and when she takes over everyone expects disaster, but it turns out the position is mainly a figurehead one, and even Alice can't cause much damage from it.
    • Alice's job is incredibly important, but the rest of the employees either don't know that or don't care, leading to them denigrating her.
  • Double Subverted: Alice turns VP of accounting into a more active position.
  • Parodied: After Bob goes on vacation for a week, several unrelated problems start appearing. As soon as he returns, they instantly disappear.
  • Zig-Zagged: (Continued from Double Subverted) It turns out that Alice wasn't as dumb as she seemed, and she does a good job in her new role. Then she quits, and when Charlie takes over from her, he causes a disaster.
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  • Averted: The transition of power goes smoothly and the company works as well (or poorly, as the case may be) with Alice overseeing its accounting as it did with Bob doing that.
  • Enforced: The writers wanted to show that Bob was good at his job, and Alice has his very big shoes to fill.
  • Lampshaded: "Gee, we sure have had a lot of problems since Bob left."
  • Invoked: Bob set this up so that the company would suffer if he left so that he couldn't be fired.
  • Exploited: Charlie buys up lots of the company's stock after it plummets, and then sells it after the company recovers.
  • Defied:
    • Bob helps Alice learn how to do the job so that she doesn't cause a disaster.
    • Even if Bob makes everything run smoothly to the point that it looks like if he so much as takes an extended bathroom break everything will come crashing down, he still gets fired/killed/etc. It may be that whoever does so is too full of Unstoppable Rage (or is Ax-Crazy or actively desires anarchy) to care, or it may be an attempt to deliver a message that nobody is irreplaceable (either to Bob or to everybody else), or it may be that Bob has committed so many violations that whoever else is in charge has decided it's just better to take their chances with the inevitable 'reconstruction' period.
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    • Bob is fired and his work outsourced as soon as the boss gets fed up with his antics. If he lasts any longer after his warning is because his boss decided to secures a good deal for it before turning Bob redundant.
  • Discussed: "You know how there's always this one jerk in every job that tries to make himself look indispensable so nobody can fire him no matter what, otherwise everything comes to a screeching halt? Well, Bob's that guy."
  • Conversed:
    • "Bob is too important to ditch. That's kind of the problem. He's the only guy who can make things work 'round here. If we fired him, if he got sick, if he went on strike—hell, if he takes too much time to get here in the morning? Whole damn place would fall apart, just like that!"
    • "Is it better to be feared or loved? No. It's better to be indispensable."
  • Implied: Bob is said at first to be the most composed and competent person on the board, then the person who really makes it all run.
  • Deconstructed:
    • Bob hates his job. Unfortunately, no one else can do it. When Alice fails at this, Bob is forced back into the role.
    • Everyone realizes that when Bob inevitably dies, things will become much worse.
    • Bob will never be fired because he's so indispensable, but unfortunately this means he will never be given any raises (at least in an official manner). Additionally, if he loses his job somehow, he will be unable to find similar work because other business owners won't want him usurping their authority.
    • Bob can't be replaced, but this also means that if he ever so much as catches a 24-hour cold, the whole business is doomed. And nobody can do anything about that.
    • Being impossible to fire no matter what is the kind of power that challenges people's character and morality very greatly. Because of this, Bob becomes a Jerkass very quickly. Consequently, Bob will walk the road to becoming so hated that people will risk their complete ruin for the sake of smacking the sneer off his face sooner rather than later.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Bob learns to love the job or can find a suitable replacement.
    • Bob is given immortality.
    • Alternatively for Deconstructed #2, the job dies with him and/or other people change it into something more manageable.
    • Bob lives modestly and doesn't demand raises.
    • Bob avoids getting sick through good hygiene, a proper diet, and extensive exercise.
    • Understanding that with the impressive power that he wields within his company Comes Great Responsibility, Bob practices being a Benevolent Boss. Nobody ever considers firing him because nobody ever wants him to leave.
  • Played for Laughs: Everyone hates Bob due to his antics, but they always need him (in a societal version of Bunny-Ears Lawyer). Whenever they try to get rid of him, Hilarity Ensues.
  • Played for Drama: Alice gets no training before being given a job far above her skill level. Inevitably, she fails, whereupon everyone in the company blames her completely.

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