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Marge: We've met you many times, Ms. Naegle. Why do you keep changing jobs?

Lindsay Naegle: I'm a sexual predator.
The Simpsons, "Blame it on Lisa"

Jack Benny: You again!! Every time I met you, you have another job! You're my waiter, my bellboy, my shop clerk! Now you're a lawyer?!?

Frank Nelson: Well, at least I am trying to better myself in life, what's your excuse?

This is a Recurring Character that exists to fill in random jobs at any variety of businesses the main characters visit. And we mean any variety, no setup or explanation necessary.

May overlap with Honest John's Dealership. Compare Inexplicably Identical Individuals and Recurring Extra, which is a less specific and less likely to be plot relevant version, and The Generic Guy where the character has little relevance to the plot at all. Also compare when a person has a steady job (for now, at least) but who seems to have had insane amounts of former jobs which pertain everything to plumbing for royalty to fighting to unusual research projects.

Examples of Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs? include:


Anime & Manga

  • Touya in Cardcaptor Sakura, and as is typical of the trope, it isn't clear if he keeps changing jobs or if he is just holding down a phenomenal number of part time jobs all at the same time. In a variation, though, he's the main character's brother and unknown Secret Keeper, as opposed to just being a background joke character with no importance to the plot.
    • Sakura herself comments that her brother holds a LOT of part time jobs, because Touya wants to make and save as much money possible, so he could go to college without being a burden for his father.
      • Another reason is implied: he changes jobs to look after her.
    • He even works in jobs across series -- showing up in cameo jobs in Kobato. as well as across universes, showing up several times in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle at various jobs.
  • Speaking of Kobato., Fujimoto is another main character who keeps changing jobs -- however, he does this to earn as much money as he can to support Sayaka.
  • She never actually changes job titles, but the waitress from Black Cat works at four or five different restaurants over the course of the series.
  • A minor character in Suzuka has as many different jobs as she has appearances.
  • Galaxy Angel featured Patrick, Jonathan, and Gasteau, who had a different job each time they appeared in an episode, from imperial officers to doctors (though they were more often than not villains). They tended to be Faceless Goons in later seasons.
  • Ayane's Stealth Mentor in Ayanes High Kick is working a different job every time he's seen, because he's honestly kind of a loser.
  • In Rosario to Vampire Capu2, Ruby continues to change what job she's working at the school frequently. One time she's working as a waitress, the next she's helping out the nurse on Measuring Day. She needed something to do ever since her transition from Dark Magical Girl.
  • The Mahoraba manga has a Anime Chinese Girl that ends all of her sentences with ~yo who's just not competent enough to keep a job for long.
  • Minori Kushieda from Toradora! holds many jobs. She's captain of the softball club, a waitress at a restaurant, a part-time helper at a convenience store... Seems like she is following the advice of someone from a manga...
  • Narukami from Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok... yes, the god Thor. He's really not good at keeping money.
  • In Outlaw Star, Aisha Clan-Clan (after being fired from her diplomatic/military position) takes up a rather large number of waitressing positions. Given her tendency to attack people she should be serving, which often results in the whole restaurant being destroyed, it's amazing she can still find work.
  • One middle-aged woman can be found in almost every episode of Lucky Star, working in a different field every time. Whether it's actually meant to be the same woman isn't exactly clear, though... Especially since one of the later episodes has six or seven of them on screen at the same time.
  • One of the many reasons Hayate the Combat Butler is skilled and knowledgeable in everything before his current employment, he had to work as a child for his dead-beat parents with a lot of different jobs. He's just got one now, but we hear about his past now and then.
    • Also, Santa Claus (or someone that resembles him) has been shown to work at various jobs.
  • Tamami from Chocotto Sister takes on more jobs than she can handle and then tries to let Haruma take the less attractive ones.
  • Yunyun from Canaan always seems to have exactly the job that will allow her to run into the main cast, which eventually allows her to join the cast in their antics. Subverted, though: she's not doing it just for the money or the thrill, but as The Mole for their enemies.
    • Could also be a reference to the potential after effects of China's economic growth spurt, as Yunyun mentions that many in the slums take up several part-time jobs to make ends meet.
  • Li Shenshun from Darker Than Black always happens to be working at whatever place is most plot-relevant at the moment -- of course, Li is the civilian alias of the "Black Shinigami" Hei...
  • Hasegawa in Gintama is either in a brand new job or without one. The explanation is because he is a MADAO. Also because he keeps asking Gintoki & Co. to help him with his jobs.
  • From Hell Girl, Ai Enma's minions are often shown with different jobs as they observe a prospective client before the string is pulled, except in season three where they all keep the same jobs in a school since they're hanging out with the girl who's supposed to be replacing their current boss.
  • The cast of Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service falls into this trope fairly often. Since the filling-the-last-wishes-of-the-dead business tends to be sporadic, they often fill it in with an astonishing array of contract or part-time jobs -- from moving tombstones to faking alien crop circles.
    • It's usually the perpetually underemployed trio of Yata, Numata and Karatsu who are seen doing the heavy lifting, but Keiko often turns up in a number of unlikely consulting jobs due to her extremely-rare-in-Japan expertise in embalming. Sasaki seems to be the only one who holds a steady job. Of course, that steady job is selling celebrity gore photographs to fetishists, but hey, it's a living.
  • Throughout the series, the Landlady of Hidamari Sketch has been shown having a variety of jobs: delivering pizza coupon fliers and temping at the Berry-Mart, along with other, unspecified part-time jobs.
  • In the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime, Psiren, the local Phantom Thief, keeps changing jobs to avoid being caught by the police. The brothers Elric first meet her when she's working in a hospital, then changes to school nurse, nun, etc. This trope is called out by name by Edward when they meet her in her nun get-up: "Why the hell do you keep changing jobs?!"
  • Tojo from Beelzebub. One possible explanation for his constant shuffling of part-time jobs is because he keeps into trouble when rival gang members show up to fight him.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Hilde Schbeiker becomes a MS pilot for OZ, a junk dealer with Duo, a spy and a hacker. In the Frozen Teardrop novel, she becomes a nurse, a librarian, an expert in nano technology and a nun.


Comics

  • The character of Mabel in Cathy shows up as a clothing store clerk, travel agent, bank teller, etc.
  • Uncle Ruckus of The Boondocks, everything from ice cream trucks to school buses to janitorial duty.
  • Pearls Before Swine: Rat has been everything from a stockbroker to an oil executive.
  • Donald Duck has done many different jobs. Many of them while forced by Uncle Scrooge to do so.
    • His uncle Scrooge is no slouch either: before becoming rich he did the shoe shiner, the firewood (later peat) seller, cared for cows on the boat that brought him to America, the sailor on his uncle's river boat, river captain, sailor again, cowboy, a brief stint as a sailor on the Cutty Sark, an actor for the Wild West Show (according to Buffalo Bill, Scrooge actually came up with the idea!), the prospector, another stint as a sailor to pay the travel for Klondike, and the prospector again. After becoming rich he did the banker, directed a sawmill, armed ships, SOLD LEMONADE, and traveled the world to create and buy companies, mines and other things that would make him richer (including the ENTIRE STOCK MARKET in 1929), before settling in Duckburg. And I probably missed a few jobs...
  • Big Nate has "School Picture Guy", who when not the photographer has shown up as a clown, a reporter, etc...
  • Hieronymus Jobs in one story by Wilhelm Busch. (He's just the 18th century equivalent of a spoilt upper class son.)


Films -- Animation

  • Wallace and Gromit seem to change careers during their last three features; in A Close Shave, they had a window-cleaning operation; in Curse of the Were-Rabbit they ran a humane pest-control service, and in A Matter of Loaf and Death, they converted their home into a bakery.
    • It looks like the fatal flaw in their plan is usually the attempt to integrate Wallace's fundamental inventorship into the new job; it seems like everything Wallace invents is useful for the plot of the feature, but once they've saved the day, the market dries up. If they wanted a stable job, they should look at what the neighborhood is in constant need of, and then invent something to deal with that. But then there wouldn't be any more plots.
    • This is continued in the Telltale Games adventures, where Wallace starts up an ice cream business, a detective agency, a beekeeping business and a seaside resort, the latter two operating out of his cellar.


Films -- Live-Action

  • Bert in Mary Poppins goes through several jobs and street performances in the course of the film: one-man-band, pavement chalk artist, chimney sweep, kite seller. He also mentions selling hot chestnuts, though we don't see him doing it.
    • This follows the book, in which he is a jack-of-all-trades. The chimney sweep is a separate character, but they just added it to Bert's repertoire for the movie.
    • Mocked by Mitchell and Webb in their 'Zombie Poppins' sketch:

 "Maybe you'll see me next week, advertising a golf sale! What am I doing with my life? I need structure!"

  • Che, in the film adaptation of the Webber/Rice musical Evita, appears as a waiter, valet, projectionist, student protester... indeed in just about any capacity other than Marxist icon Che Guevara, who was the narrator and Deadpan Snarker in the original stage version. In contrast, the film's Che (no last name) is not only a Lemony Narrator but also The Everyman.
  • Ramone in The Proposal is apparently a waiter, stripper, storekeeper, and minister. Then again, it is Alaska, maybe there's a shortage.
  • Gordon Urquhart in Local Hero is an innkeeper, lawyer, town mayor, and drives a cab during the busy season due to living in a small town.
  • Chico's character in A Night at the Opera. "[You thought I worked at] The circus? That was ages ago. Last week. I have lotsa jobs since then."
  • In Brain Donors, the character played by Mel Smith is not only a cab driver, but also cleans swimming pools and runs his own toupee business. In fact, he's only driving the cab as a sideline. As soon as he gets his drivers license, he's out of there.
  • Name all the jobs The Three Stooges have had. It may take a while. Granted, during the Great Depression, quite a few of the occupations were "vagrant", "drifter", "bum", and "none".
  • From Scott Pilgrim vs. the World:
  • A bunch of activists in PCU keep changing causes.
  • Bruce Campbell's unnamed character moves upwards in society through the Spider-Man Trilogy. In the first movie he's a wrestling announcer, in the second he's an usher at a posh theater, and in the third he's working at a fancy French restaurant (speaking with an awful fake accent).


Literature

  • Shawn Ogg in the Discworld novels set in Lancre is, among other things, the captain of the guard, the entire army, the Royal Historian, a footman, the postman, and the conductor of the Lancre Light Symphony Orchestra. But his most important job is cleaning the privies. You can do without a Royal Historian for a week, but if the privies haven't been cleaned, you'll know about it.
    • Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler is another prominent example. Sure, he inevitably returns to his primary business of selling what are technically sausages "inna bun", but whenever a new industry begins to form in Ankh-Morpork, you can rest assured that Throat will try to cash in on it. All while employing the same level of quality control that he does with his sausages.
    • Ponder Stibbons, the Only Sane Man at Unseen University, keeps acquiring new job titles and duties simply because no one else wants them. By Unseen Academicals all those titles give him a majority vote on the University Council, meaning he's technically the most powerful person in the entire university.
  • In Star Wars Knight Errant this become a plot point: the Protagonist Kerra Holt slowly discovers how not one, but several bystanders change their occupations during the brief stay at Arkadia's base of operations. She eventually discovers that inhabitants are constantly rotated between absolutely different positions on a completely random basis: it serves the Sith purpose in a pretty twisted way.


Fan Fiction

  • A humorous Inuyasha fanfiction has Sesshomaru. As Kagome and crew travel to all fifty of the United States. Any time they stay in a state for any length of time, they will find Sesshomaru has a job there relevant to what they are currently doing. The author even encourages people to spot how many times he pops up. The only time the group ever arrive anywhere before Sesshomaru, it was because they ran him over on his way to work. Story can be found here. Roadtrip Around the USA


Live-Action TV

  • Barney Miller cop Detrich had the question asked of him when he threatened to quit over a dispute with the Police Commissioner. His squad members listed all the other occupations that Detrich had attempted and abandoned (including Lumberjack and Beekeeping - his "wilderness period") and convinced him he was just making an excuse to quit yet another profession.
  • In Power Rangers Turbo, Bulk and Skull had a different job-of-the-week, sometimes losing it (or saying Screw This, I'm Outta Here) onscreen.
  • In Engine Sentai Go-onger, Hanto's got a different part-time job every time his work situation comes up.
  • The Jack Benny Program introduced Frank Nelson as the omnipresent clerk who gave Benny trouble across multiple industries, and at one point lampshaded in the above quote. (The role originated on the radio show, making this trope marginally Older Than Television.) He was identifiable by his bald head, mustache, and Catch Phrase "Yeeeeeeeees?" Nelson played this same role on many other shows including I Love Lucy, Sanford and Son, and even a Garfield TV special. After his death, a similar character showed up on The Simpsons, explaining his odd cadence with "I had a stroooooooke!"
    • Jack Benny's show also brought us Mr. Kitzel, who started as a hot dog vendor but eventually took on all sorts of random jobs.
    • The Simpsons character even has, in one episode, a Brazilian lookalike who says, "¿Siiiiim?"
  • Sgt Joe Friday and Off Bill Gannon turn up in just about every police division from Bunco to Citizens Complaints, on Dragnet.
  • Kirk from Gilmore Girls. It is eventually lampshaded when out of the blue, he overbids Luke in a real estate deal:

 Luke: Where the hell did you get that much money?

Kirk: I've been working for eleven years. Luke, I've had fifteen thousand jobs.

    • He also doesn't seem to have a place to live, as seen as one episode where families in Stars Hollow "take turns" hosting Kirk while allowing him to babysit their children. (Though he seems to act just like one when he stays at Lorelai's house.)
  • Minor flashback character Randy Nations on Lost has been seen as Hurley's boss at Mr Clucks' Chicken Shack, then Hurley's employee at the Chicken Shack, then Locke's boss at the box company, and most recently an employee at "Circuit House".
    • There's a bit of Fridge Brilliance at work here: Hurley bought Mr Clucks after winning the lottery (keeping Randy on as manager) but it was short-lived because the restaurant was hit by a meteorite. Attributing this event to his streak of bad luck, Hurley felt bad about losing Randy his job and got him a position at the box company he owned, where Randy proceeded to act like an even bigger Jerkass knowing that he had protection from on high. When Hurley was presumed dead in the plane crash, karma hit Randy square in the ass.
    • Locke qualifies as well: box company, toy store, hippie, home inspector, shaman, MacGyver...
  • The Fugitive of the original TV series took about a job a week in the course of Walking the Earth. Harrison Ford, in The Movie, had only time enough to disguise himself a few times instead.
  • Stan Freberg, in a few episodes of Roseanne.
  • In Star Trek the Original Series, one crewman (Lt. Leslie) filled a bewildering number of jobs aboard the Enterprise. He has been a security guard, helmsman/weapons officer, navigator, medtech, bridge crewman, technician, engineer and transporter chief.
    • This is actually true of all red shirts on TOS, though none have been quite so prolific as Leslie. Only one redshirt (Lt. Kyle) has a consistent job (transporter chief), and even he was seen pinch-hitting at the science station and the helm. (In his cameo in Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan, he is communications officer for the Reliant).
    • Between The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and his back story, Miles O'Brien has been a tactical officer, flight controller, security guard, a transporter chief, tactical officer again (briefly), one of the greatest engineers in the galaxy, and then moves on to teaching at Starfleet Academy. Not a bad career path for an enlisted man.
    • Fellow Transplant Worf has been communications officer, security chief, tactical officer, ambassador, lawyer (okay, that one's sorta cheating. He played his identical and identically named grandpa in a TOS movie.) and back to tactical whenever crossing back over for the TNG movies, and when Data was thought to be dead, Worf was the one who was going to get his jobs, too (meaning he'd have been doing his, Tasha's, and Data's jobs all himself at once had Data's death been for real.)
    • Star Trek: Voyager. Out of sheer need and a desire to be useful (so the nice people don't kick him off) Neelix has been a jack of all trades. Morale officer, cook, diplomat, babysitter and much more as the plot calls for it. His background had given him a deep understanding of these jobs.
  • In Charles in Charge, Ben Stein played an Obstructive Bureaucrat in various settings (bank, mental institution). Initially played as Inexplicably Identical Individuals, but Lampshaded in his last appearance, when it is revealed that delusions of grandeur have led the character to repeatedly "promote" himself to increasingly higher-status positions.
  • Mr. Haney on Green Acres appeared whenever Oliver needed a specific service or item.
  • Battlestar Galactica Reimagined: Poor old Helo. He gets shoved around from job to job regardless of his actual rank. He's actually a trained Raptor copilot, so his job is to sit in the back, play on a computer and get bossed around by his pilot. But during the course of the series he ends up as second-in-command to Galactica itself, caretaker to a community of refugees, and even CAG - commander of all Galactica's fighters and Raptors, despite no evidence of him being able to fly anything himself.
    • Well, "copilot" implies actually having piloting skills, since the primary function of a copilot is to act as a backup pilot when necessary. Also, we see Helo piloting a Raptor during the assault upon the Resurrection Hub. Much like the real-world US Navy aircraft carrier commanding officers, it seems that Colonial officers aren't eligible for command unless they have some amount of stick time in a cockpit.
  • Major Marks, recurring character in the Stargate Verse, has been an officer aboard all five of the Air Force's star ships over the course 3-4 years of three shows. No explanation has been given for his frequent transfers, and in one instance he might have been in two places at once.
  • Xander in Season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a new job in just about every episode. This was the season where his friends went to college and he was trying to find himself. Eventually, he settles into a construction worker.
  • Mr Pitt appears in all three parts of Alan Plater's Beiderbecke Trilogy, having taken what he describes as a 'sideways career move' each time.
  • This is Shawn's entire background before forming the eponymous detective agency in Psych. He seems willing to keep this up if it helps the case, too, as when he took a job at the museum in "From the Earth to Starbucks."
  • In Disney Channel's Wizards of Waverly Place, a woman appears in some of the episodes of the first two seasons, sporting a new job, and it's not like she only does normal jobs either - she also appears at the Wizarding School. She is easily identified through her monotone voice and short, dark hair and always seems to hate whatever she is doing for that episode.
  • After being fired from Shortywood on an episode of Pit Boss, Ronald switched jobs constantly. He did get his old job back, though.
  • In the last season of The A-Team, Murdock is released from the V.A. Hospital to be with his friends, and this becomes his gimmick for every episode.
  • Henry on Eureka, complete with a different velcro patch on his uniform for each of his jobs. In season 3, he gets a "Mayor" patch.
  • A Running Gag in Austin and Ally is that Trish gets, and gets fired from, at least two new jobs per episode.
  • On Undercover Boss, we have an unfortunate variation of this trope, where a woman ends up with three or four different jobs... all at the same time, and with the same company. Downsizing's a bitch. She literally runs from building to building, frantically skipping from job to job. After she's promoted in the Where Are They Now? Epilogue, her job is replaced by two people and an assistant.
  • Nick on My Family had a new job in almost every episode. On one occasion, he was able to afford a motorbike because he'd been saving up the severance pay every time he was fired.


Pro Wrestling

  • Wrestlers often go through many personae in their career. Newer wrestlers may be given gimmicks related to cover up their relative lack of experience, and older wrestlers may be given them to cover up declining skills. Sometimes, it's to give a wrestler a change of pace when one characterization has become stale.
    • In the mid 90's, a common trope was the Wrestling Professional. One of the classic examples is Thurmond "Sparky" Plugg, later Bob "Spark Plug" Holly, who was a wrestling race car driver. Also around at the time, T.L. Hopper, the wrestling plumber, Duke "The Dumpster" Droese, the wrestling garbage man, and The Big Bossman, the wrestling prison guard. Most of these characters can safely be called WrestleCrap.
    • John Cena, after debuting was directionless until management saw him jokingly rapping back stage. His first major character in WWE was as a white rapper in the vein of Vanilla Ice. While his freestyle raps were later abandoned, vestiges of this character are seen in his current ring persona.
    • These job changes can be dramatic. In the early 2000's The Undertaker took a turn from an undead, supernatural zombie character to a brutal biker, still called The Undertaker. He later returned to the "Deadman" gimmick due to negative reaction to the "Underbiker".
  • The undisputed king of changing jobs in professional wrestling is Ed Leslie, most well known as Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake in WWF in the late 1980's. As a close friend of icon Hulk Hogan, he was always given preferential treatment, despite a relative lack of skill. To keep him at the front of people's minds, his character changed frequently. Some of his other gimmicks included "Brother Bruti", a fanatical follower of Hogan, and "The Bootyman", a Lothario. He in total has kept about 10-12 different on-screen characters, far more then most wrestlers do in a career.
  • If wrestling bothered to pay, maybe they wouldn't need to switch jobs so much.
  • This became part of Mick Foley's persona, late in his career: At various times, he had been the Psycho for Hire Cactus Jack, Surfer Dude Dude Love, and Psychopatic Manchild Mankind. Foley played them off less as jobs than as alternate personalities, culminating in a memorable Royal Rumble where Foley competed as all four of his personae (He got eliminated as Mick Foley, went back stage and came back out as Cactus Jack, rinse and repeat as Dude Love and Mankind).


Puppet Shows

  • Grover on Sesame Street. His most well-known position was as a waiter at Charlie's Restaurant, opposite the Blue Man, and even these expanded into a wider variety of spots -- as a hot dog vendor, a taxi driver, elevator operator, etc. -- all thoroughly incapable of satisfying his one recurring customer.
    • In the '70s Grover frequently appeared as a door-to-door salesman, usually calling on Kermit the Frog. Each time he'd be peddling a different item, and always something a frog would have no use for: earmuffs, toothbrush, nose warmer, etc.
  • Gwen on Johnny and the Sprites. She liked to try out a lot of different jobs as her aunt had a saying that "You never know what you can do until you try out something new."


Radio

  • Neddy Seagoon and many other characters in The Goon Show.
  • Round the Horne: "Oh 'ello, I'm Julian and this is my friend Sandy."
  • Hancock's Half Hour had an unnamed character the writers called 'Snide', who has a different occupation in every episode he appears in. The minute Kenneth Williams (who also played Round the Horne's Julian) coos " 'ello", the audience burst out laughing, anticipating Tony's horrified reaction.


Theater

  • In Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, the character of Ko-Ko is the Lord High Executioner. The character of Pooh-Bah is "The Lord High Everything Else". In fact Pooh-Ba changes jobs between sentences. He could cook the books to hide the cost of the wedding, but as arch-bishop he has a moral obligation to hand himself over to the chief of police (again, himself).
  • A rather creepy version is the baritone guy in Death in Venice, who appears in seven different forms and jobs. It's the same singer, and, well, most likely a symbol for This guy.
  • The appropriately named Common Man in A Man for All Seasons fills all the various minor odd jobs in the play.
  • In Our Town, the narrator himself appears in the play several times, each time having a different job.


Toys

  • Barbie is easily the Trope Codifier. She has been everything from a stewardess to an astronaut.
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys would often include the turtles in various jobs such as soldiers, spies, samurai, emergency services etc. Those jobs make sense considering the turtles' heroic nature, but when you have Surfer Michelangelo or Rock Star Leonardo, it's getting out of hand.
    • ... well, if you watched the 80s cartoon, Surfer Michelangelo would be far more likely than soldier or spy!


Video Games

  • Namingway from Final Fantasy IV DS. He finds his calling 17 in-universe years later in Final Fantasy IV the After Years, however, as the Challenge Dungeon Manager.
  • Stan from the Monkey Island Series is running a different business in each game. In order, they are: used ship salesman, used coffin salesman, life insurance salesman, time-share representative and attorney-at-law-who-makes-a-side-income-by-selling-souvenirs-based-on-his-cases. His job changes are often explained as a result of something that Guybrush did in the previous game.
  • Sybil Pandemik from Telltale Games' Sam & Max adventure games. She has a different job in every episode of Season One, and each of them is coincidentally useful in solving the case.
    • Well, almost all of them, she's already been through about 3 or 4 jobs by her first appearances. By the end of Season One she's been: interior decorator, taxidermist, tattooist, psychotherapist, tabloid journalist, professional witness, dating service, carbon-dating service, beta tester, and Queen of Canada. In Season Two she uses her office for other purposes, such as choosing a new boyfriend and planning her wedding, though she doesn't do anything commercially.
    • All throughout Season Three, whenever you meet someone new (at least for that season) it takes a snapshot of them, and provides (usually) three "useful" facts about them. When Sybil shows up, it shows "former Psychotherapist, Former Brain Surgeon" and trails off the screen. You can hear the amount of jobs she's had speeding up and continuing to list past the screen!
    • Sam refers to it as "Attention Deficit Career Disorder", or something like that, which is an apt name, as with each career change, Sybil gushes about how convinced she is that she's finally found her one true calling.
  • Larry Butz in Ace Attorney Phoenix Wright switches jobs between cases, usually to get closer to his latest girlfriend. By the end of the trilogy, he seems to have found his knack in painting. It doesn't last
    • Wendy Oldbag, meanwhile, is a security guard in a different venue every time she shows up. The first time it's justified -- she snipes at Phoenix about how Global Studios fired her following the first game. Although in Investigations she seems to have taken a part time job wearing costumes for Gatewaterland. Edgeworth wishes she'd kept the mask on.
    • Maggey Byrde is more or less forced into this due to her bad luck.
  • Mona from Wario Ware has been a gelato server (original), a pizza delivery girl (Twisted), a rocker (Touched), and a cheerleader (Smooth Moves), and she even develops microgames on the side. She Must Have Lots of Free Time.
    • Given her appearance (and that cheerleader part at the end), some players think she's a high-schooler jumping between part-time jobs.
      • Squicky that she's clearly Wario's love interest, then. Or at least a cosplaying fangirl.
    • She's now also been a Wario Park (aka theme park) employee in Wario Ware Snapped, and in the latest game, an explorer like Indiana Jones!
    • Not to mention that in Smooth Moves, she's not just a cheerleader in her level, but also a steamed bun vendor in Young Cricket and Master Mantis's level.
  • In Psychonauts, you meet a mysterious Almighty Janitor occupying various jobs in various locations. He turns out to be the legendary superspy Ford Cruller, the commander of the Psychonauts, and it later turns out that his mind was shattered into fragments in the past. He's not keeping an eye on things with his different jobs, each one is a different fragment of his mind.
  • A good deal of the Super Mario Bros. cast. To date, Mario alone has been a carpenter, a plumber, a doctor, a demolitionist, a grocer, a pizza delivery man (in the Donkey Kong record album), a kart racer, and a toy maker, on top of constantly rescuing Peach from Bowser.
    • And all that is if you don't count referenced cameos in games not specifically mentioned as something involving the Universal Adaptor Cast. He's also played baseball (Baseball), refereed tennis matches (Tennis), and even worked the count in the boxing ring (Punch Out). This might explain why Mario holds the record for most appearances in a video game.
  • Funky Kong in Donkey Kong Country has been a plane/helicopter salesman, ran a boat hire firm in the third game, ammunition/weapon maker in Donkey Kong 64 and racer in Mario Kart!
    • Less of a reach, though, as all of his DKC services involve building and subsequently selling/renting machines. As for Mario Kart, just about everyone in the extended Mario universe seems to do that (presumably he built his own karts.)
  • In No More Heroes, protagonist Travis earns his money in both games by doing every job imaginable, however, his boss in each job is always the same. It probably has something to do with "the unspoken laws of Santa Destroy" he keeps babbling about.
  • According to the Team Fortress 2 War! Update comics, the RED Demoman's father held something like thirty jobs simultaneously. (The Demoman himself works three jobs.)
  • Besides being The Hero, Link himself has had many oddjobs. A world traveler in The Legend of Zelda Links Awakening, a blacksmith's apprentice in The Legend of Zelda a Link To T He Past and The Legend of Zelda the Minish Cap. Finally a rancher in The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess. These jobs later turn out to be Chekhov's Skill when helping others on side quests or fighting a monster.
  • Fallout3: Name's Lucas Simms. Town sheriff. And mayor too...when the need arises.
  • Bea Bear from the Spy Fox series. The game Operation Ozone had her explain why she changed jobs.
  • Sheep Man in Mega Man 10 originally herded sheep; he was built for that purpose. He got bored and worked to test static cling at a textiles factory. He grew bored of this too and was about to change jobs once again when he was inflicted with Roboenza and went berserk.


Web Animation

  • Bubs of Homestar Runner can always be found behind the counter of his concession stand, but what goods and/or services he has available at the time is often plot-dependent. This could be seen as him just being an opportunist and spontaneously catering to whatever need the others happen to have at the time (regardless of whether or not it's within his areas of expertise), but notably he once switched from selling "questionable medical insurance" to selling donuts before it came up as a plot point. And was very upset when it turned out to be one, in the form of Homestar also setting up a donut stand about five feet away.
    • And Senor Cardgage, who has been, so far, a mortgage seller, an used car salesman, an "Intregway" seller, an author and a movie theater usher.
  • Many characters in Happy Tree Friends have been seen with various jobs, but Lumpy is definitely the worst offender. He's been a farmer, surgeon, carol singer, etc.


Webcomics

  • Achewood's Ray Smuckles sees a business opportunity around every corner, from Williams and Sonoma Erotic Fiction to machine rolled marijuana cigarettes.
  • Eight Bit Theater's Akbar runs a different shop every time he appears, always with blatantly deceptive marketing.
  • Real Life has this with Alan Extra, who is basically anything from a pilot to a movie theater worker, to a random guy on the street who gave the main character directions.
    • In fact, one of the comics states flat out that Alan Extra is everyone who isn't a named character. Store Clerk? Alan. Tech Support? Alan. Guy in panel 1 who looks different from guy in panel 4? Both are Alan.
  • Recon A. Dye serves this purpose in Pokémon-X. Yes, the Author Avatar. Leads to a lot of You Look Familiar.
  • Earl of College Roomies from Hell personifies this trope.
  • Butterwort, the insane one-eyed rabbit, in Murry Purry Fresh and Furry is always showing up in various jobs. Lampshaded here.
  • Vess MacMeal from Platypus Comix would have had multiple jobs if not for the cartoonist's inability to come up with anything for her to do other than appear in one Keiki comic (as a spokesgirl for a blackmailing service) and star in one story of her own (as a struggling teacher). Incidentally, her name intentionally sounds similar to that of Tress MacNeille, who voiced Lindsay Naegle, the Simpsons character who inspired this trope's name.


Web Original

  • The Yurble Janitor/Foreman/whatever outfit he's shoved into next plot in Neopets.
  • Played with in The Joker Blogs: the Joker recruits a homeless man named Ted to help film his exploits. Over the course of about half an hour (if that), Ted claims to have been a camerman for the news, a priest, a medic and a delivery man. It's unclear if he's desperate to sound useful or just off his nut.


Western Animation

  • In an episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Coco takes several jobs at the local mall that end up relating to what the other main characters are doing. It is later revealed she saved up for a massage chair for Madam Foster's birthday.
  • With Loads and Loads of Characters, The Simpsons has a sizable subset in this role, each for a different kind of job.
    • Troy McClure is ( well, was) an extremely prolific B-Movie actor.
    • Lindsey Naegle is a single successful businesswoman/TV executive. (The season 13 episode "Blame It On Lisa" lampshaded this when Marge asks Lindsay why she keeps changing jobs. Lindsay's answer: she's a sexual predator.)
    • Gil is perpetually dangling by a thread at his current job, whatever it may be -- one episode he was in real estate, another had him working at a shoe store, another was at a car lot, and another had him as a department store Santa.
    • Captain McCallister has held a lot of nautical jobs (despite not being a licensed captain), as well as owning and operating an all-you-can-eat seafood restaurant (the latter of which has been used more often in later episodes).
    • Squeaky Voiced Teen (whose name was established as Mitch Peterson early on, then seemingly forgotten by the writers) either works at Krusty Burger or works as a ticket taker, concession stand clerk, or usher at the Aztec Movie Theater (or the Googleplex). Some episodes have him working at an ice cream parlor called Phineas Q. Butterfat's.
    • A mustached Charles Bronson-sound-alike known to fans as "Sarcastic Middle-Aged Man" is a customer service worker. Sideshow Bob calls him "Raphael" in one episode, but his name has never been used since.
      • The following exchange occurred in "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation" with Homer in Sarcastic Man's taxi:

 Sarcastic Man: So, what do you do for a living?

Homer: Oh, you know, I'm a guy at a place. How'd you get such a crappy job? You a convict or a junkie?

Sarcastic Man: Little of both.

      • Bart Sells His Soul features two moustashed "Sarcastic Middle-Aged Men". One working as a bug exterminator at Milhouse's place, the other driving a street cleaner car, running over Bart's car; then driving it down a subway station staircase.
    • That Jerk Who Says "Yeeeeeeeeeeeeehs?" is an homage to Frank Nelson, above.
    • Homer Simpson. From the perspective of any other person in Springfield he must be yet another "that guy who's doing something different every week". This is lampshaded when Homer (while talking about his latest job) says "I've been a ..., but I've never been happier than I am now." The ellipses comprised every career he'd had to that date (including things that aren't really jobs, like homophobe). In the time it took for him to list them all, Marge had enough time to put curlers in her hair.
  • Also from Matt Groening's work, Sal the heavily's-accented New New Yorker on Futurama's. Considering it's The Future, the creators haven't made up their minds whether there's one Sal who can't hold down a job or a cartload of identical clones. Why, precisely, one would clone a slovenly, ill-mannered customer like Sal is a riddle for the ages.
    • This is the same universe that creates (and presumably programs) robots with the capacity for substance abuse and laziness. Cloning a guy with a bizarre verbal tic and a bad attitude is par for the course.
      • And considering that one of his jobs is artwork (apparently in the 31st century all fine art is tattooed on fat guys, and Sal claims to be on loan from the Lourve) it's possible that his characteristics are considered valuable.
    • Abner Doubledeal has appeared in three episodes -- each time as a Corrupt Corporate Executive bent on manipulating one of the main characters, but also each time in a different field. First he owned a pro wrestling promotion, then he owned the New New York Mets, then he was a TV exec.
  • Chuck and Leon, better recognized as The Chameleon Brothers, on Rocko's Modern Life. They're always on the hip end of any career, often as entrepreneurs or artists, and have an extremely fake Scandinavian accent. Their Funny Animal species is a dead giveaway to their ever-changing role.
    • One main character, Filburt, was given a couple episodes as a WDYKCJ before being promoted to a main major character. Another character, Dr. Hutchison, held a number of jobs in various medical fields before being promoted; upon meeting Dr. Hutchison, Rocko would invariably say, "Dr. Hutchison? I thought you were a [dentist/pharmacist/whatever job she had last]", to which she'd respond with laughter and a pun relating to the previous job: "I couldn't handle looking down in the mouth anymore!" (One time, Rocko just said all the jobs at once, to which Hutchison replied, "Yeah... it's been a crazy year.")
  • Rancid Rabbit of Cat Dog is a fairly untrustworthy example of the trope. In one episode, he appears as both a teacher and a policeman. Cat is a bit surprised.
  • The Red Guy from Cow and Chicken and I Am Weasel. One "I Am Weasel" episode has Weasel being sent to jail with Baboon by Baboon's lawyer (the Red Guy). At prison, he meets the jailer (also the Red Guy) and accuses them of being the same person.
    • In one "Cow and Chicken" episode, Red Guy himself ends up in jail, and meets the warden -- who, as pointed out, looks exactly like him. Sadly, this was the end of the episode, so the gag didn't go any further.
  • Uncle Ruckus on The Boondocks. At first, it seemed he just couldn't keep a job for very long, considering his personality, but a look into his private life showed he really works about thirty jobs simultaneously.
    • He has 47 jobs including Gravedigger from 2AM to 7AM
  • Kim Possible: Mr Barkin seems to be the substitute teacher for every subject, coaches the football team, works part-time at Smarty-Mart, and is leader of a troop of Pixies (a Girl Scout analogue).
    • This is lampshaded in an episode where they meet Mr. Barkin's father who works at a Living History community. The senior Barkin holds every single occupation in the village by himself, including churning butter. In a dress.
  • Bruce, the effeminate guy with a mustache in Family Guy is usually holding a job, that usually ties with his "bleeding heart liberal sensible" persona. He's been a teacher, a faculty worker, a host for AA, a psychic, a lawyer, etc.
    • Peter is an aversion, changing jobs during the show's run, (including stints as a safety inspector at a toy factory, a self-employed fisherman, and a shipping clerk at a brewery)- but all have been addressed logically in the plot and he never comes with a new job out of nowhere- except in random flashbacks, though many of those are nonsensical, such as "providing night-time heat for Lara Flynn Boyle", or, "acting as Sandy Duncan's glass eye".
    • Doubly so since the creators want to have him change jobs every couple of seasons since this is the common case in Real Life.
  • Santa Claus in Pucca. He's had a Day in The Limelight episode or two, but he's mostly there to be whatever strange job is needed, from ticket taker, to "guy in a frog costume." Since he only works his well-known job one day a year, he seems to have a lot of hobbies and side jobs.
  • Jeremy always has a job nearby what's going on in Phineas and Ferb, usually at a concession stand chain in the series.
  • Quint, a recurring human character from Timon and Pumbaa, who has a new profession in every episode he's in. In addition, the title matches his name (Culinary Quint, Counterfeiter Quint, and so on). There were identical twin Quints in one episode -- a case of Inexplicably Identical Individuals.
  • Literally everyone on The Mr. Men Show, most notably Little Miss Whoops, who can't keep a job because she's just so bad at everything she does, despite always claiming to be "a trained professional".
    • One episode revealed that the Mr. Men and Little Misses invoke this trope deliberately, getting new jobs every Tuesday.
  • Mr. Swindler of Garfield & Friends has a number of jobs over the course of the series. He usually only changes jobs once in each episode he's in (the main job in which his subpar workmanship during most of the episode puts Jon off his business for a while, and the job that pops up in the last few seconds when he offers his services and they run away screaming), but in a notable exception, he had a series of home repair jobs. During each job, he set up the next job by causing a new problem. Eventually, Jon is exasperated into selling his house for a pittance. Garfield scares out Mr. Swindler by pretending to be a ghost, but he soon returns in ghost hunter gear...
  • Meeker and Snurd from Bobby's World all constantly reappear with different jobs ranging from pee-wee sports coaches to Airport Security personnel. The Generics always act like they've met for the first time.
  • Jim Moralès from Code Lyoko may have a stable job now, but he's had a ridiculous number of jobs in the past, 21 in total, from sewer worker to basketball star to locksmith to professional ping-pong player. Every time someone brings up one of his old jobs, he tells them that "I'd rather not talk about it." The catch phrase became the name of an episode, in which Jim gives the kids a run-down of some of his old jobs. Though there always seems to be some truth in these jobs, he still tends to embellish his exact role.
    • This all in addition to 20 years as a gym teacher at Kadic.
  • Jonesy, a character from 6teen, has a running gag of being fired Once an Episode. He's also a main character, which is a tad rare.
  • Jimmy Witchard the violent brain-damaged man from King of the Hill has a different job nearly every time we see him, a concession stand manager, garbage man, janitor, amateur artist,etc.
  • The first two seasons of Rugrats featured a pair of teenagers named Larry and Steve who would be working a job of some sort only to have the babies cause them to mess it up. Of course, the fact that they kept messing up their jobs no doubt explains why they kept changing them.
  • This is Goofy's whole schtick in Classic Disney Shorts. He's later joined by Mickey and Donald. Then again, Donald has had quite a lot of jobs himself, mostly due to his own incompetence.
  • In the original The Flintstones series, Barney is never shown with a consistent job, though in later specials and series he is often shown working alongside Fred at Mr. Slate's quarry.
  • The gag credits for the first season of Animaniacs listed Kathryn Page as a different nonsensical crew member. These may all be part of her "real" job as one of the interns, as shown in another segment of the credits. Whether all these odd responsibilities mean she's more trusted than the other intern or a bigger target is a matter of speculation.
  • The old guy in glasses from Ned's Newt. Began as a pet store owner, then continued to pop up in various roles. He even pops up at the beginning of one episode ("Summer Gone, Summer Not") to point this out.
  • Elmo the Elk in Eek the Cat.
  • Spaced Out has Guy, who turns up in pretty much every job on the space station besides its custodian, school teacher and supply shuttle pilot. His official job description is being the station's "Everything" (it's occasionally implied that he is actually a robot). Especially curious, considering that the station is the size of a large town and has fully stocked amenities (all run by Guy) despite their being a total of eight other residents.
  • The recurring red mustache guy from Courage the Cowardly Dog holds many different jobs depending on the episode. Many of his jobs include working as a Nowhere police officer, an archaeologist, a captain, a pilot, a New York police officer, a ranger, a general, a pirate, and a mayor.
  • Yosemite Sam of Looney Tunes fame. Starting out as a Western outlaw, he has since been a pirate, a Hessian, a claimjumper, a Medieval knight, a shiek, a politician, a Roman centurion, and many more.
  • Inspector Willoughby, until he became--well--an inspector.
  • Miss Rabbit in Peppa Pig - doing every random job is a running joke.
  • Mr. Ford on Frisky Dingo. He's been a mental hospital worker, a pet store clerk, polling consultant for Killface's presidential campaign, political analyst for a news show, US Secretary of State, and US President.


Real Life

  • Lampshaded in one of Dane Cook's routines about "The Scary Guy at Work":

 "Even now at your job, there is a freak. There is a weird guy at every job... And the strange thing about it is, it's the same guy, at every single job you go to. He's there, you quit, you go to the new job, and you're like "Oh my God, isn't that the guy from the other job?! It's the guy! THE SCARY GUY!"

  • "Hi. My name's Mike Rowe. And this is my job."
  • This is basically what being a hobo means. You wander from place to place, briefly taking whatever odd jobs present themselves.
    • This is also what many university students end up doing; either taking different jobs every summer or having to change jobs often to find one that balances with school hours.
  • Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.
  • Vladimir Putin keeps alternating between being President and Prime Minister of Russia.
  • Winston Churchill. Besides being a soldier, journalist, and historian, within the British government he was Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary, First Lord of the Admiralty, Undersecretary of State, President of the Board of Trade, Minister of Munitions, Secretary of State for War, Secretary of State for Air, Secretary of State for the Colonies, Minister of Defense, Conservative Member of Parliament, Liberal Member of Parliament, and Conservative Member of Parliament. This doesn't include all the obscure honorary positions he accumulated, like Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports or Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
  • This is what being a freelancer means.
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