There are only so many superheroes who get paid to protect the world, The Avengers sort of work for S.H.I.E.L.D. and most of the Justice League still have day jobs. It seems like protecting the world doesn’t always pay the bills, thus the civilian identities of most superheroes maintain a job. Then again, “maintain” might not exactly be the right word, since some superheroes are terrible at their day jobs. In fact, there are quite a few who have been fired, and just as many that should have been fired a long time ago.
Wether it’s reporting for a world-famous newspaper or managing a multi-billion dollar company, some superheroes can’t keep up with the maintenance and time-keeping that comes with having a secret identity. And who could blame them? A good hero can’t turn their back when their city and/or planet needs them, which usually means ditching work. Your average superhero misses shifts, deadlines and meetings far too often to still be employed, so why are they? Why haven’t these heroes lost their jobs completely? Some of them have been fired, but not quickly enough, and others mysteriously remain employed.
15. THE FLASH (CW)
CW’s The Flash initially started out as sort of a crime procedural with superpowers, Barry balancing his life as a forensic scientist for the CCPD and fighting crime as The Flash. However, as the seasons rolled on, Barry’s day job was pushed further and further into the background. Heck, even Joe West, who is an actual cop, is hardly ever seen doing his job, usually just hanging around with the S.T.A.R. labs crew (we’ll get to them later).
Even if Barry is the fastest man alive and can easily switch between doing his job and fighting crime, why don’t we see him in the crime lab anymore? How has Barry not gotten fired by now? He’s hardly ever seen at CCPD and even if he is doing his work, his turnaround speed should make his superiors question wether or not he’s doing a thorough job.
14. GREEN ARROW (CW)
Like The Flash, Arrow has sort of pushed the daily lives of its superhero characters into the background. Both when Oliver acted as CEO of Queen Consolidated and as the current mayor of Star City, Oliver is terrible at his job. He’s already kind of a terrible superhero to begin with in the ridiculous world of the Arrowverse, but his career performances have been much worse.
As CEO of Queen Consolidated, Oliver barely showed up to meetings and was actually fired when he was removed from the board of directors. Oliver Queen got what he deserved for not doing his job, but his career as the Mayor hasn’t suffered the same fate. Not only is Ollie a pretty absent mayor, constantly ducking out for superhero business, but he’s also done very little to “save this city,” making it a wonder why he hasn’t been impeached yet.
Similar to Oliver Queen, many comic fans have questioned just how good Bruce Wayne is at his job. As the CEO of Wayne Enterprises, Bruce acts as a board member and oversees most operations in his multi-billion dollar company. All the money does a good job of fueling his Batman career, as does the company’s cutting-edge technology research, but how has Bruce kept his job for so long?
Most of Bruce’s time seems to be spent being Batman, and he’s been embezzling funds for decades to run around in a hi-tech batsuit driving fancy vehicles with silly names. How hasn’t his paper trail been noticed and how have his absences not been grounds for termination? The board has the power to boot him from the company, and though it’s happened in a few storylines, Bruce has mostly (mysteriously) managed to maintain his CEO position.
12. TONY STARK (MCU)
There’s no shortage of CEO superheroes and Tony Stark of the MCU could easily be considered one of the worst. He of course stepped down in Iron Man 2, but why wasn’t he fired before then? To start, he spent most of his time ducking out of important business meetings and events to pick up women, one of whom ended up being a reporter that could have sullied his, and the company’s name.
His biggest flop as a CEO is the fact that he’s Iron Man. Think about it for a minute, Tony quit some time after he told the world he was Iron Man. That means the world knew that he was the guy who killed not only one of his employees, but also several people in another country. Justified or not, Tony Stark is an international criminal and yet he was allowed to keep his job.
At the end of Mark Waid’s first run of Daredevil, the man without fear revealed his secret, being disbarred for breaking the law as a vigilante and forbidden from ever practicing law again in New York. Though this is technically being “fired” from law, it was primarily of Matt’s own volition, he knew the consequences of coming clean and offered to do so. This means he was never truly “fired,” he quit.
However, leading up to this and in his career as a lawyer in California, how has Matt never been disbarred? Sure, he is an excellent lawyer, something that Netflix’s Daredevil perfectly captured, but some of the ways he has brought in evidence, via investigations as an illegal vigilante, and the fact that he is a known lawbreaker in his San Francisco law practice makes us question how he didn’t lose his license to practice law ten times over.
10. PETER PARKER
Peter Parker has held quite a few jobs in his life, including being an amateur wrestler and briefly teaching at the Jean Grey School For Higher Learning. But, his two mainstays in the comics were always freelance photographer for the Daily Bugle and scientist. As a photographer, Peter made money off selling pictures of himself as Spider-Man. Never mind that this goes against his own moral code in a way, he’s also not great at it.
Yes, he always gets plenty of Spidey pics, but the only reason this is a steady form of income is because J. Jonah Jameson is obsessed with Spider-Man. If the Bugle had any other editor, Peter would be fired for only turning in Spidey pics. As a CEO of Parker Industries, a company started by Doc Ock, he’s not much better, ducking out to be Spider-Man and eventually causing the company’s downfall.
Clark Kent writes human interest pieces for the Daily Planet, but how he does that well enough to keep his job is sort of a mystery. Being a reporter, even in the human interest section, requires a lot of time and effort; time that Clark often spends saving the world as Superman. Sure, he might be able to write his articles at super speed, but he’s always absent from the office and should have been fired for it a long time ago.
Another reason that Clark Kent should have been fired? Press is dying. Think about it, The Daily Planet should be in danger of going out of business in the modern era of online press. Sure, modern stories have managed to introduce the Planet’s multimedia outlets, but Clark should have been one of the first people to be laid off when the Planet had to cut costs.
After being released from an underground vault after over a decade, Cindy Moon had to readjust to an adult life as both a superhero and a contributing member of society. Cindy also wanted to find out what happened to her parents, so she got an internship at Fact Channel news to dig up information whenever she could. However, she’s the greatest employee and should have been booted right away.
The image above says it all. Cindy’s job might not be at risk if she was actually intern by day and superhero by night, but she does both all the time, meaning she ducks out of being an intern to fight crime, already a shaky job that can end on the whim of her employee. She also seems to be using company resources for her own personal investigation, something that is grounds for termination under most company regulations.
The world hates mutants, its kind of a fact in the Marvel Universe. Not everyone has a hatred toward them of course, but a good majority of the population dislikes those born with special abilities. Those with conservative viewpoints tend to dismiss mutants as dangerous freaks, making it hard for them to gain employment if the world is aware they are a mutant. This is somehow not the case for pop sensation, Dazzler, a mutant singer.
There was a time when people didn’t know Dazzler was a mutant, but it eventually became public knowledge, yet her talent agency didn’t drop her. Of course, not every entertainment industry business is close-minded enough to hate mutants, but it might have made for an interesting story if her manager dropped her as a client after learning she is a mutant.
Here’s a bit of obscure trivia, did you know that Bobby Drake took some time off from the X-Men to be a normal member of society, going to college to become an accountant. Yup, ol’ Iceman became a lame desk worker, a “square,” as the kids used to say. It was sort of an out-of-character move for him, which is probably why he would sometimes help out the X-Men when they needed him.
It is for precisely this reason that he should have been fired. See, “sometimes” helping the X-Men was actually quite a few times, meaning Bobby took off work a lot to help his mutant teammates. Depending on who he worked for as an accountant, it’s a miracle he didn’t get fired, and he eventually quit to rejoin the X-Men, leaving his number-counting days behind.
5. S.T.A.R. LABS EMPLOYEES (CW)
Okay, seriously, who the hell pays the scientists at S.T.A.R. Labs? Cisco and Caitlin don’t have other jobs and somehow make a living solely off helping The Flash protect Central City. It can’t possibly be from grants, since, A.) they don’t do any actual research at the lab, and B.) every investor most likely pulled out of S.T.A.R. labs after the particle accelerator exploded.
So, how the hell are they making any money to feed themselves and fund the many devices and doodads that they create to help out Barry? Is there some sort of shady business going on? Even if they are still receiving grants, does that mean that their investors or the government knows what goes on there? What do the benefactors have to show for their investment and why haven’t they laid everyone off and shut the whole place down?
4. WONDER WOMAN (DCEU)
In the DCEU, we learn that Wonder Woman, aka Diana Prince, works as a curator of the department of antiques in the Louvre museum in France. As neat of and idea as this is, an immortal princess getting to restore the past to put on a display for the present, we have a few questions. To start, has she had this job since after the events of Wonder Woman? If so why don’t her coworkers question why she hasn’t aged?
Even if we ignore this, there’s the issue of Justice League. In the movie, Diana is seen on TV, with no mask to cover up her identity. Not only should this be grounds for firing, being a vigilante, but also because it wouldn’t take much for the press to find out she is the same Wonder Woman from WWI, meaning she has fake records and qualifications.
3. MARTIAN MANHUNTER
Martian Manhunter is sometimes a cop in the comics. It’s hard to keep track how often or not he maintains this secret identity, but this fact itself tells us he’s not very good at his job. In various comics and animated series, John Jones sometimes shows up to work, whenever J’onn J’onzz feels like living a human life.
Feel free to let us know if there’s an explantation for why he sometimes has a secret identity and sometimes doesn’t, but John Jones might be the most absent cop in the entire world, making it a wonder why he hasn’t lost his job, and thus his false human life. Even in animated movies and TV shows, John Jones seems to put little effort into living like a human, the act being more of a fascination than a commitment.
2. HARVEY BIRDMAN
Now it’s time for a silly entry. Birdman was originally a Hanna-Barbera cartoon that Adult Swim eventually reworked into a comedy series where the winged hero has retired from super-heroing to become lawyer. Because of the show’s comedic nature, the once proud superhero is depicted as being rather incompetent in his work, blundering his way through nearly all of his cases.
Harvey Birdman has lost and won a good number of cases, perhaps the only realistic element of the series, both saving or dooming various Hanna-Barbera characters. However, the ways in which Harvey messes up, and costs the law firm money, is easily grounds for firing, or at the very least demotion. Sorry Harv, that dream of making partner isn’t gonna happen when you put very little effort into preparing for your cases.
1. SHAZAM (YOUNG JUSTICE)
What this, you ask? Billy Batson doesn’t have a job, he’s just a kid, you might say. This is true, but we’re not focusing on the job that his secret identity has, we’re focusing on his standing in the Justice League, specifically the Young Justice version of the character. Billy Batson is only 12 years old, a kid who can turn into an adult superhero with the help of a magic word. In Young Justice, the Justice League is not aware of this at first, thinking Captain Marvel to be a full-grown adult.
However, Captain Marvel’s secret identity is eventually revealed. Yet, when it comes time to vote on new and returning members, Captain Marvel is allowed to stay… but why exactly? Sure, he’s a powerful asset to the team that is better under their jurisdiction then as a free agent, but he’s still a minor that lied about his age.
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