1. Superman: Newspaper Reporter
Superman is a millennial, even if he was created decades ago. Don’t believe me? How else would you explain a man who finds no passion in his work as a reporter – choosing instead to devote all of his energy to his non-paying side gig, saving people?
When Superman is wearing his costume (suit and tie, rather), he’s practically dead inside. Everything he does lacks the enthusiasm we see when his true self is out in the world. He lives in a cramped Metropolis apartment frugally on a reporter’s salary.
How else can someone that active be willing to accept a desk job?
Have they even addressed the eventual death of print media in the comics? Somehow, despite all of this, he’s still able to afford a house up north.
2. Monk: Private Detective
Monk is a different type of underemployed. He’s definitely pursuing his passion as a private detective who coordinates with the police department; he’s just not paid enough to save anything or hope to improve his situation. Granted, he’s a man able to afford living by himself in the heart of San Francisco, so he could definitely stand to rework his finances. Still, for someone who was once a cop with a steady paycheck and pension, he’s accepted the fact that even in his 50s, he’ll probably never be able to retire.
“What about your job?… I thought you’re broke.”
“I’ll be fine. I can live for 20 years if I don’t eat, or pay rent, or pay Natalie.”
In contrast, even Sherlock Holmes was able to thrive as a private detective in 19th century London. I guess the creators never really addressed startups pushing up housing prices.
3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Fast Food Employee
Buffy held a variety of jobs in Sunnydale before it was eventually swallowed by a Hellmouth – spoilers! – but none seemed to be more disheartening as when she threw on a cow cap and worked at the Doublemeat Palace, a local fast food joint. Add that to the fact she was suffering from depression, dealing with a violent FWB, and you’ve got a pretty dark season.
However, Buffy Summers, the most feared among vampires and demons alike, taking this job is especially relatable, because the cause isn’t supernatural: her mother died, and she had to drop out of college to ensure her teenage sister was supported financially. Say what you will about being underemployed today, but at least you’re not a woman with superpowers forced to sling burgers.
4. Marge Simpson: Stay At Home Mom
Marge Simpson is a character that has survived the sexist era of 80s sitcoms without really exploring her choices. In fact, her time on any kind of job outside of cooking, cleaning, and caring for the baby is limited in the show’s three-decade streak, and usually results in her quitting or getting fired by the end of a single episode: police officer, nuclear power plant worker, Pretzel Wagon franchise owner.
We get a sense of her potential early on, learning she excelled on the high school debate team, and could have even been president if she hadn’t met Homer.
5. Lorax: Environmental Activist
No one should ever have to sleep in the forest as part of their job… unless you’re a national park ranger who loves government work and the outdoors. While the Lorax speaks with authority and passion, his position seems to be more of a volunteer or unpaid internship than a career. We don’t know exactly what he’s doing for money on the side, but clearly, speaking for the trees isn’t enough for him to afford sleeping outside one.
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Turner Wright is a freelance writer with an engineering background. He is originally from Texas, but usually finds himself in the Bay Area if not some random corner of Asia. He is currently the Digital Media Manager for Airbnbhell.com and TravelVisaPro.com. He enjoys running long distances, eating more than necessary to do said running, and traveling to other countries.
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