Monday, October 5, 2009

Jobless Superheroes

If people truly had superpowers, would they ever find themselves out of a job?

Maybe there's a book or comic out there that addresses this question, but I'd be interested to see how real-life metahumans and superheroes would fare in today's economy.

On top of a person's regular qualifications and experience, a superpower would open up all sorts of additional options for employment, even if those options are highly specialized. I mean, think of what a person's resume could look like if they spent their time working a regular job rather than saving the world:

"So, Mister... Logan, is it? I see here that you spent three years as a Hollywood stuntman, close to eighty years in assorted manual labor jobs, two months as a human crash test dummy, half a day as a drug-sniffing dog for the FBI, and almost seven years as at Shish-Ka-Bob's Restaurant--I understand they saved a fortune on wooden skewers with you being there. And, what's this? You're also accomplished in woodcarving and... whittling?"

With a bit of imagination and a willingness to try new things, Joe Superhero could probably find himself an honest living in much less time than it takes to resolve every bit of fallout from a Secret Invasion.

Granted, this is all assuming that superpowers are socially acceptable and that everybody's moral compass is pointing away from world domination, but I think it's safe to say that metahumans and superheroes would rarely find themselves out of a job for any length of time.

Whether or not they would like the work available to them is another story altogether. Superman could get a job at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School warming up kids' lunches with his heat vision, but everybody's got to draw the line somewhere. In this case, it's a lunch line.

That's not a knock against working in a school cafeteria, or anything even remotely close to that; it just doesn't make sense for someone as multi-qualified as Superman to serve lunch to kids instead of serving villains their just desserts. It's unfortunate to see a former Harvard Business professor take on an entry-level sales job just because she needs a paycheck, but somehow it seems even worse to let a superhero's superpowers go to waste. Aquaman does not belong at the controls of a Boeing 747. Dr. Doom should never slice ham at the deli counter. Spider-Man just isn't cut out to be a newspaper photographer.

Hm. Perhaps superpowers wouldn't make that much of a difference after all. You can only hire so many large, muscular, green men for your wrecking crew before the Affirmative Action people step in. Human crash test dummy jobs are alarmingly uncommon. And there's really not more of a demand for telepathic morticians than non-telepathic ones. (Sorry, Charlie.)

Alright, so if you could control peoples' minds, maybe you'd convince your boss to fire himself instead of you. Still...

If people truly had superpowers, would they ever find themselves out of a job?

Yup. Unemployment stinks.

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