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The Life and Mind of DamnBlackHeart
This is to help me stay actively writing. So expect to see rants, tips on writing, thoughts on subjects, me complaining of boredom, reviews, anime, movies, video games, conventions, tv shows and whatever life throws at me.
Being A Superhero Doesn't Pay the Bills
When writing a superhero story my first thought was who is my main character. After all, having a good understanding of your character can help you write a story that makes sense for them. The way to do that is to try and add some realism to it, because the less reasons your readers have to suspend their beliefs the better. And while thinking about it I realize that being a superhero can be rough when it comes to the state of their bank account.

Heroism doesn’t pay the bills. Unless they’re a billionaire like Tony Stark, Oliver Queen, Bruce Wayne, Emma Frost, Charles Xavier, and so on, than they’re out of luck. The best they can do is find a day (or night) job that caters to their unique position. A job that allows them to disappear at a moment’s notice, to not be questioned if they show up with injuries once in a while. Even better if they can keep track of the news in order to know when they are needed.

That’s why I listed down jobs that would suit superheroes (even villains to a certain extent). Some may be difficult to pull off, but it all depends on your character’s abilities and position in the job.

Paramedic

Paramedics are skilled medical professionals who have undergone many hours of rigorous training—far more than your average emergency medical technician (EMT). So they aren’t just ambulance drivers. Emergency medical systems vary greatly by location, resulting in significant differences in the work paramedics carry out.

Rural and suburban EMTs, unlike their urban counterparts, are frequently volunteers, drawing a paycheck if they choose to move on and become paramedics. And it’s typical for small-town EMS workers to wait for calls in a station house outfitted with beds and a lounge, unlike New York medics, who spend their time between calls waiting on an assigned corner in an ambulance.

While the job of an EMS worker is all about action, it also involves a fair amount of time sitting in an ambulance (or a station, depending on where they work) waiting for disaster to strike. Every paramedic has their preferred way of filling the time. Some take to watching TV shows or movies on their phones, others prefer to read books, especially textbooks in order to study (since paramedics are subject to regular recertification).

It’s also not always a well paying job, often making considerably less (around $10 an hour in some places), and the best-paid paramedics make over $60,000. But even if your hero has some downtime at work they have to be quick about saving people because they don’t know when they’ll get an emergency call. And they won’t be working alone either, so someone will notice how they keep disappearing (unless they trusted them with their secret, can clone themselves, freeze time or have super speed).

Reporter

As a reporter your character’s whereabouts doesn’t have to be accounted for during work hours, they’ll hear about crises as soon as word gets out, and they’ll have an applicable excuse to rush to the scene without people getting curious. Plus, they can get paid for writing stories about their own adventures in saving the day.

Police Officer/Rescue Worker

It helps if your character’s day job keeps them informed of all the criminal activity that goes down around in the city. If they accidentally slip info while under their civilian alias, it would seem less out of place. They have much more access to resources and information than any other type of jobs offer. They just need to be careful in not getting caught or drawing attention to themselves by their coworkers.

But the main problem here would be that they can’t always just run off when they’re on the clock. The environment’s pretty restrictive, so they’d better be good at making believable excuses or get used to waiting until they get home to act on the information.

Sketch Artist/Analysts/Dispatchers/Call Takers

There’s still other positions to work at the police department that your character can do. They’ll still have some access to information and criminal activity, even if it’s limited. The problem again, is that they’re restricted to doing their superhero work at night.

Janitor

It doesn’t sound like a glamorous job, but it’s got a lot of perks for a superhero. They can find this type of work anywhere, be it at a school, police department, law firm, hotel, etc. It can also be at any location and work either at night or day. Depending on the character (such as super speed, freeze time, etc.) they can do their work without issue and go out to save people without anyone noticing.

Firefighter

This is an ideal day job for a character that is able to control or manipulate fire. Or is fireproof. Even character’s with wind (oxygen) or water ability may be able to help as well since they can reduce the damage that fire can cause and save people.

However, it depends on the character if they are able to pull off being a hero by day and night because it will be exhausting to keep up. After all, firefighters work rotating shifts of 24 hours on duty and 48 hours off duty. That is why firehouses have bunk beds, offices, bathroom, a common room and kitchen since they’ll be spending a lot of time at the station until there is a situation. They’re generally allowed to read, write or watch television during those long slow nights.

Bounty Hunter (Bail Enforcement Agent)

They hunt criminals without all of the assets of a police force (authority, the ability to threaten prosecution for noncooperation, forensics labs, generous access to state records, virtually unlimited backup, etc). Most modern “bounty hunters” are actually bail bondsman, i.e. people whose line of business is posting bail for criminal defendants and then rounding them up if they fail to appear in court when required.

There isn’t really a public reward posted in these cases. Rather, a defendant contacts a bail bondsman when arrested, and the bondsman agrees to post bail in exchange for a commission, usually 10-15% of the bail amount. If the defendant fails to appear, the bond is forfeit, so the bondsman has an incentive to make sure that he does. But there isn’t any sort of general bounty or reward posted which would encourage other persons to go after the defendant. Rewards are usually only posted for the most dangerous and notorious criminals. Bail bondsmen deal with mostly lower-end offenses and are thus far more common and far less interesting, story-wise.

Under the right circumstances, bounty hunting is a legally sanctioned way for a superhero to make money while fighting crime.

Forensic Scientist

This can be a good way for a hero to save people when off duty. They can solve crimes or get closer to solving it by collecting evidence at the scene of the crime and running analysis at their forensics lab. Or while being a hero they have the knowledge and resources to help them out if they need it (or cover up their crimes if they’re a villain).

Bodyguard

It’d be hard to explain how a bodyguard has enough off-time to be a superhero on the side. Usually, when a superhero serves as somebody’s bodyguard, they’re doing it in costume and not as a day job. Bodyguards are really limited by where they can go when they’re on assignment. If they have to be next to their charge at all times, the story’s probably going to stall because the character can’t do much but react. On the other hand, if they’re similar to investigators like a Secret Service agent trying to avert an assassination plot, that could work quite nicely.

Private Investigator

The hero doesn’t have to worry about hours, tricking partners, or being accused of negligence. The hours are their’s to dictate, meaning that, they can pretty much investigate as their hero identity any time they want. They also handle cases that are not taken care of by other professionals but serve an important function in the justice or corporate system. Such as doing background checks for employment purposes or acceptance into a housing complex. Background checks may also be conducted when a person gets romantically involved with another person and wants to check if he or she has any skeletons in the closet.

A primary reason why someone may hire a private investigator is to have them conduct surveillance on a target. A person may require surveillance if he or she believes another person is trying to harm him or her, such as checking for a stalker or an abusive ex. Surveillance may also be ordered in civil investigations, such as when an insurance company is attempting to acquire evidence about a person who alleges a serious injury. Cases may involve workers’ compensation, personal injury, corporate fraud, infidelity suspicions and others.

Another common reason to hire a private investigator is for a family law matter. Private investigators may be hired in order to gather evidence to use in a civil trial, such as a divorce or child custody battle. They may also be hired to help find a missing person or relocate adopted family members. Private investigators are often used in the divorce context for purposes such as locating hidden assets in a divorce or finding assets if a parent owes child support or spousal support. If a person is receiving alimony, his or her ex-spouse may hire a private investigator to see if the spouse is living with a new romantic partner if this is grounds to terminate spousal support.

Private investigators may be contacted to investigate suspicions of a cheating spouse. Infidelity investigations are often requested because a person does not know whether a spouse is cheating or not and wants an objective person to conduct surveillance and an investigation to determine if the person’s partner is being unfaithful. Often, a person must witness infidelity with his or her own eyes to believe that a partner is unfaithful. He or she may be reassured frequently of faithfulness only to confirm the opposite.

Private Investigators often assist in criminal investigations and can even be found working alongside law enforcement in certain instances. Under the law, a police officer has restrictions on his or her actions that a PI may not be bound by. For this reason, police often hire private investigators when they can’t pursue the case further.

In addition, the law can only step in once sufficient evidence has been obtained, evidence that a PI may be able to track down. Thus, a private investigator may be hired to perform a criminal investigation only until enough evidence has been collected so that police can take over and make an arrest.

Even though private investigators aren’t restricted by the same laws in terms of assisting the police with investigations, this does not mean they are above the legal system. Private Investigators cannot retrieve evidence by breaking or contravening the law in any way.

While a hero’s identity as the PI may not be able to get access to certain information or evidence without getting in trouble, their hero alias can find a way to make it easier to solves the cases.

Lawyer

This can be difficult to pull off if your hero doesn’t works for their own law firm or is a partner. Being their own boss would give them a bit more control over their schedule. After all, as a lawyer they will have to keep track of the copious amounts of time they’re supposed to spend working, and probably losing a lot of sleep in order to catch up. And if a case goes wrong and a bad guy is freed, they can track them down as the hero and put them away.

Taxi Driver (or Chauffeurs, Uber/Lyft Driver)

They earn a fare depending on the length of the taxi cab ride. If the driver is working for a company, they will be dispatched by the company to go and pick up passengers. They may also drive around for different hours of a shift to pick up waiting passengers for fares. A taxi driver’s shift may be very busy or slow, based on the area that the driver is working. How busy the shift is and how many fares the driver collects will determine the pay structure for each day.

Making a living as a cabdriver is a fragile economic balancing act. They have expenses to pay off – tolls, gas and the leasing a taxi medallion. And on top of that they also need to earn a living from it and to do that they work long hours (about twelve hours), nearly everyday (six days a week) to make enough.

For example, your character sees a guy in a suit on the corner of the street. They pull over at Third Avenue and 59th. The man slides into their backseat and exits two minutes later at Third and 69th. Cost of the ride: $3.80. (That’s $2.50 just for getting into the cab, 80 cents for the mileage, and 50 cents for the so-called “MTA tax.”) He tips $1.20.

Experienced cabdrivers know that they can’t wait for hails. Sometimes they need to be on the look out for people who might need a ride, even if they don’t raise their hand. Sometimes their hunches prove correct and they gain a passenger just by stopping and checking if they need a ride.

Point is, a taxi driver sounds like a perfect job for a superhero because they can go anywhere at any time without being suspicious. However, it’s not that easy to make a living on it when they are also playing hero. They won’t have enough time to do both. Unless it’s just a side job (because they aren’t hurting for money), they own their own car or taxi business. But they also should be careful about being employed by a taxi or chauffeur businesses because their boss could use the GPS tracking system on underperforming drivers to see what they’re doing, which your character should avoid if they’ve been slacking in their work.

Stunt Performer (or Stunt Rider)

If your hero character is an expert martial artist, boxer, gymnast, rock climber, racer or whatever else; it can be useful. The more they know how to do stuff, the more likely they’ll be able to wow stunt coordinators and get many roles. But being a stunt performer is a risky profession because they’re prone to injury and it’ll be harder to do the older they get. But if your hero has super healing or is very good at physical task they may not have to worry about that.

However, being a stunt person is time consuming. It requires a lot of hours on set training, practicing and sometimes even working nights to get it done. Sometimes a stunt performer’s on-camera opportunities are limited based on their size or a particular look. They also need to be ready to travel anywhere in the world, depending on what their roles are. Such as they might need to be in Germany for a high-speed car chase, in Peru to shoot a rock climbing scene, the Caribbean to film a jet-skiing sequence and so on.

So if your character is a stunt performer or stunt rider they may not have that many opportunities to go off to play hero when they’re working. They may only be able to do so when they’re finished with their roles (or at night, unless they have to work late) and even than they might be exhausted.

Aquarium (or Zoo)

If your character is interested in a profession working in close contact with animals on a daily basis, such as wildlife biologist or veterinarian, they must have an advanced degree in zoology or veterinary medicine. Jobs requiring less schooling but include frequent, direct contact with animals include veterinary technician, zoo keeper, or wildlife technician.

These jobs aren’t easy. Caring for animals can require around-the-clock attention in some settings. Wildlife biology can involve working outdoors in sometimes difficult field environments. There are many different kinds of jobs at zoos and aquariums, from animal curators to development officers, to public affairs directors.

Even if your character has affinity for water or animals they may not have time to play hero when on the clock unless they plan to do that at night and don’t mind losing some sleep over it.

If they have their SCUBA certification (and where marine life is involved usually require a B.S. Degree in Marine Biology), they may be able to help maintain exhibits at their local aquarium. Of course, aquarium scuba jobs are not just limited to cleaning but encompass a wide variety of work ranging from cleaning tanks, to tracking the health of Aquarium inhabitants, carrying out underwater maintenance activities, taking care of aquarium plants as well as sometimes being a part of the attraction for visitors such as performing shark feedings and swimming with dolphins, etc..

Secretary

The duties of a secretary or administrative assistant vary by industry or employer (corporate settings, government agencies, legal and medical offices, schools, hospitals, you name it), but some tasks are common to many work settings. In general, secretaries perform basic clerical, organizational and office responsibilities for an organization or department.

Office support jobs, such as a receptionist will probably have a person doing a variety of tasks such as answering a more general phone line, mail delivery, copying, collating, and other tasks. These positions are more entry-level and require much less experience. A high school diploma or GED and computer skills are common requirements.

As with most front office jobs, a character will be spending a lot of time typing in front of a computer screen. If they’re bothered by eye strain, or back problems from sitting all day, this probably isn’t the job for them. Of course they won’t be able to disappear in the middle of work, or use the excuse of getting lunch for everyone, coffee or filing papers every time something comes up. So it’s probably best that they do their hero work at night.

Night Security Guard

Night security guards, or night watchmen provide overnight security for a building and/or its occupants. They may patrol on foot, in a car or spend their shift watching the grounds via a closed-circuit television system at their desk. Depending on where they work (at a mall, college campus, museum, etc.), they may also answer phone calls, take messages and respond to requests and questions. Usually each guard is armed only with a nightstick, taser, and pepper spray. But again, depending on where they work at they may require more intensive training and knowledge such as how to handle a gun, what to do in a situation and so on, especially at nuclear power plants since they face the threat of terrorism.

Night guards often must be available to work any night of the week, even on weekends and holidays. Depending on the location, their shift may start at 10 or 11 p.m. and end sometime after the sun has come up. They may also have to adapt their nightly routine to the situations that come up during their shift, such as someone trying to break in. At a hotel, a guest may ask you to help them access a locked part of the building, such as an on-site gym that closes at night. Also, in some instances, security guards are instructed to let petty shoplifters go – a fact that might not sit well with the law-abiding side of your character’s personality.

A night guard’s duty is to prevent illegal entry and they do that by overseeing who comes and goes from a building or the premises. Often, night guard log the times when someone comes in or leaves, verify a person’s identification and right to be on site and keep records of what happened during the overnight shift. Most employers do not expect night guards to engage in confrontation with a visitor who should not be there. An employer may want the guard to call the local police department if they notice something suspicious.

This job sounds like it would be good for a hero because they can be more active in the day (if they don’t mind losing some sleep). But at the same time, it allows the character to work on other things while keeping watch of the security monitors. Because I have heard that some night guards find themselves reading, writing and cruising the Internet as long as it doesn’t interfere with their work.

Repossession Agent (or Recovery Agent)

A repossession agent retrieves property that has not been paid for according to the terms agreed upon by the buyer and seller. They are typically involved in recovering large ticket items such as automobiles, recreational vehicles, trucks and boats. They may work for a repossession company, bank, financing organization, lending institution or credit card company. A considerable number of repossession agents are independent contractors as well.

Repossessing personal property from individuals is frequently a difficult task. A repossession agent may be required to approach the person who has defaulted on the purchase agreement to inform him or her of their intentions. In some cases, the lender notifies the buyer of the proposed action, and the agent is only responsible for physically retrieving the property. The agent may be required to seize property from a private residence or commercial location.

Although the target of the repossession may be aware of the impending action, the repossessor frequently meets with resistance in performing their job. They may be confronted with verbal abuse and, in some cases, be threatened with physical violence. Some repossessors are licensed to carry weapons of self-defense.

To avoid legal repercussions, a repossession agent is normally required to be fully aware of their rights as well as those of the lender and purchaser. The lender typically has stringent guidelines and procedures that must be followed to make the repossession legal. These normally include alerting the property owner of the repossession by registered or certified mail. In some regions, a legal document outlining the details of the default must be delivered to the consumer by a process server.

Once the property has been retrieved, the repossession agent commonly delivers it to the creditor or to a location authorized by the creditor. Upon delivery, the agent customarily requires the person accepting the property to sign documents that confirm the transfer. This releases the repossession agent from any further liability for the property they have seized.

Success as a repossession agent generally requires a calm demeanor and great communication skills, especially in negotiating. There are normally no formal educational requirements to be a repossession agent. A significant number of repossession agent jobs require applicants to have no criminal background or history of arrests for crimes involving dishonesty or violence. Some regions may also require repossession agents to be licensed or bonded.

The pay varies quite a bit, sometimes it’s paid per successful repossession or per hour. The position is also not a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. kind of job. Normally repo agents repossess cars in the dark, with midnight to five in the morning being prime time. The schedule is flexible since it requires patience and preservation to get the job done. They also need to be careful because there are challenges they face, such as the target may become violent or the police may get involve thinking that the repo agent stole the vehicle (which is why repossessor must notify the local police or sheriff’s department that they’ve taken the vehicle when it’s in their possession though in some places it may not be a requirement).

Repo agents also become proficient at basic “skip tracing” (locating people who have moved) and other investigative work. When people stop paying their car loans, they sometimes move and often start parking their car somewhere other than at home. This may be an interesting job for a superhero.

Transcriptionist

Transcription essentially involves a person to listen to audio files and typing out what they hear. Companies usually hire transcriptionists without much experience, so some job postings might only require them to have a computer and keyboard to get started. Transcription jobs can vary from transcribing a college lecture to a doctor’s medical dictation and most companies allow them to make their own schedule.

It’s a flexible job that requires little to no prior experience, which can be a perfect for a superhero. It won’t get in the way because this job also allows them to work from home or anywhere really, as long as they get their transcription done when it’s due.

Customer Service Representative

Companies are always looking for workers with excellent speaking abilities and solid computer skills to help customers find a correct size, place an order or resolve a conflict. Both full- and part-time positions are available, and they are generally required to devote a four-hour block of time.

Customer service is the biggest work-at-home field, with companies including Spiegel, Hilton, Best Western, HSN, 1-800-FLOWERS and many others using at-home reps. This can be a decent job if your superhero doesn’t mind talking and helping people on the phones for a couple of hours.

Corporate English Trainer

This is another work-at-home job because students in countries including Japan, Korea, France and Germany are always looking for English speakers to practice with. While a degree in education or ESL is ideal it isn’t really necessary. All that is needed is a computer and a high-speed Internet connection.

Sessions focus on things like making professional small talk or running a meeting (trainers are provided with specifics on how to teach each topic, and are also trained themselves for two days before starting the job). Lessons take place either over the phone or on a live Internet video service like Skype—sometimes at night, because they’re working with students in different time zones. They need to commit to a minimum of 20 hours a week at consistent times, and can work as many as 35 hours.

It will depend on your character, if they are able to sit aside a couple of hours each day to work. But with this job, it also allows them to work anywhere, not just at home (but again, when doing video calls it would be strange if your hero is in costume while working or sitting in a dark alleyway).

~*~


Another possibility is for a character to be their own boss or to make up their own business. For example, Donatello from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles runs an IT tech support line to earn money for his family. He can’t exactly go off and ask for a desk job because of his appearance. That’s why he thought to search for a job that allows him to work from home, but is also flexible with his schedule. And with his natural aptitude for science and technology he gets paid decently since he knows his stuff.

Being an Technical Support Representative they listen the the customers’ problem then analyze, troubleshoot and resolve technical issues. They sometimes have to remotely configure and troubleshoot client’s equipment or simply educate customers. In the event the issue cannot be resolved, they would transfer the call to the next tier of support or arrange dates, times and access arrangements for a service call. Some companies also ask their Tech Support employees to sell additional services. They also utilize multiple computers and databases to record of the results of their interactions.

This type of job fitted Donatello perfectly. So it is important to find a job that not only makes sense for your superhero character, but can work with they lifestyle.


DamnBlackHeart
Community Member
  • [10/24/17 12:11am]
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