In celebration of everyone’s favorite web-head, July is Spectacular Spider-Month at AiPT! We have a series of amazing articles in store for the month. Movies, television, gaming, and of course comics will all be covered with great responsibility as we honor one of comics’ greatest heroes.
Peter Parker is well known for having financial struggles for the vast majority of his existence, as one of many facets that makes him one of the most relatable characters around. As a result, he’s taken up plenty of jobs to try and make ends meet. While he’s best known for being a photographer for the Daily Bugle, he’s actually spent a significant amount of time working in other careers, sometimes for the Bugle but frequently elsewhere.
Peter’s occupations have all had varying quality based on their effects on his life, or his life’s effect on them. Some of them helped him do his job as Spider-Man, and some of them were helped by his job as Spider-Man. Be it the hours, the pay, or the resources, Peter’s jobs have been fairly varied. So let’s look at all of them in chronological order to figure out which was his best!
First, let’s set some ground rules for these ratings:
- Similar jobs will be combined.
Peter was a freelance photographer, then a salaried one, then a freelance one again, and while there’s definitely some differences to how they worked, functionally in the stories they were by and large the same. So for the purposes of this rating, they’ll be lumped together into one Photographer category. There’s a few different jobs like this that we’ll be doing this to.
- Jobs need to have made a significant change to Peter’s lifestyle.
If a job doesn’t really change anything about the story other than Peter just saying something different when explaining how he earns money, it’s not significant enough to be ranked.
- Jobs will be ranked using 4 categories.
These categories are:
- Convenience – in regard to hours, anonymity, and how it affects his home life.
- Resources – How it improves Peter’s life as Spider-Man.
- Peter’s competence – Peter’s own performance at the job, and any job growth he’s had.
- Fit – Whether the job is actually a good career path for Peter, or if he doesn’t belong.
Each of these categories will be ranked out of 5 points to combine to a cumulative 20 points for each rating.
And now, without further ado, let’s start with the first job Peter had:
When Peter first got his spider-powers, he saw an ad for a wrestling match, which he was able to win handily. He tried to use this to leverage his way into a role as an entertainer, but this career path ultimately failed due to his inability to cash checks without giving up his anonymity. Not to mention that within 3 days of this gig, Peter’s head got too big and he decided not to stop the crook who would go on to kill his Uncle Ben.
- Convenience: Peter was able to do all of his performance gigs on his own time, without raising any alarm with his uncle or aunt, and could perform without giving up his secret identity. 4 points.
- Resources: Peter got $100 for winning his first fight, but after that was unable to earn any money due to his mask. 1 point.
- Peter’s competence: All of his performance gigs were feats of strength or agility, which he excels at and performed with ease. 5 points.
- Fit: Within days, Peter’s ego grew to the point where he chose to let a criminal escape. This job literally got his uncle killed. 0 points.
Total: 10 points. Not bad for a first job!
This is Peter’s most iconic job, what he’s known for in almost every adaptation. It’s how he made money for the majority of his early years, and he’s gone back to it whenever he’s had money troubles. J. Jonah Jameson frequently swindled him by paying far less than his photos were actually worth, but for Peter’s high school and college days this was a very lucrative job, especially for someone on his schedule.
- Convenience: Peter got to do this job at his own pace, turning in photos of himself after pretty much any outing as Spider-Man. JJJ promised to never ask how he got his pictures, so there was absolutely no risk of exposing his secret identity. It was a job that he could tell people he had, unlike his first. 5 points.
- Resources: Peter got paid fairly well for his photos, although JJJ has definitely lowballed him. When he got salaried, however, he was paid a very handsome amount, and when he was able to turn his pictures into a photo book and sell it, he got even more. At the same time, he had only ever really gotten money, and few other benefits from this job. 4 points.
- Peter’s Competence: Peter excelled at being a photographer. He grew from a freelancer to salaried, and was able to sell a book and make a good amount of money just from his pictures. Later on, he went back to freelance photography because he could actually make more money that way! 5 points.
- Fit: This job is definitely not a great fit for Peter. He’s good at it, but he gives pictures to a newspaper that’s dedicated to smearing Spider-Man’s name. Peter’s an incredibly smart person, and could also definitely go for something more academic or scientific than photography. 2 points.
Total: 16 points.
Peter became a teacher at a public high school in New York in the early 2000s, and used this position to do some real good in his community. He listened to his students’ problems and more than a few times was able to do something to help them as Spider-Man. He also used this position to get his students interested in science, which is great. Peter was also once a teacher as Spider-Man at the Jean Grey School, filling in for Wolverine.
- Convenience: Peter would frequently have to take off and wouldn’t show for fairly long, and in general his life as Spider-Man tended to hinder his role as a teacher. 1 point.
- Resources: Peter didn’t get an amazing salary as a public school teacher, but he was able to use his role as a teacher to find things out from kids and help them, like he did with one girl whose brother he had sent to prison years earlier. 3 points.
- Peter’s Competence: Peter was an excellent teacher – He got his students interested and excited about science, and he used his position as their mentor to really help them, and honestly I wish I had a teacher like him. At least, when he was in class. 5 points.
- Fit: Being a teacher is a great role for Peter, it lets him help kids who could really be going through a tough time, and it also lets him use his book smarts on something productive. 5 points.
Total: 14 points.
For a short stint after his time as a teacher, Spider-Man was hired to be a bodyguard for a mobster who was getting assassination attempts thrown at him left and right. Under the stipulations that his mask not be removed and that he would not kill anyone, Peter agreed to what is one of the strangest jobs he’s ever had.
- Convenience: Peter spent all his time with this mobster, which really hurt his private time, but it wasn’t a long term job so it wasn’t the worst arrangement. 1 point.
- Resources: Peter was paid very handsomely for this job – he got $12,000 per day! The job didn’t last too long but he was still able to take home a significant amount. 4 points.
- Peter’s Competence: Peter was able to beat the man trying to kill his client, and was even able to get evidence on his client to incriminate him and send him to jail. He did a really good job, especially given how difficult his client was making it. 5 points.
- Fit: Being a bodyguard for a mobster really doesn’t fit a superhero, but using that position to gather evidence for the police is far more up his alley. It doesn’t make the job fit well, but it’s not terrible. 2 points.
Total: 12 points.
Peter joined the New Avengers in the mid-00s, and moved to Avengers Tower alongside Mary Jane and Aunt May. Peter got to use Avengers facilities and got a stipend so he actually had money and didn’t have to worry about putting food on the table.
- Convenience: Peter got to live in incredibly comfortable accommodations, and everyone at his workplace knew who he was and was also a hero. He was paid to be Spider-Man and stop crimes, without needing to take pictures of himself! 5 points.
- Resources: Peter got the full resources of Tony Stark and the Avengers facilities for everything he could want. Tony would eventually even give him a new suit with incredible new features. Everything he needed was paid for, and he had possibly the best superhero resources in the whole Marvel universe. 5 points.
- Peter’s Competence: Peter wasn’t a perfect Avenger, especially towards the end of his time with Stark – He completely fumbled a hearing about the Superhero Registration Act, and ended up choosing the wrong side during the Civil War. He did his best, but being an official Avenger was not really his best showing. 2 points.
- Fit: Peter joining the Avengers is the graduation that his character had been moving towards for decades, and this was really the first step towards him becoming a more global hero, which is something that he was perfect for at this stage of his life. 5 points.
Total: 17 points.
Peter began working as a scientist for Horizon Labs during Dan Slott’s Big Time arc, and continued for many years. He also had an affiliation with Tricorp during the 90s that didn’t last very long. Peter got to use this job as a way to improve his own life as Spider-Man, and it was a welcome growth after Brand New Day, where he had gone back to being a photographer.
- Convenience: Peter got to work odd hours at this job, and told his boss that he helped Spider-Man, which allowed him to more openly work on improvements to his own crime fighting technology. 5 points.
- Resources: Peter had the full disposal of Horizon Labs to improve his quality of life as Spider-Man, and got paid very well for his work there. Additionally, he had incredibly smart coworkers to bounce ideas off of and work with, which made a great environment for his ingenuity. 5 points.
- Peter’s Competence: Peter was an incredibly smart person, and in his interview he blew everyone at the lab away with his skills. This was definitely the job he was made for, and it allowed to stretch his mental muscles and get even smarter. Peter was able to fix his colleagues’ projects as well, like when one of them made a time machine. 5 points.
- Fit: Peter is an incredibly gifted, intelligent person, and this is the first job that truly allowed him to use his smarts in a practical, tangible way. It’s the perfect job for someone who is as smart and educated as Peter is, and it was a great status quo for him both as Peter Parker and as Spider-Man. 5 points.
Total: 20 points.
CEO of Parker Industries
While Otto Octavius had taken over Peter’s body, he found out that Peter didn’t have a doctorate, and immediately rectified that. He later founded his own company – Parker Industries, and ran it hypercompetently. When Peter got his body back, he found himself in control of a massive technology corporation, and had to significantly alter his life to work with it. Such alterations included hiring Hobie Brown to pretend to be Spider-Man, as Peter’s bodyguard to separate the two. It was a very far cry from Peter’s beginning, but an interesting change.
- Convenience: Peter had a hard time being Spider-Man while he was CEO, because he was just too public of a figure. He eventually had to hire the Prowler to pretend to be Spider-Man while Peter was in public. It really made his job as Spider-Man harder as a whole. 1 point.
- Resources: Peter had the entire resources of his own corporation to develop Spidey tech, and used it – because Spider-Man was his bodyguard, he was able to push for these developments. 5 points.
- Peter’s Competence: Peter was a terrible CEO once he got his company back, Otto ran the business incredibly tightly but Peter was far too nice and began to make worse and worse choices. He even used Parker Industries to attack a foreign nation because it was taken over by Norman Osborn. 1 point.
- Fit: Making Peter a CEO was a bold choice but it really wasn’t a great direction for the character. It took him too far out of the friendly neighborhood, and positions him as one of the super-rich people that makes life worse for those in the friendly neighborhoods. It wasn’t even a company that Peter himself built, it was all made by Otto. As a job for Peter, it isn’t really a great choice. 1 point.
Total: 8 points.
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