‘Super Salaries: The Top 10 Most Employable Powers’
Forbes Magazine, January 1995
From those able to move mountains to those able to move us, Forbes lists the top 10 powers most capable of paying off a mortgage.
#10 – Telepath – With its prevalence and the legitimate concerns surrounding its use, it’s easy to forget how important telepathy is to modern society. From psychologists and emergency workers to police and in-house security, telepaths can attract a larger salary than their non-telepathic colleagues for the application of their mental skills – and while it’s arguably the need for protection from other telepaths driving much of this, the reality of the wage gap remains unchanged. Telepaths at the top of their field have a broad range of opportunities and despite strict penalties against improper conduct (as well as the rise of Psy-Block and anti-paths in the corporate arena), their ability remains one of the most consistently valuable in the business world.
#9 – Long-Range Teleporter – Not to be confused with their short‑range counterparts who can jump almost instantly but are limited by their field of vision, long-range teleporters turn what would have been an eighteen-hour flight into five minutes of concentration and sulphur (not including passport and immigration control). Although of course subject to strict customs obligations, professional LRTs can make big bucks ferrying wealthy clients, for whom time is more valuable than money, to various locations around the world, and quickly rack up a stack of fares and perks – so long as they hold their concentration and don’t accidentally jump their passengers’ luggage inside a volcano.
#8 – Healer – An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but a qualified doctor with healing abilities can keep themselves in no shortage of cash. As the backbone of the healthcare system, healers need not be med-school trained to make a living, but those who go the extra mile by getting a “traditional” medical education will find themselves consistently in the country’s highest income brackets. In addition to the public sector, qualified healers can also find lucrative employment in private practice or as support staff, and are arguably the most change-proof professionals on Earth. After all, there’s no end in sight for sickness, injury and the human condition.
#7 – Replicator – While not prevalent in the white-collar world, those able to create multiple copies of themselves can nevertheless find great success in a variety of non-corporate ventures. Popularised in mainland China, the idea of one-man/multiple-men construction crews is gaining traction within the US and Europe, with property developers warming to the notion of only paying one (large) wage to a sufficiently skilled contractor. Likewise, synchronised factory workers, mining teams and clean-up crews offer replicators potential avenues for fast, easy money, despite union protests – not to mention the surging popularity of replicator dance, singing and sports “groups”, which can reward talented individuals (and the ability to be in several places at once) with fame, fortune and sold-out concerts.
#6 – Terramancer – As growth in the Asian economies booms and the Africa Restoration Project gains steam, the worldwide demand for iron-ore and other raw materials continues to surge, leading to a (sometimes literal) gold-rush throughout parts of Australia, South America and the Middle East. With exceptional profits on the table, even unskilled earthmovers have the potential to make megabucks shifting rocks for those companies in the resource sector willing to pay maximum wage to keep their product flowing. As Mike Rowe says, it’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it – and if they’re willing to work hard and travel far that someone could easily be earning six figures straight out of high school.
#5 – Genius – Steve Jobs once stated that “humanity moves forward because geniuses tug on the leash” – a sentiment not lost on corporate America. At the forefront of development in everything from technology to marketing, those gifted with superhuman intelligence can single-handedly create innovations that revolutionise an industry – and be paid handsomely for it. With low numbers and a presence in every breakout company of the last three decades, geniuses are widely regarded as the “golden geese” of the business world. Though, as in fable, they are not without their problems - including a propensity towards estrangement, irrationality and mental illness - properly looked after, geniuses can be an invaluable asset to businesses, humanity and their own wallets.
#4 – Anti-path – The rarest entrant on the list, anti-telepathy, colloquially known as “antipathy”, is an emergent and little‑understood ability which has in the approximately fifteen years since its discovery become a status symbol within the corporate world. Normally unannounced and understated, an anti-path can attract a paycheck many times the size of their colleagues’ – an exorbitant salary, but pennies compared to the billions in company secrets they can safeguard from wandering telepathic minds. The fierce competition between private and government sectors for the few anti-paths on offer means that anyone who finds themselves with this ability has their pick of employers, and is unlikely to be going hungry any time soon.
#3 – Neutraliser – Being a relatively rare power, neutralisers are sitting pretty on the “supply” side of supply and demand, watching with expanding bank accounts as demand for their services continues to grow. In addition to established positions within law enforcement and correctional fields, neutraliser security is fast becoming a must have for any responsible organisation keen to safeguard against troublemakers (and keep their insurance premiums down). Indeed, perhaps the only complaint a neutraliser could possibly have about having an ability sought after by everyone from the Department of Defence to festival planners is the sheer amount of sitting involved – sitting on planes, in courtrooms, at baseball games, endlessly waiting to supress the powers of anyone using them where they’re not supposed to.
#2 – Technopath – Don’t you hate it when your computer stops working and you don’t know why? Don’t you wish that for once you could just tell technology to work and it’d do it? Well apparently so does everyone, which is why technopaths, with their ability to talk to machines and make machines talk back, are in such incredible demand. From programming and website design to troubleshooting and network security, technopaths are the people who keep the Information Age running – and at a far faster pace than would be otherwise possible. Modelling by MIT has estimated that the combined efforts of technopaths and the super-intelligent has already accelerated technological development by decades – a fact regularly reflected in a technopath’s salary.
#1 – Speedster – What do you call an employee who can do five times the work in one quarter of the time? Invaluable, desirable, and exceptionally well-paid. Yes, despite the expansion of the Internet and personal computing giving technopaths a leg up, the old adage that efficiency is the heart of good business continues to hold true, making superspeed once again the most valuable power a person can be born with. To add insult to injury, unlike the speedsters of yesteryear the modern supersonic worker has at their disposal a range of products tailor-made to maximise the advantages of their speed, from friction-proof corporate-wear to Kinetic™ computers capable of keeping up with their blistering WPMs. Parents, watch your children – if they start moving faster than you can see, you may be looking at early retirement.
#0 (Honourable Mention) – Captain Dawn – While technically an ability which has garnered him great success, it seemed slightly unfair to include Captain Dawn’s phenomenal power of unlimited energy when considering powers which would give our readers an edge in today’s job market. However, it is worth noting that through merchandising, donations and creative rights, the power of Dawn has netted Captain Dawn several billion dollars – which he has, of course, put towards the rebuilding of the Legion of Heroes, charitable causes and the continued safety of the world.
Bio: Born and raised in Newcastle, Australia, Ben is a lifelong writer currently studying his Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Technology Sydney. An avid fan of the weird and wonderful, he has wanted to be a writer since he was five years old (before which he wanted to be a dinosaur).