22
$\begingroup$

Obviously it depends on the superpower. But which is the best way with "common" powers like Teleportation, Super speed, Super strength or Mind reading?

Conditions:

  • It is very important that it is safe and not going to expose your powers.
  • Earn money not doing illegal or unethical things.
  • There are people/governments searching for people with powers, worldwide

I thought of teleportation or super speed to transport objects without effort, but still being only one person would not earn much money, and you have to "wait" a reasonable time to be credible.

Mind controlling and doing random people to give you money would be very suspicious.

$\endgroup$

closed as primarily opinion-based by Aify, Hohmannfan, bilbo_pingouin, JDługosz, Rob Watts Sep 9 '16 at 19:02

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 58
    $\begingroup$ Your username makes me suspicious... $\endgroup$ – Nex Terren Sep 8 '16 at 17:51
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "doing random people to give you money" - you said "not doing illegal things" don't you $\endgroup$ – enkryptor Sep 8 '16 at 18:02
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Marky Immanuel Kant would like to have a word with you about your ethics! Google his writings... he focuses on the theory that ethics is useless unless it is universal and lays out ways to identify ethical actions. Others have built on his work over the last century and a half. To many ethicists, this question is valid as phrased. $\endgroup$ – SRM Sep 8 '16 at 18:22
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I'm assuming we are excluding the 'ability to see the future' superpower, where making money is easy. $\endgroup$ – DJClayworth Sep 8 '16 at 20:24
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The list of "common" powers is pretty long. I don't know if anyone can give you a complete answer, covering all of them. $\endgroup$ – Babika Babaka Sep 9 '16 at 7:32

21 Answers 21

24
$\begingroup$

Without question, mind reading is the best option here of what you listed. The reason is very simple: it's the most self-contained.

If you need to make money fast, just head to any poker room and clean the table. Since you're not playing the house, they won't care as long as you don't take it too far. And you can always move up stakes. There's no short supply of tournaments to make easy money.

If the government is looking for people with powers, this kind of power is very hard to prove, especially if you keep it low-key.

But the most financially successful super power is time travel. Obviously something like poker is super easy (go back to the beginning of the hand if you were going to win) but imagine day trading. Memorize the stocks from today, go back 9 hours, and enter in your timed buy and sells. Of course, changing the timeline has inherent problems, but if you're only going back a day at a time you shouldn't have too many big changes from your butterflies.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Sep 10 '16 at 18:31
  • $\begingroup$ Cheating at poker is completely unethical. $\endgroup$ – jorfus Sep 11 '16 at 5:33
21
$\begingroup$

Mind-reading. Become a therapist or 'life coach' to celebrities. You'll always know exactly what's at the root of their problems, and always be able to offer the kind of advice which they find palatable. And you can charge a small fortune for your 'exclusive' services.

$\endgroup$
  • 27
    $\begingroup$ I seriously doubt the value of mind-reading here. People expect suggestion, trust, love, from such services, not the pure truth. Gurus make more money than logicians, here... $\endgroup$ – Uriel Sep 8 '16 at 20:12
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Uriel Ok, psychic then. People will likely still say you are a fraud, cold reading, etc. especially if you deliberately put out wrong leads at first before you hit the nail on the head. $\endgroup$ – Michael Sep 8 '16 at 22:42
  • 11
    $\begingroup$ Mind reading can only make you listen to their thoughts, and if one seeks help from a therapist they definitely don't know the answer to their problems and thus are not "thinking" about it, so you would have no clue anyway. $\endgroup$ – Hankrecords Sep 9 '16 at 8:05
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I agree with @Hankrecords. If all it took to be a therapist or a life coach was to read someone's mind, everyone could be therapist and life coach to themselves. $\endgroup$ – JiK Sep 9 '16 at 9:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If you can read minds, I think it would be better to use it to beat games (e.g. Poker), trade with insider information or sell industrial secrets, rather than being a therapist. edit: oh and look, now you know everybody's username and passwords. $\endgroup$ – angarg12 Sep 9 '16 at 14:08
11
$\begingroup$

All in all I have to ponder if hiding from the government is really the best idea. I imagine if you went to the CIA and proved them you could read peoples' minds they would pay you a lot to go to a state dinner with the heads of foreign powers. You just have to be "trust-worthy" in their eyes.

Basically no one will pay you like a government can, it's just a trick of getting them to see you as part of them, rather then an outsider (and possibly dissected). If you work for them, then you don't need to hide from them, and you get all that effort changed from finding you to protecting you.

Super-strength is probably going to be the hardest to make money off of. You'd be able to mostly ... do construction better? Another problem you're going to run into is the 'ethical' requirement. Ethical for whom? You could run that package across the country with super-speed quicker and cheaper (while still making money) than a delivery service, but from a certain point of view you're being evil because you're depriving dozens of people the chance to earn their wages and contributing to the downfall of the economy. Another example: maybe someone with mind-reading powers thinks the current president is a moron and decides they could do better. That person has an uncounter-able advantage in debates and talks, even if their own ability to lead is less-than-optimum.

$\endgroup$
  • 15
    $\begingroup$ The CIA might pay you a lot of money to go to diplomatic dinners, or they might lock you in a lead-lined room and do experiments on you, especially if they would rather be sure you weren't reading the President's mind than take the chance you were reading other minds and passing on the contents accurately. $\endgroup$ – DJClayworth Sep 8 '16 at 19:13
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Or they might pay you what they pay any other agent, which seems like a lot to some and not to others depending on their salary expectations. Government work is not where people are usually directed who want to get rich quick, nor spying to those hoping for the least effort ;-) $\endgroup$ – Steve Jessop Sep 8 '16 at 23:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Shape: in fact that's almost the norm in swimming because standards move so fast. In Rio Katie Ledecky and Adam Peaty also won finals by such a margin it wasn't even funny. If anyone else wanted gold in those races they had to hope for a false start. But it still feels like "fair competition" since, despite their physical advantages, we know they had to train for it and that they have to show up and perform near their best. The only super in a mundane race would just have to roll out of bed one day and decide to compete, and they'd win. $\endgroup$ – Steve Jessop Sep 9 '16 at 13:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ People have this weird desire to believe the worst things about their government, despite the fact that its made up by and large of people just like them... I wonder if they realize what that says about themselves. I choose to believe that even if some people would act negatively towards a super that they employed, they would have enough common sense to keep a handle on it; your not going to sneak an assassination plot through against a mind reader etc, and at the end of the day, most people go home after their done with work, and leave work at the workplace...INCLUDING government employees $\endgroup$ – Marky Sep 9 '16 at 17:42
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @DJClayworth you could read the CIA's mind to determine if this was going to happen $\endgroup$ – Eric Johnson Sep 9 '16 at 19:08
10
$\begingroup$

If the Government is actively tracking down those with powers, the way you use them has to be subtle. Using your abilities to supplement your career and make your life easier would be the best way to make extra money without being too visible.

This won't make you money but it will save you some, if you have super speed or teleportation abilities, you don't have to catch trains, buses or drive to work if you have a traditional job. You could simply teleport/speed run your way to work each day, perhaps bring a bike with you to make the fact that you don't use a car or public transport more credible. This saves you money in fuel, tickets, tax etc. so your fortune can grow faster.

Super speed could also be very useful for quickly debugging computer programs. If a program has thousands of lines, simply reading it takes time for a normal person, but with super speed you can get through programs much faster to find errors. You could do contract programming jobs, where you get paid more anyway than a standard programmer, and you'll solve problems quickly, as you'll, "take the problem home to work on" read it at super speed, and find the missing semi-colon much faster.

You could use mind reading for lie detecting. Often, when people lie, they are thinking about the truth, or the fact that they are lying. This could help in a variety of careers, such as investing, detective work and court law. If you already know the witness is lying, you can trace their motives and find the person who paid them to cover up the crime. Generally, private detectives can make a lot of money if they are successful as they can charge more with a proven track record. Most of the heavy leg work would be negated by having powers as you can read your "target"'s mind to find out when they'll be cheating on their spouse, or when they are going to be meeting their drug dealer.

In the financial sector, mind reading or seeing the future would be very useful as you can learn businesses plans before they're implemented. For example, if you knew Pokemon Go was coming out in 2-3 years time, you could buy stocks in Nintendo when their prices fall, and make a fortune selling them when prices are much higher after Pokemon Go's release. Of course to keep suspicion off of you, there would have to be times where you sell at a slight loss, to prevent people from thinking you have powers. I knew a woman who made a big enough fortune selling stocks to retire comfortably at 28, so if you want to hit big, quickly, this would be the way to go.

$\endgroup$
  • 13
    $\begingroup$ Umm, hate to question your experience, but debugging a program is less "read a thousand lines of code to find a missing semicolon" (a compiler would point you to a syntax error anyway), and more "learn how to reproduce the issue and understand what a couple of functions is supposed to do". Thinking fast would help, yes, reading fast - not so much. $\endgroup$ – user8808 Sep 8 '16 at 18:38
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Roux My dad is a programmer and he has literally had to read through a thousand lines but that is with an older language. Also if it's not a syntax error but a logic error you would have to read through because if you want 2×6 but you ask for 6÷2 the program isnt going to throw up an error $\endgroup$ – Gladiator Kittens Sep 8 '16 at 19:17
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Using teleportation in everyday life, like when commuting would be an absolutely terrible idea. Someone is going to notice, sooner or later. $\endgroup$ – Nobody Sep 8 '16 at 22:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Roux Javascript don't mind missing semicolons ... unless in strict mode. $\endgroup$ – Sarfaraaz Sep 9 '16 at 12:31
10
$\begingroup$

Teleportation, Super speed, Super strength and all physical powers will be impossible to hide if you want to make money without attracting attention. Any witness will be a risk to be discovered. Mind reading is less obvious and I'd stick with this one. So become a private investigator. And if your ethics allow it : steal from the people who stole from others. You can read criminals' passwords, card numbers, secret bank accounts... It may not be legal, but would be just. Other career paths include negotiator or a job in finance. Knowing which corporation will purchase another one, or foreseeing financial results can be valuable for your stocks. Ethics in finance is not a concern as its existence is still an open question :P.

If you're in the upper range of super-powers, like Dr Manhattan, just create money out of nothing. Or just stop bothering about money because as a God, you definitely don't care.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Teleportation wouldn't be impossible to hide; you just need to ensure nobody sees you on either side, and doesn't know that teleportation was involved. I can think of many fairly covert uses (even more covert than theft), but none that are ethical. $\endgroup$ – Nex Terren Sep 8 '16 at 21:17
  • $\begingroup$ Well if you were Dr Manhattan you wouldn't need to care at all about governments wanting to find you either lol $\endgroup$ – Hankrecords Sep 9 '16 at 8:11
  • $\begingroup$ It is unethical of Dr. Manhattan to create this kind of inflation :v $\endgroup$ – Theraot Sep 9 '16 at 9:44
  • $\begingroup$ Dr. Manhattan is just a puppet that can see the strings though. Ethics crumble down when you reach this point $\endgroup$ – Loupax Sep 9 '16 at 13:08
  • $\begingroup$ @NexTerren Running a logistics company could still work. You just have to deliver the packages with a truck instead of personally. Use warehouses to store packages until it's time for delivery to not make everyone suspicious with the short delivery time. In the end, be significantly (but not suspiciously) faster than your competition. $\endgroup$ – MauganRa Sep 10 '16 at 19:22
9
$\begingroup$

Mind Reading

This one has the most potential for making serious money, while also being hard to detect. it's also the one that skirts closest to the ethical boundaries. Any businessman, or professional negotiator, or diplomat, or spy,would have obvious advantages if they could read the minds of the other participants. However reading minds in these circumstances is pretty ethically dubious.

A mind-reader would be an extremely successful detective, either police or private. Simply knowing if someone you interrogated was telling the truth would be a huge career boost. You could reasonably argue that probing the minds of suspects is ethically OK if you used it only to determine the truth, and never mentioned or acted on any information you got that was irrelevant to the investigation. Mind-reading would be helpful even in a uniformed police role - you could know if the suspect was armed, and where they had hidden the stolen property.

Related to this might be that of some kind of legal consultant - either a legal investigator (similar to a police investigator), or a jury consultant. Knowing at any time what the jury is thinking would be extremely helpful to the average lawyer, as would knowing which ones had prejudices, and jury consultants are pretty well paid. It might be argued that this is no less ethical than being an average jury consultant.

Super-invulnerability

Lots of people will pay you to do dangerous jobs, and its no big deal if you know you can't be hurt by them. Stunt-person is an obvious choice, but any kind of rescue worker would have a much easier time if they knew nothing could touch them. You might have to do some quick-thinking as to why the falling building didn't crush you to death, but most people are likely to believe "I was lucky" most of the time.

Aqua-powers

Aquaman would have a pretty easy time locating missing shipwrecks, sunken treasure, downed planes, or anything else that takes submarines or commercial divers to do now. As an added advantage, the deep ocean is pretty sparsely populated, so you don't have to worry about meeting people while you are out swimming. Ability to command fish would speed things up enormously. Successful treasure hunters make serious money.

$\endgroup$
6
$\begingroup$

Super strength or super speed: Electricity generator. Would be easiest to hide when you already own at least one factory which uses a lot of it, add your power somewhere after the power meter, make sure your employees don't check up on energy consumption.

Super speed: Well when working from home then no one should notice if you do your 8h shift in two minutes (depending a little on your job, maybe you need to turn your work in spread over the day, but surely nothing some software couldn't do for you). You could also do lots of jobs simultaneously this way. But really, I don't know why you would do this. You would experience lots of hard working days when in reality just one passes.

Mind reading really is the most powerful one for covert stuff. Other answers already contain suggestion for it. Also

  • Teacher: Would know exactly what your students don't understand
  • Student: Would know exactly what you teacher wants to say, would learn much faster
  • Job interviews: Get perfectly honest feedback and know what the interviewer likes to hear.

Teleportation: You could get a space suit, teleport to various place in space, collect stuff, place it in an appropriate space above Earths atmosphere for which you have previously calculated impact location and then teleport down, get out of the space suit, find the exact crash site and finally sell what you have found. Needs some serious physics to calculate those crash sites, but maybe you could ask at physics Stack Exchange. :-)

$\endgroup$
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Electricity generator? "Watch out - here comes the super-hamster!" $\endgroup$ – DJClayworth Sep 8 '16 at 23:00
  • $\begingroup$ @DJClayworth Boring and practical. :-) Or maybe entertaining as the hero's embarrassing youth employment. $\endgroup$ – Nobody Sep 8 '16 at 23:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ i like the super speed one. u could use the software to deploy the work over time for several business and do that for a day and have your entire month's workload done in a day for several companies. but u'd need different identities and bank accounts to evade the governments eyes on ur income. best bet would be to do the work in several homes across every country $\endgroup$ – Sarfaraaz Sep 9 '16 at 8:13
  • $\begingroup$ Not everyone knows what they don't understand... $\endgroup$ – josh Sep 9 '16 at 9:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @josh I did't mean to say it would solve all problems of teaching, or that it would make a non-teacher a good teacher. But it would help, as you said. $\endgroup$ – Nobody Sep 9 '16 at 10:50
5
$\begingroup$

Think about the professions that make the most money today, and imagine a super power that would make one a top performer in that field.

One career that immediately comes to mind is professional athlete. To give just one example, you could be a heck of a pro baseball player if you had any of the following:

  • superhuman speed
  • accelerated reflexes/slowed time sense
  • superhuman hand-eye coordination
  • superhuman visual acuity
  • superhuman strength
  • telepathy (you know what pitch is going to be thrown)
  • telekinesis (if you're a batter, you could add extra "oomph" to the ball or change the angle; if you're a pitcher, you can give it exceptional movement as it crosses the plate).

Except for telekinesis, you should be able to hide these without much effort if your talent levels are low enough. For TK, you'd need to be very careful that the movement you put on the ball looks close to natural, and for that you'd probably be better off having a very finely developed control.

One problem with this idea, however, is that if superpowers are known to exist, one of the organizations most likely to check for them is professional sports leagues. Plus, it puts you into the public eye, and you'd probably receive extra scrutiny from the government. Depending on your personal ethics, it may also cross the line into an unsporting advantage.

Another high paying profession is physician. If you had a high level of Biological Psychokinesis (BioPK), you could potentially be a world class physician without need for much study or practice. You could diagnose puzzling diseases with less time and a higher accuracy rate than Dr. House, and cure them without super-risky surgeries. If you hire yourself out as a concierge doctor, you can cater to the ultra-rich and make even more money.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ High-paying professional athletes are high-profile, and also some of the most tested people in the world. the Department of Superhuman Extermination is going to be looking at them very closely. $\endgroup$ – DJClayworth Sep 8 '16 at 20:26
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Rather than using TK to play better, bet on outcomes and tweak the ball from the stands to achieve the desired score. $\endgroup$ – Michael Green Sep 9 '16 at 0:15
5
$\begingroup$

If the superhuman has any literary talent, they could write novels and short stories at super-speed. They would need to use several hundred pseudonyms to disguise the fact this was only one author producing this enormous body of work. Their chosen field of writing doesn't need to be restricted fiction as non-fiction can be lucrative too.

Writing for a living is safe, it is not illegal, and it won't, if done right, expose their super-powers.

Of course, if the superhuman also had mind reading super-strength and invulnerability among their super-powers they could become a major investigative journalist. Crime and corruption would be easily exposed. People might become suspicious when this journalist has a remarkable tendency to survive the numerous murder attempts to silence them, and even at point blank range.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ A journalist like Mr. Kent? $\endgroup$ – wizzwizz4 Sep 9 '16 at 6:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes, him too. Though I am suspicious about that Lois Lane. Nothing seems to be able to destroy her. $\endgroup$ – a4android Sep 9 '16 at 12:11
4
$\begingroup$

Coal mine owner.

can always work weekends and create cavities so your miners will have an easier time getting through rock. With a side business of selling diamonds (crush coal into diamonds with your bare hands

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

There is regeneration. You can sale your body parts to shady people for good money.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Is Killgrave's suggestion superpower fair game? If so, you could ask people to make you the CEO of a huge company. Then you subtly use your powers to make yourself successful enough. Earning millions were never so easy.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think you'd really call this a "common" superpower, probably because it's too overpowered. $\endgroup$ – Periata Breatta Sep 9 '16 at 8:43
  • $\begingroup$ Of course it is overpowered. We are talking about Kilgrave who uses super heroes as body guards. But when you put ethical constraint, things get more manageable. $\endgroup$ – Cem Kalyoncu Sep 9 '16 at 13:58
1
$\begingroup$

Super intelligence.

Do you have superpowers? Or are you simply a genius? Who knows? In the meantime, you can:

  • become a nuclear physicist, as it would be a piece of cake for you
  • ace any job that requires problem solving (e.g. programmer, production improvement chief in a billionaire company, and so on)
  • perfectly complete literally any task that requires you to think, including poker matches or even horse races, as you can make physics calculations on the run to determine the condition of each horse.
  • help a lot of people on StackExchange (lol)
  • you could even ace some kinds of sports, like those that require good aim, as you can calculate wind, angle, force, and so on and so forth, but still fail sometimes because you have a normal human body, so you won't draw too much attention.

Or you could shoot for the stars and even solve one (or more?) of the Millennium Prize Problems, currently unsolved problems in mathematics that will grant you a prize of 1 million dollars each, and you would help humanity along the way. Of course, the more of them you solve, the more suspicious you will be.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Suspicious? Ramanujan wasn't suspicious. $\endgroup$ – wizzwizz4 Jul 18 '18 at 17:35
1
$\begingroup$

Speculative Pre-cognition

Knowing the outcome of a certain action, before you decide to do it

Not only will this allow you to make a killing at things like the lottery, stock market, a casino, business planning consultant ("You may not believe this, but manufacturing pink unicorn plushies is actually a good idea")... but it also provides you with the ability to evade your pursuers.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Super Speed

The possibilities of becoming a world class sporting superstar becomes almost incomprehensible not to do. I will pick one simplified example.

Win the sprint Quintuple-Quintiple. Usain Bolt, the greatest sprinter in history completed the Triple-Triple at the Rio Olympics this summer. This was winning gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m. He is worth $60m!!

Now, with your super speed (and I assume something like a good share of super human stamina*) you could win the 100m, 200m, 400m, 4x100m and 4x400m. This would probably build your worth to over $100m. Instead of training for speed you would just have to practice making your 100m winning time look like you were trying your hardest. Then again, Usain Bolt didn't exactly do this and no-one tested him in an area 51 lab... yet.

You also be a household name and be loved by many people.

*The assumption the having one super power e.g. super speed also gives you super stamina irritates me. People with super strength should be snapping bones as it's only their muscles that are super strong. Super speed might not think or see quick enough to actually travel that fast!

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

In America, having lots of money is generally considered to be a superpower (Batman, Iron Man, Elon Musk), so I would go for the power that gets you born into a very wealthy family.

Also, the general public will be no more suspicious with you than they are with any other rich person.

This is not a satirical answer.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Very, very quietly

You mention only ethical and legal concerns, completely ignoring moral concerns, so my suggestions will be structured in the same way. One critical factor is the nature of one's ethics and the legal structure they submit to. The detection methods of the searching people/governments are also left ambiguous, making an answer even more difficult. The option of a protective client is also left unaddressed in the question.

LEGALITY

As legality is nothing more than a group of people saying it has to be a certain way, and has some method of backing up their laws (physical, social, or otherwise), your "legal" options will vary from country to country, and can be changed by simply moving. Some legal structures even ignore or refuse to acknowledge other legal structures as part of the laws.

ETHICS

The ethical strictures (ethics being defined for my purposes as inter-reactions concerning others, and moral as intra-reactions concerning one's self) will be potentially more restrictive. However, I will be unable to give detailed answers without some sort of idea of what ethical code your theoretical individual(s) would subscribe to.

After all, some ethical codes only require "good" treatment of a select group of individuals, while the same code permits pretty much anything to be done to "outsiders", up to and including theft, deception, and even murder. Some ethical codes also only require you to follow the legal code which applies to your own kind, and actively promotes ignoring the legal code of any other entity or organization. (Which is where morals start tying in, as well, but again, we are ignoring morals for this question).

Teleportation

This partly depends upon how exactly it functions. LoS-Range (Line of Sight-Range), Any-Mental-Visualization-Destination, Range-of-Leap, Atmospheric-Bubble-Effect, Risk-of-Material-Phase-Overlap, Self-Only versus Anything-Touching versus Anything-Seen versus Area-Affect, Living-Only or Non-Living-Only, Feedback-on-"Failure", Weight-and/or-Size-Limits, and so forth, all will change how this power could be used for profit.

This power could be difficult to use secretly, as there is usually a risk of observation at either departure or destination point. The risk increases if the tech level support remote monitors such as cameras, specialized lifeforms, robots, or sensors of various types.

If the individual can teleport objects without having to touch them, then this can be more profitable. Being able to remotely swap, add to, or remove the contents of a drawer, locker, safe, or storage unit has potential as a secure courier, as well as a thief, spy, or saboteur.

Super Speed

Again, exact parameters of the power become important. If the power quick enough to emulate a timestop, then it becomes very useful. Mid to high tech levels cause increasing levels of risk of exposure, however, even at such high speeds.

A career as a stage magician is a possibility, so long as the tech level doesn't support high-speed recording devices. Even if the speedy portions are hidden off-stage, you'd need to be careful of witnesses, planted or otherwise.

Super Strength

Possibly the most difficult to hide, unless your physique is non-obvious. Circus, Olympic, or Professional strongman would seem obvious fits, so long as control over the strength is very fine, and the individual can control their reactions so that they still react to situations as a 'normal' would, despite their strength. Bouncer or Bodyguard is also a possibility. If the strength is accompanied by toughness and resistance to damage, then exposure risks increases.

Mind Reading

Powers that have "no obvious effect" and are "not traceable" are going to be the best options for covert action of any kind. Remote Telekinesis, Clairvoyance, Clairaudience, Precognition, Psychometry, Danger Sense, Empathy, and all other such powers typically fall into this category along with Telepathy (mind reading).

Telepathy has a large number of possible uses - truth sensing, negotiations, manipulation, politics, entertainment, interrogation, search and rescue, language interpretation, psychic hotlines, 900 numbers, magician's acts, gaming, diplomacy, and more.

Other sources

There are many more powers which could function covertly or are non-obvious. I suggest looking up a superhero based RPG (book, not computer) and look through the suggestions for how to handle the various powers, as those groups have done the most thought-testing of the subject of your question.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

How about the less common powers?

Shapeshifting: You may work as a photographer and just transform into whatever you are supposed to photograph instead of finding it/renting it/or hiring it. I think this is particularly useful for a shapeshifter that transforms into animals. Another option is to be a solo model agency - in particular if we can pair it with bilocation/multiplication/replication.

Healing powers: A person with healing powers that also studies medicine, in particular a surgeon, may disguise his powers in his profession. The idea is to get to the top of your field - not too fast, as to not draw much attention.

Multiple voices: if your super power is to sound like different people - in particular if it comes with perfect pitch - you could be able to pass a multitude of digital musicians. Create profiles with pseudonyms in social media, and put your music for sale in digital platforms.

Mind control: a sub-power of mind control is attention manipulation. That can be useful to quickly build a fan base for some stage performance and to mislead people who may be investigating you. Another sub-power of mind control is to put ideas in the mind of others as if it were their own (a form of suggestion). Use it to make them buy whatever you are selling, to make them think it is normal, and to have them look elsewhere for superpowers.

Note: people often mean will control when they say mind control, and people often mean thougth perception when they say mind reading. I may be using the terms in an unusual way here... yet, I claim that mind control is broader than will control and mind reading is broader than thougth perception. I consider mind reading as read-only Telepathy.

Accelerated body development: the power is body building. The resulting strength, speed, and physiognomy are not super. The power is to archive them faster! It can be useful for actors/models/athletes.

Matter manipulation: the ability to convert any substance into another. Simply create precious crystals and sell them - if you are a mine worker/owner much better.

Memory manipulation: the ability to read and write memories of others. It is very useful to gain intel - for those who want to work in intelligence agencies, for example. And also very useful to make people forget about your powers if they come to discover them, or mislead them to make them believe it is somebody else by changing their memory.

Odd manipulation: the power to rule the outcome of random events (assuming there are random events in the universe). This power is great to win in roulette.

Animal connection/Animal mind reading: become the next dog whisperer.

Psychometry: the ability to get psychic information from objects/read the history of objects. This works for Retrocognition too. These powers can be very useful for a private eye, or even a bounty hunter.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

If the government is searching for people with superpowers, your best approach is to work for them, in that department.

Assuming that they don't have a airport-security-scanner-type way of checking for superpowers, because from your question it appears as if they are searching by looking for superpowers being used.

First, no matter what your superpower, you can almost certainly use it for a positive effect while hunting for others of your kind. Secondly, you are one step ahead of them because if you are spotted and a report of the "someone was seen doing X in this region" comes in, you are likely to be the first to get it.

And finally, since many superpowers will make the job of hunting such people difficult and dangerous, it can be assumed that it is well paid.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

Why not display that you have superpowers and work with the strongest & highest paying government/syndicate?

After a while even how subtle or clandestine you are, your powers will be noticeable either advertently or inadvertently. An example of inadvertently is, "John is like Hercules" for super strength.

It appears the popular "undetectable" superpower is mind reading however it is not hard to detect and will eventually raise suspicion. After a pattern of 'predicting' the right moves or knowing everything, you will be subject to scrutiny. Obviously the first guess would not be that you have superpowers but the unwanted attention is there. "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me."

Super speed would be even more obvious to detect. Given that Usain Bolt is known to be the fastest man on earth, if you can move faster than him then you either need to tryout for the Olympics or you have superhuman speed powers.

Bottom line: Show the world your superpower. You can make more money showing it then trying to hide it because in the very probable event that your superpowers are revealed, it is far better to have already revealed it than exposed. No one likes someone who has a hidden comparative advantage over them.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with everything you said, but you're obviously going directly against OPs criterion to not expose the powers. So you're saying it's impossible to accomplish? $\endgroup$ – Revetahw Sep 9 '16 at 18:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Fiksdal I personally believe nothing is impossible given you put enough effort into it but the risks of trying to conceal your superpowers outweigh the rewards. -IMO $\endgroup$ – NuWin Sep 9 '16 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with that. It's very dangerous, especially in a world where the government are actively looking for such powers. So I agree with your answer. But you're going directly against OPs criterion, and therefore not answering the question. OP wants a way to do it without exposing the powers. Sometimes it's good to answer "it's not possible". But here, it seems to just be very difficult. $\endgroup$ – Revetahw Sep 9 '16 at 18:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Fiksdal ehhh I don't mind going against the grain every now and then :) $\endgroup$ – NuWin Sep 9 '16 at 18:39
  • $\begingroup$ Meh, OK. But not answering the question, IMO. $\endgroup$ – Revetahw Sep 9 '16 at 18:41
0
$\begingroup$

Telemarketer

Most telemarketers have to make dozens of calls for each successful sale. Not you. You know whether the customer will be interested in the product or not before you make the call. As you're going through the list of numbers, you read the mind of each person to see if they're interested in any of your products. You'd better have a wide variety of products, so that it's more likely that any given person will want at least one. You can skip 100 useless names in a short time, because you know that none of them would have been interested.

Also, you know what's going on in their minds, so you'll know exactly what to say to keep up their interest. Alright, some may say this is unethical, and I somewhat agree. But we're talking about mind reading here. This is the least bad of the bunch. Don't lie to them or anything, just keep up a good sales pitch.

Be as independent as possible. You want to be some sort of freelancer, with your own phone. You don't want a boss snooping into your phone history and noticing that you have a 97% success rate on your calls. While such a boss may simply promote you, there's also a risk that he'll report you to the people looking for people with superpowers. So stay independent, without a boss.

You'll make dozens of times more than a normal telemarketer.

$\endgroup$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.