Careers are a set of jobs in a single field that Sims can work in to earn money. Careers in The Sims are linear, with each job requiring that certain skills and other criteria be met before the Sim is promoted to the next-highest job in the career track. Different careers have different requisite skills and criteria for advancement. Sims can enter into a career by searching for a job, but there are also opportunities for Sims to change careers without starting at the beginning of a new career track.
Getting a job
A Sim may get a job by reading a newspaper, using a computer, or just going directly to the job location.[TS3] There are no skill requirements to enter a particular career although doing well in school or university may allow the Sim to start at higher level jobs. Sims can also get a part-time job or start in a career track by going to its Community building.[TS3] A Sim getting a job from the newspaper starts low in the career track, usually at level one (exceptions exist; see below). A Sim getting a job from the computer (the different types of computers work identically) can start higher. (In The Sims, Sims will start at level one whether they get their jobs from the computer or from the newspaper.)
- In The Sims, the job-seeking Sim must be in a good mood in order to be able to look for a job.
- Teens and elders can work part-time in The Sims 2. Full-time jobs are never available to teens. Part-time jobs are available to retired elders or elders who were unemployed when they became elders (or Sims that were created as elders). The part-time jobs available are the same for teens and elders.
- Sims who age into elder may keep their full-time job and continue to advance the career track until they leave their job, are fired, or retire. Once any of these occur, that Sim will be unable to obtain another full-time job.[TS2]
- A teen who is in private school will start at level 2, even when getting a job from the newspaper.[TS2]
- A Sim getting a job from the computer will start at a level that depends on their skills, their number of friends, and whether or not they have a university degree.[TS2]
- A Sim with a university degree will start even higher on his career track if his career is one of the preferred ones for his major. This is the only way for an adult to get a job at higher than level 1 (level 2, usually) from the newspaper. A Sim with an appropriate degree who has skills and friends enough to be promoted to the top may use the computer to get a job as high as level 9.[TS2:U]
- The jobs available on the computer change every day at midnight. The jobs available from the newspaper do not change until the next day's paper arrives.
- The career tracks that came with the University expansion are only available to Sims who have graduated from University. These tracks are: Paranormal, Natural Science, Show Business, and Artist. If a non-graduate is looking, jobs in these tracks will be skipped.[TS2:U]
- In The Sims, three jobs are available from the computer, and one is available from the newspaper.
- In The Sims 2, five jobs are available from the computer; three from the newspaper. Sims who got expelled from university will only have three available jobs from computer, and two from newspaper.
- Sims may get a job starting at level 3, 4, or 5 by networking.[TS2:AL]
- In The Sims 4, Sims who get a B or A grade in high school prior to aging up will get to start at levels 2 or 3 in their careers, respectively.
Career tracks & Professions
The Sims, The Sims 2, The Sims 3, The Sims 4, and their expansions each have several career tracks. A career track is a group of jobs with a similar theme that a Sim must progress through by gaining skills and making friends which will lead to promotions. Each adult career track has ten levels to progress through. Sims are paid daily after work. In The Sims and The Sims 2 Sims are paid by the day. In The Sims 3, they are paid by the hour.
Professions (or active careers) are a broader kind of career introduced in The Sims 3: Ambitions and The Sims 4: Get to Work. These workplaces are not rabbit holes and the Sim(s) must be directed to complete certain tasks in order to progress in their career. As with career tracks, a Sim must gain experience to advance.
Sims with a profession are paid a stipend per week. Although this seems like a small amount, it is only the base pay. E.G.: If a firefighter goes to work on time they will get their weekly pay at the end of the week. But, if the firefighter tends to a fire, they will earn more money which is given to them after or while fighting a fire; thus they will earn both a base weekly pay and extra money by doing jobs, or in a firefighter's case, tending to fires etc.
Sims earn promotions primarily by having the correct skills and enough family friends. The number of family friends they need and the skills they must have are highlighted on the job panel. Still, there are other things which are important when it comes to getting a Sim promoted.
- A job performance rating of "Excellent"[TS], or a maxed job performance bar[TS2][TS3] means a very high chance of promotion if the Sim in question has the friends and skills required for promotion. Job performance increases when a Sim goes to work in a good mood, and can decrease when a Sim goes to work in a poor mood.
- Sims must have skills and friends and work in a good mood to be promoted[TS][TS2] or max the performance bar [TS3]
- The chance of a promotion decreases as a Sim advances in his or her career.
- The chance of a promotion increases if the Sim has a high aspiration level. If a Sim has the required skills and friends, platinum mood will virtually guarantee a promotion.[TS2]
- If a Sim has a relative higher up in the career, there is a small chance that relative will pull strings to advance them in the career.[TS2]
- If a Sim has a good date with an employee of higher rank in the career, it may affect their chances of getting promoted. It should be noted however that this employee must be at least 2 job levels higher than the Sim being promoted.[TS2:NL]
- The chance for a promotion is part of many chance cards.[TS2]
- If a teen grows up into an adult and already has a job, they will automatically be promoted.[TS2]
- Sims will receive a promotion if they're lucky enough in wishing from the Lucky Shrine. [TS2:BV]
- A Sim with good reputation may receive a promotion after networking with other Sims. [TS2:AL]
- It is also possible to ask a Sim's boss for a promotion. This is not likely to succeed unless the asking Sim has a high relationship with their boss.[TS3]
- Various requirements are present to receive a promotion, as well as the job performance meter. [TS4]
In The Sims and The Sims 2, Sims who've been promoted get paid for that day's work at their new job's rate. They also get a bonus of two times the new job's daily pay. In The Sims 3, Sims will get a bonus of twelve times the previous level's salary when they're promoted.
In some career tracks, getting a promotion may result in a Sim being scheduled to work twice in one day. In The Sims, the Sim can miss the carpool for that second time without penalty. In The Sims 2, missing the carpool for that second time can result in a warning, and a drop in job performance. In The Sims 3 the Sim gets a day off if their new schedule would normally require them to work twice in the same day.
As Sims climb higher in their career ladder, they have to make many connections in order to keep climbing. Higher levels in a career track require more friends, though the requirement does not always increase when a Sim gets promoted. Also, some careers require more friends than others. Careers in The Sims tend to require more friends than equivalent careers in later games, as Sims in The Sims have an indefinite amount of time to make friends.
What counts is not the number of friends the individual Sim has, but the number of family friends. Family friends are Sims, other than household members and relatives, that at least one Sim in the household is friends with. If the same Sim is friends with two or more household members, he or she is only counted once.
In The Sims 2: FreeTime, the required number of family friends can be reduced by befriending a Hobby Instructor related to the career a Sim is working in. This benefit, however, does not apply to the whole household, but only to the Sim who is friends with the instructor. Sims can also purchase the Friends in High Places aspiration benefit.
Sims also need to build their skills as they rise in their career. In The Sims, reaching the top of most career tracks requires building four or five skills, though a few require building all six, and the Slacker track from Livin' Large only requires building three. However, some career tracks only require a few points in some required skills.
In The Sims 2, career tracks added in University require building four skills, while all other tracks require building three. This reflects the fact that Sims no longer have indefinite time in which to learn skills.
In The Sims 2, a chance card outcome that adds skill points may cause a Sim to reach the skill levels needed for promotion during the workday. If this happens, the Sim may be promoted if he or she meets the friends requirement and has sufficient job performance.
If a Sim's job performance drops too low, he or she may be demoted. In The Sims 2, Sims may also get demoted if they have a low aspiration level or lose too many skill points. In addition, some chance cards in The Sims 2 can result in a Sim being demoted or even fired. Sims who are demoted or fired will have a major drop in fun and social and spend a real-life minute moping by the pavement. They will also get a bad memory and autonomous reactions will occur in which the Sim will start crying and thinking about the demotion throughout the day. If it happens due to a chance card, the Sim will come home immediately.
In The Sims and The Sims 2, Sims who've been demoted get paid for that day's work at their new job's rate.
In addition, with The Sims 4: Romantic Garden Stuff pack, Sims can get demoted if their attempts to wish for a career promotion through the wishing well backfires. This more likely happens if a Sim wishes while the well is in a mischievous or a deadly mood.
Sims that fail to go to work on a regular basis, that have continually low job performance, or that receive a negative chance card outcome, can be fired from their job. Fired Sims immediately return home, without pay, and become unemployed until they find a new job. Getting fired is often a fear for Sims, and can negatively impact a Sim's mood or moodlets.
In The Sims, Sims will be fired after missing two consecutive days of work. If Sims miss one day of work, they will receive a warning over the phone.
In The Sims 4, fired Sims can reapply to the career they were just sacked from at anytime and they do not necessarily start from the bottom ranks. Sims in this case will usually start one rank below the position they previously held.
In The Sims 2, any time a Sim is at work (or sometimes school for children or teens), they can encounter a chance card. Chance cards encountered at work describe a predicament or situation which requires the Sim to make a decision. The player can choose one of two options (or press ignore) to complete the scenario. Ignoring the card has no effects, but each of the other choices has two possible outcomes. In general, one will be positive and one negative, though for some choices, one outcome will be neutral. Which outcome will occur is randomly determined, but which is more likely varies from card to card. However, one of the aspiration benefits available in The Sims 2: FreeTime is Business Instinct, which gives the Sim an 80% chance of getting the better outcome for the choice that was made.
Common negative outcomes are: losing one or more skill points, being fined, being demoted, and being fired. Common positive outcomes are gaining one or more skill points, getting a bonus, and being promoted.
Career reward objects
As Sims progress through their careers in The Sims 2, they eventually earn a Career Reward Object. Career Reward Objects may let Sims learn skills at a faster rate, or may have other benefits. Unless Nightlife or later is installed, Sims who move will lose any Career Reward Objects on their lot, and will have to earn them again. The inventory feature added in Nightlife allows Sims to take reward objects with them when they move, so long as players remember to place them in inventory before moving the Sims.
In The Sims 3, there are far fewer career reward objects, but there are still rewards. They are such things as extra money, positive mood/moodlets, and new interactions. Also, there are multiple rewards for each career, rather than just one per career. The career reward objects attained in The Sims 3 are not as significant as in The Sims 2. For example, When a player reaches Level 5 in the Law Enforcement Career, they gain a new Cop Car.
The Sims 4 has many more career rewards, and some are unlocked as soon as level 2 of a career is reached. They usually provide an Emotional Aura based on the optimal Emotion for the career.
Pay raises come with promotion in all the games, but in The Sims 3, pay raises don't end once a Sim reaches the top of a career. Each time a Sim's performance meter fills, the Sim gets a pay raise.
With The Sims 2: FreeTime, a Sim whose primary or secondary aspiration is Fortune can get a higher salary by choosing the Skilled Negotiator aspiration benefit. With The Sims 2: Apartment Life, Sims can get a higher salary from networking with other people.
Paid vacation time
In The Sims 2, Sims gain 0.15 days of paid vacation time every day they work. (With FreeTime, Sims can choose the Life of Luxury aspiration benefit, which allows them to gain 0.22 days of paid vacation time every day they work.) An employed Sim who has a baby will be given an extra 3 days of paid vacation time.
As long as a Sim has at least one full day of paid vacation, they can miss work without penalty, and will get paid one hour before they normally get home from work. Sick Sims can use their vacation time as paid sick leave, and will get paid as soon as they have called in sick. Therefore, if a sick Sim has a day of paid vacation time, the only reason to have them call in sick is to keep the carpool from coming and keep the autonomous "Go To Work" action from appearing. A Sim who changes career tracks will lose all the paid vacation time they have accumulated.
In The Sims 3: Seasons, Sims do not go to work on holidays, but still get paid. Sims do not get paid if they were not scheduled to work on the holiday.
In The Sims 4, Sims start with 3 days paid vacation, and earn more per day they work. Sims will also get whims to "Take Vacation Day" from time to time, or if The Sims 4: Outdoor Retreat is installed, a whim to "Travel to Granite Falls". Travelling to Granite Falls will be considered paid time off up to the accumulated amount.
In The Sims 2, The Sims 3, and The Sims 4, Sims that are holding a career may choose to retire once they become an elder. Elders are not required to retire, and may work full-time up until they die. The Sim will keep earning their full pay as an elder until they call in and retire. After this, they will still get some money (exactly 28.5714286% of their salary, in The Sims 2 approximately 50%) at the end of each day in the form of a pension, but it is not as much as if they were still working. In The Sims 2, if they choose to retire from a full-time job, an elder may not get another and will only be able to acquire part-time jobs for the duration of their lifetime. In The Sims 3, elders can get another full-time job after retiring, but they will not be able to retire from their new job or receive the pension from their previous job.
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- In The Sims 2, some Sims may get a minor fear (-500 aspiration) to go to work. Similarly, they could also get a minor want (+500 aspiration) to stay home from work. This can happen to lazy Sims, Sims with the Pleasure[TS2:NL] aspiration, or Sims that really need to gain up on a lot of skills for the next promotion. They may also get a minor want (+750 aspiration) to stay home from work. The fear can be avoided and the want can be achieved if the Sim has vacation days. If not, then they'll either have to go through the fear or lose a lot of the job performance.
- Very rarely the carpool won't come for the Sim. With The Sims 2: Nightlife if they have a car or helicopter they can drive there themselves. With The Sims 2: Apartment Life they can walk there themselves.
- In The Sims 3: World Adventures, Sims that are on vacation are shown as being unemployed in the job panel. This may affect the outcome when another Sim asks what they do for a living.[confirmation needed]
- In The Sims 4, Sims with the noncommittal trait will get tense if they remain in the same career too long. This mood can be relieved by involving the Sim in fun and relaxing activities, putting the Sim to sleep, or decorating the Sim's surroundings with multiple objects with emotional auras that override the tense emotion.