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"Government cover-ups were not in my job description!"
HECU Marine, Half-Life: Opposing Force

When two or more people team up to achieve a goal, it's generally assumed that their goals are reasonably similar. At the very least, what one of them wants to achieve shouldn't conflict with what the others want to achieve. Otherwise, why would they team up?

Because they didn't know what their teammates are after.

Maybe someone lied to them, or maybe they just never discussed the plan in enough detail to know their allies' true goals. Then again, they may have started with the same general goal and one (or more) of the teammates has slipped in their ethical standards and now believes kicking dogs is an acceptable means of obtaining it. In any case, it's only when their long, elaborate plan is nearing completion that they finally discover what they've been working toward all this time (and how they mean to finally get it). Their reaction is inevitably, "Whoa, I didn't sign on for that!"

Compare Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal and Right Hand Versus Left Hand. May lead to an Enemy Civil War. Even Evil Has Standards can be a cause.

See also ~You're Insane!~

Examples of Not What I Signed on For include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Dragon Ball, Adjutant Black, the right hand man of Commander Red of the Red Ribbon Army, believed that his commander was after the wish-granting Dragon Balls in order to conquer the world. However, when he learns that the commander intended to make himself taller using the wish, and that he was willing to throw away all of his men's lives for his selfish wish, Black promptly shoots him dead.


  • In Marvel Comics' Age of Apocalypse, Sabretooth is an X-Man. In his backstory, he revolted when he learned that Apocalypse hired him for a much more lethal plan than he had realized, and he regards this as atonement.
  • In Robin's own comic, a teleporting supervillain named Dodge put together a team of fellow bad guys to avenge himself on Robin. He was doing well right up until he found The Cheater electrocuting Robin, at which point it was revealed that while (almost) all his minions were in it for murder, the leader himself was way out of his depth -- he just wanted to humiliate his enemy. Then they decided that a teleporter was far too useful to allow to quit.
  • In ~Archie Comics' Sonic The Hedgehog~ "Mobius: 30 Years Later Storyline", the Dark Presence frees King Shadow in order to restore him to the throne. When they find out that Shadow is planning to Kill'Em All, they flee, even quoting the trope name.


  • Many James Bond films have a scene where the Big Bad meets his fellow villains to discuss their nefarious plans, and one of them realizes the scheme is far more drastic than he had thought ("You want to blow up Silicon Valley?!") He'll pull out, saying that he can't go along with something like that - and will promptly be Thrown From the Zeppelin so he can't tell anyone else.
  • In The Rocketeer, gangster Eddie Valentine enthusiastically assists criminal mastermind Neville Sinclair in the latter's attempt to steal the rocket pack... Until he finds out that Sinclair is planning on handing the thing over to the Nazis rather than use it to pull bigger crimes. As Valentine says, "I may not make an honest buck, but I'm 100% American..."
  • In The Rock, Ed Harris' character has no intention of actually going through with his threatened chemical attack if his demands aren't met. He finds out at the end that his associates feel differently.
    • More specifically, they felt that there was no going back -- when his bluff is called, he folds but they decide to stay all in.
  • One of Xander Drax's underlings in The Phantom is uncomfortable with the idea of obtaining power through occult means. He's speared in the back for his trouble.
  • A variation in the first Mission Impossible movie: Ethan gives the top-secret N.O.C. list to Luther because it's not what Luther signed up for, so he knows he won't try to steal it for his own hands.
  • In James Cameron's Avatar, Action Girl mercenary pilot Trudi refuses to take part in the destruction of the Na'vi home and ultimately turns against Colonel Quaritch, saying "Screw this. I didn't sign up for this shit!"
  • In The Muppet Movie, Max warns Kermit that Doc Hopper is trying to kill him.
  • Used almost verbatim in The Bourne Ultimatum by Pam Landy.
  • "This was never part of our agreement." "I have altered the deal. Pray I do not alter it any further."
  • In Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, Max says this after seeing Blaster's true face and refuses to kill him.


  • In the Discworld novel Hogfather, Mr. Teatime hires several Mooks to help him kill the Hogfather (Discworld's version of Santa Claus). It's not until near the end of the book that Teatime reveals that this is what all their elaborate plans were for. One of the Mooks, despite being a thug and murderer, does not take kindly to the idea of eliminating their universe's version of Christmas and turns on Mr. Teatime.
    • Even before that, there was grumbling: "He ain't just after money, you know." "Yeah, well, I didn't sign up for world domination. That kind of stuff gets you into trouble."
  • In Rainbow Six, the ex-KGB agent hired by the Strawman Political environmentalists to provoke terrorist attacks does a Heel Face Turn after discovering that their ultimate goal is killing off most of humanity.
  • In The Ear, the Eye and the Arm," the She-Elephant feels this way after learning the Masks are intending to kill the Matsika children, as opposed to simply indoctrinating them into their gang.
  • As revealed in Harry Potter, Regulus Black pulled a Heel Face Turn when he discovered Voldemort's plans. Subjugating Muggles and mudbloods was fine. Tearing apart one's own soul in a bid for immortality? Not so much.
    • That could also have something to do with Voldemort's treatment of Kreacher.
      • In Order of the Phoenix, Sirius mentions that there were a number of Old Name families like his own who initially thought that Voldemort had the right idea, but then quickly changed their minds about him when they saw how far he was willing to go for Pureblood Supremacy.
    • Mundungus Fletcher does one of these as well, except he really never did sign on to die for Harry, as he tells him.
    • The Malfoys seem to have some major regrets about joining up with Voldemort by the final book, to the point where Draco refuses to firmly say whether it's really Harry or not when he's captured by the Death Eaters and Narcissa and Lucius lie and tell Voldemort Harry is dead, and then refuse to fight in the subsequent fracas because they know it means they will be reunited with their son.
    • A rare non-heroic example: Gilderoy Lockhart joined up to the Defense of the Dark Arts teaching profession at Hogwarts. However, when he discovered that a girl was kidnapped. He attempted to flee, and implies that he's doing so because "saving students was not part of the job description."

Live Action Television

Video Games

  • In the third Spyro the Dragon game, the Sorceress and her apprentice Bianca steal dragon eggs and take them to their Forgotten Worlds. Bianca does it because the magic in their worlds is disappearing without the presence of dragons to maintain it. When she discovers the Sorceress' real reason for wanting the eggs, she promptly does a Heel Face Turn and joins Spyro and his friends in trying to stop her.
  • Devil May Cry 4: Shows up in the newly Heel Face Turned and shortly dead Credo's Motive Rant:

  "I served the dream of a world you spoke of, the Savior you preached of... But you used my sister, Kyrie, who has nothing to do with this, and that is beyond forgiveness."

  • Kazuhira Miller in Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker worked with Cipher as a neutral business partner and have Big Boss rejoin the organization with the intention of expanding the Militaires Sans Frontieres. After it became apparent that Cipher was perfectly willing to ruin the Militaires Sans Frontieres should Big Boss refuse to rejoin by having one of their agents launch a nuclear weapon from their defense system at the East Coast of the United States and then frame Militaires Sans Frontieres, it is heavily implied that Miller quit working with Cipher.
    • Huey says this, word for word, when he learned that Coldman was going to launch a live nuke from Peace Walker as the final part of its test.
    • How could we forget Otacon in Metal Gear Solid? He helped build Metal Gear REX without any idea that it was gonna be used for nuclear assaults.
    • Also, in Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty, President James Johnson defected from the Patriots to Solidus's Sons of Liberty group and hijack Arsenal Gear. However, whereas he himself wanted to use it as a bargaining chip to be put in the inner circle of the Patriots, Solidus himself desired to use it to actually destroy the Patriots. When Johnson discovered this, he was implied to have refused to cooperate any further, only for it to be too late.
  • In the Ork campaign of Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War II: Retribution, Mister Nailbrain says it if attacked in close combat.
  • This is Elle Cutleaf's reason for helping you against her Blackwold brethren early in the Combe segment of the Race of Man storyline in The Lord of the Rings Online. The Blackwolds were originally petty brigands until their leader Skunkwood made a deal with the forces of Angmar, a greater evil than Elle was willing to have any kind of part of. Among other things, they took several dogs that Elle had supplied them with and bred them with monstrous Wargs, which did not sit well with her at all.
  • In Wizard 101 when the player is retrieving the pieces of the stone of Mazzaroth, the final piece is held by Vesna Shadowscar. Upon the player arriving she refuses to fight the player and tells the Shadow Weavers that fighting wizards was not part of the bargain. She'd heard of the player before. This may explain why she's one of only human besides the player that is still alive in Dragonspyre.
  • Late in Modern Warfare 3, Yuri explains that the reason he betrayed Makarov was because he went from a soldier to fanatical lunatic bent on conquering the world for Ultranationalist Russia, willing to use nuclear weapons and massacre civilians to get the insane, mutually-destructive war he wants.
  • In Half Life, the Army is the enemy, since they're trying to... "silence" any mention of what happened at Black Mesa. However, at least one soldier is overheard complaining that killing civilians is not what he signed up for.

Web Comics


 Noah Zark: I will use your telecommunications satellites to broadcast my signal all over the vorld! Destroying humanity so zat only my beloved animals vill remain!

Zoe: You're mad!

Yuri: Ve are not mad! Ve just love animals! Ven humanity ees destroyed, only ve vill be left to eat ze tasty animals! Boy do ve love eatink tasty animals.

Noah Zark: Ve'll talk later, Yuri.

  • The premise of the webcomic Watchdogs hinges on this trope. An honest man living in a city overrun by crime and vice is sick of living in fear and wants to fight back, Batman-style. He finds a neighbor with similar ideal and access to the necessary gadgets, and they become vigilantes. Soon after, the man finds out that his partner is actually a white supremacist and wants to use their team to attack minorities. When confronted, the neighbor's excuse is that he forgot to tell his partner he was racist.
  • Manly Guys Doing Manly Things: A Big Daddy signs on as a day care worker. He's really, really good at it. Problem: Nobody told him that at the end of the day, the kids have to go home. Trouble ensues.

Western Animation

  • In The Simpsons, the founding of Springfield and Shelbyville, as well as the feud between the two towns that followed, is based on this trope. Originally the town founders, Jebediah Springfield and Shelbyville Manhattan were allies who led a group of pioneers in pursuit of new lands to settle. Once they found the site for their settlement, however ...

 Jebediah: People, our search is over. On this site we shall build a new town, where we can worship freely, govern justly and grow vast fields of hemp for making ropes and blankets.

Shelbyville: Yes, and marry our cousins.

Jebediah: I was - wha ... what are you talking about, Shelbyville? Why would we want to marry our cousins?

Shelbyville: Because they're so attractive. I thought that was the whole point of this journey?

  • In Justice League Unlimited, Gorilla Grodd assembles a new Legion of Doom, but, aside from opposing the Justice League, keeps their long term goals largely to himself. When it's revealed that his master plan is to turn everyone on Earth into apes, Lex Luthor shoots him in the chest, takes over the Legion, and redirects their efforts to more sensible endeavors (well, sensible for him, at least).
    • Hawkgirl willingly signed on to infiltrate Earth and learn the weaknesses and abilities of the planet's society, military strength and its heroes in order to help the Thanagarians subjugate the planet to build their hyperspace bypass. Once she learns the bypass will destroy the Earth, she defects and helps the League destroy it.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls movie, Mojo Jojo persuades the girls to use their powers to build his "Help The Town And Make It A Better Place Machine" - which, it turns out, is actually a device to allow Mojo to create his own army of primates powered by Chemical X.

 Blossom: Jojo, what happened?!

Bubbles: This isn't making the town a better place!

Mojo Jojo: Yes it is ... for me!

  • King of the Hill had a show where Hank met another dad who was appalled with the way the history of the Alamo was being rewritten in the new history books the school had recently purchased. They both agree to put on a play that showed the history of the Alamo, with Hank building the set and the other guy writing. Turns out Hank's vision was of the traditional heroic picture of the battle he remembered from his childhood and the other guy had written a play depicting all the soldiers as drunks and cowards (not because he thought it was more historically accurate, just for the buzz such a "controversial" depiction would get him and his Hollywood dreams).
  • The Captain of the Guard allowed the Viking leader Hakon to invade Castle Wyvern in the premiere of Gargoyles in exchange for what is implied to be allowing Demona and the other Gargoyles to gain control of Castle Wyvern. When Hakon decides after capturing Castle Wyvern to smash the hibernating Gargoyle statues, the Captain of the Guard attempts to stop him, citing that this was not what they agreed to do. Unfortunately, Hakon forces him back and resumes smashing the hibernating Gargoyles, with the Captain of the Guard only being able to watch in horror at what he unwittingly brought about.