Friends had a bunch of running jokes, including one about Chandler’s job, which no one seemed to remember what it was. Friends premiered on NBC in 1994 and came to an end in 2004 after ten seasons. The series became one of the most popular TV shows of all time, earned multiple Emmy nominations, and has been listed among the greatest series ever made. And, of course, the characters have survived the passing of the years and continue to be quite relatable.
Friends followed a group of young adults (Monica, Phoebe, Rachel, Joey, Chandler, and Ross) living in New York City and trying to balance their personal, professional, and social lives. Although they were a close-knit group, with some of them ending up together, they didn’t know each other as well as they should have – or at least they didn’t know Chandler that well, as they often forgot (or didn’t know at all) what his job was.
Chandler worked in “statistical analysis and data reconfiguration” for most of the series, but he really hated his job. He tried to quit in season 1 but stayed after his boss offered him a promotion, and went from Data Processor to Processing Supervisor. Although he talked about his job to the rest of the group a couple of times, none of them actually paid attention, and thus his job became a running joke. On the episode “The One With The Embryos”, Rachel and Monica lost their apartment to Chandler and Joey when they failed to answer what Chandler’s job was (with Rachel answering very confidently “transponster”). He finally quit in season 9 and, with the help of Monica, found a new job in advertising as junior copywriter.
In Friends’ alternate reality, Chandler quits his job much earlier to pursue his dream of being a comic book writer. Chandler had, by far, the most complicated (and quite possibly the best paid) job out of the six, which is probably why everyone had a hard time remembering what it was. At some point, Joey calls him an accountant, and Monica finally learns what he does after he quits. The joke also added to Chandler’s sense of abandonment, as not even his closest friends knew what he did for a living.
Like many other jokes within Friends that are actually a bit cruel and sad, Chandler’s job served many comedic purposes, and in the case of the apartment swap, it was what made it all happen. Chandler ended up having the last laugh as he was the most financially stable of the group, and eventually ended up in a job that he didn’t hate and gave him a bunch of new opportunities.