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In my country,

I have a 24 hour job but I am never awake doing my job

In most countries I will get fired for doing this.

Yet here, folks show a lot of respect to me.

I am important

Who am I?

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    $\begingroup$ I think this should have the knowledge tag. $\endgroup$ – Acccumulation Aug 9 at 3:48
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This may be a cop out but are you a

sleeping policeman - a British term for a speed bump. Road traffic should slow down, but in other countries this implies a policeman sleeping, which if on the job, would be a risk to it.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for rot13(gur onq cha!) $\endgroup$ – happystar Aug 7 at 0:19
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    $\begingroup$ Actually, that is also the term we use in Indonesia :) $\endgroup$ – athin Aug 7 at 2:01
  • $\begingroup$ The term is also used in some Caribbean countries. Some countries like Russia and Columbia use "Lying-down" policeman for the speed bumps. Go figure. $\endgroup$ – DrD Aug 7 at 12:19
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    $\begingroup$ Though @DEEM 's user profile claims USA, where I've never heard the term (might be regional here?) $\endgroup$ – Darrel Hoffman Aug 7 at 13:49
  • $\begingroup$ Can confirm athin's =) I'm actually surprised that this term is used somewhere else too $\endgroup$ – justhalf Aug 9 at 6:32
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You are

Kim Il Sŏng

In my country,

North Korea

I have a 24 hour job

you are the Eternal President since 1998

but I am never awake doing my job

well, you are dead

In most countries I will get fired for doing this.

if a president dies, he/she/they is/are removed from the office automatically. There are even procedures to remove comatose presidents from the office.

Yet here, folks show a lot of respect to me.

You bet!

I am important

Of course - the whole North Korean ideology revolves around your legacy

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    $\begingroup$ This is my favourite answer! $\endgroup$ – Ken Y-N Aug 7 at 17:25
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Are you

A sleeper agent

Because

Your job is just a cover. When "activated" you will do some sabotage, but for now, you're "sleeping". If people found out, you would be fired from your "cover" job. But back home, you're a hero.

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You are

an alarm clock

because

Your job is to wait 24 hours and sound an alarm. Basically you are sleeping for 24 hours.
A worker who sleeps during their job would be fired.
Most people obey and get up when the alarm clock so orders.

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    $\begingroup$ Not sure what "my country" refers to in that case, though. $\endgroup$ – jafe Aug 6 at 13:05
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    $\begingroup$ But how does this match the second line of the riddle? $\endgroup$ – Voldemort's Wrath Aug 6 at 13:05
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    $\begingroup$ Not sure how a clock will get fired though $\endgroup$ – DrD Aug 6 at 13:20
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah I am not totally satisfied either. it doesn't explain why "in my country" and "in most countries". $\endgroup$ – Florian F Aug 7 at 6:15
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Are you

A Fire Alarm?

Reasoning

A fire alarm must be active 24/7 to be effective, but a majority of that time it isn't actively sounding. Pulling a fire alarm when there isn't a fire can cause someone to lose their job, especially if the alarm activates a sprinkler system. Fire alarms are often seen as necessary devices in buildings, thus making them "respected".

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Are you

A nuclear weapon?

And your job is

Mutually Assured Destruction

Reasoning

M.A.D. is supposed to deter WW3 24 hours a day. Because WW3 hasn't happened, its reasonable to say "I am never awake doing my job." On the other hand, when talking about the future, its reasonable to say "I will get fired for doing this job." The respect line does accurately express the sentiment many people have towards nuclear weapons.

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