Jobs are as important for our characters as they are for real people. A character’s career might be their dream job or one they’ve chosen due to necessity. In your story, they might be trying to get that job or are already working in the field. Whatever the situation, as with any defining aspect for your character, you’ll need to do the proper research to be able to write that career knowledgeably.
Enter the Occupation Thesaurus. Here, you’ll find important background information on a variety of career options for your character. In addition to the basics, we’ll also be covering related info that relates to character arc and story planning, such as sources of conflict (internal and external) and how the job might impact basic human needs, thereby affecting the character’s goals. (See this post for more information on this connection.) It’s our hope that this thesaurus will share some of your research burden while also giving you ideas about your character’s occupation that you might not have considered before.
Overview: A glass-forming technique whereby the artist manipulates glass (either by blowing through a tube or relying on more advanced methods) into various forms, such as vases, dishware, jewelry, window panes, figurines, art, and other décor. Glassblowers can work in museums, universities, or factories where they might create custom glass pieces for customers (such as scientists and manufacturers), teach apprentices, or do presentations for visitors. Others occupy studios to create freelance artwork that they sell to the public.
Necessary Training: Classes can be taken at trade schools and some colleges, but an apprenticeship with a master is the best way to become proficient in this area.
Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: Promotion, breath control, manual dexterity, a high heat tolerance
Helpful Character Traits: Patient, alert, cooperative, creative, focused, industrious, passionate, persistent, whimsical, extravagant, fussy, perfectionist
Sources of Friction:
- Friends and families who want one to pursue a more lucrative or mainstream career
- Competitive or jealous rivals
- Unfair teachers
- Limited opportunities for training nearby
- A physical disability
- Internal doubts about one’s abilities
- Limited finances
- A competitive market
- A change that results in one having to work with inferior supplies (a depressed financial market, a monopoly on certain supplies, a change in manufacturer, etc.)
People They Might Interact With: Other apprentices or students, a master glassblower or teacher, landlords, gallery owners and visitors, delivery people, customers
How This Occupation Can Impact the Character’s Basic Needs:
- Physiological/Safety and Security: While it’s possible for a person to make a living at this occupation, it’s difficult. On average, artisanal glassblowers today make about $30,000 per year. As a result, they often endure many years of financial sacrifice so they can pursue their passion and try to build a livable career. This can impact their safety or even their physiological needs.
- Love and Belonging: They also may forego relationships with others due to focusing on their career, which can create a void in the love and belonging department.
- Esteem and recognition: This need can take a hit when criticism comes along from professionals in the field, loved ones, or even the artist himself.
- Self-Actualization: If the artist takes on a teaching or manufacturing job to cover the bills, he may find himself in a career that he doesn’t enjoy, sacrificing self-actualization.
Common Work-Related Settings: art gallery, art studio, factory, museum, shopping mall, university quad
Twisting the Stereotype: The majority of glassblowers are men, so having a successful woman in this career would be a refreshing change. Because of the dangerous materials and amount of training required to do well in this area, glassblowers are typically adults. So creating the right circumstances for a teen or young adult to be involved in this trade could also add an interesting twist.