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.
Below is a sample list of ideas to help you see how an occupation can reveal your character’s beliefs, history, goals, and more.
To view the full entry, visit One Stop for Writers where it resides within the largest fiction-based descriptive database ever created. (Free Trial available.)
Occupation: Animal Rescue WorkerOverview: There are many different jobs under the umbrella of animal rescue workers: owners and managers of shelters, veterinarians and technicians, trainers…Necessary Training: To join a rescue group, often a person only needs a high school diploma, as they will receive training by the organization on assessments (determining the condition of an animal, their age, possible risk factors, if abuse has occurred, injuries or diseases, etc.), the safe handling of animals..
Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: A knack for languages, a knack for making money, a way with animals, basic first aid…
Helpful Character Traits: Adaptable, adventurous, affectionate, alert…
Sources of Friction: Owners who do not want to give up their animals, knowing abuse is occurring but not being able to prove it, finding animals so bad off the humane thing is to put them down, discovering acts of cruelty but…
People They Might Interact With: animal rescue workers, pet owners, ranchers and farmers, police officers, people from…
How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:
Self-Actualization: A character in this occupation could suffer a crisis of faith at seeing…
Esteem and Recognition: A rescue worker who is unable to rescue animals in time may internalize the weight of the pain that animal suffered and feel…
Love and Belonging: Having to travel, and the long hours of rescue work may not leave a lot of time for other people, especially if…
Safety and Security: someone in this profession may be in danger if stepping into a situation unaware, both from…
Common Work-Related Settings: alley, backyard, badlands, barn, basement, big city street, campsite, chicken coop, circus, condemned apartment building, construction site, country road, courtroom, creek, empty lot, factory, farm, forest, homeless shelter, house fire, landfill, motor home, mountains, park, pasture, pet store, police station, quarry, race track (horses), ranch, razed city street, refugee camp, river, salvage yard, sewers, trailer park, underpass, waiting room
How will your character’s occupation help reveal their innermost layers?
Much of your character’s life will revolve around their work, and whether they love it or hate it, their job is a great way to show, not tell, their personality traits, skills, work ethic, worldview and beliefs, and more, so we should choose it with care.
Some of your scenes may take place at work, involve co-workers, or even highlight relationship friction between their work and personal life. To convey this accurately, you need to understand key details about what their job entails. Don’t worry, we’ve done the research for you!
Characterize. Add realism. Push the plot forward as the character’s career influences the story.
The Occupation Thesaurus is waiting to help you within our signature descriptive database at One Stop For Writers. If you like, give the FREE TRIAL a spin, or check out our very affordable plans.
Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, an online library packed with powerful tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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