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: DEEP SEA DIVER (COMMERCIAL)
Overview: Deep sea diving is the act of descending into water and remaining there for an extended time using a breathing apparatus. This type of diving is done for a variety of reasons: recreation, salvage, industrial work, and research, just to name a few. This entry will focus on commercial diving, specifically offshore diving (as opposed to inland diving). Offshore work is primarily done in the oil and gas sector, where a specially trained diver installs and repairs underwater equipment and piping in deep water. Some of this work may require saturation diving, which requires extended stays in a pressurized environment…
Deeps sea divers will have a variety of tasks that may require special skills. Welding, underwater detonations, construction, installations and pipe-fitting, checking connections and inspections, pigging placement, troubleshooting malfunctioning equipment…
In a perfect world, all divers must have their commercial diving certification. (Some may not, depending on the area of the world they happen to work in, but in North America and many other developed countries, certification is demanded.) A basic, entry-level program may take about two months to complete, but more extensive programming will…
Divers must have a strong command of physics, adhere to safety protocols (which include stringent safety drills) and have training in…
Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: basic first aid, carpentry, enhanced hearing, exceptional memory, gaining the trust of others, good listening skills, high pain tolerance, knowledge of explosives….
Helpful Character Traits: Adaptable, adventurous, alert, ambitious, analytical, bold, calm, cautious, centered, cooperative, courageous…
Sources of Friction: Poorly maintained equipment, budge cutbacks, sharks and other dangers, getting the bends, a malfunction in a decompression chamber, malfunctions with air tanks or diving gear, friction with other divers one is stuck with in a small hyperbaric chamber or habitat, exhaustion, people who don’t follow safety protocols, companies that make demands that require prolonged diving times that are unsafe…
People They Might Interact With: other divers, project managers, ship employees, oil and gas employees, doctors, scientists, engineers
How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs
- Esteem and Recognition: Women are not as common in this industry and so may run into sexual prejudice which could limit their ability to climb the ladder or …
- Love and Belonging: Divers are often away a month at a time, plus travel and this can put a strain on a relationship.
- Safety and Security: Many hazards and dangers could be brought into the story to hold your character back from fulfillment: a run-in with a shark that seeds in them a fear of death, a malfunction while diving that brings about deep fears…
Common Work-Related Settings: beach, fishing boat, fitness center, marina, ocean, equipment room, decompression chamber, underwater settings, ambient pressure underwater habitat, hyperbaric chamber, underwater vehicles, diving bell, oil platform
Twisting the Stereotype: Make your deep sea diver a woman as they are much less common than men, or give your deep sea diver a crippling weakness or secret they must hide, like a fear of sharks, darkness, or even claustrophobia.
Visit the other Occupations in our collection HERE.
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.
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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, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.