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: There are many careers within this industry. Jewelry designers (the focus of this entry) are those who design and manufacture jewelry. They may own their own business where they create products from their own imaginations, or they might work for a larger house, manufacturing jewelry requested by those in charge.
Necessary Training: No official training is required. Many people starting out in this field receive the necessary on-the-job training by apprenticing to a successful jeweler or working for one. Jewelers should be creative, but if they want to work independently, they’ll also need to have some knowledge of business and marketing.
Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: Haggling, mechanically inclined, promotion, repurposing
Helpful Character Traits: Ambitious, creative, curious, disciplined, imaginative, industrious, meticulous, passionate, patient, patriotic, quirky, resourceful, talented
Sources of Friction: Being shortchanged by a customer, manufacturing a custom design that the customer isn’t happy with, a customer’s jewelry breaking due to a defect, discovering that the jewels one has been using weren’t sourced ethically, the price of materials rising and affecting one’s ability to buy them, being robbed, financial difficulties that make it impossible to buy new materials, one’s designs not being accepted by the public or critics, knock-off jewelers stealing one’s designs, being blocked creatively and having difficulty coming up with new ideas, an injury to one’s hands that makes it difficult for one to work, friends and loved ones who expect one to make jewelry for them for free or at discount, being unable to succeed creating one’s own jewelry and having to go into business for someone else, impatient family members who want one to give up the dream in favor of something more lucrative
People They Might Interact With: Customers, suppliers, delivery people, landlords, retail personnel at stores where the jeweler shops for merchandise, trade show attendees and vendors, jewelry store personnel, personal shoppers
How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:
- Self-Actualization: It’s notoriously hard to succeed financially in a creative field. A jeweler who has to work extra jobs or take on a jewelry-related career that isn’t satisfying can easily become personally unfulfilled.
- Esteem and Recognition: Esteem can take a hit when customers, critics, or buyers aren’t interested in or openly disparage one’s creations.
- Safety and Security: A jeweler who is unfamiliar or careless with the chemicals and metals they’re working with may experience safety issues from misuse.
Common Work-Related Settings: Antiques shop, art gallery, black-tie event, museum, salvage yard, shopping mall, small town street, trade show, workshop
Twisting the Stereotype:
- Independent jewelers are often portrayed as women while high-end creatives are usually male (Harry Winston, Neil Lane, etc.). Switching this up could provide a welcome change
- Jewelers typically work alone, but what about a partnership? Creative collaboration can be a wonderful thing, but it also provides many opportunities for realistic tension and conflict.