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 version of this entry 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.)
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 …
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…
Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: Haggling, mechanically inclined, promotion, repurposing
Helpful Character Traits: Ambitious, creative, curious, disciplined, imaginative, industrious, meticulous, passionate, patient…
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…
People They Might Interact With: Customers, suppliers, delivery people, landlords, retail personnel at stores where the jeweler shops for merchandise…
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 …
- 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 …
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
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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Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling.