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. 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.
Occupation: Pest Control Technician
Overview: A Pest Control Technician removes unwanted pests in residential and commercial areas. The types of pests will be dependent on the location, but commonly these include ants, roaches, bedbugs, termites, ticks, spiders, wasps, rats and mice that infest structures. In some areas, they may also be called in to take care of snakes, scorpions, crocodiles, birds, and alligators. Typically poisonous fog, baited traps, and sprays are used to remove these pests. Technicians run site inspections, assessments, and carry out fumigations and removals using spraying equipment, power fog machines, bait guns, and traps. Because technicians may be required to kneel, crawl, enter small spaces, and possibly work in sewers or other locations that are undesirable, a reasonable level of fitness and strong mental constitution is required.
Necessary Training: Characters looking to get into this profession usually need a high school diploma or equivalent, and often require a certification to practice. Training is also given on the job and technicians must have a clear understanding of the chemicals and pesticides they use as well as how to apply them safely. All work must be in accordance with any local environmental laws and regulations regarding the use of pesticides. Having skills in math is also important to accurately plan the quantities of pesticides needed for the job as well as the time it will take to effectively complete the task (especially when it comes to fumigation and the use of chemicals in residential areas). Technicians must also have a valid driver’s license for transporting equipment and driving to locations to assess the problem.
Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: A way with animals, basic first aid, blending in, carpentry, enhanced hearing, exceptional memory, foraging, high pain tolerance, mechanically inclined, parkour, predicting the weather, self-defense, strategic thinking, strong breath control, super strength, swift-footedness, wilderness navigation, wrestling
POSITIVE: Adaptable, adventurous, alert, analytical, cautious, centered, courageous, disciplined, efficient, independent, industrious, observant, organized, patient, proactive, professional, resourceful, responsible
NEGATIVE: Cruel, Cynical, Perfectionist, Stubborn
Sources of Friction: Discovering irresponsible homeowners are part of the infestation problem (by not getting rid of trash, by not caring for the property as they should, etc.), pests that are resistant to one’s methods, angry homeowners who take it out on the technician, dealing with poisonous pests (especially if one needs to get into areas that are tight-spaced or dangerous to work in), having ethical problems with the company’s methods or policies, working with a partner who is unnecessarily cruel, being accused of theft after fumigating a home
People They Might Interact With: home owners and building managers, wildlife officers (in the case of larger pests), other technicians, supply reps, health and safety inspectors, business owners
How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:
- Esteem and Recognition: A person in this field may struggle because of the public perception of this work is undesirable. This could affect their self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.
- Love and Belonging: Having this as a profession may create a hurdle in the romance department. Many possible partners may not be able to look past their disgust of the work being done, or make unfair assumptions about the character as a result of the work they choose to do.
- Safety and Security: Because a character often must go where homeowners and property managers dare not, safety is a concern, especially if the pests are poisonous or dangerous. The nature of a Pest Control Technician’s work is risky, and if they mishandle their equipment and poisons the result could be deadly.
Common Work-Related Settings: alley, attic, backyard, barn, basement, big city street, casual dining restaurant, cheap motel, child’s bedroom, condemned apartment building, construction site, convenience store, custodial supply room, deli, diner, elementary school classroom, factory, farm, fast food restaurant, flower garden, flower shop, greenhouse, grocery store, high school cafeteria, high school hallway, hotel room, kitchen, living room, man cave, mansion, nursery, nursing home, office cubicle, orchard, outdoor pool, outhouse, pond, public restroom, rec center, root cellar, run-down apartment, secret passageway, sewers, shopping mall, slaughterhouse, small town street, subway tunnel, swamp, teenager’s bedroom, teenager’s bedroom closet, tool shed, trailer park, underground storm shelter
Twisting the Fictional Stereotype: Characters in this occupation are often portrayed as uneducated or society misfits. If you’re working with this profession, make sure your characters break free of these stereotype. The work involved requires very specific handling of toxic pesticides and sometimes dangerous pests, so logically, the character would have to be intelligent enough to work in this area safely. And like any other character, they should have qualities that humanize them and make them interesting. Also, in fiction, most characters seem to be men…so why not try a female in this position?
Visit the other Occupations in our collection HERE.