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.
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.)
Overview: A business tycoon is someone who is extremely successful in their industry. Tycoons tend to be entrepreneurial, coming up with innovative ideas or solutions that help them rise to the top in their fields. Some (Henry Ford, J.P. Morgan, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffet, etc.) are so famous as to become household names to the general public, while others are…
Necessary Training: This will depend on the industry. Many successful business people have degrees—sometimes, multiple degrees—from institutions of higher education. Others are entirely self-taught. But most of these individuals share a drive to…
Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: A knack for making money, exceptional memory, haggling, multitasking, promotion, strategic thinking
POSITIVE: Adaptable, adventurous, ambitious, analytical, bold, confident, decisive, diplomatic, disciplined, efficient, industrious…
NEGATIVE: Confrontational, devious, disloyal, greedy, materialistic…
Sources of Friction: The competition threatening one’s position at the top of the chain, bad PR, rushing to sale with a product or service that isn’t ready, losing a great deal of money in a bad investment, being sued, being blackmailed, long work hours creating conflict with family members, being unable to solve a particular problem, gold diggers and…
People They Might Interact With: Other business people, investors, board members, employees, news reporters, personal secretaries or assistants, celebrities
How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:
- Self-Actualization: A business person finding themselves doing things they never intended (acting unethically, becoming a workaholic, engaging in unhealthy relationships due to…
- Esteem and Recognition: A tycoon who started their business out of a need to prove themselves (to themselves or others) may find that, despite success, that need is still lacking…
- Love and Belonging: This need can be impacted if the business person has difficulty connecting with others due to lack of trust, time constraints, or…
- Safety and Security: A wealthy business mogul’s safety could be impacted if he becomes the target for a stalker, rival, disgruntled employee or…
Common Work-Related Settings: Airplane, art gallery, ballroom, bank, big city street, black-tie event, boarding school, boardroom, limousine, mansion, penthouse suite, ski resort, sporting event stands, upscale hotel lobby, yacht
Twisting the Fictional Stereotype: Business tycoons are typically portrayed as greedy, unethical, heartless, and willing to do whatever it takes to further their bottom line. Twist this stereotype by creating a different kind of mogul—maybe one who is humble or who stumbled into success rather than fighting for it all of her life.
This occupation can also be freshened up by thinking outside the typical billionaire box..
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.