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 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: A bouncer is hired security for an establishment where alcohol is served. They have many different duties, including vetting patrons on entry to ensure they are of age and not intoxicated to the degree that they may be a danger to others or themselves. In addition to monitoring who enters the establishment, they watch for situations that could escalate as alcohol or drugs is added to the social environment: arguments that may escalate, physical altercations, unwanted advances that are turned down and the message to move on is ignored, unsafe conduct …
A bouncer is typically very fit and imposing, and if necessary, will rely on the intimation factor to discourage situations from escalating that could put other patrons in danger. Physical interaction is used as a last resort to expel a customer when it becomes necessary to do so. Instead, quick wit, humor, and the ability to keep the situation as relaxed as possible by talking the situation out while steering the person to the exit are tools used to deescalate…
Training will vary depending on where the nightclub is located, but most bouncers do enter a training program so they better understand the scope of their work and learn techniques to spot problems before they start and how to deescalate and remove patrons in a safe and legal way for all involved. Bouncers may have to pass a drug test, have a background check..
Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: A knack for languages, basic first aid, blending in, charm, empathy, enhanced hearing, enhanced sense of smell…
POSITIVE: Adaptable, alert, analytical, calm, cautious, centered, charming, confident, courageous, courteous, diplomatic, disciplined, discreet…
NEGATIVE: evasive, humorless, impatient, inflexible, macho, suspicious, temperamental
Sources of Friction: underage patrons with fake IDs, party goes with drugs in their system that become aggressive and violent, someone drugging the drinks of others, drug dealers on the premises, a patron who smuggles in alcohol, drugs, or a weapon, fights between women when only male bouncers are present, bartenders or servers being threatened or hit on, pick-pocketing, not enough security working a big event…
People They Might Interact With: patrons, bartenders, management, liquor reps, celebrities, private security for celebrities and other important…
How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:
- Esteem and Recognition: A character who was self-conscious of their physical condition may chose this career to reclaim their own sense of personal power.
- Love and Belonging: A character who struggles socially or with dating may choose this job because the social atmosphere to gain insight on how to successfully interact with other people.
Common Work-Related Settings: bar, black-tie event, casino, medieval tavern (speculative), nightclub, police station
Twisting the Fictional Stereotype:
Not all bouncers are beefy, intimidating men. Women can also be bouncers and often can have a better success rate at talking down situations with both men and women because they are not as physically imposing. Some clubs will always have a female bouncer on staff to …
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.