Occupation Thesaurus Entry: Locksmith

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.

The Occupation Thesaurus can help you choose careers for your characters that will further their growth and your storyline

Occupation: Locksmith

Overview: A person in this field will be responsible for most any job involving locks: installing and changing locks at residences, helping people get into locked cars and buildings, opening locked devices such as briefcases or security boxes, installing and opening safes, copying keys, etc. A locksmith might work on his own or be employed by someone else.

Necessary Training: A person can become a locksmith by completing an apprenticeship or training at a vocational school. Because this field involves people’s security, locksmiths are typically required to be licensed, bonded, and insured.

Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: Mechanically inclined

Helpful Character Traits:

POSITIVE: Calm, centered, courteous, discreet, efficient, honorable, industrious, patient, persistent, professional, responsible

Sources of Friction: A lock one can’t pick, having to work within a short timeline, a client’s home or business being burgled just after one installed the locks, accidentally letting one’s licensing or certification lapse, misplacing the keys to a client’s lock, finding something disturbing in a customer’s safe or home, being low on the totem pole at work and being assigned all the crappy jobs, not being able to find a client’s address, having an accident that creates a mess of supplies in the back of one’s van, misplacing tools that must be paid for out of one’s paycheck, not making enough money to make ends meet, failing to acquire a high-level certification (such as safe-cracking), being sexually assaulted or harassed by a client, damaging a client’s property while trying to complete a job

People They Might Interact With: Other locksmiths, customers, a dispatcher, one’s boss (a manager or the business owner), administrative personnel, vendors

How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:

  • Self-Actualization: Picking locks can pay the bills, but someone who would rather be doing something else—maybe something creative or more mentally stimulating—may find this need impacted.
  • Esteem and Recognition: While it’s an honest living, being a locksmith doesn’t pay a lot. Someone who cares about what people think or frequently compares himself to others may find his esteem taking a hit.
  • Safety and Security: Any time a person is required to enter a stranger’s home, there’s a risk to their safety.
  • Physiological Needs: Because of this job’s pay scale, locksmiths may find themselves unable to support a family on their salary. Add an expensive accident or illness, and the character’s physiological needs may be threatened.

Common Work-Related Settings: Antiques shop, backyard, bank, bar, casino, cheap motel, church, convenience store, country road, diner, dorm room, factory, fast food restaurant, fire station, fitness center, garage, gas station, grocery store, hair salon, hardware store, hospital (interior), jewelry store, limousine, liquor store, mansion, mechanic’s shop, motor home, movie theater, nightclub, nursing home, parking garage, parking lot, pawn shop, pub, shopping mall, small town street, taxi, trade show, trailer park, used car dealership

Twisting the Fictional Stereotype: This is another career field dominated largely by men. Make your locksmith a woman and you’ll add a hint of freshness to the scenario. Because of the security aspects of this career, it can also be one that could easily propel your character into conflict. Consider how the client (a mafia don or criminal) or the contents of the locked device (drugs, guns, trafficking victims, etc.) might change the course of the protagonist’s life.

Visit the other Occupations in our collection HERE.


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. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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