Occupation Thesaurus Entry: Parole Officer

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.)

Your Characetr's Job helps to characterize. Here's information about being a parole officer.

Occupation: Parole Officer

Overview: A parole officer monitors offenders after a release from prison after serving part of their sentence but are still on probation, ensuring they have registered with the local police, have undergone drug testing, reports to an officer at appointed times and follows all restrictions and conditions of their parole. Parole officers explain all the conditions of parole, the rules clients must follow, and will also make sure offenders are enrolled in rehabilitation and job training programs as determined by the court…

Necessary Training: Generally characters in this field have a bachelor’s degree and have completed a program in criminal justice, social work, and/or psychology.  They may be required to take a state-sponsored training program, and a certification test.  Often they are required

Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: A knack for languages, blending in, empathy, enhanced hearing, enhanced sense of smell, ESP (clairvoyance)…

Helpful Character Traits:

POSITIVE: Adaptable, alert, analytical, cautious, confident, courageous, diplomatic, disciplined, discreet, efficient, honest, honorable, just…

NEGATIVE: controlling, inflexible, stubborn, suspicious

Sources of Friction: working with volatile clients (who probably should not have been released), safety concerns for clients who traded information on others in exchanged for a lessened sentence, traveling to high crime neighborhoods and the dangers they pose (muggings, car theft, retribution attacks), burning out because of the job stress and high case load, false accusations from vengeful clients who

People They Might Interact With: criminals, community and religious groups, police officers, undercover detectives, psychologists, family, friends

How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:

  • Self-Actualization: A character who once was on a dark path but had a mentor early in life that helped them change their course may be drawn to this profession out of a desire to do the same for others. But if they started seeing their clients consistently returning to this dark path, the character may
  • Esteem and Recognition: A character may struggle in this profession because they will largely be looked down upon by a segment of society–often people they are working to help but who don’t appreciate having Big Brother watching, judging, and…
  • Love and Belonging: The long, sometimes irregular hours and job stress could lead to relationship problems or even a broken marriage.
  • Safety and Security: Having to do home visits and check-ins will place this character in harm’s way due to
  • Physiological Needs: Death threats or a violent altercation with the criminal world could place the character in mortal jeopardy, especially in the case where a client is well-connected with people who do not fear the law and

Common Work-Related Settings:  Alley, backyard, big city street, cheap motel, coffeehouse, community center, construction site, convenience store, courtroom, diner, emergency room, empty lot, fast food restaurant, homeless shelter, hospital (interior), hospital room, hotel room, living room, mechanic’s shop, office cubicle, park, parking garage, parking lot, police station, prison cell, rec center, run-down apartment, salvage yard, shopping mall, subway train, taxi, therapist’s office, trailer park, train station, truck stop, used car dealership

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.
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