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 babysitter will watch over children while their parents are away from the home, ensuring the children are safe, cared for, and that they follow the rules of the household. Children may be awake or asleep during the time the babysitter is in the home, which will dictate what sort of activities a sitter will engage in. Typically a sitter will…
Necessary Training: This type of work can be done without any training or certification, although there are programs available that teach youth their responsibilities when babysitting and to guide them in a series of possible situations to help them problem-solve and know what to do in emergencies. Many parents insist their sitter does have a babysitting course under their belt and be a specific minimum age to mind their children. Most provinces or states will also have…
Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: basic first aid, charm, empathy, enhanced hearing, enhanced sense of smell…
POSITIVE: Adaptable, adventurous, affectionate, alert, calm, charming, confident, creative, diplomatic, easygoing, friendly, imaginative…
NEGATIVE: controlling, know-it-all, paranoid
Sources of Friction: kids who don’t respect the babysitter’s rules or authority, kids with parents who are lax with discipline and so act spoiled, demanding and entitled, discovering something disturbing (such as signs of abuse, illegal activities, or drug use within the home), learning a family secret through something a child says, house guests who show up unannounced, trying to reach a parent in an emergency but being unable to, one of the children growing violent…
People They Might Interact With: parents, older siblings of the kids one is babysitting, neighbors, police
How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:
- Esteem and Recognition: a character who is in a different financial situation than those one is babysitting may struggle with feelings of inferiority or shame when comparing what one’s family has to what another family’s has…
- Love and Belonging: A character who lacks strong family connections (perhaps a turbulent home life) may struggle being around a family that contains tight, loving bonds, as…
- Safety and Security: If the family the character is babysitting for lives in an area where the home may be targeted (either because it is in a high crime neighborhood or…
Common Work-Related Settings: backyard, basement, child’s bedroom, kitchen, living room, nursery, patio deck, playground, run-down apartment, teenager’s bedroom
Twisting the Fictional Stereotype: In fiction and film, babysitters are often female, but this is a job either sex might be drawn to in order to make some extra income, so if you have a male character needing a bit of extra funds, consider this job for something fresh.
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.