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.
Occupation: Dog Groomer
Overview: Dog groomers maintain a dog’s physical appearance using various shears, trimmers, scissors, brushes, shampoos, and other products. They will bathe, dry, cut, and shape a canine’s coat to the specifications of the owner as well as cut the dog’s nails, brush their teeth, clean their ears, and be on the lookout for illnesses or problems such as area swellings, cuts, thrush, ticks, or other parasites. Some groomers may offer additional services such as fur dying and designer cuts.
Groomers typically work at shelters, kennels, pet stores, in a mobile unit, or out of their own homes. Some may also have a practice as part of a larger veterinary clinic that serves many dog owners.
Necessary Training: Most employers require a high school diploma when hiring a groomer, and in addition to on-the-job training and mentoring, may also require a certification from a recognized grooming school or post-secondary school apprenticeship program.
Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: A knack for making money, a way with animals, basic first aid, charm, empathy, enhanced hearing, enhanced sense of smell, exceptional memory, gaining the trust of others, multitasking
POSITIVE: Adaptable, affectionate, calm, centered, charming, easygoing, efficient, empathetic, focused, friendly, gentle, industrious, nurturing, observant, professional, responsible, talented, thrifty, tolerant
NEGATIVE: fussy, stubborn, workaholic
Sources of Friction: Developing an allergy to dogs or dog grooming products, a fellow groomer suddenly quitting leaving one with far too many clients to handle, demanding pet owners (who expect perfection, who want cuts outside one’s experience, who wish to have their dog’s coat treated in a way that will be painful for the dog or dangerous), dogs that are unsocialized and difficult to work with, animals with a history of abuse that bite and scratch, dog owners who refuse to provide paperwork that shows the dog’s shots are up to date, a dog getting loose and taking off because a gate is left open, dog owners who are cheap and complain at the price or don’t tip, accidentally clipping a dog and causing injury, discovering animal abuse and having to report it, trying to pay one’s bills on a dog groomer’s salary, a dog having an allergic reaction to a product, a pet owner not disclosing a condition or allergy, pet owners requesting a full shave when it is not needed or it is dangerous to give one (exposing them to possible sunburn or other dangers), Pet owners who don’t respect the window of time needed to groom the animal and they show up too early
People They Might Interact With: dog owners, pet sitters, pet store employees or veterinarian staff (if located within a pet store or vet clinic), other groomers, delivery people
How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:
- Esteem and Recognition: Characters in this job may struggle with recognition as customers sometimes only see the price tag and don’t always appreciate the time and energy that goes into caring for their pet.
- Love and Belonging: In some cases groomers can be overloaded with appointments, and the long hours and tiring work can leave little energy left over for loved ones, causing resentment
- Safety and Security: As this job is lower pay, it can be difficult to have financial security unless other members of the household are also contributing
Common Work-Related Settings: vet clinic
Visit the other Occupations in our collection HERE.