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.)
Occupation: Physical Therapist
Overview: A Physical Therapist (PT) specializes in the recovery of patients who have had injuries, illnesses, or surgeries that impact their mobility and comfort. It can also be used to safely rebuild muscle tissue and flexibility if this has been lost (due to age, malnutrition, or other…
PT professionals are trained to listen to the symptoms of a patient, ask further questions to help diagnose what the problem may be, and then create a plan to treat the injured site. Once a therapy plan is made, the PT practitioner will administer…
The PT practitioner will also document and modify the therapy as needed, consulting with doctors or other healthcare professionals if it becomes necessary. They also provide a listening ear, encouragement, and empathetic support so the patent makes the best recovery possible …
Necessary Training: A PT practitioner will need a university degree that focuses in physical therapy or closely-related science-based courses. To practice…
Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: A knack for languages, basic first aid, charm, empathy, enhanced hearing, enhanced sense of smell…
POSITIVE: Adaptable, alert, analytical, appreciative, calm, cautious, charming, confident, cooperative, courteous, curious, disciplined, discreet…
NEGATIVE: know-it-all, nosy, obsessive, perfectionist, workaholic
Sources of Friction: patients who are uncommunicative and so make the diagnosis more difficult, patients who lie about how they were injured (out of embarrassment), having too many patients, being overwhelmed by paperwork, difficulty navigating the different coverage thresholds for insurance providers, poorly maintained equipment, patients who don’t want to put in effort for their recovery, frustration at patients who have not taken care of themselves (the morbidly obese, those who have ignored medical advice, etc.), patients who are not vocal …
People They Might Interact With: other physical therapists, clinic employees, doctors, nurse practitioners, patients, insurance agents…
How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:
- Self-Actualization: A character who dreams of consulting with high-profile athletes but is unable to work into such a position may not gain the same sort of fulfillment at working in a general clinic
- Esteem and Recognition: If the character is unable to help a patient to the degree they believed they should have, or becomes embroiled in a malpractice lawsuit, it may…
- Love and Belonging: The long hours and physicality of this type of work may leave the character with little energy for loved ones once the day is finished, which could lead to frustration….
- Safety and Security: If the character is working with a difficult client that requires a greater level of flexibility and strength than one has, the character could become injured and…
Common Work-Related Settings: hospital room, military base, nursing home, rec center, spa
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.
Carol Baldwin says
My step-daughter is a PT and just was hospitalized for an intense MS flare-up. All her PT friends came to see her and I watched PT’s work with her. I was surrounded by compassionate, caring, knowledgable women! Skilled in human anatomy and how to strengthen bodies and encourage rehabilitation. I have a new appreciation for a PT’s skill. I just had to weigh in on this one since it’s so personal right now!
BECCA PUGLISI says
What a beautiful story! My cousin is a PT who saved the life of her neighbor’s little girl who fell in the pool. She did CPR until the ambulance arrived and they were able to resuscitate her.
Someone I’ll be seeing next month to rehab my busted wrist, though, for wrists and hands, she’s an “Occupational” therapist. INVALUABLE! 😀
I’ve been wondering if you’re going to compile this into a book like you did with the traits & emotions ones.
BECCA PUGLISI says
Hi, there! I’m glad you’re liking this thesaurus. The short answer to you question is that we don’t know :). It all depends on writers’ responses to the thesaurus and whether or not we believe the content could support an entire book. This one is popular so it could be that it will be published in the future, but we already have a book slotted (to be announced eventually) in 2019, so it will be a while before we make a decision on the next book. If you’d like to stay informed about any new book information, you can sign up here for a very occasional newsletter containing information to that effect.
Robin Mason says
As a matter of fact, I do have a PT in a future book. He makes an appearance in my current story, and will have his own story soon enough.
BONUS – I just finished with PT and have a whole arsenal of personal reference peeps to call on.
Angela, I love you guys’ blog, and the great info you provide!
Traci Kenworth says
A great occupation!