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.)
Overview: Nannies are professionals caretakers whose primary job is to take care of a family’s children in their home. They provide a nurturing and safe environment for a child, help them grow and mature, and will educate and discipline as needed. Nannies usually also prepare meals for the children and..
Necessary Training: Nannies can have different levels of education, and typically the more they have (associate degree in childcare, certifications, safety training, etc.) the more they are paid.
Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: A knack for languages, baking, basic first aid, blending in, charm, empathy, enhanced hearing, enhanced sense of smell, ESP (clairvoyance), exceptional memory…
POSITIVE: Adaptable, affectionate, alert, calm, centered, charming, confident, cooperative, creative, diplomatic, disciplined, discreet, easygoing…
Sources of Friction: Parents who micromanage or make unreasonable demands, parents who expect the nanny to accomplish tasks (such as toilet training) but then don’t continue the hard work of training or enforcing behavior themselves when they have the kids (undoing the nanny’s hard work), parents who are poor communicators or don’t make time for discussing the children and what happened through the day, being paid an unfair wage for the work, having one’s duties change and more responsibilities added without a pay increase (or a discussion as to whether these new duties are okay with the nanny), feeling isolated after long days with no interaction with other adults
People They Might Interact With: parents, children family friends, delivery people, teachers, librarians, coaches, the parents of…
How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:
- Self-Actualization: If one’s identity is to become a parent but this is impossible (due to economics, relationship status, genetics, etc.), this Occupation would bring the character close to what the want most but also be a constant reminder of what they themselves cannot have
- Esteem and Recognition: If the character works for a family that doesn’t respect the nanny’s time, schedule, skills…
- Love and Belonging: Being a nanny can be isolating and draining, especially of one is a full-time live-in, reducing their ability to find…
Common Work-Related Settings: amusement park, attic, backyard, beach, birthday party, casual dining restaurant, child’s bedroom, circus, community center, elementary school classroom, fast food restaurant, garage, grocery store, ice cream parlor, kitchen, lake, library, living room, mansion, movie theater, nursery, outdoor pool, outdoor skating rink, parade, park, pet store, playground, preschool, principal’s office, rec center, school bus, shopping mall, skate park, teenager’s bedroom, tree house, zoo
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.