Occupation Thesaurus Entry: Driver (Car)

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: Driver (Car)

Overview: It goes without saying, but drivers get people from one place to another. Typically, they’re employed by a service and are assigned jobs either by a dispatcher or via an app. Some drive their own vehicles while others use those owned by the company or employer. Personal drivers are often hired by corporations or wealthy individuals and are kept on retainer to drive people wherever they need to go.

Necessary Training: Drivers must have a current license, and many services require a certain amount of driving experience before a driver can be hired.

Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: A knack for languages, enhanced hearing, exceptional memory, good listening skills, hot-wiring a car, reading people, self-defense

Helpful Character Traits:

POSITIVE: Adaptable, alert, calm, courteous, discreet, extroverted, focused, friendly, observant, proactive, sensible, tolerant

Sources of Friction: Getting traffic tickets that could threaten one’s employment as a driver, getting into an accident, picking up a dangerous customer, inebriated passengers, getting stiffed on a fare, having to drive someone one finds morally reprehensible, driving a passenger who wants to talk about touchy subjects (such as politics or religion), being accused of inappropriateness by a passenger, getting lost, getting caught overcharging a customer, being late for a scheduled pick-up, having to call in sick or take the day off and miss scheduled pick-ups, driving a passenger who is clearly ill, being car-jacked, one’s car breaking down or becoming unreliable, suspecting passengers of being involved in something illegal (such as drug smuggling), recognizing a passenger as someone who is wanted by police, driving a passenger one believes may be a victim (of abuse, trafficking, etc.), a deteriorating physical ailment that makes the job difficult (failing eyesight, a back injury, etc.)

People They Might Interact With: customers, a dispatcher, other drivers employed by the same service, a manager, police officers, mechanics, car-detailing employees

How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:

  • Self-Actualization: This need may become impacted if the driver has higher aspirations, eventually growing dissatisfied with their current occupation.
  • Esteem and Recognition: If a driver is looked down upon or treated as inferior by his passengers, he may begin to feel badly about himself and his chosen profession.
  • Safety and Security: A driver may be highly skilled, but there are always idiots on the road who could endanger their safety.
  • Physiological Needs: There’s always a risk involved when picking up strangers, and drivers have been known to fall victim to unstable or violent customers.

Common Work-Related Settings: Airport, art gallery, bar, big city street, black-tie event, car accident, casino, limousine, mansion, mechanic’s shop, nightclub, parking garage, parking lot, performing arts theater, pub, taxi, train station, truck stop

Twisting the Fictional Stereotype:

  • By and large, drivers are male. Consider a kick-butt female who drives like Mario Andretti and can handle herself.
  • Being a professional driver gives one access to people and places denied to others. For what nefarious reasons might your character have chosen this career?
  • Keep in mind that with the influx of options for these kinds of services (Lyft, Uber, etc.), the model has changed. Drivers may be employed full-time or only when it’s convenient for them. They may even only drive to places they’re going themselves, such as when they’re driving in to our out of work in an urban area. So there are many more options now.

Visit the other Occupations in our collection HERE.

About BECCA PUGLISI

Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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