Occupation Thesaurus Entry: Geologist

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: Geologist

Overview: Geologists study how the earth has formed over time, including how landscapes evolve (mountains, volcanoes, earthquakes, plate shifts, oceans, and other phenomena). Businesses and other agencies hire geologists to better understand the environmental impacts of different initiatives (projects in the oil, gas, and mining sectors, building dams, etc.) or to consult for environmental protection, reclamation, understanding climate, etc. as well as many other things.

Geologists research by studying rock structure, water flow, and by taking soil and rock samples. They may also map out areas using aerial photos, ground penetrating radar, surveys, and other equipment. In the lab they may analyze these using microscopes, GIS, software analysis, and then prepare surveys and reports with their findings.

Necessary Training: Geologists need a bachelor’s degree in Science, and a master’s degree if they wish to specialize.

Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: A knack for languages, basic first aid, exceptional memory, knowledge of explosives, mechanically inclined, photographic memory, predicting the weather, strategic thinking, wilderness navigation, writing

Helpful Character Traits:

POSITIVE: Adaptable, ambitious, analytical, centered, cooperative, curious, efficient, focused, independent, industrious, intelligent, nature-focused, objective, observant, organized, perceptive, persistent, proactive, professional, resourceful, responsible, socially aware, studious

NEGATIVE: compulsive, fussy, perfectionist, workaholic

Sources of Friction: working with people on a project hoping for specific geological findings who may try to steer or manipulate the study parameters or put a spin on results, poor weather conditions that make tests more difficult or the landscape unstable and dangerous (an early thaw creating higher floodwaters, an unexpected snowfall, active volcanoes or earthquakes, mudslides, etc. ), frequent travel, sometimes to remote locations or requiring stays in work camps, being required to carry a lot of equipment while out in the field, frustration over the inability to get definitive answers as the data is mostly interpretive, managing different personalities on a project, running into conflict of interest situations, having to keep up with technology advances (retraining and education) may add pressure, trying to do one’s job when certain safety rules or red tape might make this more complicated

People They Might Interact With: other geologists, students, safety officers, laborers and engineers, company heads, project managers, environmental groups, special interest groups, government officers, indigenous peoples

How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs

Esteem and Recognition: Geologists who uncover data that is important (say, changes in ocean currents, or climate-related changes) may be limited by a non-disclosure agreement with employers in the private sector and be unable to share their findings with a wider audience, especially if they have far-reaching significance but there is pressure to repress the findings as they may delay a project or threaten its bottom line

Safety and Security: Geologists who need to travel to areas that are unstable could encounter conditions that could be dangerous (flash flooding, exposure, accidents in remote areas, etc.)

Common Work-Related Settings: abandoned mine, airplane, airport, ancient ruins, arctic tundra, badlands, beach, boardroom, bridge, campsite, canyon, cave, desert, grotto, hiking trail, hot springs, lake, landfill, marina, marsh, meadow, mountains, ocean, office cubicle, old pick-up truck, pasture, quarry, rainforest, river, swamp, teacher’s lounge, university lecture hall, university quad, waterfall

Visit the other Occupations in our collection HERE.


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, an online library packed with powerful tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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