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  1. snapdragon
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    snapdragon New Member

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    Take this job and shove it...

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by snapdragon, May 1, 2011.

    In my story, my protagonist is a forty-nine year old man, divorced and living alone in New york City. I have a pretty good grasp of his personality, but what I can't seem to decide on is his occupation. I have never lived in a big city like New York and I am having trouble figuring out exactly what my MC does all day. I feel it is important to have a firm grasp on his job because someone his age with a lacking social life would basically define himself by his career. So if anyone has any suggestions for jobs that are not cliche, would be available in NYC, preferably boring/repetitive (desk job maybe?), and would pay an annual salary that was somewhere in the "middle class" range, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks :)
     
  2. Kio
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    Kio Contributing Member

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    You're new! Hi!

    Maybe make him an accountant? A secretary, maybe? Male secretaries aren't too cliche, right? Or he could be a banker, a butler? I dunno, I can't think of many boring jobs right now.
     
  3. snapdragon
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    snapdragon New Member

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    Yes, I just joined today :D I can't believe I never knew about this site before now! Thank you for your suggestions too, I just hate it when I draw a blank on these kinds of things. I'm a very detail oriented person so I'm never satisfied until I have everything PERFECT. XD It's both a good and bad trait I suppose lol
     
  4. writingsoccermom
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    writingsoccermom New Member

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    How about a 3rd shift security guard at a large office building, maybe a law firm.
     
  5. teacherayala
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    teacherayala Contributing Member

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    What if he's a mathematics professor? Or what if he's a librarian? That would explain why he's a bit isolated. He just prefers books to people. (not that all librarians are that way. I personally would love to be a librarian.) Or what if he is a chef, and spends most of his time in the kitchen and is slightly gruff and antisocial? That reminds me of the Catherine Zeta Jones character who was a chef in that one movie. She was a little OCD, anal retentive, needing control...
    What else... hmmm...
    He could be a manager of a telephone company in NYC. or a lower-level banker...
     
  6. teacherayala
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    teacherayala Contributing Member

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    What if he is an elevator operator for the Empire State Building?
     
  7. TheSpiderJoe
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    TheSpiderJoe Senior Member

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    Finance. Finance. Finance.

    A lot of people I have met while working on my MBA tell me finance is the single most boring industry you can be involved in. You spend 8 years of your life learning complex equations and start your career by plugging all of those numbers into a machine that does all of the hard work for you. Just think how boring it would actually be taking a set of numbers, crunching them into a computer, and then spitting out the final result for 8 hours every day.

    I'd be liable to kill myself (if I didn't love life as much as I do now ;) )

    There are plenty of financial institutions with a huge presence in NYC (New York Stock Exchange anyone?). You could even make one up if it helps.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    He could be a cook - perhaps not the head chef - at a major restaurant. As such, he could have a decent but not exorbitant salary, be very bored with his day to day job, yet also be "defined" by his profession, and mot have much of a social life because of his long hours.

    For that matter, he could be a software developer. I know of a company headquartered on Long Island (I used to work for them), full of employees (programmers, managers, system administrators, etc) such as the one you are describing.

    In New York City, restaurants are everywhere, and the competition is fierce. There are many upscale stores, and those sores have buyers, managers, and floor staff. There are designers, and there are marketing firms. The financial district is world famous. There are many workers devoted solely to the tourism trade, and hotels and transportation for all those tourists as well. There are couriers, and of course fire, police, and hospital workers. There is the United Nations, and all the professions that arise from that.

    Hopefully this will give some ideas. I'm not sure what kind of educational background you have in mind for your character, or where in the middle class you want his or her income to be.
     
  9. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Because someone is divorced and as reached the ripe old age 49 does not necessarily mean he will lack a social life. A middle aged divorcee (a new found freedom with no responsibilities) could be having the time of their life.

    However a basic job that pays the rent;

    taxi/bus driver
    hospital porter
    male nurse
    social worker
    teacher
    journalist
    bin man
    mechanic
    tree surgeon
    gardener
    policeman
    pilot
    janitor
    painter and decorator
    prison warden
    park warden
    bank clerk...
     
  10. Irontrousers
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    Irontrousers Member

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    Gigolo.
     
  11. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    From what you've given me, I'd say that in NYC, I'd guess he is a union member and government employee. Some type of clerk position, most likely, dealing with records, databases or processing applications for various permits (related to business licensing, construction, transportation or security).

    If the story is set in modern times, private sector jobs are scare, and the people in them tend to have been there for a long time.

    Alternately, he could own his own business, such as one of the "Mom and Pop" style shops (Deli, grocery store, news stand, etc.).
     

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