This is just another small part of world building topics I have wanted to address in writing. Today's topic is jobs and professions.
Again, a lot of the world building stuff I talk about is targeted for fantasy, but you can still take the grains from these posts for just about any genre.
In fantasy, there are a lot of ways to figure out jobs and professions. One way is to look up medieval jobs. Way back then, you had a ton of different jobs to choose from. But back then, there was one major difference than now. You had to apprentice for a lot of those jobs. There were no schools or colleges. If you had any sort of aptitude for something, you were sent off to learn from someone who did that job well. More often than not, if that person lived too far from your home, you were sent to live with them. Not everyone owned a horse. No one could just hop in their carriage and commute to work every day. Work started well before the sun rose and ended when the sun went down.
If you were an apprentice, you didn't earn wages. Your room and board was your payment for having to train you. And you weren't sent off on your own until you learned the craft well enough. Or your master died and you ended up taking over the job because you were the only one who knew how to do it.
If you couldn't learn how to do the job, you would be kicked out of your master's home and pretty much had to figure out your life from there. You couldn't go home, because you were supposed to be learning a craft and eventually making money. So there was a bit of shame in having to return home. If it was a farm you came from, then yes, there would always be a job there for you, but not much of anything else. So if you were ejected from an apprenticeship, you'd have to think fast on your feet and figure out what you might be good at, aside from stealing. You'd have to find someone else willing to train you or you'd have to offer up something no one else was willing to do.
Sometimes, you were born into a job. Your family's family had been making clothes for the King for several generations. It was in your blood and you knew how to sew a hem since you were able to sit still long enough and not poke yourself with a needle. You could do a whip stitch in your sleep, and have! Or you knew cows so well, you could tell who would produce the most milk and the best tasting cheese. Or you could tell what herbs mixed together would be the fastest killer or the best healer because your Grandmother quizzed you since you were old enough to walk the fields with her.
There are a lot of professions and lots of ways to come by them, in writing. You just have to know your history and be just as creative in giving your characters a profession as you are in writing the rest of the story.
Once you figure out the profession, do your research. You need to know as much as you can about it so you can write about it well. You don't have to give all the details and information, just enough to get by. Just enough to make your reader think you have explicit knowledge of that particular job. Which, when you're writing about something in present day, is usually the case. Write what you know. You know how to do data entry, how amazing your character does too!
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