I am about to embark on a big novel and one of my first hurdles with any novel is deciding what kind of job the main character has or had before all this sex stuff happens. Jobs help define characters in the minds of the readers but for me, it helps me understand what kind of skills or personality the character has. A scientist for example is going to approach magic and threesomes a bit differently than a freelance artist.
Part of my problem when it comes to thinking of jobs is my own work history has been insane. As a teen I worked at two different fast-food chicken places. Dropping out of college, I worked ten years in a car factory. I then worked with a telephone company auditing calls, had a stint as a lab technician and worked a few months at a gas station. I am very fortunate to have married well and no longer need to work but I feel like my lack of experiences hamstring me when I write characters.
The fact of the matter is that the job I have the most experience with is being a writer. Which I guess is why 80% of horror novels seem to be about writers. I don’t know about you, but when I read that a main character is a writer, I have a hard time not thinking the author is writing themselves as the main hero. It bugs me so I refuse to do it.
Which brings me back to today. I have a character in mind and he will be a modern day Prophet/Cult Leader. Traditionally cult leaders are charismatic con men who upgrade their cons to becoming a religion. I intend my character to actually have contact with Higher Powers and serve more as a conduit for Divine Sex Orgies. I want him to be Real in the sense that he is trying to bring a new religion or philosophy to the world. With that in mind, I am skipping the usual con men cult leader professions like musicians, salesmen, and science fiction writers.
After a long meditation in the shower brought up nothing, I decided to resort to Google. As a writer, I’m not even sure what jobs people doing these days so I typed in “Most Common Jobs” as a starter search.
The result was this article from 2014. Here is the money quote, “The top three are all basically in the retail industry: salespeople, cashiers, and fast-food workers.”
Holy shit, it turns out that my gas station cashier experience puts me in the top three of most common jobs.
I will admit, as a writer of science fiction and fantasy, I was a bit disappointed by these choices. They don’t exactly inspire character ideas and look, salespeople are already likely to be cult leaders. I thought about refining my search for something more interesting.
But something nagged at me. Those are some real shit jobs for far too many people. I often think of my own poor job experience as a personal thing because I dropped out of college. A lot of people in the work force did graduate college and they still work fast-food and sales. If I have learned anything from the financial crisis of 2008, it is that it is harder and harder for the middle class to stay afloat when all the good jobs are somewhere else or don’t exist in the first place. That sucks.
It seems to me that maybe a fast-food worker might be the kind of person to understand that the world needs changing; perhaps by starting a cult and preaching a message from a Divine Sex Being.