Years ago, somewhere, I’d heard that whereas Americans will consider their occupation as a defining characteristic of their identity in introductory conversation, Europeans might only eventually bring up their occupation. That cultural difference was fascinating. I can’t find any source, so excuse that, though I have met many zealous career-oriented individuals. How about in the world of “The Story?” How much identity do Trishna (she’s briefly able to stand) and John place in their gigs?
Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (background information and overall worldbuilding ideas)
Their world is nearly identical to ours with some minor changes.
There will still be a lower, middle, and upper class. John’s upbringing was in many poor reservations. (Note: I may/will switch in fictional racial identities as I figure out a good balance of fact/fiction.) Trishna’s upbringing is closer to middle class.
Their government provides ample assistance for disabilities and impairments.
Trishna was born with a vague back and foot impairment. (Note: her impairment is currently vague due to my lack of knowledge.) Since her mobility is limited to a wheelchair, or perhaps crutches in a pinch, her parents received funding to make their house accessible.
John was not born without an impairment. His arm impairment was the result of a vague early childhood trauma, also yet to be researched and determined, so his enrollment into an assistance program might just require a doctor’s meeting or something.
I know I keep mentioning their impairments.
While their personalities are not defined by their impairments, their world will still impress judgement on them based on these factors. Some will judge Trishna for being in a wheelchair, others will judge John, just as characters like cheerful swordsman Zatoichi are occasionally abused because of his visual impairment.
This context isn’t all doom and gloom.
Both John and Trishna are able to get work. Their career options are more limited, however, their college’s Accessibility Rights Club has an employment center specializing in helping anyone get work. John just sticks around for a 2-year degree, so his employment options are at first more limited, whereas Trishna finds better paying jobs after receiving her 4-year degree.
They’ll still feel the effects of layoffs.
John might have emotional calluses from childhood or he might overinvest in his “friends at work.” Trishna might have the emotional training from childhood to bounce back quicker or maybe she’ll also overinvest? Their personality nuances aside, this sort of gig transience should be normal in both our world and theirs, and after some sadness and planning they should bounce back into something new.
I just don’t see their world as an overly cruel one.
They aren’t forced into work they hate just to survive. Although their government stipend is just enough, they certainly wouldn’t be able to live comfortably without at least one working full time. Most of their friends and family might not, then, be overly obsessed with occupations. (As in, desparate for money or status.)
Trishna and John will probably invest more identity in their relationship.