Thursday, April 6, 2017

Personality Quirks: E is for Ergasiophobia

Are you a writer looking for some interesting personality traits and quirks to create characters? Or maybe you’re a logophile, someone who loves words, and wants to collect more of them. Either way, you’ve come to the right place.

Ergasiophobia has two definitions, one general and one specific. 1) Fear of work or functioning. 2) Surgeon's fear of operating. Interesting, eh? The surgeon’s fear of operating is so specific, one has to wonder what triggered that definition.

I am reminded of Doc Martin in the British TV show. In that series, the brilliant surgeon, Doc Martin, had developed haemophobia (fear of blood) and so retired from surgery to practice general medicine in his aunt’s seaside village. Because he becomes faint when seeing blood, he is afraid to operate. His haemophobia led to ergasiophobia.

Etymologically, by now you know that phobia is from the Greek and means “fear of.” Ergasia is from the Greek for “work.” There you have it!

So as not to rip off the Doc Martin writers, instead choose another profession for your character and make shim very successful at it. Perhaps an investment banker, real estate developer, performer, or attorney. Maybe even a writer! Create a precipitating event that triggers your character’s fear of shis own work. Build from unease to mild aversion to total avoidance. When will others notice? Does heesh overcome the ergasiophobic condition or does heesh find another profession?

Or maybe your character is the recipient of the ergasiophobic’s services and begins to wonder at the unraveling of such a talent. Does heesh confront the ergasiophobic? Does your character try to hold shim more accountable in an attempt to counteract the condition?

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Ergasiophobia is a real thing and writers can use it for character development from @RomanceRighter


  1. I could definitely see an attorney or judge develop this fear after a really troubling case--perhaps getting a scary criminal freed only to have the person do more harm, or getting an innocent person convicted.

  2. Interesting phobia. I have watched some of the Doc Marten shows--what an unfortunate phobia for him to have. I read a post from a blind woman who was afraid of the dark. These are so tragic.

  3. So enjoying this series. I had a minor obsession with phobias and phobia words as a middle schooler. There's something lovely about how specific they can be.

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act