What are the Best Jobs for People with Social Anxiety?
- 1 10 Best Jobs for Social Anxiety
- 2 5 Jobs for Teens With Social Anxiety
- 3 Aren’t These Jobs Just Hiding the Problem?
- 4 What About Being a Stay-at-Home Parent?
- 5 Summary
- 6 Get the 'Breathe & Squeeze' Method for Quickly Relaxing When You Get Anxious at Work
If you have social anxiety, just the thought of these scenarios probably makes you shudder.
How about sales pitches? Or cold calling?
As a social anxiety sufferer, being forced into these situations can lead to stress and sleepless nights. While most people dislike public speaking or meetings, social anxiety can make certain careers a nightmare.
Not all careers are like this though. In fact, there are plenty of jobs where social anxiety traits can be an advantage.
But What Makes a Job “Good” for Social Anxiety Sufferers?
They say if you find a job you enjoy, you’ll never work another day in your life. The reality is often different – but it’s still important to find a career you feel comfortable with.
By comfortable I don’t mean one that doesn’t challenge you though. The best careers help you grow as a person, are enjoyable and provide enough money for the lifestyle you want…
But it’s vital to avoid a job that makes you miserable.
If you suffer from social anxiety, jobs that throw you into interactions you’re not ready to cope with will make you miserable. And, as people with anxiety tend to worry a lot, this will affect your entire life – not just when you’re at work.
So what makes a job rewarding for people who are shy or have social anxiety?
Firstly, the best jobs for social anxiety do not all involve working alone.
A lot of websites will tell you to look for work-at-home jobs…or provide generic advice like “become an entrepreneur.”
Sure, this is one way to avoid social situations – and if you can find a home job you enjoy it can be the perfect solution. But it’s too limiting to only look for WAH jobs. It also won’t provide any opportunity to improve your social skills.
Instead, look for jobs that involve low-stakes interactions you can get involved with on your own terms.
Here’s an example. A sales job would be a bad choice, as you’re forced into interactions (often with people who don’t want to speak to you) and your success depends on how persuasive you can be. This is a high-stakes interaction that can be extremely stressful.
On the other hand, a career working as a computer programmer could be a much better choice. You still need to talk with people on a regular basis, but your primary role isn’t based around social interactions.
Second, remember that you are not your social anxiety.
Let me repeat that. You are not your social anxiety.
When you’re looking for jobs, social anxiety is just one aspect of your personality. You have skills and other traits that employers are looking for – so don’t sell yourself short.
Finally, keep an open mind…
There are a wide range of careers where people with social anxiety can thrive. You can find a career you find rewarding and enjoyable – and the jobs below are a great place to start.
10 Best Jobs for Social Anxiety
Before I get to the list, however, I want to make a couple of things clear…
You shouldn’t create a “box” of social anxiety jobs and then limit yourself only to these options. Each of the jobs for social anxiety sufferers listed below can provide an excellent and varied career – but they are far from the only options.
These jobs also are not a substitute for working on improving your social anxiety. You should be taking steps to eliminate your anxieties regardless of your career.
With that out of the way, here are my top 10 best jobs for people with social anxiety.
1. Working with Animals
If you love animals, a career working with them can be rewarding. Many jobs working with animals also have some form of human interaction, which is great for building your confidence in the long-run.
The downside is that most careers with animals aren’t highly paid. But they can provide a varied job that allows you to work independently.
- Dog trainer
- Veterinary assistant
Writing can be a great example of an anxiety-friendly job. You need to deal with criticism from editors and readers, but the actual job doesn’t require high-stakes social interaction.
As a bonus, many writing jobs don’t require you to be present in a physical office – especially if you go freelance. Being able to work from a coffee shop or even while travelling can be a nice change from an office environment!
The downside to writing is that it can be a hard profession to get started with. Even if freelancing is the end goal, try to find a job that can provide a consistent income while you learn your chosen type of writing.
- Non-fiction writer
- Fiction writer
- Sales writer
- Technical writer
If you enjoy maths and working with numbers, a career as an accountant could be a great choice. Like most office jobs, you’ll sometimes be working with other people. But most of your day-to-day activity will be independent. Accountancy can also lead to highly paid jobs as you develop your skills and qualifications.
4. Computer Programmer
Computer programming is an obvious job for people with social anxiety. If you love problem solving and are attracted by a career involving long periods of independent focus, it could be one of the best choices.
Starting a career as a programmer can be difficult – at least until you get some experience. You’ll either need a qualification in your chosen field or an excellent portfolio. Fortunately, there are some fantastic resources for learning programming online.
As a bonus, programming is often highly paid and you may be able to work remotely.
- Full stack web developer
- Mobile developer
- UX designer
Any job that requires working “behind the scenes” can be a great choice for people with social anxiety – and working in a trade is a great example. While you’ll be interacting with clients and colleagues, your daily work is likely to be independent. There’s also the added satisfaction of physical work.
A chef can provide a middle-ground for social anxiety sufferers. While there is interaction with other staff and customers, your work is independent and requires plenty of focus. Many people with social anxiety also enjoy a role that revolves around making people happy.
This might sound like a strange choice – as it involves talking people all day…
But there’s a big difference between the controlled environment of a counselling session and regular social situations. As a counsellor, you’ll spend most of your time listening and encouraging others to speak. A job that’s focused on helping people can also help reduce your anxiety.
As a bonus, people with social anxiety tend to be great listeners and have strong empathy.
I’ve already included computer programmer on this list, but most jobs in the IT world can provide a high-paying career with minimal anxiety. As long as you enjoy computers and keeping up with the latest technology, there are almost endless IT careers.
- Network administrator
- IT Helpdesk
- Data Analyst
9. Landscaping or Gardening
If you love spending time outdoors – or just hate the thought of an office – a career in gardening or landscaping is worth considering.
As a gardener, you’ll have a choice between working for a company, being a resident gardener or running your own business. The latter option can be the most financially rewarding, but you’ll need to “sell” to customers and be confident in your work.
10. Medical and Health Tech
Advanced medical technology is becoming increasingly important – and has also created a range of new jobs. If the thought of using medical technology to diagnose and help patients sounds exciting, a career in this field could be highly rewarding.
It’s true that you’ll need to interact with patients. But this is limited to short meetings in a setting that’s focused on helping them.
- Biomedical engineer
- Ultrasound technician
- Medical scanning technician
5 Jobs for Teens With Social Anxiety
The above list if mainly focused on careers, but what if you’re a teen with social anxiety? Or if you want a short-term job to pay the bills?
Here are five part-time jobs that are great for teens with social anxiety. These require little or no social interaction, but can provide a solid part-time income while you work on your social skills.
- Working in a library
- Dog walker/sitting
- Private tutoring
- Supermarket shelf stacking
Aren’t These Jobs Just Hiding the Problem?
This is a fair point. The goal of SocialAnxietyShortcuts.com is to help you overcome social anxiety – not hide from it. There’s certainly a temptation to choose a job that’s socially “easy” but that doesn’t force you to grow.
Even so, I don’t think choosing one of the careers above is a way of hiding the problem.
There are almost no jobs that don’t require some form of human interaction. Even jobs such as writing require discussions with your editor, interviewing interesting people or talking to potential clients. You’ll also need to practice interviews and other important skills.
Over time, this can lessen anxiety and allow you to take on increasingly social roles.
You also might have noticed a common theme in the careers above. Each offers plenty of opportunity for low-stakes interactions with colleagues, clients or other people – but without the pressure of feeling you need to create a deep bond or friendship.
Yes, you’re likely to make friends – especially if you work in the same location for an extended period. This is one of the great things about working with other people.
But these jobs don’t require it in the same way PR or sales careers might.
That means you can focus on your job without the stress of thinking your social skills are holding you back.
I don’t recommend taking on a job that’s completely isolated though. These types of positions can actually cause your anxiety to get worse.
What About Being a Stay-at-Home Parent?
Being a stay-at-home parent is a rewarding and admirable career – and it seems like a great choice for people with social anxiety.
And it can be.
The problem is if you choose it for the wrong reasons. It’s clearly not a sensible decision to have a child because it allows you to avoid getting a job that requires social interactions. This isn’t good for you or your child.
Being a stay-at-home parent is also more social than many people think. There are a lot of social demands on parents – especially if you want your child to have a varied and fulfilling upbringing.
Of course, if you have a child and being a SAHP makes sense, then your children’s welfare comes first. You can also set your own schedule which can make dealing with anxiety easier.
Just make sure you don’t allow being a parent to become isolating.
I thought long and hard about whether I should write this post. My biggest worry was that even the idea of choosing a job based on your social anxiety implies that the condition is something you’ll need to learn to “live with” – which isn’t the case.
After doing some research, I realised that there are plenty of highly rewarding careers that don’t require “high stakes” social interaction. Many also have some level of social interaction, which is great for building your confidence. Most importantly, they don’t require you to “settle” – they are highly respected, well-paying careers in their own right.
Even so, don’t let social anxiety be your only criteria for a job.
If you dream of working as an air cabin crew member, then do it! Or if you’ve always wanted to work in PR, don’t let your anxiety hold you back.
That’s the key point of this article – choose a job that will make you happy.
If you prefer a job that doesn’t involve social interactions, the careers on this list can be a great choice. But if your dream career is also terrifies you, don’t rule it out.
Because remember, you are not your social anxiety.
Get the 'Breathe & Squeeze' Method for Quickly Relaxing When You Get Anxious at Work
Do you suffer from social anxiety? Which jobs have you had? And which would you recommend to fellow sufferers? Let me know in the comments!