Searching for a job is hard enough on its own. Add in a social anxiety disorder diagnosis and it can feel nearly impossible. However, jobs for people with social anxiety are not as difficult to find as you may believe.
When you are job searching, do you take your own wellness into account? Job descriptions will often list a bevy of hard skills and requirements for applicants. But how do you look for a job if you suffer from social anxiety or social anxiety disorder?
If you arrive at a packed party only to get a text from your friend saying she’s “still getting ready”, do you do an immediate about-face? I know I do. Similarly, does the daily interaction of a day at work have you losing sleep on a regular basis?
What is social anxiety disorder?
Social anxiety is not about being shy. It’s not about being standoffish or anti-social. Social anxiety often manifests as a palpable fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people. These perceived judgments often lead to feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, humiliation, or the big D—depression.
There are some jobs that are clearcut nightmare roles for someone with social anxiety disorder. A telesales representative? Nope. A customer success representative? Hell-to-the-no. A server position at a popular restaurant? Yeah, ok, no.
It’s really, really important to keep your own personal wellness in check. The average person spends roughly 40 hours each week at work. If you’re battling social anxiety disorder, there’s really no reason you should subject yourself to suffer through your Monday through Friday.
And that’s why we’ve compiled a list of jobs that are great fits for someone with social anxiety disorder. Whether you are looking for a position that allows you to work in solitude or one that semi-regularly forces you to deal with your anxieties, we have a fit for you.
FYI, we are not doctors nor psychologists here at Career Contessa. If you suffer from social anxiety disorder, please regard this as a thought piece. Always consult your doctor or the ADAA if you are struggling with social anxiety disorder.
Film or video editor
Okay, this job might be the most reclusive of all. Typically, a television or film editor needs her own editing bay in order to have an ample amount of quiet. From the editing bay, a film, television, or video editor will be responsible for editing raw material into a cohesive story. Doing this in a loud, open office is nearly impossible.
If an editor must work in an open room or a louder space, a nice pair of noise-canceling headphones will be essential!
Writers come in many shapes and forms. Your independent writer who writes fiction novels or well-researched non-fiction will likely be found hitting the books. Writing is typically a solitary event.
Once a writer completes a draft of any work, whether a novel, an incendiary investigative piece or a blog post, she’ll need to turn to others for editing and feedback. This element of the job is where someone with social anxiety will be facing it head-on. Typically, social anxiety rears its ugly head when one needs to ask for advice or feedback.
Writing is a recommended job for someone with social anxiety because it lends a balance of solitude and social interactions. For someone who might dread regular social interaction, a career as a writer can toe the line between solitude and feedback-based interactions.
Computer programmers are responsible for building every app, social network, or software upgrade you have ever encountered. That’s pretty amazing work!
Intense coding involves a high level of concentration and a low level of distraction factors. Programmers are known to work for hours without a break—so it’s great for someone who thrives on working in solitude.
If you’re looking to challenge your social anxiety, the Scrum aspect of programming can come in handy. Scrum is a framework designed to implement the development of a project. It’s often used in the technology industry, but can be applied to any complex project. A scrum often involves a “Daily Stand-Up” in which the team gives progress updates.
For someone suffering from social anxiety disorder, the stand-ups may seem like the worst nightmare. Consider speaking with your therapist to determine if it’s a risk worth taking.
Caring for animals is not only a rewarding job, but it’s pretty perfect for someone who, for one reason or another, may feel more comfortable around animals than humans.
There are a few avenues someone with social anxiety disorder might take in order to work with our furry friends. A veterinary technician, kennel operator, zookeeper, rescue worker, or animal groomer could be perfect jobs for someone with social anxiety.
Given you are an animal lover, working with animals will be the perfect position to give you space to work independently and somewhat quietly (save for the happy barking.) Animal care also requires some interaction with clients if you are looking to challenge for social anxiety without overwhelming yourself.
An accountant manages finances for companies and individuals. As such, accountants are essential to any organization or wealth management. If you enjoy working with numbers, an accountant position might be the perfect fit.
While the majority of the day-to-day work of an accountant is solitary, there are also opportunities to challenge for social anxieties. As a personal accountant, meeting with clients will allow you to face your social anxieties. If you work as an accountant in a larger company, daily interaction is to be expected. Armed with your diligence and flawless accounting work, you can expect your interactions to be positive.
Just as animal care funnels your love of animals into a viable position, so does landscaping.
As social anxiety disorder can often lead to feelings of depression, the outdoors can serve as an amazing cure-all. Imagine yourself working below the roar of a lawnmower or immersing yourself in tailoring a beautiful garden.
Landscaping work can mean working for a company with a large campus, working for an actual college campus, manicuring a golf course, or running your own landscaping company. If you choose to go the route of running your own landscaping company, you’ll need to challenge your social fears by communicating with clients and prospective employees. Entrepreneurship is typically a social network reliant endeavor.
You might read this job suggestion and ask, are you actually kidding me?
Listen up, though! Counselors are meant to be understanding, empathetic caregivers for their patients. As someone who suffers from social anxiety disorder, a therapist or counselor position gives you the tools to confront your own anxieties while addressing others’ problems.
And, because you’re someone who acutely understands the challenges of social anxieties, you’re in the perfect position to help others treat and overcome their struggles.
As we said, we are not medical professionals. We don’t have the answer for how to successfully treat social anxiety disorders. We do, however, have some personal reflections on dealing with social anxiety at work.
That being said, we do try to prescribe our readers to challenge their fears, anxieties, and their most cumbersome struggles to the best of their abilities.
If you or a loved one suffers from social anxiety disorder, find an amazing knowledge base (and resources) at the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).