The difficulty in social interactions that typically comes with social anxiety can make it challenging to work many traditional jobs. Labor statistics provided by the American Institute of Stress estimate that 62% of people experience high levels of stress in the workplace, a problem that may be further exacerbated by social anxiety and difficult social interactions. However, there are many career options for those with social anxiety or another anxiety disorder that may not require as much interaction with each other. Jobs for people with social anxiety can include working as a health or medical technician, gardener or landscaper, information technology worker, counselor, chef, tradesperson, computer programmer, accountant, writer, or animal care worker.
Although these jobs can lessen the requirement to interact with others, working with a licensed mental health professional can still be highly beneficial in alleviating social anxiety symptoms. Online therapy can be a convenient way to connect with a therapist and begin your mental health journey.
What Is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety is generally defined as a condition in which individuals fear being evaluated or judged by others. The thought of this happening can bring about feelings of depression, humiliation, inferiority, inadequacy, self-consciousness, and embarrassment. In social interactions where someone with social anxiety feels particularly self-conscious, there may be physical symptoms, like shortness of breath, elevated heart rate, sweaty palms, and dry mouth. The individual might stutter and stammer or be unable to speak.
Social anxiety can be a severe mental health disorder requiring professional treatment. For individuals who have yet to discover an effective method of combating it, everyday life can present a significant challenge. Severe social anxiety can significantly hinder a person's life, making it difficult to make friends or interact with others. Furthermore, severe anxiety symptoms (whether experienced in social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or another mental illness) can significantly affect one's mental and emotional wellness.
As you can imagine, this anxiety can affect every career development step. This anxiety can start during the job application process, progressing as you move through each step involved in beginning a new job. The interview process will almost always involve some element of social interaction. Even if your job interview doesn’t, eventually, you’ll have to head in for orientation and participate in the daily responsibilities of work. Every aspect of almost every career can involve social interaction to some extent.
Finding what occupations will work for you may depend on your specific social anxiety experience. For some, a job that involves loud environments or frequent co-worker interaction (like a career as a construction worker) may be a difficult occupation for people with social anxiety. For others, a large volume of customer interactions may cause them to experience more symptoms (with one common example being those who work as customer service support agents.)
It can be rare that one's job duties do not include any form of interpersonal interaction, making many careers challenging for those with social anxiety. If the idea of dealing with coworkers every day or having a supervisor watching your every move makes you uncomfortable, it may be helpful to look at careers that have minimal interpersonal elements.
10 Jobs For People With Social Anxiety
Because people with social anxiety often fear being scrutinized, the best jobs usually don't require much face-to-face interaction. These types of jobs may allow employees to work independently and find their own success; not only that, but they tend to have fewer deadlines and less unhealthy pressure to complete work projects. Many career paths have these features, and some don't require a bachelor's degree. Some potential career paths may present the ideal solution for those with social anxiety.
Health Or Medical Technician
There are generally a variety of jobs available in the medical field. While someone with social anxiety likely doesn't want to become a nurse or a doctor, they may wish to consider becoming a health or medical tech since their interactions with patients and coworkers may be relatively minimal.
While a person working in these careers may not get through an entire day without some face-to-face interaction with others, it's often nowhere near as much as some other jobs. Medical scanning technicians, biomedical engineers, and ultrasound technicians can be some of the positions in this field.
Gardener Or Landscaper
If you love the great outdoors but are not so keen on people, then a career in landscaping or gardening might be worth considering. You could run your own landscaping company or gardening business, or you might work for a company or another individual. It's not likely you can go through every day without speaking to anyone, but for the most part, you may be left alone with your plants.
Information Technology Worker
IT, or information technology, is a position which requires minimal direct communication with humans. In some ways, it can be the ideal job for someone with social anxiety. Most of your interactions may be with machines, and there are often dozens of positions in this industry, from data analyst to network administrator. You may even be able to telecommute and work from home. IT jobs can be highly lucrative, but you must usually be good with computers and technology. If your strengths don't lie in this area, this may not be your career path.
At first, this might seem counterintuitive. Aren't you talking to people all day if you're a counselor or mental health therapist? Counselors can be a job that some people with social anxiety enjoy because they may be in complete control of their work environment. You may be talking to people about their mental health concerns, but you'll likely spend your time actively listening and occasionally encouraging others to speak. People with social anxiety may still possess specific social skills, and in many cases, can be excellent listeners. They may be able to empathize with others because they know what it's like to experience similar challenges.
Some people with social anxiety may feel safe working in the confines of a kitchen. You generally do not have to be out on the floor talking to customers, though there may be a certain amount of interaction with your coworkers. In many cases, kitchens have less strict guidelines and lack the corporate culture we often associate with office work, which may reduce some of the pressure a person can feel in those settings. You may feel more in charge of things and less anxious if you run your restaurant, so that may be a goal to which you can aspire if you pursue this career path.
If you're a tradesperson, you usually work "behind the scenes," so your interactions with people may be reduced. Careers in the trades can be ideal jobs for people with social anxiety because much of your time will likely be spent fixing things, setting them up, or tearing them down. These careers can be somewhat labor-intensive, so that's something you may wish to keep in mind if you're considering this path. Some possibilities can include plumbing, carpentry, painting, and electric work.
A job in computer programming may be helpful for a person with social anxiety because interactions with other human beings are generally minimal. This might be your job if you can have long periods of independent focus. Many resources online can teach you to code, so you might try it in your spare time and see if you have an aptitude for it. Some jobs in this field include UX designer, mobile developer, and full-stack web developer.
If you love math and have social anxiety, becoming an accountant might be the perfect job for you. It's usually an office job, so there may be some interaction with other people, but not nearly as many different careers. A lot of your day-to-day tasks and responsibilities will likely be independent with minimal social interaction involved. You may also work as a freelance accountant; this could mean most of your interactions would be through email or messaging services, especially if your clients also work remotely. If you worked with a company that engaged in online sales, for example, it's possible that the majority of their employees may work from home, meaning there may not be a physical office for you to visit at all.
Being a writer is another job that seems almost tailor-made for people with social anxiety. There are many types of writing that could be your niche, from fiction to technical writing, copywriting, and content writing. You can even create a blog post or series of posts specifically about your experience as a writer with social anxiety if you feel inclined to recount your journey with others. You may also write under a pseudonym if you'd prefer to maintain incognito, which can appeal to people with social anxiety. In many cases you can set your own schedule, giving you the opportunity to work at your own pace and engage in more self-care.
If you work as a freelancer (also known as an independent contractor), you may never have to communicate with others face-to-face. There may even be opportunities in which video and phone calls are not required, and most communication can occur primarily through email or messages on different platforms.
One thing you may wish to consider, however, is that writing can be entirely solitary. Some interaction is generally healthy for everyone, even those with social anxiety, and working as a writer can be isolating. It may be essential for your mental health to ensure you still spend time with loved ones regularly if you choose a job where you never have to communicate face-to-face with others.
Animal Care Worker
Working in animal care can be another option for those with social anxiety. If you work with animals, then a little interaction with pet owners may be unavoidable, but you may only interact with animals most of the time. You might work in veterinary clinics as a vet tech, or be a dog walker, pet groomer, dog trainer, or zookeeper. You may also consider working in pet stores, which can involve some animal care elements. In some cases, working with “furry friends” can actually reduce a person’s feelings of anxiety and alleviate stress.
Treatment For Social Anxiety Is Available
While there may be plenty of jobs suitable for people experiencing social anxiety, it can still be wise to try to treat your anxiety. You can go through your life constantly looking for a new job or avoiding humans as much as possible, but it can make things challenging, as unexpected situations may arise where you need to interact with others.
It can be nerve-wracking for those with social anxiety to meet with a new therapist in person. Visiting an unfamiliar location and speaking with a stranger can be anxiety-inducing. However, one way to alleviate some of this discomfort may be connecting with a licensed mental health professional through an online therapy platform. This way, you may attend sessions from the comfort of your own home and speak to your therapist via phone call or messaging if you do not feel comfortable talking on a video call.
This study explains that online therapy can be as effective as traditional in-person therapy for various mental health concerns, especially anxiety disorders (such as social anxiety) and the effects of stress. If you believe you'd benefit from working with a therapist, please don't hesitate to reach out and get the help and support you deserve.
- Health or medical technician
- Gardener or landscaper
- Information technology (IT) worker
- Counselor or therapist
- Computer programmer
- Animal care worker
There are plenty of other work options to consider as well, including working as a graphic designer or photographer. It may be important to consider your unique skill set when choosing the best career for you; for example, a graphic designer may be one of the best jobs for someone who is creative or artistically inclined, while data entry may be one of the best jobs for people who like working with numbers.
Even if you have a job that doesn't require you to engage in much social interaction, it can still be beneficial to your mental health to work through your social anxiety with a licensed therapist, whether you choose to do so in a traditional therapy setting or through an online therapy platform. Social anxiety disorder can be treated, and you deserve to live a fulfilled and healthy life.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What jobs can I do with social anxiety?
In addition to the jobs mentioned above, you could try being a freelancer or business owner. You may be your boss in both careers and take charge of your schedule. You can also work in your home and control your environment to limit social interactions as much as possible. There can be many routes to take when starting your own business. For example, you could be a freelance virtual assistant or data entry clerk, help companies with their financial transactions or details, or offer writing services.
However, if you are looking for a more traditional career instead of being a business owner, you could try computer science, web development, truck driving, data entry and transcription, a specific trade, or accounting. These careers generally don’t require much social interaction, so they could be perfect if you live with social anxiety.
What is the best job for someone with social anxiety?
Some of the best jobs for people with a social anxiety disorder may be writing positions, data entry jobs, animal care jobs, graphic design, or dog walking. People with social anxiety can choose a career that limits interaction with others. However, developing social interaction skills over time may still be one of the best options for people with anxiety disorders.
Can you get disability for social anxiety?
If you live with social anxiety that stops you from leaving your home regularly, severely limits you from interacting with people, causes you to avoid human interaction, makes you work from home, or impedes your job search progress, your social anxiety may qualify as a disability.
How do I get a job if I have anxiety?
Living with anxiety can make it challenging to pursue your dream career. However, you can do a few things to keep pressure from interfering with your job.
First, you can aim to look for a job that won’t trigger your anxiety. That could mean finding a flexible job with minimal social interactions and stress. Though every job is likely to have some pressures, it can be best to find a company that cares about your challenges and is willing to make some accommodations.
You should also do what you can to adjust to the working world. This could mean practicing interactions with coworkers and clients, as most jobs require some form of social interaction to succeed. You may overcome some of your social fears and practice interacting with others by joining a Toastmasters club or similar group.
No matter your job, you may benefit from focusing on self-care. Even the right job can become stressful or involve overwhelming social interactions. Therefore, you might make time each day to relax and unwind. You could partake in deep breathing, develop a hobby, and get some fresh air to relax your mind. Self-care can be essential to maintaining your success in your career.
Finally, if your anxiety seems to be taking over your life, you may consider talking to a mental health professional for treatment. As your treatment progresses, you may be able to tackle the situations that once gave you anxiety and face your career with reduced anxiety symptoms.
Can social anxiety prevent you from working?
Social anxiety can prevent some individuals from working. Anxiety and depression may impact a person’s full-time career, cause them to work from home to limit social interaction, and more. In severe cases, a social anxiety disorder can harm mental health and limit job options.
How do I get a job with crippling anxiety?
The best way to get a job when living with severe mental health anxiety disorders could be to find a job that avoids your anxiety triggers. However, it can also be essential to address the concern by working with a licensed mental health professional.
How can I get rid of social anxiety fast?
Overcoming social anxiety can be a long but rewarding journey. Aside from seeking the help of a mental health professional, there can be other options for people living with a social anxiety disorder. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America outlines that practicing breathing exercises, improving overall health, and goal setting can all be helpful strategies for mitigating anxiety symptoms. You can also aim to practice social interaction to become more desensitized to social settings.
What are the happiest jobs?
There are several happy full-time career paths, but the job most frequently at the top of the list is typically engineering. This is usually followed closely by teachers and nurses. However, a person’s job happiness often depends on how well the job suits their personality and career goals.
What career is least stressful?
When looking for a low-stress career, you may want something that doesn’t require large social settings, stressful deadlines, or too many priorities.
Is HR a stressful job?
As for career paths that are faced with stress regularly, HR professionals often feel more stress than those in other careers. They are generally expected to deal with significant challenges in an organization, and a particular element of economic pressure can be involved.
Is social anxiety a disability?
Should I tell my employer I have social anxiety?
Is social anxiety a form of autism?
Does social anxiety count as a mental illness?
Is it OK to not go to work because of anxiety?
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