Finding a job that you enjoy and that you feel comfortable doing can be challenging if you suffer with social anxiety disorder (SAD). Often your choice of job will be dictated by how far along you are in terms of diagnosis and treatment. People who have successfully managed to overcome and learn to cope with symptoms of social anxiety are better equipped for positions that are socially demanding.
At the same time, people with SAD are often suited to particular types of jobs regardless of how well they have learned to cope with social anxiety. Jobs that involve working with numbers, animals and objects are often good choices because they don't require constant interaction with other people. Below is a list of jobs that might be rewarding for people with SAD.
Writing is a dream job for many. Unfortunately it can be a hard profession to enter and earn an income doing right away. Whether you want to write fiction, non-fiction, advice columns, or technical manuals, it is probably best to get your start working at a job that allows you to put pen to paper such as a technical writer or copy writer. As you build your confidence you can eventually move to taking on freelance work and possibly even become a published author.
Artist is another job that might appeal to those who suffer with social anxiety. However, earning a living as an artist can be a difficult pursuit. Most artists take on day jobs to support themselves while they do their art on the side. If you have passion for this type of work, think about related jobs that might give you the same creative outlet and ability to work alone. Graphic design might be an option that gives you the opportunity to support yourself as an artist.
3. Stay-at-home Parent
Stay-at-home parent also made the top 10 list of worst jobs for people with SAD. This is not an accident. Although there can be many social demands on a parent, there is also a lot of flexibility and time spent at home, which can be comforting for those with social anxiety. As a parent you can control your own schedule and balance time spent in social activities with quieter time spent alone with the kids. Just be sure that you don't allow yourself to become isolated or deny your children opportunities because of your social fears.
4. Dog Trainer
Dog trainer is one example of a job working with animals that might be appealing to those with SAD. Other possibilities include veterinary technician, kennel operator, or zookeeper. If you enjoy working with animals these can be rewarding positions that require some social interaction but also give you space to work quietly and independently.
Accountants manage bookkeeping and financial details for businesses and individuals. If you excel at math and enjoy working with numbers, being an accountant can give you the opportunity to work independently. Whether you work for a company or as a private accountant, there will be some level of interaction required with others. Focus on your abilities and be confident in your work, and your comfort level with this aspect of the job will increase.
Landscapers can work for landscaping companies, golf courses or as private entrepreneurs. If you are looking for a job with little social interaction, landscaping can give you the freedom to spend your day alone and outdoors. These jobs are particularly good if you are not happy working in an office environment. If you decide to run your own landscaping company, however, you will need to become adept at communicating with customers.
Entrepreneurs or business owners work for themselves, set their own schedules, and are responsible for their own success. The advantages of being an entrepreneur as a person with SAD are that you have complete control over what you do. Although you will probably have to talk to customers or deal with suppliers, you do not have a supervisor to answer to or coworkers to work alongside. As an entrepreneur, you can also hire other people to do jobs that you don't enjoy.
While being a police officer is on the list of the 10 worst jobs for people with SAD, being a firefighter makes the 10 best. Although firefighters have interaction with the public and must work alongside coworkers, they also work with objects and have set expectations for their jobs. Many firefighters also work schedules that give them several days off in a row, which can be a chance to recuperate from the demands of work for those with social anxiety.
9. Computer Programmer
Computer programmers must be detail oriented, enjoy solving problems, and have the ability to focus for long periods of time. While there is some degree of social interaction required of programmers, employees in these positions are generally valued for their programming skills rather than their ability to communicate. If you like computers and don't mind sitting for long periods of time, this can be a good job that allows you to work independently.
Counselor or therapist might not be the first job you think of for those with social anxiety. However, when in a position to help others overcome SAD, this can be an ideal job. You understand what your clients are experiencing, you are a good listener, and you likely have a communication style that others with social anxiety will not find threatening. If you have received treatment and overcome your social anxiety, you are in a perfect position to help others do the same.
In the end, only you know what the right job is for you. Some people with social anxiety still crave the company of others even though they are fearful. If this is you, a job with more social interaction might be more appropriate. The most important advice to keep in mind is to never let your social anxiety prevent you from pursuing a career that you enjoy.