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Social anxiety is a chronic mental disorder characterized by an irrational fear of or anxiety regarding social interactions. People with a social anxiety disorder, when in social settings, may experience fear, self-consciousness, and embarrassment for no specific reason. Symptoms may also include fear of situations in which they may be judged, worrying about being embarrassed or humiliated, and being concerned about offending someone. As you may be able to imagine, it can be difficult for a person with this disorder to find and hold onto a job. As a family of facilities for mental health with years of experience treating mood and anxiety disorders, Banyan shares a list of the best jobs for people with social anxiety disorder.
Finding Jobs for Social Anxiety: Things to Consider
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) can affect your work performance and relationships with coworkers and supervisors. SAD can also make it difficult for you to find a job, considering the anxiety that a job interview can produce.
However, some of the best careers for social anxiety may catch you by surprise. For people with this disorder, finding work relies on the severity of their conditions and symptoms. Some people with SAD feel comfortable in small social settings of three people or so, while others may feel nervous interacting with as few as only one or two other people.
Additionally, some people with social anxiety are extroverts that enjoy and even crave the company of others, even if they are fearful. If you fall into this category, then a job with more opportunities for social interaction might be more appropriate.
Some additional factors to consider when looking for good jobs for social anxiety include:
- Accommodations: Check if the company has a history of granting accommodations for employees with mental health disorders. Having supportive managers and coworkers who understand and respect your disorder can make a significant difference in the workplace.
- Commute and workspace: Consider the commute and workspace. A long and stressful commute or a cramped workspace might contribute to your symptoms.
- Company environment and culture: Research the company's culture and values. Go for an in-person meeting so you can see what the workplace is like. Seek out organizations that prioritize employee welfare, have a supportive and inclusive atmosphere, and offer resources for mental health support.
- Employee assistance programs (EAP): Check if the company offers Employee Assistance Programs or mental health resources for individuals with mental health disorders.
- Gradually expose yourself to the work environment: If you are open to challenging yourself, consider roles that gradually expose you to more socializing within the work environment or among colleagues. For instance, you can start with internships, then entry-level jobs, etc.
- Job role: Look for a job that aligns with your interests and skills. Don’t just focus on any social anxiety jobs but consider positions that not only allow for more solitary work or remote work but also appeal to your strengths.
- Job training: Inquire about the training and onboarding process for the position. Sufficient training can help you feel more confident in your role, reducing anxiety associated with any uncertainties concerning your responsibilities.
- Mental health policies: Evaluate the company's mental health policies, such as sick leave and mental health days. The best jobs for those with social anxiety consider employees’ physical and mental well-being and offer resources accordingly.
- Social setting: Consider positions where you can interact and work with a smaller team rather than a large group, as this can trigger anxiety symptoms.
- Schedule flexibility: Consider positions that offer flexible work arrangements, such as flexible hours or remote work options. This gives you the option to change your routine to better manage your symptoms.
- Work-life balance: Strive for jobs for people with social anxiety that encourage work-life balance. This can reduce stress and prevent work overload.
- Workload and expectations: Assess the workload and job expectations of the position to ensure they are reasonable and manageable. Too much of a workload or one that does not allow for work-life balance can contribute to anxiety.
While getting out there and getting a job can seem scary, your social anxiety is unlikely to improve if you isolate yourself from others. While you don’t have to be the center of attention, it is important to interact with others to boost your confidence in social settings. Additionally, remember to seek professional mental health treatment from accredited and licensed providers like Banyan Mental Health to learn how to properly cope with symptoms.
Good Jobs for People With Social Anxiety
Although our list offers plenty of options, don’t feel limited by these jobs. If you have a dream career, pursue it. There are plenty of mental health therapy programs that can guide you in recovery and help you cope with symptoms so you can have the job of your dreams.
Veterinarian or Vet Tech
One of the best careers for people with social anxiety is a veterinarian or veterinarian technician. Animals can provide a source of comfort that can bridge the gap between human interaction. Vets often discuss details with pet owners, placing the individual with social anxiety in a position where they practice interacting with others and having command of the room. Vets are more likely to deal with people one-on-one, which can help them feel more comfortable in social settings outside of work.
Animals are also comforting, which is why they are often used in mental health therapy. Banyan Mental Health offers pet therapy for people with conditions like social anxiety to offer them support and comfort through treatment.
Gardener or Landscaper
As opposed to tight cubicles, meetings, and awkward interactions with coworkers, a person with social anxiety may enjoy the exposure to fresh air, sunshine, and time with nature that gardening or landscaping can provide. A person with SAD may find these kinds of jobs more relaxing and fulfilling than office work. This type of work also offers freedom, flexibility, and a sense of accomplishment when tangible results are seen every day.
Contractor, Tradesperson, or Construction Worker
Tradespeople like plumbers and electricians often work in homes and other job sites on their own and with limited social interaction. Even when working on big jobs where helpers and tradespeople from other companies are involved, social interaction is limited to complete everything on time. An independent contractor can also work solo and continue to develop their skills without the need for constant social interaction. However, social networking helps businesses grow, so independent contracting also offers the opportunity to develop your social skills and your business.
Tutoring is arguably the best starter job for someone with social anxiety because it allows you to practice social interaction with one or two people at a time. Tutoring positions are also social anxiety jobs from home for people who experience milder SAD symptoms and can have interpersonal interactions with a few people at a time. Tutoring is also flexible. You can tutor online, in your own home, in clients’ homes, or in businesses that provide tutoring services. These settings all offer different degrees of social interaction, depending on how comfortable you feel.
Bookkeeper, Tax Preparer, or Accountant
Accounting is another excellent job idea for people with social anxiety because it allows them to work independently. Although there will always be a need to interact with others, the interaction itself is minimal, and it is a fantastic way to challenge your fears gradually through meetings with employers, coworkers, and clients. Accountants and financial advisors can also work independently and have their businesses, further limiting social interaction.
Data Entry, Statistician, or Researcher
Data entry and research positions often allow employees the option to work remotely, which means they can work in the comfort of their own homes. Both statisticians and data entry clerk jobs also have strict guidelines, instructions, and deadlines, which can offer a comforting sense of structure to someone with social anxiety. Even better would be the opportunity to work with someone like a supervisor who serves as a wall between you and other employees.
Libraries offer quiet work environments where social interaction is limited, so being a librarian is an excellent job for people with social anxiety disorder. Librarians spend many hours alone cataloging books and reorganizing and restocking shelves. They sometimes communicate one-on-one with visitors who have questions about where to find a book or book recommendations. They may also have to take phone calls, but these are rare.
Dog Groomer or Walker
Working with animals provides people with SAD an opportunity to avoid or limit social interaction. Working as a groomer or dog walker is a great position for someone with social anxiety because they are offered at various locations, such as pet stores, private homes, and veterinary clinics. Each setting offers different levels of comfort. Working with animals is also therapeutic, and minor social interaction can serve as great practice.
Customer Service Support
Because of COVID-19, many people began working remotely. As a result, remote working has become more common, making now the best time for people with social anxiety to seek jobs like customer service support to online sales. Finding the perfect job for someone with SAD requires you to find positions that limit interactions with large groups of people. While online customer support may require you to speak on the phone or communicate via email, because it is not in person, this level of interaction is less stressful.
Writer or Editor
A writer or editor can work at home or remotely with little to no interpersonal interaction. Most communication is conducted via email and sometimes by phone, reducing symptoms of anxiety. There are many different writing positions available, each of which can be tailored to the level of social interaction you’re ready for based on your condition. Freelance writers and editors can also take jobs at their leisure and work with fewer deadlines than a person working for a company.
Entrepreneur or Business Owner
Sometimes, the best job choice is the one you create for yourself. As an entrepreneur or business owner, you can work for yourself, set your schedule, hire your team, and be responsible for your success. While some form of interaction is required to build your business, you’ll be able to hire more people over time who can take over the day-to-day interactions with customers and business partners. You’ll also be able to avoid the stress that comes from having a supervisor watching over you or coworkers working alongside you.
While these might be some of the best jobs for people with social anxiety because they require limited interaction with others, you should never isolate yourself or avoid socializing completely. Our residential mental health facilities encourage people with SAD to seek anxiety treatment and practice socializing so they can have strong relationships and successful careers and get the most out of life.
Social anxiety is a treatable disease, and with treatment, you will be able to handle social anxiety at family gatherings, work, school, and anywhere else. If you or someone you care about has social anxiety or any other form of mental illness, we can help.