- Bookkeeping clerk
- Tax preparer
- Software developer
- Computer hardware engineer
- Computer network architect
- Technical writer
- Marketing writer
- Landscape architect
- Veterinary technician
- Dog groomer
- Dog walker
Best Jobs for People with Social Anxiety
How to Choose the Right Job With Social Anxiety
For a long time, talking about mental health was considered taboo in a professional setting. Thankfully, in 2022, mental health has entered the spotlight, and employers and colleagues are more willing to talk about and champion these issues. Part of the reason could be the prevalence of disorders that affect the general population. In this guide we discuss two of them: social anxiety, or the intense fear of being judged or rejected by others, and generalized anxiety, which is characterized by persistent and excessive worry about multiple things at once.
- Social anxiety disorder (SAD). Over 15 million American adults have SAD, says the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). People with SAD may worry about being viewed by their peers as stupid, awkward, or boring. When that happens, it's common to withdraw, either physically or mentally, which enhances the likelihood that they will be judged. As a result, they often avoid social situations altogether.
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). About 6.8 million American adults have GAD, says ADAA, or 3.1% of the U.S. population. People with GAD are intensely worried about health, family, work, or something similar. Sometimes just the thought of getting through the day produces anxiety. Such fears are hard to control, and they can impede focus.
Let's get to the good news: If you have social anxiety disorder or generalized anxiety disorder, you can still find a job. In fact, the most recent survey on the topic found that 4.3 million people who were employed full-time had an anxiety disorder diagnosed within the year prior, says the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Nevertheless, you'll still want to choose your career carefully, so you're not pushing the limits of your disorder every time you clock in to work your shift. Here are some of the best jobs for people with social anxiety.
Work With Numbers
If interactions with people cause your anxiety to spike, shift your focus to numbers. Data manipulation could give you the opportunity to step away from conversations and into deep thought, which could be the sort of career that meshes perfectly with your mental health.
You could opt for work as an:
- Accountant. You'll ensure that financial records are accurate, and pay bills for the company you work for. You'll do your work in an office setting, but since you're required to concentrate, you might have your own enclosed office that protects you from conversations. You'll make about $77,000 per year, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), but will need a bachelor's degree to get started.
- Bookkeeping clerk. You'll work beneath an accountant in this position, making sure financial transactions are recorded, and checking the accuracy of your work. You'll be in an office environment, and will have to work with your boss, but you might have a quiet corner to work. You may also be allowed to wear headphones to enhance your concentration. The average income for bookkeeping clerks is around $45,560 per year, says the BLS, and you'll need some college courses to get started.
- Tax preparer. If your anxiety disorder makes full-time work hard, consider tax preparation. Your work is seasonal, and you'll have many months to work on your health and wellness. During tax prep time, you'll meet with clients to gather their paperwork, but you'll do the majority of your work alone. You can take home about $51,080 per year, says the BLS, and you'll need a bachelor's degree to get started.
Financial jobs like this can be rewarding, especially if working with numbers satisfies you, but accounting culture may also cause you to hide your mental illness.
Writers suggest that accountants can — and often do — have mental illnesses, like social anxiety disorder or general anxiety disorder, but they're advised to keep their struggles quiet. There are no available studies on how many people in these careers have issues, and that could be because they're encouraged to bury their feelings.
If you hope to talk through your concerns with trusted colleagues and get better on the job, this is a point to consider. You may not be working in an industry that supports your healing.
Work With Computers
Working with computers is great for anyone who wants to work independently, and makes for a rewarding career. While you may run into a colleague or two from time to time, you'll be working alone for most of your day and be provided with meaningful work for a good salary.
Good careers in this field include:
- Software developer. You'll write the code that allows computers, mobile phones, and tablets to work as expected. Your work may originate with a client request, and you may need to check-in and explain what you're doing from time to time, but you'll spend most of the day tapping and tinkering on computers. The average income for software developers is about $110,140 per year, says the BLS.
- Computer hardware engineer. You'll create new types of computer systems, and test them to make sure they work perfectly. You might spend all day crafting the perfect router, or you could spend hours researching the ins and outs of circuit boards. You'll do your work in a research or manufacturing environment, and won't have a lot of collaboration to do. Expect to make about $128,170 per year, based on reports by the BLS.
- Computer network architect. You'll design systems that connect computers to one another, and to the wider world. You might work for a small organization, or you could be a contractor who designs systems for multiple clients. You will need to understand what people expect of their system, and that will require conversation, but you'll do most of your work alone. According to the BLS, computer network architects make about $120,520 per year.
Most of these careers involve a bachelor's degree in computer science. College educators believe in small group work, which means you might be required to work in tandem with your fellow students on projects from the time you enroll until the time you leave, but once the rigors of your education are complete, you'll be ready to start work.
Bear in mind that this type of work can be stressful. Researchers say, for example, that software developers can face severe anxiety due to unrealistic deadlines. You'll need to explore ways to talk with your colleagues about what you can and can't accomplish on a given day. You could use your computer to hold those discussions if face-to-face talks worry you due to social anxiety.
Work With Words
Writers aren't always associated with robust mental health. Stories of drinking, drugging, and sadness litter the books most English majors read during their coursework, but writing is also considered a solitary, cerebral affair. For this reason, a career in writing might be the perfect choice for someone with GAD or SAD.
Writing careers vary widely. You could become a:
- Technical writer. You'll explain difficult concepts in terms others can understand. If you're not familiar with the field you're writing about, you'll need to collaborate closely with an expert who can inform your work. If you choose an industry you know backward and forwards, and you'll mainly work alone. Expect to make about $78,000 per year, says the BLS.
- Marketing copywriter. You'll motivate people to buy the products your company produces. You'll need to understand what motivates people to act, and you might need to sit with sales professionals to understand their pitches, but with the research done, you'll do this work independently. Expect to make about $69,000 per year, says the BLS.
- Journalist. As a newspaper reporter, you'll investigate stories and work up your responses. You will need to speak with others as you prepare to write, but the bulk of your work will be done in isolation. Expect to make about $48,000 per year, says the BLS.
Researchers have found a link between creativity (which you'll need as a writer) and bipolar disorder, but no other associations have been uncovered. This means writers aren't necessarily more anxious than the general public.
Writing jobs are easy to take on the road. In fact, some jobs demand that. You could work part or all of your workday at home, surrounded by things that make you feel safe. That could be one of the biggest perks of the writing world. You really can do this job from anywhere.
Work With Plants
If you're not wonderful with math, computers, or words — don't despair. You can still get a meaningful job focusing on careers that deal with plants. These jobs could be ideal for people with social anxiety, as researchers say gardening is associated with a decrease in anxiety symptoms.
You could tackle a job as a:
- Farmer. You'll produce crops that help keep your community fed. You might own your own plot, or you could manage plants for someone else. You could connect with customers at farmers' markets and similar retail outlets, or you could hire someone to tackle that part of the business for you. Expect to make about $73,000 per year, says the BLS.
- Landscape architect. You'll design outdoor spaces, including those enjoyed by college students, business professionals, and wealthy patrons. You'll talk with your clients to understand their needs, and you'll do the design independently. If you keep your projects small, you could do all the design work without a team's assistance. If your projects are large, you will most likely work in an office environment with colleagues. Expect to make about $68,000 per year, says the BLS.
- Landscaper. Imagine a job with few responsibilities and a connection to the land. This is a perfect description of a job as a landscaper. You could do all the work yourself, or you could have a team helping you. Since the job is physical and demanding, there will be little time for chit-chat. Expect to make about $35,000 per year, says the BLS.
Work With Animals
As anyone with an emotional support dog can surely attest, being around an animal does wonders for your mood. Simple interactions with our furry friends can make us feel reinvigorated on the surface and have been scientifically proven to decrease cortisol levels and lower blood pressure under the skin. Altogether that’s a net positive for someone with high levels of anxiety. So why not take it a step further and enter a field that works with animals full-time?
Your choices include:
- Veterinarian. Starting with the most intensive occupation first, a veterinarian fuses a love of animals with an interest in science. They may treat dogs and cats and a range of animals, both big and small. This profession is considered the doctor of the animal world, so be ready for a lengthy educational commitment of about eight years. But the fruit of your labor will be around $110,000 per year, according to the BLS.
- Veterinary technician. Working hand-in-hand with vets are veterinary technicians. Similar to a nurse’s duties in a medical setting, technicians diagnose and treat a medley of different animals. They’ll test various samples and administer vaccines and other medications under a veterinarian’s direction. In smaller clinics or private practices, this position might interface more frequently with owners, while in a laboratory, they could spend more time running tests. This profession nets $36,850 per year, according to the BLS.
- Dog groomer. If your dog likes to roll in the mud or his coat requires more TLC than other breeds, you’re probably familiar with a local groomer. Dog groomers wash and style hair, brush their teeth and trim their nails. According to the BLS, the overall outlook for this professional segment is highly favorable, with a forecast of 33 percent growth from 2020 to 2030. The median income for this job is $28,730 per year and only requires a high school diploma.
- Dog walker. Looking to get a little fresh air while you make a living? Then a job as a dog walker might be for you. This kind of gig typically does better in metro areas, as younger professionals with little time on their hands have a greater need to outsource Fido’s exercise to a dog walking service. This profession may have more of an entrepreneurial lean, or you could apply at one of the established companies. According to the BLS, on average, dog walkers make $28,730 per year.
While some of these positions might place you face-to-face with clients more frequently than others, the good thing is a majority of your time will be spent with animals which may help alleviate any stressors brought on by your anxiety.
How to Find a Job as an Introvert
Few of us are true introverts or extroverts, researchers say. Most of us alternate between the two conditions, depending on the environment and our current state of mind. Some of us do worry about connecting with others, and that can make searching for a job difficult.
Make it easier on yourself by:
- Polishing your online presence. Proofread your resume. Update your LinkedIn account. Remove NSFW images from Facebook. Small issues like this can become interview questions. Eliminate them in advance, and you'll have fewer awkward moments during important job negotiations.
- Practicing your answers. It's easier to answer with poise when you know exactly what you'll say. Write down your answers to common questions like, "Why do you want to work here?" and "What makes you the right one for the job?" Read your answers while you brush your teeth, and tape them to your computer so you can read them during the day. When they're committed to memory, you'll be ready to go.
- Breathe deeply. Whenever you're talking with a prospective employer, take a deep breath in and out before you answer any question. You'll feel yourself get calmer almost immediately.
- Reduce the pressure. There are plenty of jobs in the world. If an interview doesn't go well, another will appear soon. Don't stress out over small mistakes.
If you're not sure where to start looking for that perfect job, Joblist can help. We have hundreds of jobs to choose from on our website, including the positions we mentioned above.
Look for jobs confidentially. Find one you love. Apply quickly. Get started today!
Social Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
4.3 Million Adults Who Are Employed Full-Time Had a Past-Year Anxiety Disorder. (May 2015). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Accountants and Auditors. (April 2022). Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks. (April 2022). BLS.
Tax Preparers. (March 2022). BLS.
Software Developers. (April 2019). BLS.
Computer Hardware Engineers. (April 2022). BLS.
Computer Network Architects. (April 2022). BLS.
Anxiety and Mental Health of Software Professionals and Mechanical Professionals. (February 2014). International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention.
Technical Writers. (April 2022). BLS.
Writers and Authors. (April 2022). BLS.
Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts. (April 2022). BLS.
Creativity and Mental Illness. (April 2014). Psychiatric Times.
Gardening Can Offer Relief From Anxiety Symptoms. (February 2017). Anxiety.org.
Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers. (April 2022). BLS.
Landscape Architects. (April 2022). BLS.
Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers. (March 2022). BLS.
The Majority of People Are Not Introverts or Extroverts. (October 2017). Psychology Today.