23 July, 2020
By Mike Simpson
In the United States, approximately 40 million adults suffer from anxiety disorders every year. That’s over 18 percent of the 18 and older population.
For those with the condition, even daily life can be challenging. Add in the stressors of work, and it’s no surprise that keeping a job can be incredibly hard for some.
However, if you have an anxiety disorder, you could increase your odds of professional success by choosing the right position. Often, the best jobs for people with social anxiety are those that don’t involve a lot of interaction, and there are certainly plenty of opportunities around.
If you want to avoid work anxiety, here’s what you need to know about anxiety, how it impacts your career, and which are the best jobs for people with anxiety.
What Is Anxiety, and How Does Having Social Anxiety Affect Someone’s Career? Why Does It Matter?
First, having anxiety and being an introvert aren’t the same things. Anxiety is a mind and body reaction to a perceived threat, such as a stressful, unfamiliar, or dangerous situation. When anxiety strikes, a person usually experiences a range of negative emotions, such as dread, fear, or panic. It’s far more than simply being shy or preferring to work solo.
Some anxiety can actually be a good thing, as it can help keep a person safe. However, for those with anxiety disorders, the reaction is triggered by scenarios that aren’t necessarily serious threats, making it hard – if not nearly impossible – to navigate many situations people face on a daily basis.
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) affects 15 million adults in the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, social anxiety involves the “intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others.” Usually, people with the condition have trouble interacting with people, as socializing triggers those feelings.
Having any anxiety disorder can make it harder to have a career. There’s always a chance your condition will get triggered while you are on the job. Plus, you could end up suffering from work anxiety, where the thought of handling your duties is enough to cause a reaction.
For people with SAD, being part of a team, speaking with customers, or talking to their boss could trigger anxiety, making it hard to have a career. However, by focusing on the best jobs for people with anxiety, you can choose a career that limits your exposure to any triggers. When you look at jobs for people with social anxiety, specifically, that usually involves roles that are predominately solo.
Top 18 Jobs for People with Anxiety
Finding the best jobs for people with anxiety may seem challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. By focusing on roles that limit your exposure to various triggers, you can limit your work anxiety significantly, increasing the odds that you’ll succeed.
If you don’t know which careers can work, here are 18 options that are worth considering:
1. Grounds Maintenance Worker
Do you love working outdoors? Do you find solo gardening soothing? Then you might enjoy being a grounds maintenance worker. You could earn around $30,980 by spending your days working with plants instead of people, all without having to get a college degree or any post-high school training.
When you think of quiet jobs, there’s a decent chance that librarian is one of the first that comes to mind. Not only is the workplace usually pretty peaceful, but talking is actively discouraged.
Now, that doesn’t mean you never interact with others, as librarians do have customer service duties. However, these conversations are usually focused and brief.
You do need a degree to land a librarian position. But, once you get one, making an annual salary of about $59,050 is certainly on the table.
3. Graphic Designer
With salaries near the $52,100 mark, graphic designer is a solid career choice for individuals with anxiety. You’ll focus on creating illustrations, logos, and similar items, which can usually be handled solo once you have the project requirements.
Typically, you need a Bachelor’s degree to start on this path. However, if you happen to know how to use critical pieces of software and have an amazing portfolio, hiring managers may consider you even if you don’t have a degree.
4. Pet Care Professional
If the idea of working closely with people leaves you shuddering, but you adore animals, then the pet care industry could be a great option. You’ll get to spend your day with a variety of critters and limit your interactions with people.
If you go the daytime (during traditional work hours) dog walker or pet sitter route, you might be able to communicate entirely through email, text message, or online messenger. As a dog or horse trainer, you may have to spend a short amount of time speaking with the owner, though then spend most of your day working directly with animals. Generally, animal care workers earn $24,990 a year, and you don’t need anything more than a high school diploma to get started.
If you don’t mind acquiring some additional education, veterinary technician is another one of the best jobs for people with social anxiety. Usually, you’ll only speak briefly with pet owners, spending most of your time concentrating on their pets. After you complete an Associate’s degree or vocational program, you can make around $35,320 a year.
Writer is another one of the best options for people with work anxiety. You could freelance, helping people write blog posts or online articles. You could head into the field of technical writing, creating formal documentation like manuals. If you’re creative, you might even dive into the world of novels.
Generally, writers and authors need a Bachelor’s degree in a field like English, communications, journalism, or something similar. With that, making $63,200 or so a year is certainly possible.
If you decide to become a technical writer – which also requires a Bachelor’s – you could actually pull in more. The median annual pay for technical writers is $72,850, showing just how valuable specializing can be.
In many cases, accounts spend the majority of their time working independently. They perform calculations, research transactions, reconcile records, and handle other tasks that don’t require input from colleagues. As a bonus, most accounting offices are pretty quiet, which may be ideal if you have social anxiety.
After you complete a Bachelor’s degree, it’s possible to launch a career as an accountant. Usually, an annual salary of $71,550 is pretty common, which is a nice perk.
7. Computer Programmer
It’s no secret that companies are constantly scrambling to get the tech talent they need. As a computer programmer, you’d spend your days putting your analytical skills to the test while you create or maintain code, ensuring a program remains functional.
Usually, you can get started with either a Bachelor’s degree or by completing a boot camp. In some cases, you may even be able to go the self-study route, though you’ll need a strong portfolio that demonstrates your skills if you want to land a lucrative position, earning $86,500 a year.
8. House Painter
A construction job without a lot of social interaction, house painters usually work either solo or with just a few teammates. You don’t need any formal education to get started, as you can learn most of the skills on the job. In exchange, you could earn an annual salary of $40,280, which is pretty respectable.
9. Wind Turbine Technician
If you don’t care for interacting with people but aren’t bothered by heights, a career as a wind turbine technician could be right up your alley. You could earn $52,910 a year as you spend your days repairing, maintaining, and installing wind turbines.
Usually, a vocational school program is enough to get started in this field, though it helps to be mechanically inclined.
10. Clinical Lab Technician
If you aren’t squeamish, a job as a clinical lab technician could be ideal. You’d spend your day collecting and testing samples, like bodily fluids and tissue, for signs of diseases or conditions. With a Bachelor’s degree, you could earn $53,120 a year in one of these mainly solo roles.
Looking for a job where your customers don’t want to hang around and watch your work? Then become a plumber. Most customers don’t want to see (or smell) clogged pipes or sewage, so they are happy to get out of your way.
Plus, even if you work as part of a team, it’s usually a small one, which may work for people with anxiety who are okay once they get to know their colleagues. After some on-the-job training or vocational school, you could be on your way to a $55,160 a year salary.
12. Data Entry Specialist
As a data entry specialist, you take information from one source and add it to a computer database. The work can be tedious, but it is quiet and very low-stress, which could be perfect. You may be able to get started with just a high school diploma, allowing you to earn around $33,490 a year without a college degree.
13. Radiologic Technician
If you’re looking for a medical career that works for people with anxiety, consider becoming a radiologic technician. Also, one of the best jobs for introverts, your core duties involve radiology-related tasks, like taking patient x-rays.
When you do engage with others, it’s almost universally one-on-one. Plus, the interactions tend to be short and highly focused on the task-at-hand, like ensuring the patient is in the proper position.
After completing a vocational program, you could earn $62,280 a year in this role.
14. Vehicle Mechanic
Generally, vehicle mechanics work alone or with a small team, repairing cars, trucks, SUVs, and motorcycles. It’s great for anyone who would rather go the vocational school route and enjoys working with their hands. Once you get some experience, earning $42,090 a year is possible.
15. Plant Nursery Attendant
If you love gardening and have social anxiety, working as a plant nursery attendant might be the best option around. You’ll spend your time focusing on caring for plants, a task that can mainly be done alone. Plus, you could earn about $25,440 a year, which isn’t too bad for such low-key work.
16. Medical Records Technician
If you’re looking for medial jobs for people with anxiety, medical records technician should be on the table. Your core responsibilities involve organizing files and handling paperwork. At times, you may have some light receptionist duties, though interactions tend to be short when this is the case.
To get started in this field, all you need is some vocational school. Once you have that, you’re on your way to earning about $40,350 a year.
17. Land Surveyor
An option for outdoorsy types, land surveyors usually work in pairs or small teams, creating maps, identifying land boundaries, and updating property documents. After getting a Bachelor’s degree or some on-the-job training, you could make an annual salary of $63,420 without much issue.
18. Commercial Truck Driver
With the right extra license (typically a CDL-A, CDL-B, or CDL-C) and a clean driving record, you could spend most of your days solo if you work as a commercial truck driver. It’s a great choice if you love the open road. Plus, you could earn around $45,260 a year, which is pretty good.
Putting It All Together
Ultimately, any of the jobs for people with anxiety above should be on the table if you’d rather limit social interactions at work. Figure out which ones interest you and start exploring them as potential careers. You may discover that one is exactly what you need, allowing you to earn a living without any undue stress.
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