Finding and keeping a job in today’s fast paced and highly social world can feel crippling – especially to people who suffer with social anxiety.
Social anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, is “the extreme fear of being scrutinized and judged by others in social or performance situations”.
Although people who suffer from SAD often feel alone and isolated from their surroundings, it is important to know that social anxiety disorder is extremely common. 15 million people in the United States alone experience this form of mental illness, with the common age for onset being only 13.
Sadly, on average most people suffer alone with SAD for 10 years before seeking help.
Do I have Social Anxiety Disorder?
Some of the symptoms of SAD will seem common to people since most people can relate to social fear at some level. An example would be the intense nervous feeling a person may get before giving a public speech, or before appearing in an interview, or going on a first date. This is normal behavior.
A person who suffers with SAD will feel an intense, almost exaggerated nervousness to most social situations beyond the ones mentioned . The feeling of fear and being scrutinized or judged by others is so intense that they begin to experience the physical effects in their bodies. This is mostly because they feel terrified to perform in most social situations.
Physical symptoms of social anxiety disorder include profuse sweating, nausea, stomach upset, trembling, rapid heartbeat, shaking, blushing, headaches, and loss of self control.
Since most work environments require quite a bit of social interaction, it is not shocking that people who suffer with social anxiety are extremely unhappy and unmotivated in the work world. Some people are even so out of touch with how to cope with their situation that they may avoid working all together.
If a person is managing their disorder but still experiencing difficulty, there are a number of great jobs that require less or limited social interaction.
Top 7 Jobs for People With Social Anxiety Disorder
1. Become a Writer… or Blogger
Internet marketing, content marketing or affiliate marketing are excellent ways to make an income without having to interact in the social world too much.
It can be a very lucrative job to own and build your own website in an area that interests you. Think about what you love and blog about it for years!
You may not want to start “green” as you will have a lot to learn in terms of site engine optimization and setting up your own website/domain.
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One reason writing is an excellent choice for people who suffer from social anxiety disorder is that there is virtually no face to face interaction at all. As a matter of fact, most time will be spent on building the website(s), researching, and writing articles.
There is a downside to starting an internet business, and that is that there is no immediate paycheck. It takes time, effort and patience to turn a website into a profitable and successful website.
That being said, building a website is both rewarding and allows for the freedom of working from the comforts of home. If income is an issue up front, it may be a good idea to build an internet business on the side while working and getting paid at another career.
2. Dog Trainer
Working with animals, such as a dog trainer, or zookeeper, allows for less social interaction with others. Although there will be situations in which a person in this career would have to interact with others, caring for animals gives a person the independence to work alone for most of the day.
Another option would be to start a dog walking business. Of course a person would have to have experience and knowledge with working with dogs, but it is an excellent choice for people looking for less social interactions. As a bonus, a lot of time will be spent outdoors which is great for helping to keep anxiety under control.
Now here is another really good choice for relieving social anxiety. Landscaping is usually done in places such as parks, golf courses, and private residences. Whatever the job may be, working as a landscaper provides an employee with the opportunity to do solo work and outdoor projects.
4. Computer Programmer/ Internet Tech
We all know IT people and ‘computer nerds’ and I think its safe to say they often aren’t the most talkative people in the room. This is mostly because (generally speaking) they fit a certain personality that is more geared to working independently and for long periods of time, which is how computer programmers spend their careers.
A person who experiences social anxiety in their jobs may like the long and focused hours that are required in computer programming and IT departments. Although some social interaction is necessary, there is a lot of time spent being completely independent.
5. Become a Nanny
Being a nanny requires a person not only to love children, but to know how to listen and relate to them. A person with social anxiety may find comfort in working with the family they are hired for and enjoy the routine that comes with this type of career.
If being a nanny is an area of interest, it is a good idea to research what type of licence/education is needed before making a decision. Many people prefer their nanny to have special certification, such as Early Childhood Education diploma and/or experience working with children.
This career choice is obvious in that it is very independent. I remember years ago my roommate and I hired cleaners to come once a month and we wouldn’t even see them. They would show up while we were gone. How is that for very little social interaction?
Although being a counselor requires working one on one with others, it is usually a very comfortable and rewarding job for people who suffer with social anxiety.
There is no better person to share with than someone who really listens and understands the fears and anxieties of people’s problems. People with SAD make excellent counselors because they can relate and be authentic while listening and providing solutions.
To be a counselor is hugely rewarding and can also provide relief to a person with SAD since focusing on helping others takes the focus away from within.
How about you…do you suffer from social anxiety disorder? Or do you know someone who does?
Having SAD is very challenging for most people. I would love to hear how some of you are dealing with your SAD. Feel free to share below.