As a mental health counselor, I get asked a lot about what types of jobs my clients should look for. A therapist can act as a career coach in sorts as we can help determine what jobs fit your personality, values, and interests. most clients who experience social anxiety want to know what jobs are good for them since they prefer not to work with others. I have found that there are a lot of jobs out there that are a great fit for people with social anxiety disorder.
Anchor Therapy is a counseling center in Hoboken, NJ with psychotherapists specialized to help teens and adults with anxiety, depression, and life transitions.
Before we go into what jobs are best for people who experience social anxiety, let’s go over what exactly Social Anxiety Disorder is:
Social anxiety disorder can also be called a “social phobia”. A phobia is a fear of something specific. So in the case of social anxiety disorder, someone experiences a fear of interacting with other people.
Someone with social anxiety disorder experiences an increase in anxious symptoms (i.e. sweaty palms, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, discomfort, fear, and self-consciousness) in social settings. While it is normal for people to experience anxiousness in certain social situations (such as being in a room with no one you know), someone with social anxiety disorder will experience a heightened amount of anxiety in which they feel they cannot stay in that uncomfortable social situation.
Because of this heightened feeling of discomfort, someone with social anxiety may develop a fear of interacting with others and worry that they will be scrutinized by others.
What makes social anxiety classified as a disorder is that the anxiety is so bad that it is impairing some aspect of your life. An example could be that your anxiety significantly interferes with your relationships, your job, or another important area in your life.
People who experience social anxiety will avoid social interactions that make them feel anxious. They may become isolated, stay away from certain social activities, and will avoid being the center of attention.
Here are the best jobs for people with social anxiety disorder*:
Coding: This has become a very popular career path in recent years. You will most likely be able to find a job where you can work from home and interaction with colleagues/bosses would mostly be through email and text. Since this industry has become popular, there are a lot of coding jobs out there. But you do need to learn how to code before you seek a job. There are many online coding programs that you can take to learn. You can also sign up for community college classes to learn more. Most schools now offer online classes as well.
Typing out audio recordings/ transcribing videos: This may not be a viable full-time position but it can be a great way to earn some extra cash from the comfort of your home. You can sit on your couch and listen to audio recordings that you transcribe by typing out what is said. You should be able to easily find these jobs online. Another similar thing you can do that has become popular is transcribing videos. If you are scrolling through social media without your sound on, you may notice most videos now have subtitles so that you can watch them without sound. You can be the person that creates those subtitles.
Film/video editor: This can become a very successful career path in which you can even win awards for it. You will need to gain experience and education on how to edit videos. But if this excites you then it is a great career option since you are mostly editing film/video on a computer.
Reading a book for an audiobook: If you feel you have the voice for it then you can read books aloud to help create audiobooks. Some are able to make a career into this, but for the most part it would be some side income that you could do from home.
Writing blogs/ Writer: I am currently writing this blog in my PJs on my couch while watching an episode of Friends. Writing for a blog, a book, or anything in general has always been an isolated activity. I do know creating your own blog and wanting it to get big in your community would require socializing and networking though. So you may want to stick to being a ghost writer for blogs, freelance writing for other already popular blogs, or writing a book. Writing is a popular career path with many different avenues but it can be challenging to make a career out of it.
Stocking shelves in the back of a store: This could be a great way to make a full-time income while interacting very little with others. There are a lot of stores, such as department stores and grocery stores, that need their back room shelves stocked and organized. You will most likely be working along with others and have a boss to answer to but the interactions should be minimal if you are not interacting with customers.
Creating an App: If you are the actual creator of an App then you can spend time on your computer at home creating it. You would then need to interact with others to sell it, but you could also hire someone to do that side of things for you. There are companies that also want you to create an App for them which would mean you would be paid upfront for your work for them. This can be a very lucrative career option.
Graphic Designer: It depends where you are a graphic designer since some companies do have their teams located on site and working in teams. Other graphic designers are able to work from home, alone, and on their computer. You may find some jobs require you to be in the office for a certain amount of days per week and the rest of your work days you can spend at home.
Dog Walker/ pet sitter/ dog trainer/ vet technician: If you love pets then this may be the best option for you. There are so many different jobs you can have when working with animals. You can create your own dog walking business in which you are only interacting with dogs all day. You can also choose to pet sit and/or house sit when people travel. Another option would be to work for a veterinarian as a technician. The vet usually does interact a good amount with pet’s owners but the technician is there mostly to provide assistance to the vet in helping the animals.
Landscaper/ Contractor: These are more hands-on jobs that you may be working in a team for. But the work is mostly isolated in which you are focused on the manual labor you are doing. If you find yourself on the creative side you can also help design people’s homes, gardens, etc.
Truck driver: This is a common job that people who experience social anxiety have. You will need to have your drivers license and an additional truck driving license (example: CDL license in NY state). You will spend long hours driving a truck and it may be overnight. If you enjoy driving and being on your own then this is a great job for you.
Snow shoveler/Snowplow driver: If you live in an area that gets snow storms then this could be a great business to get into for the snowy season. You can find out how to become a snowplow truck driver in your area as you will be working on your own plowing snow during a storm. You could also start a business in which you shovel other people’s driveways, walkways, etc. during a snowstorm.
X-Ray Technician: This job mostly involves you helping people move into the right positions so that a machine can take an X-Ray. You then help develop and look over the X-Rays. The provider will be the one to actually read the scans and interact with the patient.
Virtual Assistant: This has been a job that has grown popular in the recent years. A lot of small, and big, businesses need virtual assistants to do really any task they need for their business. This mostly will involve tasks you complete in your own home on your computer. I have heard of a lot of other therapists in private practices hire virtual assistants full-time. This could be a great career opportunity.
Mechanic: This requires you to become skilled in a trade in which you can repair something such as cars. Once you get the experience, you can spend most of your time fixing machines/cars all day with minimal contact with other people.
Cleaning: A lot of people hire someone to come in and clean their home. Most of the times the homeowners are not home while the person cleans or they stay out of your way. If you enjoy cleaning and feel this is something you would enjoy then this could be a great opportunity to build your own business.
Farming/ Gardening: If you live in an area with farmers and gardeners needed then this could be a great career opportunity. You will spend most of your time outside or in a green house focusing on growing and/or beautifying the environment around you. You will usually work when the sun is out so this may require working very early hours.
15 million people in the U.S. experience social anxiety. If you suffer from social anxiety disorder and want to decrease your symptoms then I advise you to seek professional help from a mental health counselor. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been shown to have the best results in helping people with Social Anxiety Disorder. If you do receive treatment and are able to decrease the severity of your anxious symptoms then you can feel more comfortable having any job you want to pursue!
*There are a lot of jobs out there, this includes a list of some jobs to give you an idea of what may be a good fit for you. If you can think of another job, leave a comment below to share it with everyone!
Courtney Glashow, LCSW
is a licensed psychotherapist practicing in Hoboken, New Jersey. She specializes in helping teens and adults with anxiety, depression, and life transitions through counseling. Courtney can help NY or NJ residents through telehealth (video/phone) therapy sessions as well.