Ok, let’s get down to business. Which careers and jobs will best fit your traits as a Highly Sensitive Person?
I wrote a blog post about what I think is the best job for Highly Sensitive People–working for yourself–but that solution won’t work for everyone.
Let’s talk about opportunities for those who need to work in a somewhat traditional workplace. I’m talking about the ideal low stress jobs for introverts, empaths, and HSPs.
First: here’s what you shouldn’t look for.
For the ideal highly sensitive person career, you may want to avoid jobs that:
- Include a lot of confrontation
- Deal with people non-stop
- Are “risky”
- Are primarily sales-focused and only about making money, and don’t jibe with your principles or interests. (HSPs like jobs that are more than a paycheck.)
- Are strictly measured, timed, or controlled
- Are cutthroat or competitive
- Take place in a loud, hectic environment
- Are comprised of ongoing, monotonous work, rather than discernible projects
- Consist of primarily collaborative group work versus individual work (for introverted HSPs)
- Include “cold-calling” (for introverted HSPs)
But don’t forget that Highly Sensitive People have a lot of great traits that are helpful in the workplace! HSPs are:
- Loyal and dedicated
- Independent, need little supervision
- Able to deeply process and think about problems
- Great listeners
- Sensitive to the needs and emotions of people around them
- Observant to nuances, like the body language and tone of clients (therefore, intuitive)
|Want to learn more about jobs for sensitive people? I recommend the book Thrive: The Highly Sensitive Person and Career by Dr. Tracy Cooper.|
Below is a list of jobs that seem to be well-suited to HSPs, but the reality is that your happiness depends on many factors, like the company culture, your physical workspace, your boss, and more.
Since I first published it, this post has attracted hundreds of comments. People have both disagreed and agreed with pretty much every job I listed below. The reality is that it is impossible to say with certainty that THIS job is good for Highly Sensitive People and THAT one is not. I wish the answer was black and white, but it isn’t.
That said, here is our best shot at a list of jobs that may be well-suited for Highly Sensitive Persons:
- Health-related careers: Dietician, Medical Records Technician, Alternative Medicine/Holistic Medicine Practitioner, Naturopath,
Pharmacist, Massage Therapist, Ergonomic Consultant, Speech Pathologist.
- Animal-related careers: Dog Sitter/Walker, Zoologist, Dog Trainer, Groomer,
- Nature-related careers: Biologist, Ecologist, Botanist
- Technology careers: Graphic Designer (freelance), Social Media Manager, Programmer, Software Developer, Healthcare Systems Analyst
- Artistic careers: Artist, Actor, Musician, Music/Art Tutor, Interior designer, Fashion Designer, Narrator/Voiceover artist, Photographer
- Writing-related careers: Writer, Technical Writer, Editor, Proofreader, Blogger, Grant Writer
- Financial careers: Accountant, Auditor, Financial Analyst, Controller, Purchaser, Market Researcher
- Trades: Carpenter, Electrician, Plumber, Gardener, Landscaping, Construction, Farmer
- Career/Life Coach
- Personal chef or pastry chef
- Therapist / Psychologist
- School Counselor
- Non-profit / charity work
- Court Reporter (depends–see comments below)
- Antiques Appraiser
- Travel agent (especially for extroverted, HSS HSPs).
- Librarian / Archivist (depends–see comments below)
- Mailman / Mailwoman
- Truck Driver
- Clergy member
- Network Marketer
Acupuncturist Human Resources
(Jobs that have
strikethrough have been mentioned as bad jobs for sensitive people by readers in the comments.)
For “helping” professions–like veterinarian, medical jobs, or mental health jobs–watch out for compassion fatigue. Highly Sensitive People (and empaths) often take on the emotions and struggles of others. Many people have difficulty doing these jobs where they have to deal with heartache and suffering day after day. Then again, sensitive people are some of the best to have in a helping job because they can offer much needed empathy. It’s just something to watch out for–do you think you could handle it? I couldn’t. (Read more about compassion fatigue here.)
Remember, there’s a big, fat, huge caveat to all of the jobs listed above:
Your boss, co-workers, work environment, hours, job responsibilities and more can make or break a job. One librarian may love his job and another may hate it. One graphic designer may have a private office and love being able to express her creative side, while another can’t stand his boss and hates sitting in a cubicle. So much depends on factors outside of the specific job itself. (See my podcast episode about how the perfect job “depends” on many factors.)
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I still think that the best job for a highly sensitive person is working for yourself, but if you can’t make that happen, find a job that improves your quality of life. Making money isn’t the most important thing to an HSP–it’s being fulfilled and happy in your job. A job that makes you miserable will affect your entire life negatively, mentally and physically, from morning to night. Invest in yourself and find a career that makes you happy!
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