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!
Read Next: How to change your job
A very thoughtful post! Perhaps ‘HSP’ will someday be a valuable credential on resumes. Your lists are very thorough. I’m in the funeral field, which can be ‘peopled’ in bursts, but otherwise, the quiet, neat setting is lovely.
i am passing through a very difficult phase, i have changed lots of jobs, but i am unable to decide, is working in a call centre good for me. i am very sensitive and depressed.
Me too I’ve got many jobs but longest one was 2 years … I have depression all the way and panic attacks all the time … I failed in keeping jobs each time and caught by depression … Is self employed good for me??
A Call Center job is NOT the place for an HSP. Definitely not. Loud, hectic, pressure, clock-punching, rigid schedules, always being monitored and then… having to deal with rude, entitled people who are often on a rant. A HSP will not thrive in those sort of environment. (I lasted one month and left in tears!) Onward to search for a more “compatible” job.
I definitely agree! I worked in tech support for a bit and it was similar–pressure, clock-punching, rigid schedules, being monitored, plus, there is never a feeling of completion. Never a feeling of being “done” with anything. I imagine a call center is similar. That was the worst job I ever had. Good luck in your search!
Call Centers are like HELL boxes. Currently I am on short term disability from one because I developed severe vertigo. I am quite convinced the headset combined with the constant monitoring, close contact with other callers, and noise, were all major contributors. Constant bombardment! I had a coworker (divided by a paper wall) whose energy constantly invaded me, and she definitely fed off me. I fed a few of them daily. Now that I’m not there, several people (including my boss) have told me it’s not the same without me. Of course it’s not, there’s no one feeding positivity into the office. They want me back, but I’m not certain that would be a good idea. I have been working on my own business since I’ve been home on leave. It’s something I should have done years ago. Maybe some of you would like to check out my website and help me prevent having to go back to the call center, which btw came after I resigned from may years in the healthcare industry, which also left me so drained I could barely function. 10 years of that and my body told me it was enough.
Happy to hear this change
I’ll check out your website! I didn’t see that you said what it was called though! (I worked in a call center for 5 months and know the feeling and if I can help support another in a new endeavor, I’m happy to do so. I hope it’s still going! Let me know!
I just discovered that I’m an HSP. I’m crying reading your story. My people!!!! I worked in a call centre for 9 months and developed an elevator phobia before finally leaving (the phobia thing returns from time to time when I get super stressed). Now I work for a company from home. I do miss having colleagues (not every day) but this arrangement seems best for me. I hope things are going well for you ^__^
Hi Peggy! Thanks so much for your comment. I’m happy you were able to find a work situation that is better for you; I also sometimes miss having other people around, though! Hopefully we can tweak and make our situations better and better. Take care!! 🙂
Hi Lauren, I’m actually going through the same issue right now and just had a vng test, but still no diagnosis for my vertigo. I started working at a call center a few months ago, and lately I’ve been having issues with sensory hypersensitivity to light and sound, and now that accompanies visual vertigo triggered mainly by looking at screens and driving. I have missed a lot of work and have been struggling with online classes as well because of this, and my funds are drying up. I know I’m responding to this post a few years after the fact, but if you can, would you mind sharing some tips from your personal journey in recovery and making the transition to working for yourself? I would also love to check out your website, what is it called?
How do hsp like you and me take so long to be sensible about self care? We seem to be like Jack Lemon!
I really like the analogy of a call center being a hell box! I’m a former nurse of 18 years and often referred to most days at as showing up to my Welcome to Hell basket!
Me too! I know for a year I’m HSP. I wish there were companies for HSP only. 🙂 It’s hard to find out a perfect work place. Finding a perfect job is not so hard. I’m keen on many things. But the people and the environment… That’s difficult!!
Omg yesss.. “the jobs not the problem, its the ppl i work with” has came out of my mouth sooo many times its ridiculous! Im currently learning about myself, finally. Trying to exit a relationship with whom I believe to be a narcissit and find a career. Ive been feeling so lost and alone and dont even know who i am anymore. I am soo grateful to have found this world of Empaths and HSP!! My eyes and mind are open wider than they have ever been!! Thank u all for sharing!!! Much appreciated!!!☮
I agree! I worked in a call center as my first job when I was 17-18 and I quit after 1 month. I walked into my supervisor’s office and quit right then and there. I later worked at subway and found it to be much better! Now, I’m 26 and still hate the jobs I have but I can tolerate the one I have now due to the pay and benefits. I dream of a different world for us, HSP. I really want my own business (something in alternate health care) and work part-time ( as a yoga teacher). Can anyone whose a successful HSP reply to me with some guidance?
YES. Thank you for posting this! I worked for a tech company’s call center because I had a connection and it paid well. I loved the people around me but I literally loathed answering the phone. The sheer idea of the phone ringing and the light glowing with every ring made me have a “fight or flight” panic attack and I wanted to be anywhere else on earth except where I was that moment. Cold calling is my absolute torture. Especially selling something during a cold call. Sorry for the long message. Thanks!!
Yup worked in one for 4 years now and it’s impacted my mental health tremendously
I would say no because u will get angry and annoyed people on phone and soak up such energies but if their not too many people like that then it would be ok. If u do it Perhaps go for a call centre that is not related to money matters where people really get mad. Just my thoughts.
Who WOULD like a call center job???!!?!? I honestly can’t imagine that a call center is the dream position for any human being on this earth. They are necessary, maybe. But 100%unhealthy for ANYONE, I imagine!
No, call centers are brutal. I’ve worked in one a couple years now. I cannot stand the incessant noise and dealing with talking with people about benefits problems all day (govt welfare office worker), plus the micromanagement. Just was diagnosed with inattentive ADHD, as well. I’m sensitive, introverted, distracted, have anxiety, etc., etc., and need a job. So here I am, until I figure out something else. 🙁 So drained and exhausted.
God bless you.. me too!
Ihave been working at this call center since it opened just over a year ago and I keep trying to find out how to get out.. every job i have applied to outside of here.. i either don’t get an interview or theydon’t hire me because of my weight (supposition I can’t back up right now). I hate this job and I am at that point in my life (40) where I don’t have a career.. I don’t have a specialized skill set and I don’t have a husband or kids.. i keep looking for jobs to work at at home but the pay is so small.. I was an actress for a while in CA but haven’t gotten even any acting gigs and my writing only seems to come to me when I feel provided for (when I was on leave after surgery that left me with adhesions and the knowledge that I have endometriosis I knew I was getting paid and bills were being met).. uhoh.. I have just exploded here.. sorry.. sigh
Interior design is not ideal for HSPs at all.There is continuous work pressure and you have to deliver quality work in very little time.Its very fast paced and stressful.For introverts its especially draining as you are dealing with so many people all the time be it contractors,workers,clients in addition to your co-workers.Also,remember interior design studios are always open offices.So there is no privacy which means it’s more difficult to have boundaries to conserve your energy.
Dear Husein, Mohamed, and others,
I am sorry to hear you were very unhappy in your job and that it seems to have affected your personal life and well being! I am new to this website and your messages are from a long time ago, but I hope this message can still be of use. I know that working in a call centre can be challenging. If it is not your ambition but have no other choice, you may find a specific type of call centre job easier. For example, I loved working inbound, as people chose to call us, outbound drained me when I did not stand behind the product I was selling or the way I had to sell it. I preferred working in a seperate inbound team for high end costumers or business people, as the specialized teams were smaller so less people were in the same space calling at the same time then at regular costumer service. Besides hope and working towards getting a new job, I hope you are able to bring a change in your current work situation. As HSP you are able to help people feel better than if they got a less empathic colleague on the line. People like you always make my day when I get good service and a friendly voice on the phone. I hope you feel better soon!!
To Love Rules,
Very beautifully written comment. Instead of walking away completely from something,we can look at it macro to determine an aspect to it that we are better able to manage ( with regards to the call centre job). This is naturally applicable in circumstances where you have no choice but to be in the same field due to the ‘greater good’ ( pay needed for the happiness and sustanence of loved ones for example).
In an ideal world, we have the option to move to something best suited.
I am a HSP, who has suffered tremendously. More so, the loved ones surrounding me.
I stared out in a call center. I always challenged myself to make the caller happy in some way. People love to talk about themselves…it makes them comfortable. Don’t give up on finding your dream job. IT worked for me. I work in the healthcare industry and I am helping people every day by designing systems that improve the care that is given in the hospitals 🙂
No. Call center work is constant high stress from rigid call, adherence & quality metrics to ranging emotions of callers, the non-stop calls you must take without any unscheduled breaks. Even if management is great…the nature of a call center job is very emotionally and mentally taxing. I’m sharing from personal experience.
I am a very sensitive person. I recently started working in a call center that caters to the elderly and smart phones. I couldn’t figure out what was happening to me and why in such a short time I have changed personalities. I am a patient person and basically happy or should I say was. I’ve worked here for almost three months. I am becoming isolated, I can’t listen to the radio much any more and tv is driving me nuts. My dreams are more intense, I feel exhausted ALL the time. I’m angry at my sweet dog and just down right short tempered. All this in 3 months. I couldn’t figure it out until it dawned on me and I googled it. The first paragraph on jobs to avoid made me laugh. Call centers are every bit of each item. It’s hard finding a job and I get why you’d want to try call centers, who knows maybe you will be fine. But for me it’s such a bad fit. You have someone in your ear constantly. I need my quiet. This is a good article. Good luck in whatever comes your way. Remember as long as your trying your not failing.
Karen, i had the same type of experience while working at walmart in the deli. I wasnt happy at all, isolated, depressed, short tempered, drastic mood changes etc. And the work wasnt the problem, it was the ppl and atmosphere. I became a different person, one i did not like or recognize. It really is absolutely mind blowing how 1 or 2 aspect of our lives can affect our entire life and who we are. I am soo thankful to have found this website and this world of HSP and empaths. At 29 yrs old i am finally finding myself, better late than never rite. Thank u all for sharing.
Been so long in that too, suffering the negative effects of high sensitivity (Other people even don’t understand that you are”different”). But I do believe that every thing in life has a strength as it has a weakness; using strengths will grant merits which ease weaknesses and keep you in balance. the problem that strengths don’t always find way to the surface. for example, it is hard to change ur job to pick one that may suit.
Simple solution. Take a salt water bath every night. Buy ear buds and listen to chakre clearing music on YouTube right after work (at home). Learn about crystal healing. Buy a salt lamp for your cubicle. Watch the Secret movie on YouTube. Read the book The Passion Test and do all the exercises. Start doing Pilates. Take long walks with your dog. Drink warm almond milk with 1/2 tsp. Tumeric, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1 tsp stevia one half hour before bed. No blue screens 1 hour before bed.
I am back in school for a BA in Psychology, hoping to land a counselor position after I graduate, of course it’s online college. I’m not good in large groups, or too much noise and chaos.
Hi! I am thinking about going back to school to get my masters in counseling. I was just curious if you’ve considered how you’ll handle clients that have severe problems or issues. I am worried I will let their problems into my own life and become upset with them. I was just curious 🙂
Hello, I have my degree in Psychology and did an internship as a counselor. I found it really draining. Hour after hour I sat and listened to people basically dump a lot of negative feelings on me and I found it draining. They mostly complained about their lives but would not take advice on how to better their situations. I hope it works out for you.
Hi What about an attorney as a career choice for hsp’s I have a definite passion for justice and have always thought about this career.
I think being an attorney would be incredibly stressful. Arguing in court would definitely not be suitable work for HSP. So many attorneys burn out also because of the stress factor. (Even non-HSPs) If you loose a case, I would think the emotions of the impact on the client would be very hard to handle. What about being a court recorder, or maybe being doing research for investigations behind the scenes. How about being a paralegal? That would empower to be involved in your passion for justice without having to be on the front lines. I had a friend who started as a paralegal and loved it. She thought becoming a lawyer would be a logical next step in advancing her career. But as soon as she became a practicing attorney, it was so intense she quit within a month due to the stress. You might really enjoy being a paralegal, or some type of investigator.
I have the perfect job as a legal assistant for a successful trial attorney that represents individuals that have insurance claims. My boss loves to be in Court and is very talented litigator. He doesn’t like dealing with all the details and preparation that go into successfully showing a jury our damages. So it is a perfect match for us. We both take care of each other and have each other’s back. When I get burned out, he tells me to take my family and go to his beach house and chill out. I don’t think I could work for an attorney that does family law, however. That would be way too stressful! And, I’d never want to be an attorney, even though my boss tells me I know more than a lot of attorneys he knows. 😉
Hi Peg. Your situation sounds ideal!! It sounds like you make a great team.
I think our choices are so individual and only we are the ones who may be able to choose. As an attorney, there are many different kinds of law and finding a position most suited to you would be great. If it were me, I’d try to talk with a number of people in the profession and in parts of the profession that appeal to you to get a sense of what would be right for you. Best of luck to you… : ) Lee
Lots of confrontation. If I could do it all over I would not chose law school.
I have just found that I am really a HSP and finding out about this blog is so helpful,learning in my 30´s that I might not be as weird as I alwalys thought. About choosing the law career I have to agree with Manda hear,too much confrontations for me if I could I not never do the law school again. Love from HSP from Czech Republic
thanks for writing that comment!
Love from HSP from Slovakia.
Doesn’t the sadness, the loss, the feelings of those who come through drag you down? I just couldn’t handle it without crying with each and every one of them….
Great blog post. I hadn’t even thought about being a HSP or an empath until today. I was just doing some research. I like your list. I am a massage therapist. I have been a writer and now prefer to write on my own time as I hated writing in a group as in TV land. And I’m taking a course to become a dog walker. so I have 3 of the ones you mention. The biggest issue I have with massage is the coworkers. Working in a super busy spa with people who I think are quite unbalanced, very loud and frequently nasty is the death of this career for me. If I had known bette I would have done this at home and built a business. I have lost all love for it now and intend to move on but if you do work for yourself this can be a good one 🙂
Please add community psychiatrist to this list. Thank you
Hi Lauren, are you saying that community psychiatrist is a good job? I’d love to hear more of your opinion on it. 🙂
Depends in my opinion. Dealing with psychotic patients and suicidal patients will not be easy on the HSP soul. I speak from experience 🙂
Yeah, I can’t imagine an HSP would enjoy being a psychiatrist in any setting. As an HSP who has worked in psychiatric hospitals for the last 9 years, it is extremely taxing on the soul. If you are not an empath and you have great self-care habits and work-life balance–PERHAPS. We would probably be darn good at it! But, I imagine it would be an exception to the rule that an HSP would enjoy this profession (long-term) rather than a rule.
I am a massage therapist in an occupational medicine setting plus own my own practice. This is a great field for HSP. I noticed if I can do my work and avoid working with the corporate staff I thrive and feel happy.
I dont understand why you took out acupuncturist from this list. They are a holistic practitoner and usually a business owner which is perfect for HSP and I am working on getting my acupuncture license now and it is a great fit. I have also dabbled in life coaching and working on bringing the three together.
I probably took it out because someone commented they were an acupuncturist and disliked it. It may have been because they have to deal 1-on-1 with people….I don’t recall why….good question, I will revisit it!
Hi, Michelle! I am curious about how and why you decided to further your education with acupuncture?
I am a therapeutic movement teacher…I love it but it takes too much energy to continue full time. I’m considering going back to school for massage or acupuncture but am having difficulty deciding which to do… I’d love to hear more about your thought process. Thank you!
Does anyone know anything about a recreational therapist as a good career for HSPs? I am almost finished University and am thinking of getting into this field as an HSP. Thank you for the advice!! 🙂
Not sure if I agree with auditor, unless it is a lower level auditor, more like an analyst that reviews reports and occasionally meets with people. Most auditor positions these days, require a lot of meetings, and for me as an HSP, who is in an auditor type position, when I have days with a lot of meetings it is so exhausting for me and leads to major headaches. In person is worse than on the phone, but both cause me a lot grief.
Chef is the WORST job for a HSP, it has causes me so many health (mental included) problems I’m trying to scape but i never get called from any other job I apply for because I only have hospitality and professional chef experience. Personal and pastry chef is a no no!
Has anyone had experience with video editing?
I work as a video editor and love it. Like the article states, your boss and work environment will also affect things. I work out of this woman’s house and edit all of her youtube videos. It’s a casual work environment and I really like my boss. When I want to talk to someone or have a question, my boss is around. Most of the time I work quietly on each video. It’s a very good fit for me as an introverted HSP.
I have a highly sensitive son who is going off to college. I have been a cpa, auditor, and mostly a controller for over 30 years. My career is highly stressful and such that I would never recommend it to my son. I have worked in the Big4 which put huge demands on you and I have reported to the C suite for multiple companies which can be risky and stressful as well. Most think the accounting job doesnt interact with people but it’s quite the opposite….plus payment collections and contract negotiations are not suited for the HS. Now….an accounting clerk might be what you can put on the list.
I completely agree with everything stated, just because we can use our empathy to help and heal others doesn’t mean it should be used as collateral. When we connect to others as HSP’s the rest of the world thinks we are flirting, trying to get a bonus etc, it’s disgusting no you ego we are soul connecting and if you could wake up maybe you’d see we are all one and if we don’t see it soon then the career world is doomed.
An RN for 22 years. Burnout due to inability to care for people enough due to demands of short staffing, too many ill people to possibly keep up with as they needed, little one to one time with patients. I did not want to see people as a “task”. I could not. So, not realizing I was an empath until just about a year ago, age 55, I had already become physically ill. I gave everything I had to others. (I’d do it again but make some provisions for self care). Worked Hospice Nursing for a couple years. Sensitive to the patient and families. Grieving families grabbed me hard. The patient, of course, also did. I felt all that emotion of everyone. BUT, had more one on one time. I had to retire at age 50 and apply for disability. COPD, high blood pressure, seizures, benign brain tumor, diabetes and rapidly aged. Nursing homes are not low key either. WAY too many people. Staff back biting, residents with alzheimer disease fighting physically at times. NEGATIVE. Not to mention the spirit presence of those who died.
Trades are not good jobs for Sensitive people. Tradesman are not going to censor themselves just to accommodate sensitive people. They are still some of the nicest people but don’t expect them to be politically correct when your fat and ugly and can’t joke about it, like your pronouns, don’t like mean words, don’t like being called names jokingly, don’t have shread of common sense, slow them down because you can’t do your job like you said!
I am an HSP
Avoid doing tech support early on if possible. Helping angry people fix computer issues that really just stem from them not wanting to learn anything, sucks!
You will also get saddled with managers and bosses married into to company without much of a clue about your job role.
I work as an Admissions Clerk at a Mental Health facility and I like it. I am actually trying to get in Medical Records dept. I was a massage therapist for years and loved it. I did work in a call center and loved one of them but hated the 2nd one. I also took phone orders for a catalog and loved it.
I have been struggling with this as many job environments are chaotic and brutal these days because of lack of staff. I made the mistake of taking a temp job on an IT project and was basically left to figure things out. Job title also changed two times. No management, very little guidance, too many cooks in the kitchen, and deadlines that get announced at the last minute. Not good….probably won’t stay.
I just want to comment on the Human Resources Specialist career. There can be a lot of foot traffic (but one customer at a time), public speaking and a lot of phone work with this career. I was in the field for almost 10 years and depending on the position, it can be overstimulating.r
Hi Tanya, thanks for the feedback. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure why I listed HR. It does seem like there would be lots of human interaction. I am going to remove it from the list. Thanks!!
I’m in HR and it suits me well. I don’t particularly enjoy recruiting, but my empathy helps me to understand and solve complex people problems and make positive changes in the company. Fortunately, I am allowed a lot of autonomy so I can control my schedule and step out to decompress when I need to.
I don’t think you should have removed the HR Specialist Career. After 25 years in the work force and just starting college I have discovered FINALLY that I have HSP. I am going into Human Resource, not your typical side though. I want to be a Director of Human Capital or Manager of Development/Change. I am also one of the few HSS and actually own a travel agency. Please don’t forget that we need to be included in all postings. 😉
This is a very useful article though I’m glad that HR was removed. I think it’s a cut throat department at the heart of office politics. I knew that I had to get out and said that I had hit a wall because I didn’t want to deal with disciplinaries, redundancies and so on. I don’t think it works to be a caring person in this department.
I think it’s good that HR was removed. Just to add one thing – HR in a Government setting (county and city) is extremely brutal. Did anyone see the report of a large portion of sociopaths being attracted and hired into government managerial positions? Something to think about for those with high empathy working for those with none. Thank you for the great website! Just discovered it today 🙂
I must enthusiastically support your removal of HR. I am a receptionist being trained into taking over HR and I can say it is incredibly stressful for a sensitive person. I was motivated at first because I thought it was about caring for people and acting as a sort of mediator. But day by day I realize more how much this is not true and how I get the sense I am “too nice” for the job. It is a lot of “checking up” on whether people are on task, reprimanding them if they are not, disciplining people for not following office policy. You are expected to have a certain degree of sternness and to hound and nag coworkers. Even if people know this is your job, you cannot help but start to accumulate little bits of resentment here and there from everyone around you. Or at the very least, people keep a cautious distance from you. As it began to dawn on me I googled the words “do people hate HR” and got this telling image from the cover of Fast Company magazine.
Needless to say, I’m pretty spooked.
Thanks for the comment, Michelle. I had hoped that HR would be like you said–caring for people and being a mediator. I’d hoped that HR meant a person could make positive change in their workplace. But it sounds like maybe that’s not reality. 🙁
I’m an HR Generalist and a former HR Manager. Its really all about the environment your in and how much control you have. In my current role I can come in later to limit interaction, schedule most meetings in a way I can handle, WAH when I need to turn off painful stimuli and I have a manager which I’m now realizing may understand me better than I do myself. I’m good at my job (I could be better though) because I pick up on the subtleties that can impact important decisions that can have life altering consequences like hiring, termination, personal needs that require compassion and/or performance issues. However, in my former role as an HR Manager in a corporate setting I made multiple suicide attempts, I spent two years in and out of mental institutions and started taking psych meds to cope. HR is a double edge sword where an HSPs strengths can be used, while an HSPs greatest weaknesses are tapped. Based on my two experiences I would remove HR unless a note can be mentioned about a need to have control over environmental factors to reduce the sensitivities that pose a threat to an HSPs sanity.
Thank you, Melissa! I have come to the conclusion that the total environment as a whole is just as important as the work a person is doing. I am in the process of re-working this post, and writing more, to try to be more helpful about this topic.
I agree about HR having worked in it most of my career! I’m off sick at the moment, with anxiety and palpitations! I’m in a senior position and most of the time been told I’m too nice and caring for HR! I’ve also been told by senior managers that refreshingly I put the ‘human’ back in to human resources.
I also find regardless of job role, it is the culture and wider team which also has a major impact, and unless you can work there for a week or two before you accept the role, us HSP are going to struggle.
Thanks for this article! I work as Art Director at a large advertising firm – where it’s all about deadlines – deadlines – and working long hours. I have jobhopped alot, never able to stay long at one place. This makes very very sad and also tired.
I have done some freelancing in the past – but got so lonely that I almoast became sociophobic. The hard things to deal with are the friendships and office politics. These are very exhausting.
If anyone want to share some thoughts, let me know.
I am grateful for what you said – I have said often that I don’t care as much about the work as the atmosphere and support, but many people don’t understand when I talk about that!
I’ve said this for years and people do look at me funny. When I say, “I wouldn’t mind picking up trash on the side of the road if I worked with the right people” everyone says I’m crazy. Let me tell you, I enjoy being crazy 🙂
Hey, Jennifer. I recently quit from an accounts handling role in an advertising agency and my experience was quite similar re: the stress and long working hours. I found the environment/company culture to be quite brutal and it got me really depressed, tired and just made me really nervous/underconfident.
I’ve left the industry altogether now and am looking to try something different that hopefully will allow me to rebuild myself a little. The trouble I have is that I don’t have a specialty (which is why I ended up in accounts handling), but I imagine there are quite a few different things you could do with your experience as an Art Director! Have you thought about going for an in-house role or maybe even working in another industry e.g. a charity or museum?
I am a graphic designer and I understand what you mean, work in an advertising company is about deadlines, long hours, to me happen the same with design (jobhopped), now I am a freelancer but it doesn’t work when you have to deal with clients that ask for many changes or stupid things. I try to figure it out what it would work for me as HSP, I am not so young anymore.
I hope you can find a path that makes you enough happy to continue working. I have a question, do you think that passion is important in order to be happy in a job?
What about CNA’s and Nursing?
I’m a Registered Nurse and I find the career to be quite stressful at times, especially when things don’t go as planned. Also I overly worry about the patients, sometimes even when I’m at home. I really like the rewarding feeling of helping people but there is a lot of pressure to not make a mistake. In nursing mistakes can be life threatening. Also the pay is hard to beat which makes it hard to get out of this career as well.
I have been an RN for 25 years and completely agree with everything Angie said. Even worse, when a patient dies (that you had anything to do with), you feel innately, solely responsible. It took many months before I stopped blaming myself for their death, even though I wasn’t there when they died and none of my actions caused their death!
I have now gone back to school and working on my doctorate, mostly so that I can move away from bedside nursing. I have taught at the collegiate level, and like the independence and freedom it provides, while finally feeling that I am being recognized for my knowledge and experience! I hope to do research post doctorally. I have always joked about how going to school is my best coping skill, but it’s the truth!
I have recently discovered that I am a HSP. I have always known that I was different, but never knew what or why. I have had several jobs over the years and have always wanted to be a nurse. Life was always busy, but I finally decided to go back to school. After going to school part time to finish my pre-reqs, I was finally accepted into the RN program. I am currently half way through the semester and wondering if this is the correct career path for me. My last patient during clinical was at the end stage of life. I was so upset and felt her pain. It was very overwhelming for me. Can you tell me if this gets better in time??? I am really torn if this is the right career for me.
If I may be so bold as to answer your question: Yes. It does get better. One of the best things about nursing is that there are so many areas. If one doesn’t suit you, or you become burnt out, you can find fulfillment in another area. End of life issues are not for everyone. There are many areas of nursing in which you will rarely, if ever, have to deal with death, I am happy to tell you 🙂 I work in advanced practice now, but as a bedside nurse, my love was trauma critical care. I dealt with a lot of end of life scenarios, but in a more acute setting. Hospice would not suit me well. I functioned very efficiently from a clinical standpoint, and I was known for being good at dealing with families facing sudden loss or tragedy. I had the honor of helping many patients on the road to recovery, others to pass comfortably from this life, and caring for those others whose families donated organs following brain death. All that to say: Even in end of life, there are so many different areas of nursing. Just think of all of the possibilities in life!
Wow, how could you deal with people dying and then talking to their families? I can’t possibly imagine…..it sounds so difficult. I am glad there are people like you who can do that well.
I have been a RN for almost 4 years now. I work on a medical oncology unit so most of our patients have cancer. We also have become an inpatient hospice unit (and previously we had a decent amount of actively dying “comfort care” patients. As an HSP i have found it is my greatest strength. I am able to get people, meet needs, and give information often in a better manner than many of my co-workers. And yet, it is also my biggest weakness! I cannot help absorbing the energy in a room! I find the act of doing my job and engaging with many of my patients and their families emotionally draining. I have thought about switching to another unit but mine really is the best, quietest, with the best staff. Many of the other units are so noisy I don’t think I could handle it. But I am currently working on my MSN in nursing education so I do not have to be at the bedside forever. I do not think I could handle it. I often have intense anxiety at the thought of going to work. Especially after I have been off for several days.
Thanks so much for sharing! This seems to be the blessing and curse of HSPs. You excel at helping people in pain, but you experience so much of it yourself. So do you continue to use your talents helping others, or save yourself? Such a difficult situation!!
Hi Rachael-Lynn and the other nurses here. I have really enjoyed reading your posts. I too am a HSP and am considering nursing. I have been accepted into the RN program and also the Respiratory Therapy program. I am 45yrs old, so this is a second career for me. Can you tell me (in your experience as a health care provider), of the two professions, which would be a better fit for a HSP?
Thanks so much,
I should add…im a INFJ on the meyers briggs test
The operating room is killing me as an hsp but now I realize why. It’s loud, bright, stressful and coworkers can be hyper, extroverted and brutal. Not sure what to do now
I am a CRNA -Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, and I love my job because I believe I am very well suited to it. I am responsible for maintaining safety and comfort during surgical procedures. I’m the “gas passer” 😉 I craft a detailed and tailored plan for each patient (I only have one at a time) and administer an anesthetic that meets the unique needs of their medical condition and surgical situation.
The common saying about anesthesia is that it’s 99% routine and 1% sheer terror. It’s routine and manageable most of the time because of careful planning on the part of the anesthesia provider. The other 1%…you may see it coming and you may not, but being someone who takes particular care, plans for everything, and processes every detail of an ongoing situation enables me to shine in those moments. The other 99%…I’m good at putting people at ease before I put their lives in my hands, and my intuition gives me an extra advantage as to knowing when things may go wrong. Sensitive eyes, hands, ears, and heart enable me to provide excellent care for my patients.
Though I’m in a noisy room full of people (and I do need some down time at the end of the day to make up for this), I am, in many ways, alone there because while surgery is the focus of everyone else in the room (as it should be), the medical stability of the patient is my arena. I keep things “between the lines”, as they need to be for patient safety and to facilitate optimal conditions for surgery. Careful adjustment and an appreciation for the way all actions impact each other and the patient’s physiologic response are key, and I think HSPs excel at those things.
I love my job, and I think that other HSPs who function well under pressure (I’m a female ENTJ, for any Meyers-Briggs fans out there) would as well.
Hi Austyn! We are lucky to have such a detail-oriented, caring person in your profession… I hope you could be my Nurse Anesthetist if I ever needed one! It is great to hear when an HSP finds just the perfect job for them!
Thanks Kelly! I feel extremely fortunate to have found such a good fit for me. Though I hope you never need one, I hope that if you need a nurse anesthetist, I pray that if you do, he or she is someone who is equally sensitive and can provide you with loving care. Thanks for building this website. I look forward to visiting often.
Hi, I worked as a CNA in the 90’s in Seattle, WA, I loved it, was the most rewarding work I’ve ever done.
I’m a dentist and I’ve found it so difficult to find a practice where the values of the owner match up with my own. I would so love to quit and work for myself but I’ve no idea what I’d do, where do you start?! I also have problems with self confidence unless I know I’m good at something, I think having to try and promote my own business might be difficult. Do other self employed HSPs not have this problem?
I believe I’m a HSP because I struggle with most of the things listed that HSPs don’t like, and yes, I don’t have the best self esteem or confidence so I can relate to the fear (terrifying) to start or promote my own business. I’ve been hesitant for 2 years now whether or not I should study Naturopathy. I think I could be good at it, and my empathy and sensitivity would be viewed as a strength for once rather than a weakness. The lack of confidence probably comes from years of beating yourself up for being different and thinking of your natural strengths as weaknesses…well at least I do.
Perhaps make a list of the obstacles/fears/things you don’t know but wish to know about having your own business and make an intention or some affirmations on making the right contacts to give you the right pointers. Maybe even finding someone who has time on their hands and wants to be a mentor. It’s all easier said than done, I find it hard to take my own advice.
I have a good friend who owns his own dentist practice, and he hires someone to do the promotions and advertising for him. It’s working out!
Have you thought of being a Navy Dentist or working for the State?
I’m an HSPE and I’ve had my own marketing consultancy for 5 years. In terms of marketing for your local business and whether that is a problem for an HSP, if you have a local business, such as a dentist office, you can avoid a lot of in-person marketing by just optimizing your presence on Google (local, maps, SEO) and to a lesser degree on Yelp. It will send you customers passively through search, and if you can manage to have a receptionist who’s able to deal with the social requirements of customer service, having good reviews on Google will be your most valuable asset. It will still be painful because you’ll be worried about negative reviews, but you won’t have to do anything in person to market yourself, so that will be an improvement for some (it was for me).
I have gotten all of my business through word of mouth (because marketing a marketing agency is otherwise too expensive and puts you on the defensive because you’ve pitched to them and they want you to prove your worth, versus them seeing you as a gift because they really needed someone to help them, which is how it works with word of mouth). This can be good and it can be bad. It’s good because you’re coming in on the right foot, and because I only work with reasonable people, they tend to refer other reasonable people, so it creates a cycle of people I can deal with. The downside is that it is much less consistent and predictable (some years money is great, others dismal), but because my husband has a steady job with insurance, I’ve been able to bear the ups and downs. My biggest problem is collecting the bills. I feel AWFUL sending invoices, even when I am proud of the work I’ve done and I know there will be no question of the billing. I still don’t send them because I’m so afraid of some sort of altercation, and I will often undercharge just to be sure that I’m being fair, and it’s REALLY annoying to me. I think my clients sense that, and then they are often super slow to pay, and I don’t push them. When I reached several thousand dollars in unpaid bills I finally hired a freelancer to just send and receive my billing. I would DEFINITELY recommend hiring someone, even part-time to deal with that side of things, especially if you are dealing with a lot of customers. I was only dealing with 3-4 clients every few months, and even that was overwhelming to me. Otherwise, though, running my own business, despite the downsides, has been a HUGE improvement in my quality of life.
I am going through this right now – I work in a call centre (!!!) because it pays well, but my health is being sacrificed.
Daily I go home stressed to the max, and completely drained mentally and emotionally.
I *need* to find another job, and ASAP. It’s just hard in this economy. But like the author said, making money isn’t everything in life.
Anyways, Thank you for this article, it really helped me see that HSP have positive traits to bring to our career. This world makes you feel like a freak a lot of the time so it’s awesome to have found this blog for encouragment 🙂
I must agree! The world makes an HSP feel like a freak!!
I found out at 51 that I’m an HSP 6 months ago. I worked in Call Centers in Accounts receivables where the stress level was high but the repetitive work was better for me. The people in my environment was the worst part of it. I was bullied because I took my job so seriously. I guess low self-esteem is like a magnet for bullies. I was fired and quit jobs that made me way too triggered or that were too complex to assimilate, Now I hardly have any references I can depend on when applying for my next job. I was fired yesterday….I’m at my wits end… Going back to school seems illogical….
I wonder how you are doing today, Dana. What steps did you take and what are you doing now? I am 58—a young 58!—and I am trying to figure out my own life. I was going to nursing school; it was my first semester. One of the instructors bullied me and, of course, she denied saying the things said to me but I was really afraid of being in a position of being bullied and I left. I enjoyed the learning and I am looking for my own “next step.” I need to support myself, of course. I want to live a fulfilling life, too. I have been working part-time for the past year in a job that I like and feel at home at but it is only part-time. I work as a cashier at a Home Depot store near to my home. I enjoy the customers. I like serving them. I am good at my job. I need to make more money, though, because I can’t quite support myself on the part-time retail work.
Ive just discovered the HSP personality type and I ticked ALL the boxes on Elaine Arons site.
Anyway I read this post with interest. Im a software engineer by trade but I wanted to try my hand at management. Im not sure if Ive done the right thing.
I manage a team of 20 and a lot of the time I feel totally overwhelmed with all the different things coming at me on a daily basis. Is team management one of those things we HSPs should avoid… My gut is telling me yes…
I should say Im an extrovert too. I dont like spending too long on my own either but I like to control when I can be away. I do need alone time as well as the company of others.
Im confused 🙂
Hi Allen, thanks for your comment. There no black-and-white answer of whether management is bad for an HSP. My gut would tell me that it has the potential to become overwhelming (as you said), but that doesn’t mean you can’t find your own specific management style to make it work. You could be a hands-off type boss–like the opposite of a micro-manager. Trust your employees to do their job and don’t require them to check in ALL the time. It might be hard to “let go” of the control, but in my opinion, this might make managing less stressful.
Thank you Kelly for the reply.
I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. I’m playing my part and letting this overwhelm me. Although I lead an IT infrastructure team which by its nature can be thought at times, especially when a system goes down.
I will reflect on my management time and try backing off and letting go of anxiety and worry. I can always go back to being a programmer if I don’t find a management style that would be helpful.
An update on the situation. I have decided to step aside from the management position. I explained to management that my personality type was not a good fit for the position and backed that statement up with concrete example of how I felt overwhelmed. I said the stressful thing for me was absorbing my direcit reports stress and having so many plates spinning at the same time.
Actually the stress symptoms had gotten worse including chest pains. I got checked out and the heart is ok.. It was stress.
When I explained to my managers they were very sympathetic and could see the toll the job was taking on me. They didn’t want to loose me so something very lucky then happened. They said they needed someone to become an analyst to help ensure that the engineering processes where industry best practice and to advise on strategy! They said I could make the role my own and pretty much define what I do around that initial goal. I would have a lot of autonomy and would act as an advisor to senior management,
This all sounds very similar to Elaine Arons “Priestly advisor” role. I didn’t once mention I was hsp but I did in a more descriptive way. So I did not use the label but used concrete examples.
This has all happened in the past week so I am still exhausted but feel better this getting sorted.
I hope this helps others who visit this blog post.
Thanks for sharing with us the story, especially the resolution with following up comment—I guess this is more like what a HSP person would do, and the resolution was exactly also other HSP people would look for. Very helpful, I am at the same stage, trying to look for new opportunities but a bit lost of direction. Your story definitely gives me some advice.
Hi Allen, sorry I didn’t reply sooner. Thank you for the followup. I bet it took a lot of guts to step down, but I commend you for doing what was best for you! How do you feel now? I hope things are going better.
Hi Kelly and all,
I feel so much better. It has made a huge difference. In my new role I can work from home 2-3 days per week and I am managing zero persons. Its more of a strategic role than managerial now. I guess systems analyst would best describe it. I offer up designs and solutions to technical problems.
This sort if job seems to suit my nature and now that my wife and I are expecting our first child(that was a surprise) its even more important to look after oneself.
I have learnt so much about myself in the past 18 months giving management a go. I would encourage all here to be careful with their careers.
Ted Zeff put it best when he said “it is better to live a balanced life, making time for a satisfying social life and pursuing interesting activities outside of work”.”
Career isn’t the goal of life. The most important lesson in life is learning how best to love others.
Take care and I am very grateful for this site.
I’m so happy to hear that your job is going well, Allen. I have had a similar career track and managing others was a tough one for me, especially when I was caught between a belligerent report and belligerent boss. I’m now a programmer working remotely, managing nobody, and it’s the perfect setup for me.
I do feel much better – Im working as a System Analyst now. I am wondering if I should return to my original trade as a programmer but maybe Im too old now.. Im 43 ..
Allen, thanks for commenting about this. I am also an HSP (MBTI INFP) and am currently a lead software developer. So my role is a stepping stone type of role towards management. The next step in my career would likely be a more management style position.
I find my current position pretty good, though there is some responsibility with being more senior which can be a bit of a burden, but makes sense.
The difficult parts of my current role are when I need to interact with certain people in upper management who are disagreeable or negative. This can cause me stress.
I also am in an open office environment which I don’t like, but it’s not always loud, only parts of the day. I use headphones a lot.
I like the problem solving, and I like helping other people. I spend a fair amount of time coaching or teaching or helping developers on the team. Also, I don’t try to micromanage or control them, I stay more laid back and view myself as a helper to them. I really like constantly improving and helping other people, so those parts are good.
The tough part of the job is interacting with difficult people who are negative or toxic; there are a few of them around but not too many.
I’m concerned if I move up further I will end up in tedious meetings and the like, with difficult people to work with. Also I don’t relish the idea of having to “discipline” or criticize employees, but I will do it in the most positive way I can, if needed.
I usually don’t have too much of a problem with customer interaction.
My HSP trait helps a lot in my role because I think about things more in-depth than others, who often think a problem is simple or is solved, when they have not gotten to the bottom of it. It also helps when I’m working with others on the team as most people on the team I can read fairly well, and I want harmony and promote harmony which helps everyone work together and progress.
This position has been difficult at times for me, but I like to continue improving and didn’t want to stay at my previous level indefinitely, so I took the opportunity.
I don’t know at what point I may be offered/asked to take on more managerial tasks, but aspects of that could be a challenge for me, specifically tedious tasks not related to creativity/problem-solving, and difficult people problems. However, maybe I’ll be ready when the time comes, as I do like change and learning new things.
Thanks for sharing your story. I just recently finished my MSIT/PM and I’m looking for my first job. I’m an HSP extrovert. Curious if you have any recommendations in terms of what kind of entry level position to look for? I don’t have any technical skills or experience unfortunately so it’s been a difficult process thus far. I also don’t want to land a position that’s going to totally overwhelm me. Any insight would be great! Thanks again for this thread!
I’m glad I found this site.
Any thoughts on a career in Market Research *e.g. Market Research Analyst)? The other option I’m considering is Technical Writing, so glad to see it on the list. I just want a job I can see myself waking up to everyday and where I can help people, somehow.
Hi Kim! Glad you like the site. My degree is in Technical Writing. 🙂 But…I’ve never actually done a job with real technical writing! I do think it is a good option because it is often fact-centered writing, as opposed to creative. You sometimes have to take a technical text and make it easy for a layperson to understand, for example. That is a great job for us detail-oriented HSPs. I wasn’t sure what a market research analyst was, so I googled it, and I think it sounds awesome!! I would love a job like that–research and putting together clues to make conclusions. Sounds fun!!
I’ve worked in Market Research field for years. I’ll just keep this short and simple: MR is highly stressful job environment. So no. Just no. (Unless you will do it as a freelancer–in which case, you are able to take things at your own pace. I am one, now. It did wonders for my well-being.)
I agree. It wouldn’t be so stressful except that marketing people make it stressful. Plus focus groups are exhausting.
In my opinion, Market Researcher is really not a good occupation for an HSP. While the work is interesting, jobs in market research are consistently high stress, extremely competitive, and constantly involve conflict. At least, that was my experience working in Market Research (vendor side) for the last 10 years. Many people burn out from working in this field. I personally burned out, have seen so many coworkers burn out, and have heard lots of stories about it happening in other companies, so it doesn’t seem to just be limited to the company I worked for.
Hi Jennifer, thank you for the input! Perhaps I don’t understand the job fully, as I have not done it. What aspects did you find involved conflict? I thought it was mainly about research, which in itself seems well-suited to HSPs, but perhaps other aspects are not.
It is less about the job itself, which is quite interesting and more about the industry. You constantly work under pressure with extremely tight deadlines and clients/ stakeholders tend to be “evil”. Maybe it is because of being an HSP that i end up over worrying as other colleagues seemed quite laid back, but if you care about your work and worry about confrontation with clients this will be very tough.
No wonder I find my previous sales job extremely energy draining, it actually fits all the criteria listed as the nature of a job to avoid. 🙂
Oh my goodness, I can’t imagine doing sales. It’s my #1 most feared job!!
I am thinking about a career change. I checked off almost all the boxes on the sensitive personality test. I am currently an optician but I am almost always drained by the end of the day. I am thinking about becoming an antiques appraiser. After looking up the highly sensitive personality trait I think I’m headed in the right direction.
Antiques appraiser sounds great. I should add that to my list! Good luck with the career transition. I wonder if there is a way you could use your optician training but not have to deal with real live patients every day (that is, if you still enjoy the job outside of the feeling-drained part!).
This site is AMAZING, I wouldnt have the time or words to explain how happy I am to have found this blog, apparently I am rare, an extroverted HSP ha. I am female, early 30’s, I am a nurse, & I do love my job & my patients, but I CAN NOT DEAL with staff, doctors, managers, etc…it makes me hate my job & loose focus:-( I have had several jobs this year alone, I bounce around to the next place when a co-worker or manager rubs me the wrong way, & most “normal” people are able to just blow it off or not let it get to them, but I am not capable of doing that.
Im so scared my resume will freak out future employers, luckily I am in a field thats always easy to get a job…I work in the Operating Room, probably not the best environment for a HSP!!! I would LOVE to work from home, I keep telling people that but they say “no, you’ll get bored, you wouldn’t like that” but people just dont get it & DONT UNDERSTAND ME & I am so sick & tired of it!!! I do not like the control feeling I have when working with certain managers or co-workers, I AM extroverted but its gotta be on MY time & when I feel comfortable with it & the people I am surrounding myself with, if someone rubs me the wrong way or hurts my feelings & I get bad vibes then thats it, I dont talk to them anymore & ignore them. & they will NEVER understand it because I have talked about it with said offenders & they JUST DONT GET how I can be sooo sensitive & get my feelings hurt so easily.
I feel like I can do ANY job as long as I am surrounded by the right people…but at every hospital/unit theres always THAT ONE PERSON, & its what stops me from wanting to work there full-time. I do agency work now, I LOVE it cause I am not committed to one facility & I get to go from place to place & if I come across people who are a threat to me then I have relief in thinking “well, at least I wont have to work here tomorrow!” I am seeking out something nurse-related to do on-line, I get such a relief thinking I wouldnt have to deal with people day in & day out. It causes me EXTREME anxiety & stress which leads to depression:-( I also have childhood issues that still kinda affect me ha, but the main issue really is my Hyper/Highly sensitive trait. I also have my personal trainer certification, & I know you can do stuff with that online, so I am looking into that. I was in a part-time sales job doing demos for a company I love & support their mission/values, but it got too hard dealing with all the personalities (especially aggressive guys) & such, funny that sales is #1 job we should not do! Totally agree. Sorry for such a loooong post but this site & blog is SAVING ME trust me. I dont feel alone & depressed anymore:-) I will be around here often. Thanks again!
I TOTALLY get what you mean about the workers and managers stressing you and wrecking the enjoyment of any job! I’ve felt way for years now, and have struggled to hold down a job for that reason, also becoming (irrationally, as it seems to people) very anxious and depressed to the point I’d rather have a bus hit me than return to that same job. I’ve also worked for an agency in hospitality and have that same thought, at least I don’t have to be here tomorrow! Which keeps me sane. I also like to have control over my own life and not have anyone controlling me. I like customers but just not the stress managers put on you in various industries. I’ve spent over 11 years now (since I was 18) feeling bad and beating myself up for not fitting in to the normal way of doing things, not to mention being expected to be less sensitive or just work a job for the money!
Describing people as HSP is sooo much better than sticking the ‘anxiety’ or ‘depression’ label on a bunch of people and making it out like they just need to ‘manage’ that condition.
Michelle, thanks so much for the nice comment! I think the fact that you are realizing what you need is so important. You are realizing what works for you and what doesn’t–lots of people haven’t figured that out! Hopefully that knowledge can help you shape a career than is fulfilling and makes you feel good at the end of the day. I totally understand your comments!!
Hello there, I work at a hospital too although not in a clinical setting but in an administrative office. My understanding is that in healthcare bullies and those who rub us HSP’s the wrong way are quite common. I’m experiencing it only a few months into my position but I’m at my wits’ end. In an open floor plan there’s no escaping people who essentially assault the sensitive employees with their loud voices, phone conversations, ugly remarks, manipulation, passive-aggressive tactics, etc etc. I’m close to considering some sort of work from home employment situation so I can finally have inner peace because I simply can’t deal with the over stimulation that is forced upon everyone in workplaces, even though it ironically affects performance.
Hi Michelle, I wonder how you are doing now? Any updates on your job??
I am an elementary school teacher and a HSP. I am desperately searching for a new career as I’ve been trying to be “normal” for 10 years as a teacher, and it’s exhausting. I adore my students and teaching them, but I simply cannot handle trying to juggle all of the requirements from the state, the district, and our building administrators. I’m overwhelmed all the time. To add to this, one of my co-workers went to the principal about me yesterday because she feels that I can’t handle my workload, and she feels that she has to walk on eggshells around me. My principal essentially said that I have to apologize to my co-worker for making her feel that way. Prior to that conversation, I felt we were collaborating well; in fact, I was having the best year I’ve ever had as a teacher. Yes, I am overwhelmed, but I do my part, work nights and weekends to accomplish everything, and manage to put on a smile each day for my students. Apparently, I’m not good enough at hiding my emotions during our daily planning meetings.
I apologize for the rambling. I’m still almost shaking from being so upset about being told that I have to apologize for being who I am (even though I really am busting my butt trying to be who everyone else wants me to be). The principal is checking back with me in two weeks to find our how I apologized and how my plan to change is going. How do I change who I am? I can’t change that I get overwhelmed by everything. I can’t change that being with people all day long exhausts me since our prep periods were taken away for daily collaborative meetings, and my lunch periods are limited to about 15 minutes when I’m not on duty. So, how do I change to be the person my co-worker and principal want me to be? I don’t see how I can.
Heaven help me find a new career in which being a HSP is valuable because I feel lower than I’ve ever felt before even though I am a highly effective teacher (according to student surveys, test data, and parental feedback).
Hi Susan, I’m so sorry to hear about this. I wonder if the principal or the disgruntled co-worker could give you more specific feedback on what it is they don’t approve of. What actions are you doing that make them feel you aren’t doing a good enough job? Maybe they are misunderstanding your behavior. Regardless, I am so sorry you have to go through this. It sounds like you are working hard to stay on top of things, but this has knocked you down. And 15-minute lunches? What the heck.
I am working on a new post with more specifics on how to find a new career. Maybe that will help a bit!
Please try to think about all the kids you have helped and connected with, which is made possible through your empathy and sensitivity! That’s what matters. 🙂
I lasted about 5 years of full-time teaching in the classroom and have gone to part-time and now tutor, mostly one on one. A couple days a week is all i can manage and mostly voice and flute.
I feel for you!!
Look into working yourself into pt and tutoring, if at all possible and try to get specifics written down from your higher ups.
I remember hearing, “Don’t take it personally.”
Yeah, that was like asking me to become a square in the world of rounds.
Sometimes homeschooled groups are smaller, too.
Hope this helps.
I’m also so sorry to hear that you’re going through this.
It sounds great what the other ladies have said, getting specifics and going PT and tutoring. It sounds like you’re doing your best and you shouldn’t have to feel bad about who you are. The awesome teachers of this world have had such a big impact on our lives even into adulthood, where we might be confident in some area just because those teachers were awesome.
I was a substitute teacher for awhile, and I loved that position. The idea (and reality) of improvising and filling in when there were no lesson plans was something I was able to do, and the ability to change classrooms, settings, schools, kept it from getting monotonous.
Intuition is a huge benefit in the classroom–especially in a substitute teaching role. And a good substitute teacher is worth their weight in gold, really, so when you get established and known, you end up being requested and people are grateful you come to fill-in when you’re needed.
It’s a different dynamic than a regular teaching position, and well worth a try if you enjoy teaching but are struggling with the ‘set’ classroom situation.
Thanks for this interesting comment. I never thought about substitute teaching. There would be so much less stress than a regular teacher since you are there temporarily! Thanks for the input!!
I did some subbing and found it incredibly stressful, especially at the high school level. Students were often disrespectful and some would spend most of the class period trying to get out of class “I need to use the bathroom,” “I need to see my counselor now,” “I need to get something out of my locker.”
It was especially difficult if the regular teacher did not leave good lesson plans or enough work to keep the students occupied.
I’ve been teaching for about ten years now, and I sound similar to you. Some days, I would completely shut down and stare at a wall for 10 minutes or I would be breaking down in tears. The thing that helped me was that I found a school with a good culture. Perhaps look around for a transfer or a new district. Maybe you could consider private schools because they don’t have demands from the state (I work in private school now and I find it less stressful but more parent demanding. I’m still not sure which one I prefer).
Basically the biggest factor for me was 1) coworkers and 2) my boss. It sounds like your boss is a turd, sorry to say. Finding a boss that believes in you helps an HSP soar.
I had a similar experience and what I learned is that the problem in the first place was trying to be superhuman and please others. It is not sustainable. I am working on my issues through ACOA and have come to accept my limitations. I still struggle with looking for perfection, but I keep encountering affirmations to have compassion on myself and accept myself and others as we are, and focus on processes instead of perfection.
I returned to teaching middle school after raising g my own children….and just resigned for all of the reasons you listed. Miss my students and colleagues but the new standards and required accommodations have added so much more time and stress to teaching….it has evolved into a different career in many ways than when I taught before. I am also considering new directions….not clear yet on what that looks like, but I know i am a good connector.
Susan, you sound like a wonderful teacher. Why not become a private tutor. The one to one, or one to a few pupil(s) situation would be less stressful and no head or other staff getting on your case. It would mean gong self employed but as long as you keep good records yo should be ok. Also if you find you are not happy with a particular pupil/parent you can leave /recommend another tutor who perhaps has a speciality in a particular subject,(a good reason to give to get out of a bad situation)
I know marketing works for me. For one thing I work from my home most of the time and that is really nice. The second part is that there is no set time. I really have problems with packed schedules and lots of time! I can wake up eat breakfast and start work when i want as long as I work my 40 hours a week everything is ok. I am in control of scheduling my meetings and appointments for the most part and that really helps me.
I know other HSP’s that working advertsing too. They like the laid back creative atmosphere of the job.
Hey Amanda! Thanks for the comment. I have worked in marketing and enjoyed it as well. Can you tell me a little more specifically what you do? The term “marketing” can be a bit broad! The reason I ask is because I would like to expand this post to include even more specific jobs, and it would help me to know what has worked for others.
I have worked in marketing for 15 years and completely burned out to nervous breakdown level. I’ve never been in a situation where working from home was allowed. Where do these exist? The incredibly stressful workload, toxic work environment with bullies and cliques made it a living hell. Plus sitting at a desk all day long every day caused me a horrible back injury. Overall it was a nightmare, especially for an HSP / INFP which I am.
Scientist should NOT be on that list. I came to this website because I am currently a scientist. It is ridiculously competitive and high-pressure. It makes you feel guilty for doing your laundry every two months because it’s taking time away from work. You rarely get to see your friends or family and have to constantly cancel plans with people. You get sleep-deprived to the point that you’re physically ill frequently. I understand that a very small percentage of the population is made up of scientists and may be misinformed. I’m not trying to be negative. It seems as if a lot of people have benefited from this site and that makes me happy; but I must warn people, being a scientist is NOT a good career path for highly sensitive people.
Hi Arow, thanks for your input! Are there any science careers that are less competitive? Maybe where people have a bit more freedom to do sciencey stuff at their own pace?
I agree with arow. I have done a PhD in Biochemistry and it has almost caused my health (I was literally one year not able to get my ass to write my dissertation).
I discovered only a few months ago that I am HSP, with the “luck” of being also Highly Sensation Seeker. A pain in the ass, if you ask me 🙁 I get bored easily if the job is too routinary (like doing research, you must repeat an experiment over, and over, and over again for months!!!) and if i don’t get time for myself then I get overwhelmed. And at science you have literally no time for having a normal life, having to work weekends more often than not and feeling guilty if you leave a month and “waste” time you could be using growing things or the like. Also the environment pushes you in that direction and you feel it is never enough. I have realized that whereas other people can set boundaries much easier, I have the need to strive, to push harder…but even that is not enough. I defended my PhD in 2011 and I haven’t worked in that field since then. Actually apart from some minor café jobs and tutoring (which i like!), I haven’t worked using my skills at all. That makes me feel terrible, since I dedicated so much effort, but at the same time there is something in me that says that’s not good if i want to preserve my sanity. I decided to at least not work in basic research (universities and the like) since the environment is not good for me, despite the ideal would be perfect. But science works in a very different way most people think from the outside.
I am quite lost, to be honest, since I can’t go further with my life and i am stuck with some education that a priori is not helping me go anywhere, but let’s see how things go.
Great job with the blog, btw…eventhough sometimes I doubt if i might be a HSP or not (despite the test was cristal clear), reading problems that HSP meet are something that leaves me with no doubt.
Being happy and employed I think mostly depends on who you work with. I’ve been a scientist for quite a few years and was very content with my job as I had wonderful understanding colleagues. I didn’t like lots of things going on in the big scientific world outside our lab: competition, need to promote your work again and again, disregard for geeks, force of the establishment, etc.
Now the circumstances changed and I am a self employed artist. There are problems, too: there is no friendly colleagues with similar background and interest around me. Being empathic I can’t really make friends online. So it feels lonely quite often. I still have to promote myself – even more so as there is no wise boss to help me. Being also a HSS I don’t do repetative “consistent” work for which artists are often praised.
So it all depends on circumstances and our ability to adapt to them.
Thanks Alexandra–great comment “It all depends on circumstances and our ability to adapt to them.” While it is important to know our needs, you are right–we still need to be able to adapt because the world won’t adapt to us.
I have suffered with depression for over 10 years, and social anxiety for all of my life. I have recently just months ago understood the route of the these problems was being a HSP, and am having therapy to aid these issues; Also presently reading a book about HSP’s.
I work as a head chef at a small University, 7-5 Monday to Friday, but find the work stressful, and the interactions with other staff and managers quite often very draining. As much as I can manage the stress I question whether the catering industry, even if I were self employed, would be best for my trait.
I started a course in plumbing two years ago, when I had to leave my last job due to stress from dealing with others negative emotions. I have a lot on my plate at this time, and do not have enough time to work on a part time course as well.
I would be interested if you thought plumbing could be a good career, as I wish to make sure I’m moving forward in a beneficial direction. I think a more practical job would perhaps suit me best.
Thanks for any input
Hi Matthew, thanks for your message! I think plumbing might be good. Would you be your own boss, or work for a company? I’m sure it wouldn’t be completely stress free–you are still dealing with customers that might sometimes be unhappy, but I know I enjoy doing work that feels useful and helpful (and practical, like you said), which plumbing definitely is. I would recommend speaking to some other plumbers if possible, and ask them about the stress level of the job. Congrats on pursuing a new career!!
Thanks so much for your response.
I was hoping for your input on one other question if you had time. I am still pursuing the plumbing, which would be with the intention of going self employed, but would have to get several years of experience first.
I am also thinking of maybe doing instead of the plumbing a street food truck business, which industry is expanding in London at present, so able to use my currant experience in catering. Slightly torn if this would be a good direction.
While looking into things whilst finding the trait of ‘highly sensitive person’, I also came across a few other details about myself. I’m an
INFJ (deep sense of idealism and morality)
5w6 (Deep Thinker/ Problem solver)
also have ADD,
and a visual spatial learner with dyslexia, but an high IQ.
All these things seem to have there own umbrella of characteristics to be aware of.
I am still learning to understand more about the ADD and HSP, but learning and having the motivation to learn, can be more consuming considering the issues involved.
ADD and HSP seem to create almost polar opposing needs, the first aiding from a career either close to ones heart, or requiring strict constant time schedules of work. That also combined to personality of being very driven but in a sacrificial sense, also a deep thinker, have together much conflict in staying focused and keeping on track whilst not becoming overwhelmed.
The main issue that concerns me with the street food is it would be long hours to begin with, and stressful at times. I keep reading how important sleep and exercise are for the traits of HSP and ADD, but don’t know how much time I would have for these things to begin with in a job of this nature.
I recently decided to really be able to move forward in life and stay more motivated and on track with any momentum generally in life, it would be best to give up alcohol and caffeine. I’m not looking at doing the street food job forever, just think it could be a good way for a means to an end, to then give me more options generally in life.
Any input would be very much appreciated.
Hope all is good with you.
Hi there Matthew,
I must say I can relate to you quite well, I have been in and out a variety of jobs now and am also in quite the slump at the moment. I also have the simultaneously fortunate yet unfortunate combination of AD(H)D and being HSP. The H is in parentheses simply because I still am unsure of whether I have ADD or ADHD.
Last year I also considered doing a street food business with my former housemate, and I think it can be a good thing – though it requires major investment – financially, mentally and physically in most cases. However you seem to have experience in the field, something which I do not have. If you find good and understanding people to work with, then being self-employed is something that both HSPs and people with ADD seem to be very comfortable with, and I have noticed it is often recommended.
Have a look at this website: http://www.thejabberwocky.co.uk/ . I found it hugely inspiring and informative when I was considering my business, and I think you will too! I think I read all the blog posts, and it was all very worthwhile.
Hi Matthew, I wish I would have replied to this sooner. I think running a food truck is very challenging–it’s not just the hours you are serving food, it’s the many hours of prep beforehand and the cleanup afterwards. I also think new food truck owners may underestimate the amount of marketing that’s necessary–you need social media accounts and a website, or you need to pay someone to create and maintain these things. Depending on where your truck is, and the local food landscape, you may get most of your income from catering jobs, which take work and effort to book. I think many people think they’ll just set up their truck and people will flock to them, which is often not the case. Of course this is vastly different depending on where you are located, but this has been my experience where I live. I have worked with many food truck owners. 🙂
I love the insights the list is already bringing and can serve as a list of overall quite ideal jobs.
Do any jobs really need to be ruled out in general for all introvert and extrovert HSPs? I am wondering if the type of work environment (colleagues/boss/product/ office vs home-based, etc) may not be more important. For example: I worked in call centres as a student and could deal with a few angry people on the phone and around 15 colleagues calling at the same time, when I enjoyed the colleagues and most types of calls. I could not even deal with 2 other colleagues when I was in a less pleasant work environment, and never excepted a position in a very large call center with more than 50 people calling at the same time. After my studies I became a scientist. I did not like working for my faculty as I would be promoting my own not so impressive work for the necessary funding, but loved working in an innovative environment in a very small biotech company, where I could have both my independence and have other people responsible for drawing in new investors. Working on the development of a product that could change people’s life someday was amazing and I never felt drained. Due to company changes I had to take on a new position that required interaction with such a variety of parties, with too many parties conflicting priorities, that managing this situation proofs to be too much of a challenge. I think that a different (warmer and smaller) group of colleagues and a different type of managing style from my managers would have allowed me to flourish in this position in stead of feeling overwhelmed. What is your idea on factors versus position?
Hi LR, factors vs. position – that’s a great way to put it. Since originally publishing this post, I’ve come to the conclusion that listing specific jobs and saying they are “good” or “bad” is maybe not the best way to approach this topic. I’m currently working on a new post/podcast to update this! Thank you for your thoughtful comment!
Great blog post! I’m an extroverted hsp who is a Senior Manager who oversees a lot of people (some directly, some indirectly). When people are happy/content with me, it energizes my being and I LOVE my job. However, when I’ve disappointed someone, I want to cower or go overboard apologizing. And I know I should apologize too much as a boss.
It’s been draining lately with a particularly challenging staff member who is very reactive and, at times, angry. Ahh–it’s the worst! Luckily, this person will soon be less of a problem but angry people are my foil. :-/
Thank you so much for this article. I’ve just recently come to understand this trait and it explains so much about my life and why i’ve always struggled. Unfortunately I’ve somehow ended up in the exact WRONG job for this trait: a 24/7 shift schedule answering phones and data entry at a police department, having to listen to negativity and the worst of humanity all day long five days a week. I’ve been really unhappy for a long time and I couldn’t understand why because everyone kept telling me “just be happy you have such a good job in this economy’ but if anything that statement hurt me WORSE than the actual job, making me feel guilty for wanting to quit even though I didn’t really have any other options available to me, just because the work is making me physically sick because of the anxiety and negativity. I feel so much better after reading this article and the other comments. I’m not weird or wrong…I just need to be me!
Yeah Liz!! I was always annoyed when people said that: “just be happy you even have a job.” Have you looked for a different job? How is it going? I think you should try to get out of that environment, although it’s easier said than done! I worked in customer support for a while and was the most miserable ever, and I had a panic attack. I moved to a different job in the company for a big pay cut but it was worth it!
I worked in a retail clothing store for 2 years. For the last 8 months I was there I got promoted to assistant manager. That was the worst thing that could possibly have happened. I was so stressed I couldnt take it anymore. I took a 3 month program at the local college for pharmacy technician. I got hired at a a retail pharmacy 3 weeks ago and I’m already ready to quit because I can’t take the stress and confrontation. I’m 23 years old and I need to find a career that will fit my introvert personality! If I could I would just have a horse boarding business and sheep farm. Only thing is you need to spend money to make money and I don’t have any!
Jessica, I am in nearly the exact same position!! Did retail and a vast amount of other jobs as well, and didn’t “fit” into any of them very well. Retail comes with such demanding customers and deadlines, it can be hard. Currently I am trying to do it again though, but this time I am aiming at shops who have a smaller influx of customers – and I am also targeting floristry, book shops and the like. Sometimes the environment can be key.
Though I am also looking at a completely different career in the long term, and here I feel tremendously confused just like you!
I am so glad that I found this website! I am in my early 20s and found out that I am a HSP 3 months ago. I always felt that I was different and was beginning to think that there was something wrong with me. But then, after reading the books on HSP’s, I realised that All my jobs have been highly stressful; I worked in a call centre, with children, in retail sales etc. Last year I became very depressed and suicidal; I remember telling my friends that if I was expected to live a life the way I was then I needed tablets to numb my emotions. So sad that I wasn’t aware of my sensitivity.
I am now studying towards my degree in Philosophy and Psychology through open studies, this means I do most of my studying from home and only have a 5 hours of classes each week. It still has its stresses, but it is much more supporting of my needs.
I like the idea of research jobs, but worry about the stresses of them. I also would love to start my own Organic cosmetics company, and write books etc. in this area. I worry though that I won’t be able to cope with all the stresses of having my own business. Overall though, I like the idea of being my own boss.
Any tips? 🙂
Oh my goodness, I am also currently considering to start my own organic skin care company! I have done quite a bit of research, and feel like I am in the same position as yourself in that regard. Being your own boss sounds very attractive, but it can mean a slew of never-ending work at the same time. It’s quite competitive these days too as organic is so trendy, though I only want to pursue truly natural products with few ingredients, and also connect it to welfare. Similar to Body Shop, but without it ending as tragically!
Currently I am looking into becoming an aesthetician or the like, it seems there are many ways in when it comes to skincare. Been thinking of psychology for other reasons as well, how are you finding that? Would love to exchange ideas!
Sara & Ashley, maybe you should create your organic skin care/cosmetics company together. 🙂
I’m an HSP and an Introvert- I literally feel emotionally drained at the end of the day dealing with telephone calls and clients coming in and out of my office all day- I dread going into work pretty much every day. Lately, we have been having almost 10 client appointments several days per week and I feel like my boss expects me to greet them and do intake- although in the beginning that was never asked of me- I feel like I am letting him down in a way, but I can’t change who I am- dealing one on one with clients all day gives me anxiety. I just want a job where I can work 99% on my own and not deal with others- not to mention on top of my job being stressful, overwhelming and dealing with negative, dramatic office people. I am contemplating having a talk with my boss soon- today I cried on my lunch break// Reading about HSP and these comments helps me see that I am not alone and there are people that have struggles just like me//
Hi Melinda, I would love to know how you are doing now…any update? 🙂
this site is really helpful. I just went into partnership with a couple of other guys in opening a real estate agency. I will be working as an employee. I know sales is very confrontational so ideally It wouldn’t suit me. How about property management?
Hi Harry. I don’t have first-hand experience in Property Management, but I think being aware of details (like we are) could be a great benefit to the job. Would you be helping sell/rent houses/apartments? Or is it more about responding to renters’ questions, complaints, maintenance issues?
I am currently in my third year teaching high school math and I am really struggling with it. I absolutely love working with the kids but all of the hoops that I have to jump through stress me out. I constantly find myself thinking about why people can’t just leave me alone and let me teach the way I teach. I also graduated from college three years ago so I am in my mid 20s and this is the only career I have ever had. I have mentioned the possibility of switching careers to my husband friends and parents but everyone’s reaction is always to tell me that I was meant to be a teacher. They say that when they watch me teach I am in my element so I am torn. Does anybody else have any thoughts or opinions about HSPs being teachers?
I’m really interested to read comments from teachers/tutors on here. As far as I can see, one of the greatest parts of being an HSP is the empathy that it allows for, and I reckon (for me anyway) that HSP traits go hand-in-hand with high levels of intuition.
These kinds of skills make for AMAZING teachers. However, the structure and red tape that surrounds public-school or even just large group teaching means that it’s rare for school teachers to have the opportunity to actually carry out any ‘real’ teaching. Add to that the many wasted hours thanks to classroom management and dealing with ‘management’ or curricula and teaching suddenly becomes an HSP’s nightmare.
I’ve been a teacher/trainer/coach for adults at a private language school for the last 7 years and I think it will be impossible for me to ever find a job that is better suited to my personality. I work mainly 1-1 with either university students or business professionals who need to improve their English. The job is always stimulating and quite intellectual, which means every day is different and amazing – I get to work with everyone from all over the world.
I can’t recommend this type of work enough – it can satisfy your inner teacher while avoiding the rubbish that comes with the education profession, and is very flexible and allows for a freelance approach. You won’t ever make a fortune but the benefits far outweigh the lack of money!
SophSoph – I was really interested to read your post because I am thinking of going down this very same route myself and want to start EFL training. But before I commit time and money to that, I’ve been wanting to find out whether private language schools are subject to the same red tape, target-meeting, and government yo-yo-ing etc that schools now seem to be. It sounds from your post like that’s not the case. Would you be prepared to give some more information about a typical day at work, how much down time you get, any stresses to look out for, etc? Thanks so much 🙂 PS Happy to go offline on this firstname.lastname@example.org
This is really interesting! I always thought the perfect job (for me) would be to teach people how to refine their speech/pronunciation/enunciation, and their public speaking voice. Or to be a dialect coach.
I got my degree in Vocal Pedagogy, but I’ve always been too intimidated to earn enough money to support myself in a freelance situation (sole provider, here), since one of the first things to go in a struggling economy are the voice lessons! 🙂
I’m really tied to security and tend not to be a huge risk-taker when it comes to paying my rent/having a regular paycheck.
I recently realized that I am an HSP. I’ve always known I was an introvert but didn’t realize that there was a ‘name’ to explain my sensitivities and empathy. I had always been considered sensitive by family and friends and, as I got older, doctors.
I have been a public librarian for over 15 years. While I agree with you, Kelly, that Archivist might be a good fit, I want to caution others about life in libraries today. This is not a job where you get to sit and read quietly all day. In fact, we are discouraged from reading at work. Libraries are crowded with people; many talking on phones or to each other. Children run around unsupervised and yelling. We are not only required to answer questions at the desk, but to teach classes (not trained to do so) and create and offer programs.
With the economy in the state it is, we are told you MUST do more with less: no exceptions. Many patrons are in economically depressed situations. We deal regularly with the homeless, the elderly, the jobless, etc. People come here when they cannot afford to go anywhere else; whether it is to use our books, computers or to bathe and sleep. The sights, sounds and smells are overwhelming. We also often deal with highly emotional situations. Many times people who are having difficulties are advised to come to the library for resources. These people are typically distraught and we bear the brunt of that. Finally, the attitude of “I pay taxes, you are my servant” is rampant. People get angry about the material we have or don’t have on the shelves. They get angry that we don’t have all the answers. They get angry that “everything” isn’t on the Internet. It can be exhausting, overwhelming and emotional for someone who is HSP.
A disclaimer about myself: I have also been diagnosed with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. I realize that this play a role in my ability to cope with my job. At this point in my life (40 and single) I am looking for a new job/career where I can be alone most of the time. With everything that I am dealing with, I am increasingly unable to cope with situations.
Thank you for providing a knowledgeable and comprehensive site. As a professional, I appreciate the breadth and depth of the information. As a person who is HSP, I cannot express how much it means to have access to others who can understand.
Blessings to you,
Hi Sunny Jen, thank you so much for this information. Gosh, I realize how little I know about the modern librarian. I had no idea; I appreciate you sharing the reality!! Thanks for commenting and for your kind comments about the site.
Sunny Jen, you could be me! (Or I could be you…) I’ve been a public librarian for eight years and I’m ready to switch tracks again. Librarianship is my second career and I hate to have to start over again, but I simply can’t take it anymore. Everything you said is true. Our staff keeps shrinking, yet we are told to suck it up and keep doing MORE MORE MORE because management is so paranoid about the perception that libraries aren’t relevant anymore. I also have FM and CFS, which sucks when you’re trying to answer a reference question and having a foggy day. The politics is ridiculous too. I couldn’t believe how cutthroat the library system could be. And if you’re not one of the “favored few,” it doesn’t matter how hard you work; it’ll never be recognized. I’d be curious to know whether you’ve left librarianship, and if so, what are you doing now? I’m looking for ideas. 🙂
I’m an academic librarian and it can be a very good fit for HSPs, with intelligent or technically complex work, a private office if you’re lucky (!), and yet a social impact by either cataloging and digitizing cultural materials, or by teaching or consulting directly with professors and students. However, two master’s degrees and work experience are often required for an ‘entry-level’ job with the librarian title. My survey of recent MLS grads is linked above!
I agree with Jen. I got burned out working at the public library, but I did find my calling in the library field as a cataloger. Not all cataloging jobs are this way, but I have a flexible schedule, little supervision, I’m good at coding and thinking about books on a deeper level. If you don’t know what a cataloger does, basically when books come in, we create the record in the catalog to best represent the book so people can find it. So if you love details and not dealing without a lot of people, but love helping them cataloging can be a great job for hsps, but I know I’m biased 😉
Hello Sunny Jen,
I’m 45 and I discovered to be an HSP 1 year ago. This finally shed light on my personality and on many events happened in the past. I have been trying to understand which job is fit for me. After 4 years from your comment, did you have any luck in finding one?
Of y Nov 5 2014 I ve sadly completed 9 years in call centre industry .I wanted to kill my self in 2011 but the fact Of who wud take care of my widoe mom n mentally handicapped sister put me more stress n hence couldn kill my self yet.reason I had joined call center was Bcos I had this deep fascination towards English speaking with native.the salary remains the same that of four years ago.the other passion that I be had since childhood was movies.but bloody hell my palm sweats n drips n I become extremely nervous I coulfn give it a short..st the age of 31,I m terribly frustrated n confused bout a best career I can chose.I vr been depressed since 2008.I have changed about 8 companies in 8 years.not getting e enough courage to kill myself.I m exceptionally handsome gentle man but can’t get married Bcos I m worthless,and undignified n work for the cheapest corporate salary is my age.
It has been a year since your post, and I am new to this site, but I would love to know how you are doing! You mentioned some really tough life challenges that you were dealing with including a major depression. Did you seek counselling to help you deal with these challenges? I applaud you for reaching out and asking for advice and I think it is incredible that you chose a profession that would help you with a personal goal (talking to native English speakers)! Eventhough the job did not seem to make you happy, it is great that you made use of the opportunity! I hope you have found (or will seek out) help to improve how you feel as you deserve to be happy and be open to receiving love! If you want to boost your self-esteem and overall mood, TEDx talks can be of help and I personally got a real empowered feeling from Oprah Winfrey’s Lifeclass with Tony Robbins and from other motivational speakers. I hope you are feeling better, or will do so very soon!
Thank you very much for replying …
I came to know of Steve Jobs a HSP.but.I still don agree…a HSP can handle the stress of a CEO???.
Unlike other HSP my short comings keep me hurt always.I have this hyper hydrolis-sweaty n drippy palms…and I go extremely nervous..both go hand in hand..I am passionate of both English languag and films made in English n Malayalam…
I have challenges in learning a new product fast and I tend to forget and/or mix up things I jus learnt..:-(
Retail…..worst job for an HSP. Ive had 10+ retail jobs because I wouldn’t last more than 3 months to a year. I am so grateful to now know that I am not the mistake, but that merely my choices for myself were. I am an HSP trying to live a completely insensitive person’s life…it is destroying me. Time to make a change, what an inspiration and awakening this has been.
Yes! I worked a handful of retail jobs, and the only one I really thrived in was at an independent bookstore. Both the people I worked with and the customers were people I could connect to.
Besides…helping someone to find that ‘perfect’ book for their grandchild/friend/etc. was a service that really had value for me.
Holidays were the worst, though. Too much energy and chaos–but as long as I survived those, I was fine, haha.
I actually worked in retail part-time for a few years in high school and college. I was actually fired from my first retail job after 2 years for using the loud speaker to respond to a group of pre-teen girls that came in the store, knocked over panties, and laughed at me for being upset. As they walked out the store, they yelled back insults and I was right next to the speaker (at the other end of the store), so I grabbed it and told them to meet me when I get off… Very silly/stupid of me. I’m sure their actions wouldn’t have bothered a non-HSP nearly as much as it REALLY bothered me. I used to be very shy and timid, but in high school, I started to “fight back.”
My least favorite job was telemarketing. People were so mean! It paid more than retail jobs, so I was attracted to it. However, I only lasted a month. I just couldn’t take the emotional abuse regardless of the pay. :/
Haha, I love this story!!!
I would NOT be able to handle telemarketing at all!
Amen! My partner opened a gourmet food business with a retail aspect and I helped out for a few years. I was great at cooking alone in the kitchen (though the deadlines got to me) but I started having panic attacks in the retail environment. The last straw was when a well-meaning colleague got right in my face and said “Don’t you want to be out socializing? AREN’T YOU HAVING FUN?” and I told her in no uncertain terms exactly how I felt… I won’t repeat it here due to swear words and possible trigger warnings. Needless to say, she “called HR” (which was my partner) and I was fired. Best thing that ever happened to me. Thankfully my partner has been growing more & more understanding about my anxiety and what I need to do to cope (i.e., what I need to do to cope with being an HSP).
I’m currently at the age of 16, I’m considering being a Residential electricians( install, maintain and upgrade electrical equipment in apartments and houses. They may also install outdoor landscape lighting.) or a Master electricians (highly skilled electricians who generally work in a supervisory role or own contracting businesses. ), but do you guys think it’s a good idea for a person with HSP? I’m lost.
Thanks in advance 🙂
Hi Niclas, thanks for your comment. I don’t have personal experience in this area but maybe someone else can give advice?
So glad I found this blog. I’m 25, super depressed, socially and generally anxious since forever. When I started reading about HSPs and realized that’s who I am, it was a relief for me but also frustrating because non-HSPs still don’t understand me. I have quit every job I’ve ever had since I was 16 because of my anxieties and sensitivity, because of overwhelming tasks or management who talked down to me and didn’t value me. My friends and family and colleagues don’t understand why I’m not super motivated by money. What’s more important to me is being happy and comfortable in a positive environment with people I respect. I’ve been a Licensed Massage Therapist for over three years now. The massage world is not always a fun place to be, especially for those like me who can’t afford to do their own thing. I absolutely love what I do, but it has been extremely stressful. I’ve been criticized by employers/potential employers for my personal techniques, regardless of positive client feedback. I’ve been pressured to be just like everyone else, and it’s made it even more difficult for me to fine a niche. I’ve been criticized for not being good at marketing myself, which is something that feels totally unnatural to me. My first real job as a therapist was under a non-therapist owner who absolutely killed my spirit and under-valued me. I built a strong clientele there over the course of a year and a half, but dealing with that environment (including all kinds of unethical practices going on around me) drained me emotionally and physically. I left the clients that I cared about so much and took another job. And of course that job was hardly different. Five months there and on to the next. I have such a hard time trusting people now, and I considered giving up massage completely before my long-term relationship ended abruptly last month and I moved 600 miles away, back in with my mom, to start all over again. It’s terrifying! I found this site because I’m looking for a non-massage job right now and I want one where I’m going to last longer than six months. Sorry for the long post, it feels good to get it all out 🙂
Hi Jill, thank you so much for sharing and I’m sorry you are hurting. You are not alone! I am interested to hear from a massage therapist because I always wondered if that would be a good job for an HSP. Other than office politics or bad management, do you still enjoy the actual practice of giving massage therapy? Congratulations on taking steps to try to find a new career that works for your temperament. Perhaps you could even do just a little massage therapy on the side once you find another job/career to do instead. What work are you looking into?
Hi ! any update? Did you find a non massage job?
As mentioned earlier,I have had to work at about 15 companies in the past 11 years(since early 2005)!!!! Now that I am considering a massage therapy job,would you not suggest me doing this one and establish my self atleast in two years when i turn 35 and then sadly and depressingly get married!
After working mundane yet stressful jobs in the healthcare field for several years I thought I chose a new career path that suited me well as a health coach but am finding that it is bittersweet. I feel I am good at it but I don’t have the personality to “sell” (it is not a service that provides instant gratification!) to clients nor to do the marketing I need to do in order to get enough clients to make a living. I have no desire to do public speaking or to be a public figure in order for people to know who I am. I have been certified for four years now and have only seen clients here and there as a side job as I cannot rely on it for steady income. I thought this was the perfect fit for me and now I feel totally lost and wonder what other career to choose and I feel like my options are limited due to finances and other circumstances so I get super depressed. So self employment IS ideal for an HSP but not so much if you have to sell your services and market yourself in my opinion.
Hi Karuna, thank you for sharing. I have heard other people who also share this struggle. For me, I have a hard time “bragging” about myself. It’s also why I’m terrible in job interviews. That said, I enjoy online marketing where I don’t have to talk to real people 🙂
I know you said your options are limited due to finances, but I wonder if you could hire/pay someone to help with marketing yourself? Or maybe there are some online courses you could take? Or perhaps, find other coaches doing similar to what you want to do and copy them. 🙂 Not sure if this is helpful….
I thought I would just answer your question about being a massage therapist and an HSP. I am 39 and I have been a qualified massage therapist since I was 19. I have only just found out that I am HSP and it has answered so many questions about me. It sounds to me that Jill is a very good massage therapist and that it’s the people around her that are the problem. I have been very fortunate to have worked in some lovely beauty salons with some great women and I made quite a name for myself as The massage woman to see if you have aches and pains. Being so sensitive made me good at my job because I could always sense where people were hurting then I could have a conversation with them to sort out how to resolve their problem; (I’m Welsh so we are always talking, but I do know when to be quiet as well). So the actual job itself is great for a HSP, it’s the environment that I would say is the problem. Thank you. Cara.
Thank you for sharing, Cara. It sounds like this is the case for many jobs–it is the environment and the people around you that make or break it. Unfortunately it is difficult to select/suss out who will and won’t be good to work with when you start in a position. Luck is also involved…..there is no easy answer. :/
That said, I’m thrilled to hear you enjoy your job and have found a way to use your HSP traits to your advantage.
diolch i chi
Dear kelly , since my last post back in november 2014, i have turned 33, even more frustrated,sad,depressed. The fact that I have not worked in just one company and havent yet got marrid yet!!! is becoming night marish!!!I am Serious. As you had mentioned,its the work enviroment and people attitude towars you and other co workers make or break a career. You know what,among the 15 companies i had worked, only Accenture management respected me for being a human first(not an hsp)..yes, I mean respect.where they disrespect me, I have either ran away taking their training months salary or resigned voluntarily,,oh my god on september 30th I had lost a job due to a dirrty narcississt trainer,whom i complained to the hr people..i was sent home at 2 am with no cab ,stating i didnt clear the assessment. Its been close to a week now and i am slowly recovering from th shock.Till yesterday I sounded as though I had got a severe soar throat..I sounded like a different persson,you see..yesterday when I went to one of the agencies to find a job, i was rejected stating i have too much of work experience..OMG have I come to the end of the world. where there is no more life!!
Hello..i’m extremely sensitive but I also have no college education. All of the work at college is too overwhelming for me to stick through with it. Are there any jobs that don’t require a degree for someone who is sensitive?
Did you find a solution to your job search yet? What would you be interested in if anything was possible? Are there courses available? 1 course / training may be less overwhelming than an entire curriculum and still get you on a path that leads to a job you want. Would you prefer a course in a small class room, a virtual classroom (via WebEx or such a thing) or a completely written online course? If you know what suits you best, you can narrow your search and work towards a profession you would enjoy. If there are aspects of a job you find less attractive, you can also try to search for ways to work around the issue, perhaps with a career counsellor. Good luck on your quest!
You mentioned career counsellor as a way to find work. Would this not also possibly be a suitable job for someone who is a HSP since the role is dealing with looking at someone’s professional possibility’s rather than personal crises ?
Sure, I think career counselor could be a good job for an HSP. However, one would need to make sure they are ok with spending a lot of time face-to-face with people.
Libraries are not a good place for HSPs. I am an HSP myself and even in my small library I get exhausted from dealing with patrons’ petty problems/demands, especially when it comes to computer illiteracy. I get so tired of having to explain the same simple steps all the time. I also do programming, which involves going out on the town and meeting people, arranging for guest speakers and advertising. Not a good combination for me. I’d rather be in a back room organizing or filing something than have to deal with getting people to come to our events. I want to quit because this coming year our director wants us to do even more. ><
Hi Natale, I agree! I started studying my Masters to be a Librarian but wanted to say a Librarian is a very out there role in my experience and not at all what people think it is. Its all customer service and requires someone with a lot of social energy. However, careers advisors will often point introverts in that direction! There are the back room jobs but they are rare and sought after of course 🙂
HSPs could thrive in sales! When I worked in sales, I WAS MISERABLE at first. Everyday I secretly daydreamed of escaping to a different type of work, but at that time options were limited. At some point I embraced sales and then suddenly my ability to match customers with their needs just blossomed. Like most things in life, all it took was a shift in perspective. Suddenly I was enjoying success and personal satisfaction at work.
My formula for thriving in sales: know your products inside and out, REALLY LISTEN to customers, intuit what would make them happy, they leave satisfied. Win win win win!
Working in the beauty industry for 10+ years was very enriching for me. While you are beautifying another person, you seem to access each other’s private life in such an effortless way. Maybe I am socially awkward but just put me in a salon and suddenly I have amazing interactions with everyone, total strangers and/or familiar faces.
So, yeah! Hairdressers, manicurists, estheticians.. HSPs can be a natural fit as cosmetologists. <3
Janitorial work also suited me well. I joked with people that it allowed me to get paid for my ODC desire to clean and sanitize the world. But I wasn't joking, it WAS TRUE! 🙂 I actually love being paid to do this. There's something cathartic about cleaning/ organizing your surroundings, it just declutters your mind and spirit too.
I’m back to share observations from my experience as a semi-pro musician. (Not full-pro; most of our public appearances are for benefits/ fundraising events in our community. This is basically just a hobby for me.)
As an introvert HSP, the first few times I played and sang in front of my current bandmates it was so terrifying. The only way I could describe it: when it was time to do my songs, it felt like I was about to stand in front of a firing squad and face my ultimate demise. So why would someone like myself want to do this?!? Keep in mind this was already after my 30th birthday, but I was still relatively new to singing and had been training with a vocal instructor in my spare time. At this stage in my life, it felt like there was some “now or never” pressure to finally bust out and see where my love of song could take me.
All this being said, when I am onstage in front of an audience the emotions I feel are all awesome and uplifting. Nerves are not even a factor. It’s like I am just another audience member who is there to celebrate song, except that the music just happens to being coming FROM me. I hope that makes some sense?
To summarize: randomly ask me to sing in a small room of very few people and I will wither away and not cooperate. But give me a microphone and an instrument and I will perform my heart out to a massive group of random people. Singing to just a few people or one person is TOO WEIRD AND INTIMATE. Do we look at each other? Do we have to make eye contact? What do I do with my arms and hands? omg ahhhh! Lol
Many performers probably crave attention and adoration and this motivates them. This does not motivate me so I will avoid performing just for the sake of showboating or “look what I can do!” So please never put me on the spot and say to me at work, “Hey, you’re in a band. Sing something!”
Hey Monica, thanks so much for sharing! This is awesome. I think enjoying performing in front of crowds is a high sensation-seeking HSP, for sure! I am so happy that you get so much from singing. I feel the same way about speaking to groups–if it is about a topic I am passionate about, I feel energized by it! Not all HSPs are afraid of public speaking and performing and we are an example of that!
I’m an engineer (electrical/automation), born in 1962, just figured out I’m HSP, and I’m an Introvert. From what I heard from a camera man, extroverted people who are happy to perform socially often fail completely when you aim a camera at them, whereas the more shy introvert ones can easily do it, or talk to a large public. And it’s my own experience as well, and kind of fits your experience maybe.
Thank you so much Monica! You hit on at least two principles. You opened up to a shift in perspective without forcing it, and focused on the people you serve. This is different from what I used to do, changing myself to please people or trying to control what other people think of me. I still tend to be obsessive about controlling my obsessions and perfectionistic about curbing my perfectionism. I work so hard to relax and get myself in a tizzy pursuing peace! I’m only half-joking. One day I told myself “no self improvement today”! So I found a book about finding joy. One day I will just do it.
Monica, I love your comments 🙂 You know, I sort of agree with your sales comments. My husband is in sales (currently, travel sales) and there are times when we are talking about it that I feel a twinge of how my HSP qualities would be beneficial. Like you said–I truly listen to people and would strongly want to match them with a perfect travel experience. I totally get what you are saying! So maybe this is making me re-consider my sales stance….a little bit 🙂
Thank you for this! I used to think sales was the #1 WORST thing for HSPs but have since changed my mind. It depends on so many factors, including whether the HSP believes in what they are selling. I did a podcast episode about this topic: http://highlysensitiveperson.net/episode33/
I am so happy to read your comment and see you had this experience. HSPs LOVE to help people, and you were selling a product/experience that actually helped–so that was a win-win!
So. I recently found out I’m probably HS (i though i was just finicky) and i’ve given it a lot of though. I’m currently studying Veterinary Medicine but my friends and family pressure me to follow my “dream” career and be a (human) doctor. I’m just afraid it might be too much, too much human interaction, too much pressure and over-stimulation. Has any of you have some advice for me, maybe share your experience? Thanks a lot!
What is your current study situation? Did you decide after your post?
Do you have a preference for being a specific type of human doctor? On this website a nurse wrote about her job in the ER which seemed to be exactly what you are afraid of, but I know that per hospital and type of specialization the job can be more or less demanding. If it is life or death situations you would be too uncomfortable with, less of this happens in dermatology for example, or as a general practioner, or a medical advisor in a pharmaceutical company in phase 4 trials (already marketed medication). Perhaps you can find more information on what would suit you, or if you already did, please send an update, so we can benefit of your research results 🙂
Thank you so much for your help and your suggestions! This last summer I re-took the admission exams (that’s how it works in my country) but I still didn’t get in medical school, so I’m currently on my third year of VetMedicine. I realise being a Vet is also highly demanding in comunication skills and assertiveness, some owners may drive you crazy and dealing with animals’ illness and death (and the choice of eutanasia) may be too much, but I also think sensitivity and empathy are fundamental traits of a good doctor. Although I’m actually really enjoying veterinary medicine, I always wanted to be an obstetrician, so I decided to finish this course and practice for a while and then decide if human medicine is really the only choice for me. What I do know I need to be doing is direct work with my patients, like a “hands-on approach”, hard as that may be.
Great article, I am in the process of career transitioning. I am currently a massage therapist and it is nice, I get to make my own schedule, no boss or someone watching over me except the client looking up at me lol. But its quiet and relaxing, 1 on 1 interaction is great, the only thing I am finding is that it is boring. I need something to stimulate my creative mind and don’t like spending time all day in the same small room, I need expansion plus massage can take a toll on your body overtime and can be physically exhausting. Thanks for posting now I have some options to consider.
Mitch, thanks for your comment! I have always been curious about being a massage therapist and whether it would be a good career for an HSP. I can definitely see how it could be boring. Thanks for sharing!
I just started looking at HSPs and work. I loved my old jobs because I got to create the policies and procedures and spreadsheets and was left alone (capital projects for public utilities, cost/schedule control for tank ammunition, research and development for computer products). However, because I am totally open, other people could take my energy and wipe me out. Being sensitive, I was just one giant, raw nerve. I did spiritual stuff like Reiki shares, guided meditations and Landmark Education to keep my spirits up. That helped tremendously. I also found a shaman (young mother, German) who sealed up my aura so I wasn’t so open and raw and also did the John of God crystal chakra healing at my local Unity church (cheaply – love offering). I have recently been doing emotional freedom technique (eft), mirror work, the Ho’onopono Hawaiian forgiveness prayer with eft and guided forgiveness meditations (Jack Kornfield on youtube), for instance. As someone pointed out to me, a hit man has the sensitivity of a Mack truck. Also, Oprah Super Soul Sunday. Reading. Mindfulness. It all helps. Lose the guilt and shame and blame. Other people don’t care. HSPs could adopt a little bit of that attitude. Am currently reading “Don’t Sweat the Big Stuff” by Richard Carlson. It’s a lot like Landmard Education and how to live a successful life. Also, If anyone has had any big losses, The Grief Club by Melodie Beattie is a great book. I didn’t realize that it is normal to experience guilt when someone close to you dies. Also, too many losses can cause people to get stuck. Hospice and my local Unity church have free grief support groups. I have attended support groups before and experienced coming into greater personal power even though I didn’t talk during the group session. I am also using Bach and Flower Essence Society flower remedy Pine for self forgiveness. Beech is for people who are overly sensitive to people and environments (being imperfect). Although I haven’t tried it yet. I can only do the forgiveness work intermittently. It’s too much to do all the time. Be patient with yourself. It’s all good. I have also used astrology books to set boundaries with others (my parents especially). One I recommend is “The Secret Language of Luck” by Gary Goldschneider concerning our Jupiter and Saturn personality traits that we are working with in this lifetime. Genius! Good luck everybody. Great website!
Hi Beth, wow, thank you for sharing all these resources! Good for you for being so proactive and trying so many things to help/improve yourself–I should take a page out of your book! Do you have a blog? I think you should more in detail about all these experiences and how they helped you!
What about an audiologist? I was looking into speech pathology and found this as a related career that I could possibly be more passionate about, considering that I am a musician that highly values the sense of hearing.
I’m an audiologist and consider myself a HSP. If you truly love the science of hearing and can handle academia, then working on the research side might good, cause you can work alone and really dive into the books. However, most audiologists work in a clinic where hearing aid sales is the biggest source of revenue. Sales mentality is really important and, for me, very draining. In the clinic, there’s lots of patients and potential for lots of negative energy. Very important to maintain boundaries in an office.
Thanks for sharing!!
Hi Kelly and all,
I am looking for a new career possibility. Is being midwife a suitable job for an HSP?what about Medical Diagnostic Radiographer or Medical Radiation Therapist?
Or should i be a preschool or kindergarten teacher? thanks in advance for your feedback.
My wife just gave birth, with the midwifes flying around, and in/out between events. To me a midwife looked like an extrovert dealing with the very now :-).
I’m an RN and have had a hard time working in my role as a HSP. Like other nurses in here have stated, I take things too personally (deaths, mistakes, patient’s personal problems) and the horizontal violence ever-present in nursing makes it hard to deal with coworkers. There are also unrealistic expectations of availability (outside the acute care setting), in roles of home health and hispice, where you are basically getting texted, emailed, or called at all hours regarding payient’s status or needs. It’s exhausting to feel that you’re never really “off”.
I’ve bounced from job to job as well, and usually because of the interactions from fellow nurses or management. There is a major problem with nursing that will likely not be fixed anytime soon. I love helping people and love nursing people back to health, but the politics, expectations, and the abusive coworkers just make it not worth it. If it were just about taking care of sick people, it’d be perfect, but the side issues of nursing just overwhelm me.
There is a huge responsibility in nursing, being that you have lives in your hands. Any mistake made (no matter how small) would eat away at me and I would dwell on it for days or weeks. Even if something wasn’t my fault (off-shift occurrence or no relation to my care), I would take it personally and feel that I could have done more. I spent a month feeling horrible over a payient’s hospitalization (home health) even though it had zero to do with my care and there was nothing I could have done. I just took it so personally, no matter how hard I tried not to.
I also struggle with feeling like I am “weird” because negative interactions, criticisms, and injustices hit me to the core. I can’t just let things roll off my back or let them go. If I see people doing wrong, I have to speak up. At my first nursing job, I spoke up and had to leave because nothing was going to change. I was also bullied. Everyone else was unhappy with the situation, but I was the only one to speak up because it was just wrong. I feel like its a pattern in my life and as much as I want to change it, I can’t. Which makes me even more frustrated with myself.
I was crying yesterday to my husband that I just want to be like everyone else who goes to a job and comes home and the side stuff didn’t get to me.
I want to work with people and help them achieve positive healthcare outcomes, but I want to do it on my time (I’m a mom and wife as well and put that first), so I am thinking of volunteering as a nurse for nonprofits. The money isn’t what matters, I just want to feel like I’m doing something that matters, while feeling like it isn’t draining me or killing me. I feel lost most of the time and wish I could just find something that works for me.
Hi Madie, you have overcome so many things such has nursing school and working at a hospital. I am a pre-nursing student and I’m struggling to make a decision to whether to continue with nursing or not. I also take things too personally and I just can’t imagine the idea of been overwhelmed by those coworkers and feeling that everything is my fault because I feel too much. I understand you because I want to help people during their weakest moments but I just don’t want to have so much responsibility because I know It will affect be. I just want to have a peaceful life, do you know if working at a clinic is less stressful than working at a hospital?
Hi Mandi! I relate very closely to you! I am an RN as well and I’m having a hard time working with stressors such a difficult coworkers, being charge nurse, etc. I do love my patients and helping others , I find great fulfillment in that. I know being a HSP makes me an even greater nurse and have noticed patients enjoy me as their nurse. But I also have trouble with difficult coworkers, conflicts, and I am the one to speak up if something isn’t right. I also take remarks from coworkers which is just situational frustration personally. I can’t talk myself out of the fact that they aren’t mad at me. I loose a lot of sleep feeling frustrated with myself from my over reaction to things but I do love my job, and for now I think I am sticking it out to see if therapy will help or possible help through this website !
Hi Mandie, I know I am replying 4 years after you posted this but just wanted to say I can relate 1,000% with everything you said. I had the very same experience throughout my entire working life where I’m at I would always feel the same way wondering how do people just get to their jobs without letting things bother them. I would always do the same cream which is to speak up when I saw someone doing something wrong or backstabbing another co-worker and I end up getting myself in trouble over it. everyone else just to go along with the office politics and picking out a scapegoat for everyone to gang up on and bully and a lot of times that would become me. I have always been so sensitive that made me the perfect easy target for the office bullies, mean girls club, etc. They didn’t care about how good someone is at their job, they just care about how well you suck up and kiss the butts of the “right” people. I read a lot about narcissistic abuse which is something I dealt with growing up and thisbhad a big impact on me. If you research narcissistic abuse and how to protect yourself from it, you may find it helps a lot. What direction did you end up taking with your nursing? I also want to say how much I can appreciate what nurses do and the stress they are under — my mother is a retired RN who worked in ICU for 35 years. Nurses literally are in life or death situations every day and I can’t even imagine the stress that must cause.
I’m a mature student thinking about going back to study at University. I am interested in doing either Astrophysics/ Physics, or Civil/ Mechanical/ Electrical Engineering. I understand now that I am a HSP, and wanted to make sure I wasn’t overcommitting myself going into these areas. Wanted to check as I couldn’t see anything mentioned on any of these fields. You wouldn’t have any knowledge/ advice about how any of these subjects/ fields could relate to a HSP.
My education was electronics (Bsc). It depends on the roles you get, and the company culture and your colleagues, and quite a lot on your manager. And what roles you get probably depends on your personality. There’s a book “the pathfinder” that has been helpful to me in breaking down my personality and matching it with possible careers. Deadlines you do have in engineering, but not as bad as in many other roles described in this forum. Female engineers are often clever with facts and not so much with visual (how stuff works) and often ends up as team leaders, coordinators, technical secretaries, etc. A balanced personality helps in any profession, but that’s likely not always the case for HSP. Engineers are often dominantly introverts, and that’s o.k., but if one is very introvert one likely struggles with interaction with colleagues, and needs a independent role (as mentioned by others above). B.R. Finn 50+.
This is a wonderful post and I’m glad I found it.
I am in my early 30s and was very successful in being a graphic designer, then later web designer, however I have been laid off twice in this career and since then I am a little depressed and starting to think about switching careers. It all depends who is your boss and with what kind of people you are working with. The right people can make you thrive in your job and trust you in what you do, the wrong people will make your life hell. In my current job, there is a lot of office politics and people fighting for power and I am stuck in the middle. I was hoping to switch to a rewarding career. I always wanted to help people or little children, but now I am reading about the stress from being an RN or working with small kids. I thought that perhaps an Occupational Therapist career might join the two fields together: art & medicine. Is there anybody who is currently an therapist and is that stressful since you do deal with people every day? I am creative individual, but very sensitive. I have a hard time to deal with critique, take little things too personally, cry a lot, I hate being micromanaged or work on small level tasks. I prefer projects where I can set my own schedule. I would love to receive some suggestions etc. and yes, I attempted having my own business, but I also love having a steady income. I have small children and would rather stay home with them if I could but unfortunately we have bills to pay.
Hi Elizabeth, thanks for sharing. I have thought about going into graphic design. I think you make a great point–so much depends on the company and the people you work with. If you have a micromanaging boss who wants tons of little changes to every project…that would be annoying. I thought I would like graphic design because I like creating things and it’s not a really high-touch job where I would need to talk to people all the time. But every job has its positives and negatives. Could you do freelance graphic design? It’s not “steady” like you said, but at least you can make your own schedule. Or you could work part-time.
I don’t know much about occupational therapy–maybe someone else can weigh in?
Occupational therapy is highly stressful career. There are quotas you have to meet and you have to be on all day as you are training clients, their families and nursing staff. Having worked in the field for 10 years and have seen how the field has changed I would not recommend it to someone that us highly sensitive. It can be extremely overwhelming and most are not able to work in private practice. I was happiest when I worked per-diem for myself and could make my own hours but it was still a high stress job where you are answering to the rehab director, the physicians, patients and their families, nursing staff etc. On top of all that you only have x amount of time to document your time with a client. I would not recommend this profession.
I would not recommend Occupational therapy as it is a VERY stressful field and requires a lot of multi-tasking and interacting and answering to others. I worked in the area for 10 years. If you were to go into OT perhaps focusing on hand therapy, in an independent practice, home care or per diem would be less stressful; however, there would still be a lot of stress regardless but just less than if you worked in a subacute setting. I would suggest shadowing a therapist to get an idea of what a typical day is like. Over time and with changes in healthcare it has become much more demanding and stressful due to needing to meet productivity levels that are unrealistic. Not trying to scare you but just being honest and realistic.
MG, thank you for sharing your experience!
What about occupational therapy assistant? I am im my mid -30’s and need to switch careers. Where I work now has almost all of the hallmarks of jobs we should not b doing. I too really want to help people, and work mostly with children. I was looking into this field and wonder if anyone has entered this themselves and found it successful? Its a 2-year degree which is very appealing to me since I really want to feel in control of my life.
I wanted to be a school counselor. I had even decided to change careers and pursue a school counseling degree last year, but changed my mind. I know I have a passion for helping, talking to, and counseling underprivileged students, but I feared that I am not strong enough to handle hearing their stories, doubts, difficulties, and not breaking down or getting emotionally spent, and maybe even dragging it into my home life. That’s what led me to google jobs for HSPs. I wanted to know if counseling would be recommended or on the “jobs to avoid” list because I can see how we would be great counselors (good at our jobs), but I also would think that it would be extremely emotionally draining and depressing for us (bad for ourselves and personal lives). I skimmed the comments trying to see if any counselors weighed in, but unfortunately not.
Hi Monique, thank you for sharing. I have had similar thoughts. I thought about being a counselor, therapist, or working with animals, because I desire to help people/animals, but I feared the negative, sad things would weigh on me too much. So I totally know where you are coming from.
I agree. Theoretically and in its purest form, yes, it’d probably be a great fit. But the realities of that line of work paint a very different picture of what it means to be a counselor. This goes for other over-working, under-paying helping professions like teaching and social work. It’s not that money matters when referencing the underpaid piece, but when you are already physically, mentally, and emotionally drained by your work, the last thing you want to realize is that you can barely make ends meet, thereby creating financial stress on top of all the other stresses.
Several years ago, I got a master’s degree in social work with the intent to become a mental health counselor and work with children and adolescents. After several internships and positions in the field, I have found the work to be incredibly draining. The pros are creating your own schedule, generally not being micromanaged, and the occasional breakthrough with a client. One of my great joys has been connecting with clients and validating their experiences and emotions. The cons include regular conflicts with others, an overwhelming amount of input and various demands from others, and constant emotional drain. I have also found that if your work environment isn’t extremely supportive, it’s easy to feel alone and unappreciated. I found out that I am a highly sensitive person during graduate school, and am currently looking into a career in the fine arts. Good luck!
Betsy, thank you for your input. I am 24 and graduated with a degree in psychology. I spent a year working as a behavioral therapist with autistic children and was so drained everyday. After a year, it stopped being rewarding because of how I felt. I currently work as an insurance adjuster which involves talking on the phone a lot, an open noisy work environment and being micromanaged by my manager. After 6 months in the role, I am starting to feel drained and unfulfilled. I have been considering going back for my masters in social work or mental health counseling, as my passion is helping people and mental health really hits home for me. I worry that long days listening to patient after patient will be too draining for me. Were you able to come up with a better solution of managing your schedule to prevent burnout? Also what are you going to school for now?
Hi Monique, I am a HSP working as a school counsellor (not in the US), and I agree that it’s both fulfilling and draining at times; BUT I find that (having been blessed with amazing colleagues) has helped me a lot – I debrief with them after a session that has taken a lot out of me. However, most times I won’t need to as not every case will be so heavy; I suppose it also depends on how sensitive you are, how joyful/painful growing up has been and how well you have dealt with your own issues. So in a nutshell, like most careers, the surrounding factors are very important, and I think with all careers think about ways that you could gather support you need to do it well (maybe form a support network for your chosen career path). Hope this helps!
My final thoughts on careers/jobs for HSPs: As mentioned, I think a lot of it does depend on the workplace and the colleagues and the environment overall. Thinking about the HSPs I know, and their careers, I think the generalizations I can make are that HSPs tend to do better when they escape from others and be alone if necessary, but can also find socialization and/or trusted advisors if needed for support.
The tools I use for coping at work are mindfulness meditation and deep breathing to help me relax, and headphones so I can drown out conversations or environmental noise, and people around me who understand that if my headphones are on, I don’t want to be disturbed.
Some of the comments I’ve seen on here made me think of budgeting to help you really assess which expenses are necessary and which can be pared back — http://www.youneedabudget.com/ and http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/ are great resources for this.
Also, the website https://habitrpg.com/ is something I keep pulled up on my computer. I found a daily habits list on that site for HSPs, and it reminds me to do things like: Say “no”; Plan your schedule; Get the lighting right; Fight clutter; Surround yourself with beauty and nature; Avoid crowds; Bring healthy snacks and water.
I had no idea I was HSP until a co-worker described me that way one day last week. I thought it over, looked it up online and low and behold, I think it is the most accurate description of myself that I have ever heard. After finding your site by searching for jobs best suited for HSP, this particular post, I realized I had found my new home and people very similar to myself. What a relief to not feel like there is something wrong with my head or that my hormones must always be out of whack. Upon further reading, I also think I am best described as the extroverted HSP. I feel like I sort of forced myself into that at a young age though. I always thought I was introverted as a young girl and would make myself seek things out (like acting on a stage or being a cheerleader in front of the crowds at high school and college games) that would force me to put on a face and being more outgoing and extroverted. But, just like I read in your post about extrovert HSP, I tire easily and can only handle the excitement of social activity to a certain level. And then, I MUST unplug.
Alas, I will finish with a resounding Thank You! I will be here forever now, my new friends 🙂
Welcome, Angie!! Your comment really made me smile. I am so glad you are here and have found a sense of belonging and community!!! 😀
Oh, please take dental hygienist off your list! It is a horrid job for highly sensitive people. I know because I was one. You are constantly under serious pressure to beat the clock…and it gets worse all the time due to all the necessary documentation. Also, you are working inches from people all day long. You never have any privacy or any downtime as every dentist on this earth books the hygienist with patients every second of the day…no time for a coffee break or even to go to the restroom. You have to work with patients who are often irritable, demanding, jumpy, or scared to death of even just having their teeth cleaned. As a HSP, there wasn’t a day when I just wanted to run off and get away from people. I could not wait to be by myself…even just sitting in my car alone at lunchtime or finally getting in my car and driving home at 5:00 pm. I didn’t mind the 5:00 pm traffic. At least, I was finally alone!
Sharon, thank you for your comment. I think I will take it off the list!
I have to agree about not going into dental hygiene. I’m very detail oriented & sometimes patients just don’t like or appreciate that. It also hurts/distresses me when I hurt my patients (which just has to happen sometimes in order to help them get to a state of health). I work in a public health setting, so Isfeed off the encounters in which patients are grateful for my services, but otherwise, I completely concur with Sharon’s comment. Dental hygiene is highly stressful, physically (constantly hunched over doing repetitive motions), mentally (constantly watching the clock & trying to determine best patient-centered treatment), and emotionally (not taking it to heart when a patient doesn’t like you, says you’re too rough, managing their pain). It’s taxing… That’s why I’m going back to school, I’m actually thinking about pursuing allopathic or osteopathic medicine (relieved to see that’s on your list for us HSPs!).
Thanks for the input!!
A career in culinary is thought to be one of the most convenient for Highly Sensitive People. A culinary career enables the chance to be around the most sensitive people on Earth; people counting on and indulging all their senses into food and ways to make food look, smell, feel and taste perfect. It is an art where a chef can comprehend and visualize the combinations of different recipes without tasting the food just as much as a music composer can assess a note without playing it. Loving aromas and appreciating millions of different kinds of food Lord has blessed and gifted us is a trait only sensitive people would master. Understanding and describing the messages your brain interpret as a result of tasting a certain food necessitates the same sensitivity for being able to value and express the purest form of romance and adore a man shares with a beautiful lady.
That is what I think.
Thanks, Russell! However, I wonder if working in a busy restaurant kitchen would be stressful? Maybe something like a pastry chef or personal chef would be better, what do you think?
Great post thankyou!! I am still trying to find a job that gives me some time away from things throughout the day to decompress.. but is still meaningful. I would like to say that working in early childhood (I work with one year olds)is not something that works for me a HSP, it is meaningful and rewarding but relentless, no time to decompress at all and the crying does produce a stress response which takes its toll on your body..I am getting anxiety symptoms now and frantically searching for an alternative career. So sad because I LOVE my work babies 🙁
For musicians, it depends. If you are in a highly competitive area in music (e.g., classical violinist), there will be more of the “cutthroat or competitive” issue you mentioned that is no good for HSP. You also could potentially have little control or end up being potentially money-driven if you are, say, an orchestral musician, yet you actually dislike playing in orchestra but took the position for financial stability and social expectation. I’d say really evaluate what type of music you will be involved in as a musician before deciding this is what you are going to do as a career.
The Accounting field may not be a great fit for HSPs. If you’re a CPA and work for yourself, it might be ok. But most of us work in an accounting department somewhere. This field is highly competitive (because its fairly lucrative) and there’s an inside joke in the field – anything that goes wrong in a company is the fault of the Accounting department (including things like “The toilet overflowed on the third floor… quick, call someone in Accounting! They didn’t pay the maintenance guy….” ) 🙂 I’m VERY sensitive to angry people and being blamed. Over the past 15 years in the field, I’ve worked in 2 large corporate environments and one very small mom & pop, and had the same experience at all of them. Just a thought! It might work out great for other people, and like all jobs, it depends most on the environment.
Thanks for the input, Rebekah! I think I’m realizing more and more that the environment is maybe more important than the work itself. Maybe it’s time to update this blog post, huh?! 🙂
Hi kelly, I am 22 years old and just completed my bachelors in business majoring in finance. A month ago I found an article regarding characteriatics of HSP and instantly after reading it I realised I am an extroverted HSP. I also took the test of Dr.Aron, and it was crystal clear why have I always been this way. I do not like confortation, I have a fear of being looked on for a long time, my face turns red as a tomato. I have some how managed to be normal for long now. But I also like social interaction and metting new people and going to places.
After knowing about my personality, I have been trying to learn more about HSP so that I can to understand myself better. Since, i just completed my graduation I am most of the times confused regarding my carrer. I dont wanna join someting and regret it later. I read almost all the comment section, and finally found something I could relate.
I am from Nepal, and planning to study abroad, US perhaps, a course called CPA, the one rebekah mentioned. I dont know whether it suits me or not. I can not afford to switch for other courses or be confused after the completion of the course.
It would be a great help of you suggest regarding my delimma, and also telling what sort of job should I go for, in finance or accounting sector, before I apply abroad. I want to gather some beforehand experience in a particular sector, later which I will be studying.
Hi Shristi, thank you for your message. I’m sorry to say I don’t have much personal experience with Accounting or Finance. I think, as with many jobs, it depends a lot on your workplace. It depends on your boss, co-workers, and work environment. I think Accounting could be a great job for an HSP if you find a workplace that mentions your temperament. I’m sorry I could be more specific; maybe someone else can chime in?
This is by far a one of the best posts I’ve seen for HSP. I’m just on the road to discovering that I have all the qualities of a HSP. I’m very empathetic towards others, hate confrontation, can be driven by emotions at times. I have worked in the administrative capacity for over 12 years and no matter what type of office or industry I have found that I just don’t feel like I fit in. I have overwhelming stress trying to keep everyone happy and of course don’t know how to say no. I need the income which is why I have been temping in the past year but I know working with high egos in an office is not my calling. I have a blog which I launched 4 years ago, its my baby and I really enjoy putting time and effort into it. I would love to make that a full time work at home job but blogging doesn’t pay. Writing is a calling but freelancing I hear is not lucrative. Any advice would be super helpful while I try to find my life purpose.
Friendly New Yorker,
Hi Maria, thanks for the note! I did a lot of admin work, too, also as a temp. I actually found it kind of freeing, once I realized that I could quit anytime I wanted (as a temp). But yes, it can be hard to keep everyone happy. Freelancing is hard because everything is up to you–which can cause anxiety and stress. You have to have the initiative to look for work, etc, and it is easy to procrastinate. Your blog looks very cool! I would think you make $ with affiliate sales, and maybe even get some free stuff from clothing companies? Yes/no? That is definitely a start. I only looked at it for a few moments, but could you write an ebook? Or offer an ecourse? Something about how to be stylish, maybe? Pick a niche… (personally, I would be interested in a ecourse/ebook about being stylish in your 30s! It’s so weird how I suddenly have no idea what to wear…) I digress. Ways to make money: create a product and sell it (ebook, ecourse, physical product, etc), or sell other people’s products, sell advertising, sell leads…. Think about the audience looking at your blog–who are they? Really think specifically about them. What do they want? What would they be interested in buying? I know us writers just want to WRITE but when you have a content blog, you gotta have a plan of how to monetize it. 🙂 I can speak exactly to that problem (look at this blog right here!)
OH, and if you don’t already have one–start building an email list!!
Hello. I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice as I am a fellow HSP and I’ve been struggling for a while to find the right job. I certainly know what I don’t like/cannot do: Anything stressful or involving multitasking which = stress for me. I can’t multitask, I like to focus on one thing at a time. I’m also very sensitive to my environment so a fairly peaceful environment is important – not chaotic or fast-paced with a lot going on. Also anything where I have to be “on” or talk to people constantly also feels stressful. I like having people around me and human interaction but not constant, also like to be independent. A mix is good. So I know that I can’t do retail, serving, or working at a clinic.
I’ve got it narrowed down to a few areas. One is admin work; I did that at my last job and I liked it a fair bit but had to quit for personal reasons. I realize admin varies a lot depending on the business – but this one I liked because it was at a martial arts school so I was focusing on only one thing at a time and there wasn’t a constant flow of people (unlike a clinic, which I recently worked at briefly and hated!)
I am also wondering though about some other jobs which I haven’t done before. The other jobs I am considering are: Gardening, dog-walking/dog-daycare, and cooking. It would be great if anyone has experience with these jobs and could shed some light on questions I have. (Also I should mention that I am 27 and am not looking for a career but just a simple job to support myself, not my life’s calling or anything.)
1. Admin/Reception work. This I have already done/ am doing. (But only 5 hrs a week) I like this kind of work (in non-stressful environments) because you are focused on different computer tasks, one at a time, so it’s fairly peaceful and mostly independent but still some human interaction. I guess I’m a little worried it might feel lonely because the office will be moved to a room I am alone in, but there would still be people down the hall and in the room next to me (teaching a class), so maybe it’s not that bad.
1. Gardening. I think gardening might be nice, being outside, not very stressful, being around plants. The only thing that makes me hesitant about gardening is that it is seasonal work. I want something long-term that I can rely on, because looking for a job is so stressful I want to be done with it once and for all once I pick something! So I am curious if any of you have done gardening as a job, what do you do in the winter? Do some gardening companies have other work for you in the winter, or do you have to find something else like snow-shovelling? (I live in Toronto. We get snow for a few months!)
2. Dog-walking: Has anyone done this? How was it? I am considering trying it, I love dogs and being outside so I think it would be nice and not very stressful. But I could be wrong.. Walking many dogs at once might feel like too much to handle. I have seen some people on the street with six dogs! Do you have a choice how many you walk at a time? Can you take just 2 or 3? I also wonder if having to discipline and have authority over many dogs, especially if they are aggressive, might be taxing. And I am wondering if you need to be on a tight schedule, walking multiple dogs in a day, does that feel stressful? (having to be always aware of the time and rushing to get to different people’s houses i think would stress me out so wondering how that aspect is) Sorry that’s a lot of questions just want to get a sense of what the job is like.
3. Cooking. Cooking I am also iffy about. I enjoy cooking a lot on my own, but I know many kitchens can be a very stressful place. But even if it was a chill environment: I wonder if it would still involve a lot of multitasking/a lot to be aware of/a lot of room to make mistakes which might be stressful. Anyone had a cooking job?
So that is a total of 4 job types: Admin/Reception work, Gardening, Dog-Walking, Cooking
Thankyou so much in advance for any feedback!
I’m in my early 20’s and I am having trouble to find out which career best fits for me. All I know is that I want to help people, but I don’t want to carry too much responsibility. Right now I am taking my pre-requisites for nursing, but I still don’t know if this is the right path for me. My plan is working at a maternity clinic because I think it will be less drama and stress than at the hospital, also because I will like to be a labor and delivery nurse. However I’m undecided because I don’t want to live under too much pressure. I started thinking about becoming a physical therapist.
Does anybody knows if physical therapy is a good choice for HSPs?
I’ve been working in a sales te environment for 31 years never understanding why I was always ehausted and stressed. I’ve had 2 breakdowns and I’m in yet another crisis. I love the bush in Southern Africa where I live and I play and sing in a bluegrass band. I have a feel for animals aand am a highly intuitive person. I have won awards for prose composition and I am a highl creative individual.
I currently work in a noisy environment for a highly analytical boss in an engineering field with no room for artistic expression. The individual doess not communicate well and cannot empathize.
My thoughts are to change to freelance bushtravel journalism and music. Very good at jingles. What other careers may work for a 52 yo white man in hostile work environment?
Many of these options would include being exposed to intense odors, part of my sensitivity. Still, I am glad for the discussion. People don’t get that something a job as seemingly “simple” as a cashier overwhelms me, yet I can do complex math and logic problems. It has been a frustrating road, but understanding that I am an HSP portends some better accommodation for my true nature in future.
I am currently a piping designer working as the only woman in a predominantly male environment. I feel anxiety everyday from the stress and insensitivity of my co-workers.
It pays well…but, it is very hard on me as an HSP. I have jumped around hoping to find a company that is less stressful than where I am now. It has been difficult as this type of work generally has a sweat shop mentality and can be very toxic.
I worry about taking a lesser paying job as I know Social Security looks at your income from the last 3 months and base that on your monthly income…or something to that effect. I know money is not everything…but, I have to pay bills. I live simply so am not high maintenance.
I long for peace and the ability to control the amount of stress in my life and the people I associate with.
I have many talents and would be considered an extroverted HSP. I have tried some things like giving guitar lessons but it was not very stable. I am trying to think outside the box. I would love to be self-employed. I know it is a step of faith whatever direction I take. Sometimes I think networking can get you thinking. So that is why I am blogging this. Life is fun. Ha
I’ve been a massage therapist for over 20 years and have worked the gamut of places offering massage therapy. I have owned spas, been on tour with a famous group as their exclusive therapist, worked in various spas large and small, done house calls and had small offices. Looking back over my career, I would have to say massage therapy is a good choice for the HSP as long as they keep it simple by way of renting a small office space or doing house calls. Also, I find it helps to have several part-time jobs so I don’t have the panicky feeling of losing my one and only source of income. Living in a very seasonal place, that panic is all too real when the summer months roll around.
When running my businesses, I was so stressed out from either running the front desk absorbing all the frantic energy of the clients coming in the front door before their treatment or just the stress of the huge financial responsibility to employees and vendors, that I couldn’t perform therapies myself and eventually had to just get out of the business because of the over load. I work at a major spa at the moment and I’m finding it incredibly difficult to do a couples massage because of the distracting energy of a (I’m assuming)non-HSP therapist plus the two clients in the room with me. The quality of my massage suffers from it. Also, the politics in a large, corporate owned spa are also draining and distracting to a HSP, whereby it becomes more about the sales goals versus the quality of the treatment.
When touring with the music industry, there are numerous toxic non-HSP’s surrounding the artists that it will destroy a HSP in a matter of months (or less). I witnessed a male colleague HSP have to go into intense counseling after a couple of tours.
Real Estate was another bad choice for me and I’m so grateful for finding blogs like yours and books about the subject of HSP’s and suitable careers. I wish I had known about the millions of like minded souls years ago. It would have saved me years of grief wondering what was wrong with me and telling myself, “Suck it up buttercup.” I’m hoping to find a new, suitable career in the near future so I can retire my body from the years of physical demands massage has put on it.
Thanks again for your blog!
Thanks for sharing, Nanci! “Suck it up, buttercup”–hah, I like that! What was it about real estate that you didn’t like?
Want to go on your mailing list
I added you 🙂
With all read and done I, being an hsp my self want to convey a few thing to my fellow people..( I guess if I call u guys my people wouldn’t Be a wrong proposition since its not based on artificial notion as religion or country, rather our similarities comes from mother nature herself. 1 out of 5 person is an hsp. That means 20 % of world population has a similar genetic make up which gives us a 6th sense so to say and make us aware about the world differently.
See, we hsp are being who have greater sense of our internal functionality. See I am an indian and I can bet on the fact that yoga must have been developed by an hsp. They say information is power and that is also true when we are informed about our own self. I am aware about what are the no gos in my life, e.g I know I cant work under any one, therefore I dropped out of engineering and joined law, I always have a principled stand on everything, therefore I know what kind of cases I am going to take, I feel the pain of people around me, therefore I know I am going to work for that no matter what the world wants me to do because my heart would only go in one direction right. Now there is this other apsect: I feel what the other person is feeling, I even know when they are lying because I am so much focused on the the person and everything surroundings them, I can also read what the other person expects from ke , so I only tell him what he wants to hear.. See we hsp can also become a good con man, because we have very sharp intitutive mind, we have an eye for the details. These thing are awesome..see find that one drive which u know ur heart will follow no matter what the odds are and your career is set. I think if mother nature has made us in this particular way then there must me reason…we understand and feel the pain of the thing and people that surround us, we feel for the world in general… Brothers, you can’t become successful if you only think about yourself, for us hsps to become successful we need to carry the pain of the world around us and use that pain and suffering as an internal power source to propel the negatives in our personality and fight against all odds to succeed not just for yourself but also for the people around u…
I have quit multiple higher paying, more responsibility roles due to feeling overwhelmed. I had to find a job with low stimulus, low novelty, clearly defined roles. I also needed a certain company culture of predictability and stability. I used to try to express my needs more but found they were seen as unreasonable (harsh lighting, humming sounds, etc.), so now if a role or environment doesn’t work, I don’t overthink finding a new one. I do the best I can and move on if need be.
I personally do not see how working in construction or truck driving would be a good fit for a HSP due to the noise and pollution associated with those jobs. I am in college and have had some work experience that I would like to share. It is great to have all of this advice from people out there in the work world; I am glad I found out about my trait this early in my life! I am currently volunteering for an organization working with kids which I do not enjoy at all. Kids naturally overstimulate me; they are loud, there are many conflicts that myself and my coworkers have to deal with, and I feel like I don’t have a healthy enough self esteem to really impact these kids lives in a positive way. I think I may be prone to sending them mixed messages. Working in my college’s kitchen doing dishes was surprising very satisfying as I felt very useful and it gave me structure to my day before my morning classes. I also wasn’t really given orders by anyone which I think factors into my like for the job. I am currently working with the school’s lighting director… My boss is a really great person and I love her but having to take orders from another person gets to me. It feels very impersonal and the work can be very mundane when just doing maintenance type tasks a lot of the time. I interned in a state legislature and felt very overstimulated by virtue of being around so many people and being inundated with so much information. Legislators also joke a lot with each other and like to give each other a hard time which I have never done well with. It may be because I am afraid I will say something hurtful or won’t know the line between joking and serious. I would be interested to hear about people’s work environments, if they are like this at all and how this makes them feel. I think I would like to work outside as I am a healthier happier person when I am living and working outside. I am considering the park service after college but don’t know how I feel about science based work or dealing with law enforcement and maintenance. I would like to reach a hybrid of my two passions, music and the outdoors and use those to work for myself… Perhaps I could lead workshops and educational seminars or something of that sort.
I work in business as a senior manager at head office and find that it is all about the people you work with and the culture of the business. In traditional paternalistic cultures empaths and HSP’s are valued for their dedication, ability to creatively solve problems, and manage to pull hearts and minds in one direction towards a common goal. As we have seen in recent years many business environments have become colonised by Narcissistic personalities (look at CEO and board level pay) and this makes these types of competitive, aggressive environments harder for empaths to deal with. In any job interview ask about the organisational culture or what peer relationships are like. Greater autonomy and working from home really help so if you can negotiate that in any new job it is well worth doing.
Thanks ! ,…….. That explains my most recent bad experience with elegance 🙂
Everyone at work and home kept saying “you’re just sensitive” like there was something wrong with me. I’m in customer service for hospital billing. Highly stressful and micromanaged and i loathe going every day. I’ve been a bartender, high school english teacher, manager at a craft store, receptionist, manager at a movie theatre, and worked in retail. I have a popcorn resume–i job hop every few years. I want to find a place where my strengths are valued and not looked down upon. I’ve already had two nervous breakdowns because of my stressful job but i don’t know where to go next.
I can’t even explain how relieving it is to read all of your comments and realize that there actually isn’t something wrong with me! I am 19 and I have just discovered that I am an HSP after years of feeling out of place. I struggle a lot with anxiety and believe it or not, I am waitressing in the summers in between my schooling. I am exhausted all the time, I can sometimes sleep 10-12 hours a night if I am able to. I know that waitressing is not a good job choice for me but it is what makes me the most money at the moment. 🙁 My goal is to learn as much about myself as I can right now so that I can get myself on the right career path. My mom is also an HSP and she is a real estate agent. As you can imagine, she is constantly drained. I hate to see her like that, and I used to get quite upset with her because she is not very good at communicating with me especially while I’m away at school. It worsened my problems knowing that I not only didn’t fit in but I didn’t feel I had a good relationship with my mother. This has definitely affected my mental health over the years. I can now understand more however, about my mother and myself for that matter. Anger/conflict is what HSP’a avoid like the plague and I think a lot of the time I would approach her with some anger bc I was so frustrated that she never took the time to call me or be a part of my life once I left for school. Although I’m not making excuses for her, I can much better understand why this lack of communication may have occurred, as her job is extremely exhausting to her, and on top of that she is a single mother with 4 kids. Her fear of my anger/frustration must have just gave her a pit in her stomach just thinking ankh calling me after an exhausting day at work, so she would just put it off and my anger/upset would just build.
So other than having a much better understanding of some of my family members and myself, (which is so incredibly relieving) I am wondering if anyone has anymore career advice foray HSP. I am currently going to school for nutrition and am considering being a dietitian. Does this sound like a fairly suitable career for an HSP? Of course, there is clinical and community dietitians, and I am still deciding which would be the best if I do choose this career path.
Thank you for any input/advice, I really appreciate it! And also, thank you for all of the great stories, being an HSP can be a real struggle if you don’t realize that it is what you are and that there is NOTHING wrong with you!
I just found out I was a HSP and I get Chronic Migraines 5 days a week due to this condition. does anyone else have this problem? I’ve worked as a Licensed Certified Pharmacy Technician for 18 years in retail, hospital, clinical, mail-order, and now I’m on short-term disability because I can’t make my “quota” at the mail-order pharmacy. I’ve tried looking for other pharmacy tech jobs and been denied every single time. I love being a pharmacy technician, but it seem no one wants me. Friends tell me I should go back to school, but not sure what for? I had to quit college due to my migraines. Anyone have any suggestions? I am only 40 years old and I love helping people! I’m not lazy or out of shape, I’ve been cursed with these migraines since I was 6 years old!
Hi Kimberly, thanks for your comment. I’m so sorry to hear about your migraines. Have doctors been able to prescribe anything that can help the migraines? Have you tried therapy? Being stressed about your job is not good for you either–we need you to be healthy and able to focus on feeling better!
Hello everyone, I am sia , I am very sensitive and boring girl. I am always confuse with my self who am I. What should i do to grow, I am hsp person and lots of negativite lies in me. I think to much what i want and there is no out come, what i know is i like carring , i like to make other happy, i like to respect other but i never respect myself , i never taught good about me, i am working as a food service in fast food resto…i hate this job specially mopping and sweeping…i am graduate in acc and finance 6yrs ago .i am 28th , i dont know now what carrier should i go with. Early child hood, nursing, accounting or admin….i cannot do multitasking,cannot lie, like to be my self, i am very dependent on other, nor i am creative, i do like to receive suggestion, but i cannot work under pressure, i am diagnosis with dha and adhd…..can anyone please help me what career should i take with all this negative points…..pls i really need help…i hope i am at right place for suggestion…..can email at email@example.com
I’m Softwaredeveloper and I must say that I can not recommend that job in principal to HSP. Maybe it’s ok in a company wich has a software product working on. But I work in an agency programming webshops. It’s horrible, because there are deadlines and towards it’s always getting stressful and hectically and you are under lot of pressure then. Also there are many meetings, discussions with lots of people and thats often very overwhelming.
Sheryl, thank you for sharing about software development!!
As you open up for, software development can also be yourself having written the software and you being the only one who understands it, and everyone else leaving you alone because they don’t have a clue what you’re doing any way, which is likely good for an introvert HSP (I’ve been there). And then there are combinations of these extremes of course, which is more the normal. Having both a good memory for facts and a good visual ability is an advantage for working with software (many of us have mostly only one of them, you need the first one for reverse engineering what others has done, and the later one for understanding/picturing how it works).
Sheryl, i totally agree!! I’m working in a web development agency with management agreeing to deadlines that are absolutely not feasible, designers taking more than their due time to finish their phase and me being made to feel as if I’m slow and months behind schedule despite working my ass off, every day, not taking breaks unlike colleagues, and so on…
The fact that some colleagues around me as well as my bosses fill their days with useless talks, relaxed chatting, while obviously I’m working super hard and not able to get it done on time due to deadlines being unrealistic… No one offering to help me, while I still jump to help out junior developers (and even some of these relaxed senior devs).
Totally pisses me off and makes me deeply unhappy about a job I am otherwise passionate about.
Massage therapy was great for me for years, then after 15 years I got carpel tunnel, had the surgery, when back to massage therapy & the carpel tunnel came back. Now, volunteer teaching English & I really enjoy it, so thinking about traveling the world & teaching English or maybe opening up my own school.
Remember, ground yourself like a tree, ie, go out & touch a tree and feel your feet with strong roots into the ground then look up & see all the leaves & that will be all of your achievements in life, YOU can do it!!! God Bless YOU!!! fellow earth angels/HSP’s
The career of a speech-language pathologist is not recommended either for an HSP. Rushed on time to meet (billable time) as high as 90% which is referred to as productivity. The system is flawed and does not look like it will change anytime soon in the medical field. The same goes for schools-high caseloads of 55-60 students is standard and you’ll spend a lot of time scoring and writing reports, IEP documentation, preparing for meetings outside of work time. Plus, you will never feel done at the end of the day. Such a disappointmnet for someone who truly enjoys helping others, to only feel drained and frustrated.
Thanks for the input. This is disappointing to hear. 🙁
I really love my job in a school. I will say that I’ve heard that nursing homes (otherwise known as SNFs) are a difficult place to work. The right school environment with a supportive boss and coworkers is a great job.
I was disappointed to see acupuncturist on the list. That is what my degree in in, and it’s not as it sounds. It requires almost constant interaction with people, to be successful, if not patients it is network, network, network. It doesn’t allow for much solo work either, the very nature of healing, at least with acupuncture, has to do with working WITH your patients, being their partner and guide in their healing. It is often confrontational, patients and practically everyone else is suspicious of how acupuncture works, and if it works; and it is very difficult to explain. I watched my non-HSP husband get defensive and worked up simply explaining how acupuncture works today. I can’t even approach the question with people, especially patients who have so many expectations, and are clueless about where the value lies in the work and whether or not they are getting the due value that they spend on treatment. School is nearly 100K, with few employment opportunities. It’s hard being an HSP and feeling miserable and overwhelmed
Thanks for sharing, Nettles, I have striked-out acupuncturist from the list.
I am also a licensed acupuncturist. I also found working with clients draining! I cannot say I was ever excited as I was headed to work because I knew I would have to interact with people all day. Once I was there, I did enjoy it but it depended on my interactions for the day. It is a lot of responsibility being a healer and I feel I wasn’t able to access my creative side. I am on sabbatical for a couple years while I stay home with my daughter and I am not sure if I want to continue down that path. I LOVE to garden but haven’t figured how to turn that into a job! I have considered opening up some rental cabins but I worry that it would be hard to take time off when I needed. Still trying to find my dream job! I also agree that acupuncture school cost a ton of money and it is difficult to make a living when you get out. I did OK but had to commute almost an hour to find steady work.
I am a chiropractor and find this to be exactly the same. Knowing what you have to offer, that they could be so much healthier and happier with an optimally functioning nervous system regardless of presence of pain, that pain is only 1/10th of the nervous system, but that people are so indoctrinated to fear pain and mask it, that they don’t realise it’s actually just their body telling them they have to change. And they want to be out of it yesterday – even if it’s been coming on gradually for decades… yet I am expected to “fix them” with one visit or “it doesn’t work”… frustrating people can’s see that because the medical profession usually prescribes drugs that numb the body to the symptoms within minutes/hours of taking said drug, or mask the problem by artificially lowering this number or that… or CUT OUT THE “PROBLEM” body part… removing the bodies cries that something is wrong, whilst their bodies continue to rot… not realising that they have fixed NOTHING because if they stop the drugs, the body is no healthier – infact, almost always it is much much sicker… we just don’t know it till its too late… and even then, the effect of a any drug interactions is down played as a causitive agent – it’s all just luck and genes apparently.
A persons response to care depends SO much on THEIR lifestyle and habits and what they are willing to change, but most people want to abdicate the responsibility of their health to someone else, and HSPs are so willing to take on other peoples stuff to try to help and make their world feel nicer…
Yes – healing arts are tough for HSPs.
Stay away from fundraising in nonprofit organizations. Fundraising and special event planning are very stressful and difficult jobs. Endless criticism from all sides.
In recently did a Meyers-Briggs and I am an ENTJ I apologize if I didn’t get it right. Since graduating from high school I have had a difficult time trying to figure out what career choice is the best choice for me. I have gone through many choices. And none seem to fit right. Some of the best qualities I have is being organized, and solving issues quickly, and working one on one with someone. I like to manage and be bossy sometimes and I am not afraid to take action. I was looking into human resources manager and wondered if this would be an ideal fit. Any opinion would be appreciated. Thanks!
Your description of yourself makes me think about some technical coordinator colleagues I had at work recently (I myself am INTF/INTJ), but they’re handling many multiple tasks during a day which I though was not a good idea for most HSPs. Even though HSP is the one single “diagnosis” that explains the majority of my own “problems”, I have also found the book “The Pathfinder” helpful (It touches into a whole lot more than just Meyers-Briggs).
I’m an Accountant/Financial Analyst and I don’t like it. Just wanted to let you know. I’m looking to find my next career.
I have recently figured out that I’m an HSP, based on all the reading, testing, and discussions with a friend (who happens to be a therapist who specializes in HSP). I also have ADD and an oral processing disorder, which don’t help.
I have taught primary grades (grades 1-3) for 15 years. I’m currently on my 2nd leave of absence due to medical issues. The first one was about 10 years ago and my dr. said to me, “Either leave teaching, or die from High BP.” That led to my first leave of absence, a nanny gig, and a change of school within the district the following year. I had job security and seniority. I was too scared to leave that behind!
Work definitely was better at a different school, but problems still existed. Every year became worse and worse with more/higher expectations, larger class size (30 kids), more technology/software changes (without training), more differentiation (providing different levels of work for each student; AKA more planning), overcrowding, and the new common core standards which are ridiculous. Now the kids are in charge of doing “project-based learning” rather than being directed by the teacher most of the time. TELL ME, DISTRICT. HOW MANY 7 & 8 YEAR-OLDS DO YOU KNOW WHO CAN MANAGE WORKING WITH OTHER KIDS ON PROJECTS? They’re still arguing over who gets which color pen! And whose turn it is to speak/write. And who gets to hold the ipad! It’s constant arguing! They have no problem-solving skills developed yet.
This year is my 2nd leave of absence (after 9 years at the better school and having created a “work family” who I love dearly). However, over the last 9 years I’ve been suffering from intense stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, heart palpitations, stomach issues, memory loss, and constant headaches/migraines. Plus a constant feeling of frustration, anger, overwhelmment and thoughts such as, “I’m working my tush off and still not able to do what the district wants!” All my time and energy was spent on work, my own 2 kids were being pushed aside, and I felt emotionally and physically exhausted ALL THE TIME.
After realizing the demands from the district were so unachievable for me, I reached a point where I was a DISadvantage to the kids (because I couldn’t handle multiple things going on in the classroom at once and still taught the “old-fashioned way”), I finally threw in the towel. Now I’m on my second leave of absence, but I have no intention of returning to teaching. (My co-workers are super jealous that I can survive a year without work. Especially the 2 who suffer from ulcers!) I’m now trying to find a different career but have no idea which direction to turn…yet. ANY IDEAS ANYONE? I’m not so good at school (I know, ironic coming from a teacher) so I’d rather find something within my field (even though I’m so utterly frustrated with the politics behind education). Besides, I can’t let 15 years of experience go down the toilet!
Thanks for actually making it to this point of my story. Sorry it’s so long, but there’s a whole lot to say, I guess. So, ANY CAREER IDEAS ANYONE?
Hi Daniella, I’m sorry to hear about the difficult years you’ve endured, but it sounds like leaving that profession was the right move for your health. What about 1-on-1 tutoring? So, I’d recommend making a list of all the hobbies you enjoy. Also make a list of all the skills you are good at–don’t censor yourself, write down everything. Even things that seem silly. With this list, you can try to put together ideas of things you could do. Do you want to be self-employed or work for someone else?
I’m so glad to have found this website. I’m beyond terrified of the future.
I’m 25, officially to my surprise typed ENFP, 9w1 sx/sp (enneagram), and of course HSP. When I was younger I went to college as I was supposed to and figured things would just “work out” as I kept being told. I was always interested in art, writing, and life sciences my entire life pretty equally and needed them all to feel right. I never could decide on a major and picked communications, settling for the idea that I could get some office job and spend my life living very frugally and saving for trips to travel around the world to give my life excitement and perspective. Of course I had to own up to the fact that this was very saddening idealism horrifically skewed from extreme depression and low self-esteem and took a break from school to get well and try and really figure out what I really want. Three years have came and went. I took up a massage therapy license in the meantime. It’s ok work, definitely better than retail, but I still have this intense yearning for more. I love the idea of understanding the world better and having flexibility of options with a business degree, but it also scares me that the jobs may also be incredibly boring. I also like the idea of being a chiropractor, but the schooling there definitely intimidates me (I can’t decide if the cost or content scares me more honestly. I’d suck it up if I knew for sure that I’d love it). I definitely yearn to have more art and creativity in my life again…but the only jobs I’ve seen related to that really are advertisement and art therapy, which are not really screaming “yes” to me.
I’m still waiting for that “yes” to scream out at me 🙁 it’s very scary.
I think being a graphic designer in-house or for an agency is a bad idea or sometimes even freelance work as there will be too many tight and strict deadlines or criterias that overwhelm a HSP. I am a HS graphic designer and looking forward to a career switch that fits my INFJ personality.
Hi, I am graphic designer as well. To be a freelance isn’t easy, you need to promote yourself, deal with clients, many times even give them design classes in order to explain stubborn clients why their idea is awful, also they want designs for “yesterday”. If you are willing to do public relations, put effort in promote yourself, know how to do business (contracts, charge, etc), then do it, the freedom you have is great and you also work from home. By the way you have to be a good administrator.
I’m sorry but I have to disagree with veterinarian one too. I’m sure some of it depends on where you work but if you work in a busy clinic or hospital like I do you are always being asked questions by people. And you have to be in charge of everything and most HSPs (like me) don’t really like that much pressure or chances for conflict. I’m a registered vet tech BTW. Also strongly discourage being this career too for similar reasons and is a lot harder than most people realize.
I believe so much of what you write is so helpful. But, being a Vet or Vet Tech or Assistant seems like a wonderful job for an HSP – but, if you are highly sensitive to animals feelings and wellbeing – it really takes a different kind of person. It takes a realist who can handle death, injury, people who are very upset; it also takes a person who can tell someone the worst and not be crying. For animals, a dog sitter, cat sitter – nuturer – behaviorist is much better. Thank you for your wonderful website.
Thank you for this post.
I went to college to pursue animation, and while I was able to use my artistic side, I worked in environments where there were so many revisions I had to make, plus all the softwares I had to learn, and the many files I had to keep track of. Not to mention technical problems and many, many hours of continuous tutorial learning and late nights working. And in the industry (maybe in other industries as well), some companies don’t treat the interns or newcomers fairly. It was so overwhelming. I remember having to animate a logo for a company, and I spent so much time working on them – only to be told I needed to change this and that. And sometimes it takes FOREVER to get the look that they want. Mentally exhausting.
Now I currently am helping my dad with a business he opened. While it isn’t what I imagined myself doing in my life, the environment Kelly speaks of that will benefit HSP’s is there. It’s my dad, me, and a cousin of mine. Quiet environment, slow since we just opened, familiar, it’s in a nice area, a park and water fountain nearby. We get to choose the music we listen to. I can work solo on some projects but sometimes we work as a team if we need to hell each other. I do admin/organizational work, I am very detail oriented and careful. Business is not what I went to school for but I can apply my technical/artistic background in it. There is people interaction, but only when they walk in or call on the phone. I debate whether I should embrace this job, or pursue something else. I still feel pressure to be someone who works with a lot of people and is gregarious, outgoing, etc like everyone else in my family. Sound crazy? I sometimes feel like I am. I’d really appreciate the thoughts of other HSP’s.
If I went back to school I thought of going to be a therapist/counselor. I don’t doubt my abilities to be compassionate and have empathy. I can see how HSP traits can be great for that position. But my concerns are when clients get angry/upset, and I can easily be afffected. Or if it’s just plain stressful, along with the debt I will have.
Thoughts/discussion most appreciated!
Desiree, thanks for sharing. So, you enjoy your current job, working with you dad, right? Could you continue to work there indefinitely? If so, what are the negatives of working there? Because if you are happy and enjoy the environment, then why leave? I know what you mean about wanting to be a gregarious people person, but do you think that will fulfill you?
Hi Kelly. We just opened almost a month ago, so we are adjusting to providing the services of the store and also adjusting to working with each other, since we’ve never done either before. I could make it permanent, if I chose.. of course we are still building up from the start. If we could make it successful, I know it can be a good option.
The negatives – one is that I think it will take some time to get the hang of the business. Another would be that my dad is not an HSP and doesn’t understand the trait. He can be a bit closed-minded and stubborn, so I know I’ll have to be strategic about telling him about it. Also he is a type A personality.
Another partial negative – the actual job I am not sure if it will be something I will want to do forever. The environment does make me want to stay though.
I’m grateful to have found your blog/podcast where there are so many discussions/contributions and that there is an HSP community. I’ve only discovered everything by Elaine Aron, Ted Zeff and all the other articles I’ve found since late last year at age 27.
With all the research and reading I’ve done, (and now that you make me think about it, Kelly), trying to be a gregarious person in a different type of work environment that will more likely make my health worse – won’t be fulfilling. It will cause more harm than any type of fulfillment. I think I’ll just need to accept that I do really want a quiet life even though my family and the world is the opposite, and they more likely won’t understand it. Also finding the type of job (if different from this one) that is also suitable for my well-being.
I really, really disagree with your listing of researcher (and veterinarian for that matter) as a good job for HSP’s, for several reasons…
1) Grad school is highly competitive, highly stressful, and requires long hours. God forbid if you don’t have an excellent advisor, you’ll be spending many sleepless nights, frustrated days, and blown out arguments trying to save your sanity- that’s for a normal person, not HSP. Grant deadlines and fellowship/scholarship/student loan stress are high. Some research shows that grad students are one of the highest-risk groups for suicide and at least half of all grad students have contemplated suicide at some point. You have to juggle research (your own and side projects), studies, posters/presentations and seminars, your thesis, getting published…forget having a life for a few years. There is a huge influx of qualified students and not enough jobs available, so job security after graduating is low.
2) The research field is competitive, you ‘should’ produce X number of publications in X amount of time to keep job security, there are grant deadlines constantly looming, experiments fail often and issues arise. If you happen to working with animals, there is a lot of protocol and restrictions with the IACUC (not a bad thing at all because it means the safety and wellbeing of animals, but it is still very stressful and it is a huge blow to a HSP if anything goes wrong). Using research dogs has a lot of stress and pressure and can become highly emotional. (I imagine this would be the case for primate research as well.)
3) Research at a University often requires you to teach as well, which adds a whole new set of responsibilities and stressors. And researchers usually employ students to help. You have to coordinate with your students, be an advisor to, pay, and work around their class schedule; not to mention finding good students because of the high turnover rate.
4) You must be fine with rejection, criticism, and lots of failures. Lots of rejection letters when trying to get your research published, as a student you must defend your thesis which means physically going in front of a panel of experts and having to answer every question asked of you; you will get lots of critical feedback on your experiments from your advisor, peers, committee… it’s all in order to help you learn and develop quality research, but you can’t be the type of person to take it personally.
If you are resilient, are fine working long hours and compromising other areas of your life, are low risk for depression, easily work with difficult people, have no problems with looming deadlines and the pressures of getting your research published, are ok with the stress of low job security/low job availability, and take criticism well, then research is a fine and rewarding career path. But I don’t think highly sensitive people really fit that description.
I am an hsp, everyday I do things so I can remain calm and or neutral. But I have a 1, 4 and 7 year old.
I am soon going to be babysitting a newborn full time. I get anxious easily.
Hi Nicole! Try this: http://highlysensitiveperson.net/handling-hsp-introvert-kids-parenting/ Good luck!
At last! I am 56 years old and it took me that long to find a site like this, well maybe not that long. I’m so happy to have discovered your site, you can’t imagine how difficult it is for me to be an HSP, as a Spanish man I think that it’s twice as hard because of my culture. My father always told that men don’t cry.
If there’s one job people like us DO NOT WANT! Is to be in the food service industry. This industry has the worst of the worst, naturally there are exceptions, but for the most part the people in the industry are driven by the severity of the actual job, and there by can and often are very aggressive, or as I like to say ” mean ” stay away from the food service business everybody.
What do people think of hsp’s on a building site?
I just recently discovered the concept of HSP, and it fits and describes me so perfectly. I am a resident physician and have had the hardest time of my life in residency, a really unenjoyable time, and I finally had the insight to attribute most of this to my personality not being ideal for the field of medicine, which is competitive, high stakes, and a place where loud, aggressive, and assertive people are valued. I live in constant anxiety of speaking up because I think of all the possibilities of how I could be wrong, will say something wrong, or will be judged. I went to one of the best medical schools in the nation yet can come off as unknowlegable and indecisive and have been criticized for it. I am actually quite social outside of work but finally realized this was not a way to live; I was in a world not friendly to people like me, with a personality trait I felt was a part of me that I didn’t feel like needed to change. I started thinking about leaving medicine, but because I have committed so many years of education, I decided to switch specialties into pathology, and am happy to say I did so successfully, starting next year. I am excited and hope I made the right decision. Medicine can be a cruel world for HSPs I think, but hopefully I have found a better place. If you are considering becoming a doctor, keep that in mind, but don’t let it ruin your dreams.
M, thanks for your comment, and I’m happy you were able to make a change to a career that will (hopefully) suit you better!!
Hi M,hope you see this and reply.I am about to start my residency and much like you i discovered that i am a HSP only after the clinical rotations when the indecisiveness and feeling that I don’t fit in this competetive world hit me hard.I am very good with patients ,it’s just the clinician part of me which is scared.Would you recommend Psychiatry to someone like me?Coming from a developing nation,public health matters to me a lot and I want to bring a positive change there.Even though Pediatrics was my favorite for long,I just don’t feel fit for it now.Kindly respond.
I have no words to describe how happy I am to know that I fall under a particular personality type. All this while I thought I was abnormal!
that’s awesome, Josie!
Does anyone have experience with working 2 part-time jobs in stead of 1 fulltime job? I am wondering, because many of the amazing jobs listed may also contain some aspects that may be more challenging. I wonder if they are more manageable and allow everyone to follow their dream, if they worked in those jobs part-time and perhaps had a very low demanding, very individual job to help meet the need for recharging and being alone enough. I have acqaintances who deliberately chose to work both freelance and for a company, to both have some financial stability and some freedom in the type of projects they take on (I did not yet ask more on their motivation behind this/if they are HSP). Does anyone have experience with this?
Hi LoveRules! I have experience in this. In fact, I technically have FIVE jobs. Ha ha! Some of them take more time than others, and I guess I would call them “things I do” rather than “jobs”. They are all freelance or my own businesses. 🙂 There are benefits and drawbacks to this. The variety is good, but I often feel like I’m behind and never getting as much done as I’d like. I like the idea of having a financially stable job and ALSO a more creative/fun job.
Thank you for your reply!! FIVE jobs!! I can imagine it to be hard to balance between variety and feeling like you get enough things done! I already feel that way with 1 challenging job sometimes, which is why I am considering cutting down hours on that one to replenish with a less challenging one-thing-at-the-time job 😉 You may be a multipotentialite then, I’ve seen a TEDx video about that and wondered if it could be related to HSP… and now you mention you have 5 jobs/things you do… Anyway, just a thought, but thank you very much for your reply!
I would eliminate a court reporter. They often work under tight deadlines for uncaring, unsympathetic attorneys and judges who want their transcripts ASAP. I’ve never known one to be happy and I’ve known many of them
Excellent article! You are spot on! I know from experience. I worked for a company over 16 years. , LOVED my job. I a highly sensitive introvert. But I worked with an awesome crew and thrived. Until the last 3 years. Change of staff and the atmosphere stopped working for me. It became stressful to the point I actually became physically sick Sunday night in dread over Monday. So I made the change. With prayer I found a better job with great co workers! One cannot live with anxiety –make the move. There are great jobs out there for our “uniqueness”.
what field do you work in?
I woud find it very interesting to read, as any HSP thriving in a job is good news to me.
One very important component that is missing from this entire conversation is the affordability of medical insurance. When you have a paying job, you are covered. How do you get around that hurdle when you’re self employed?
Hi SueAnn, in the US (which I’m assuming you are in?) we have to purchase health insurance if we don’t get it through a job. I find it to be incredibly expensive. I had the cheapest, worst plan, and of course something happened and I needed to see a specialist for a basic appointment and it cost $600 out of pocket for ONE consultation. After that, I upgraded to more expensive insurance with much better coverage. I hate how much it costs every month. But when you work for yourself, you have to cover these costs yourself. I wish it was cheaper–the system is broken–but that is how it is. Part of your income as a self-employed person will need to go toward buying health insurance.
I am a criminologist and introvert HSP; my experience has showed me that when I did research on site in prisons I would need a very long time to unload the intense and highly depressing emotions of the inmates and prison staffs. The prison complex has an emotionally tearing atmosphere and very dark vibe. So, I wouldn’t count criminologist -particularly if s/he deals with inmates- as asuitable job for HSP.
Thank you for writing this article. I would like to add that most Graphic Designers positions are highly competitive, highly stressful and demanding with a lot of tight deadlines. I would not recommend this position for a HSP. I was a Graphic Designer for 14+ years and I’m a HSP. It was the worst job for me. Maybe it would work if you were a freelancer or owned your own business but even then you are having to meet the demands and requests of others and you still have deadlines.
HI! I agree with you I am graphic designer, if may ask, did you change your career? I am looking for a change too.
I’m not entirely sure that HSPs (who have been said to avoid violence) should be criminologists?
Being a truck driver is ok at times. You get to run your own rig, listen to books on tape, learn new languages, and see the country.
At times though it is overwhelming; company only cares that the truck is moving which means long hrs, unhealthy food, productivity metrics (are you a robot), and little time off when you need it. Driving dedicated midwest isnt to bad or a line run in a team. Wife and husband teams do well and make good money.
I will just say there is a reason there is a driver shortage. But if you need a step up from minimal wage, a way to save a little money, and a job anywhere you are then it may be your ticket. Its also has become more feasible for woman to drive but please do your research.
Thanks for the input!!
I work in medical records 2 days a week not by my choice. I need to find a way to make money that is more in tune with how I respond to noise. I wish I’d heard about this 30 years ago. I’m 60 and would like to know how I can survive in a workplace that thrives on the phones!!!
I work in accounting as a controller/purchaser and I would not advise this career for an HSP. I think the stereotype of an accountant just being someone who sits in an office by themselves all day crunching numbers is inaccurate. In public accounting you deal with clients and staff members all day. Also, you are dealing with people and their money which can really pin you in a bad place sometimes. Shoot the messenger. As far as purchasing goes, this is pretty much sales. You are constantly trying to talk people into lower pricing and it is very aggressive and cut throat. I can’t wait to get out of this career. I think self employed is the best option for HSP.
Thanks for the input, Nathan!!
Hello there, I am an INFJ on the Myers Briggs personality test and I recently found out I am an HSP! I am 24 and still struggling to find a career that fits me well but I am getting closer! I currently work two casual jobs as a child and youth care practitioner. I work in group homes where youth who have been taken away from their families for whatever reason live and we try to get them back on track and help them live healthy and happy lives. I must say I love it and I find it stressful so I am trying to find something else but will miss it. I think I am only handling it so well because I work there part time. Other job is similar at an addictions treatment center for youth. I love and hate it there. Have to agree with majority of your posts that colleaugues/supervisors can make or break enjoyment of the job. It is challenging but love the kids and how you help them but also just hang out and be a part of their daily lives.
Anyways. Love that I came across this page because I am a perfectionist and rarely get constructivr criticism because I always try to do things perfect and am so scared of failing/doing something wrong and getting talked to or fired (has never happened before) but I was given negative feedback in an interview for not having a constructive criticism example!! It still bothers me to this day it was implied that I was too blind to hear someone give me constructive criticism when I explained that I always ask questions to make sure I am doing tasks correctly so I guess they don’t need to give me the critiques after?!
Anyways, I’m rambling. I’ve always dreamed about being a counsellor of sorts. But it’s such a big step I’m too scared to mess up or that I wouldn’t be good enough at it. I would be a house/pet sitter for the rest of my life but little to no clientele haha. I am currently applying for this Employment and Income Assistance position where you help people recieve financial aide and counsel them which I have no experience in and am really freaked out by but I decided I need to relax and try something and if they hire me they must think I’m worthy of a shot and if they fire me then I guess it wasn’t meant to be!!! Got to jusy chill out and live in the moment and see what happens. Anyways thinking I’ll go back to school this fall either way to finish my social sciences degree.
Sorry for the long post! Thought it was interesting I never saw any jobs related to what I do with at risk youth.
Please reply and offer comments/suggestions I’d love to connect with you guys you sound so friendly and unserstanding. Reading your comments made me able to relax and see I am not an alien and that other people in hard jobs have fears and insecurities too!!
I’m from Canada by the way!:)
Hi Ashley, thanks for your comments. I think working with at-risk youth could be incredibly rewarding, but could have the same challenges as other “care” jobs–compassion fatigue. But I have to say, I don’t have first-hand experience so hopefully someone else can weigh in.
Whenever I feel overwhelmed by self doubt, I try to remind myself that I’ve succeeded in things in the past. There have been times I’ve done/created things that ending up being good. So I say to myself, “You’ve succeeded in the past, what makes you think you won’t succeed again? You always work hard and end up doing a great job. What makes you think you’ll fail now?” That’s my personal pep talk. Maybe you can try it? Try to worry about failing less–let’s say you started a new career path and you DID fail. So what? It’s ok to fail. 🙂
I can relate to you! I just graduated with a biochemistry (nutrition) degree, and realized that my passion is also in mental health counselling/teaching. My biggest fear I’m going back to school for counselling is my ability to help suffering individuals. I know I have the empathy and compassion, I just worry that it might be draining dealing with problems day after day. I am also considering becoming an English tutor/teacher/professor. From what I’ve read on this post, teaching and research can be really hard for HSPs. Anyways, just wondering what the pros and cons have been for you on dealing with individuals with addictions, and counselling youth? Thanks!
Im also from Canada by the way! 🙂
Hello everyone out there.
Reading about HSP about 2,5 years helped me a lot to understand who I am. I was able to stop the big struggle of life and from that point on I felt a lot better in my skin and in many more moments I started to enjoy life … I started to accept that I am who I am and that it is good who I am. 🙂 This is a great feeling … It is also great to have found this blog. It made me reflect about the things that happened in my life lately. Well, today we are talking about Jobs … I studied geography in France and had 2 job offers in the small town where I studied:
1st: to work for a NGO to protect the rain forest. Great topic but my boss would have been a left wing fanatic. I decided against it.
2nd: My profesor offered me a 50% job at the University but I decided against it because I couldnt handle to see the same peolple for another 7 years. 🙂 So I took a completely other decisión
3rd: I decided to move to Southamerica. Since 18 months I am working in a travel agency and I am mostly pretty happy with this decisiong … Sounds pretty boring to work in a travel agency, right? The reason why I stayed there for 1,5 years is my boss. He is pretty relaxed (I am pretty sure that he is also a HSP), has got great humor and trusts his employees. Right now I am organizing the operation of roundtrips, I am designing new touristic products, I am working in marketing, I can implement some sustainability concepts in the company, I am writing newsletters, I am making inspection trips with my colleagues and I am travelling to fairs to meet clients … I am able to work 3 days of the week from my home or somewhere in the city, I dont have any established working time, I am managing my own clients in Europe and North America, I am free to take decisions and the atmosphere at work is non-competetive. My salary does also depends on the work of my colleagues, so everybody is working for everybody. I think just because of the freedom my boss is giving me and the very nice colleagues I am still in Latin America. The other big plus is to get better in the spanish language … I like learning and in this completely new working environment is giving me a lot of things to learn. The good thing about this job is that every day is different and it is not the monotonous same stuff I am doing on a everyday basis.
Whats next: Right now my projection is to stay another 18 months in the company. Then I think that I have learned everything what can be learned in this company and I will started to get bored of the job. I plan is to shift my job a little bit to the following things:
– guidance of small touristic groups (I know that I am not able to handle big groups)
– social & charity work with the vulnerable groups of society
– I like writing and I will start to dedicate myself more to writing about my experiences
We will see how everything works out: I am sure that there is not a lot of money to earn with these kind of Jobs but thats not important: To have things doesnt make me happy.
The only pretty sad thing is that all my very good friends are living in Europe and I find it pretty hard to find true friends in a Latin American society …
Sorry for the pretty long post, sorry for my bad english. 🙂
Wish you the very best, Christian
It’s been A decade in call centres .every year working for a different company.God I was so very frustrated ,I thought of killing myself.In 2008 I quit one of the highly people friendly and ethical American call centrr; one of my blunders of my life. Since then, its been interviews,inductions,training,on the floor training and call taking. Etc etc this is going on since 2008 and I m 32 ,un married. Couldn’t get the courage to hang myself.Decided to go for print journalist course in one of the expensive private colleges in bangslore and suddenly sold my scooter and removed my braces…because I m not passionate to news stories but movies..I am considering a diploma in film.making this year !!!! It’s too late .Isn’t it? Although I haven’t watched all hit english ovied ,I have some 100 of them on my hard disk.
Those which are worth watching again.
I am happy to discover this site and forum where I found my fellow aliens 🙂
Please advise me ..
How about orthodontist? In my case this is a family business and all my fam is persuading me into dental career. On the other hand I am very artistic and very sensitive.What do you think?
I disagree with mailman/mailwoman. Some might say that the postal service is strictly timed, micro-managed, competitive, noisy, and has a steady stream of customers.
I believe that despite of striking some unsuitable jobs off the list, it would be beneficial to add a few more options. How about Quality Manager and Auditor? I would say that these two related jobs are fitting the bill for HSPs 🙂
Thanks Sylke. I have to say I’m not completely sure what a quality manager is, can you tell me more? And by auditor, do you mean like a financial auditor? Thank you!!
Any job at a large corporation whose soul purpose is getting rich will just about kill you. Stay away from marketing, marketing communications or anything that involves tricking people. It makes you want to die.
Hi Aria, thanks for your comment. There are so many factors, aren’t there? I have worked in marketing and enjoyed it, but there are so many different types of marketing!
My current job, having a educational leave at the moment, was lacking me from energy.
It is quite a ongoing, monotonous work with some but not to many discernible projects.
My nearest “workmate” is a guy who always “disappear” when the manager goes home for the day and I have to take care of all the tasks by myself.
He is such an annoying eye servant. A person who is totaly uninterested in being organized – planing for the next day to get it all run easier, always nagging about his
retirement…more than 15 years left. Finaly I and another workmate decided to talk about the problem to the factory management whom surprisingly ignored the issue.
Lateron we understood why when our company became a division into a bigger corporation and our new division manager didn´t want to “front” any problems towards the big corp. hq.
As a hsp with high workin moral, beeing loyal, dedicated and fair I finaly after 12 years, ( such waste ), decided to quit by studying for an other career. I found out that
my worksituation didn’t jibe with my principles or interests. My situation at work was way too frustrated, drained my energy and had a huge impact on my mood and the rest of my family…my job really sucked.
Today I´m studying to become a Land surveyor. I´ve been on traineeship for several months and I have rediscovered the great joy of working with workmates
who align with my principles of work.
Also being hss and extroverted I´m not afraid of conflicts, “risks”, strictly measured / timed / controlled, cutthroat or competitive missions.
I find that kind of things opposite to monotonus/boredome – as a progress to move forward and getting things done.
Hello .thank GOD I found this website .I a highly sensitive empath who is also a training healer but meanwile still have to work to pay for my trainings costs .I made theis take of getting into Healthcare dealing with individuals with disability and mental health . Constantly drained and have body aches .my workmates are also onto drama and I suck up alot of their energy thought lately I have learned how to shield myself .
I am quitting end of march from the disability job and applying to get into an indoor security professional position which could be on quiet sites or in the oilfield .what are your thoughts on security professional jobs for highly sensitive people ?many thanks
Hi thank you so much for making HSP normal. I agonized for decades re my sensitivities. Smells, sounds, lights, people chewing, coughing, talking making me angry and sick. I grew up in the inner city which drove my need to live in nature as an adult. I’m now in my 40’s having been in the military, law enforcement, then tv production, parenting then family law, and now I’m a baby nanny while slowly getting my masters online. For me working with children has been healing and rewarding to no end. I can control the environment around me for the most part and encourage parents not to use toxic chemical laden sents or even food. And we can play and learn gently without loud sounds or annoying fluorescent lights as I work in home as well as outside in nature. I can keenly recognize HSP children and help their parents support their gifts. I just wish there was an HSP dating site :).
Thanks for your comment! I’m happy that you found your calling–that is wonderful! Do you ever feel overwhelmed by children, though? With their constant needs?
I find it interesting that you were in the military, then law enforcement. That is how I started out too, though I was doing law enforcement in the military (Security Forces). I did not like the job much. Seeing people cry as you are putting them in handcuffs or giving them a traffic ticket was hard on me.
Hi; I am 28 years old now. I am conducting now my PhD study and i feel that I am happy in my research work. Almost my life was focused on one scenario “studying and self employed”. I have most of the sensitive people characteristics. Anyway; as after several years, i am planning to become a professor. will the sensitivity make for me problems as a teacher in school.
Just to see some tips; thanks
The primary thing about a job/career is to be able to support oneself. Doing what you love if it’s too part-time, for example, will not work. I agree that working for oneself is the best. That’s what I did, but I had to have a lot of financial support from a husband. In terms of one in the list that I’ve found is NOT a good fit is working for a charity or non-profit. I’ve worked for several. Each one expected working overtime for free (salary, which is extremely exploitive to anyone in a relatively underpaid field like non-profits). Another thing common to non-profits are workaholics who dedicated ALL their time to their jobs “because we love what the organization stands for.” And these people expect the same from ALL the employees. Personally, I’d strike that one off the list. A lot of the jobs listed would have been great for me, had I known about them when I was young. Most of my work was either as a public school teacher — extremely stressful so I had to get out, even though I had all the credentials I needed, and good evaluations.) Other than that, it was office work — the Great American Workplace Hell. One time I had a temp job as a Technical Writer — that was great! I was treated with respect as a professional, not on salary — I could never find a permanent job doing that. Another thing is, many of the jobs listed here require many years of college or trade school. These days, it’s nearly impossible to pay for this training without incurring thousands — even tens of thousands — of dollars in dept. Myself, I ended up on Social Security Disability because I was “unable to do meaningful work” or some legal term which meant I was unable to support myself. But in order to get that, one has to have a medical diagnosis and a lot of legal help. And some source of income while you wait, because any work during the wait time disqualifies the person from being considered disabled. I had sold a house and received monthly payments, so I was okay for a while. This is in the USA. I don’t know about how it is in other countries.
Hi flowerbells, thanks for your comment! I have worked (and currently work) for several non-profits and my experience has been very different than what you describe, although I was mainly doing marketing and writing, not the actual nuts & bolts of the organization’s mission. I like working for nonprofits more than for-profits, but that’s only my personal experience. That’s why having a “list” of good/bad jobs isn’t ideal. I tried hard to make this list, but it’s become clear that there is no perfect or exact job that IS or ISN’T for for an HSP, it depends on SO many factors!!
Thank you for this article, it is something I am struggling with currently, especially as I am pregnant and can’t easily “get out” of my job right now, but my constant conflict at work is leaving me drained at home which is in turn affecting my marriage.
I’m a HSP software developer / programmer, and I find that while sometimes my career seems like the most amazing choice (when I’m really in the ‘zone’ of the language side of programming) there are some very significant drawbacks with this job for a HSP and ultimately I have decided I need to get out of the career altogether, after many years and jumping from firm to firm every year or so. Here are some of the issues I have experienced over and over again:
1) Managers who get promoted due to their technical ability and who don’t have any social skills and tend to be highly task oriented / dominant type personality
2) Constant conflict with project managers because the project manager always tries to make you work harder by setting the deadlines too tight. Stories of programmers experiencing burn-out for a deadline is all too common, the joke is that we have to “sleep under our desks”. Yes, I have seen developers sleep at work. Heroics are just expected. In fact, normal 9-5 work is called “doing it easy” and is expected to be offset by periods of heavy overtime or you’re just not part of the culture.
3) Significant ageism due to the above – folks with families simply can’t keep up before a deadline and get criticised or not hired in the first place
4) Social isolation when working at a firm where most of the people are IT ‘geeks’ and are not interested in developing social skills whatsoever. Also, complete lack of females. I am typically the only technical female and so I have made very few friends at work.
5) Migromanagement – urgh
6) Being expected to have a superior understanding of new technologies, developed through extra work done from home. Those of us with families or sore necks from being on a computer all day just can’t keep up with the flood of new technologies and if colleagues appear smarter or have a better memory then you can easily find yourself the brunt of workplace criticism
Petra, thank you for sharing!!
This was a great read, although I would debate a lot of the financial careers, particularly the purchaser position. I have had 3 jobs in this job description and they all deal with sales, money, saving money, working at a desk 9-5 or more. I have never met a purchaser who has flexible schedules, allowed to use their creativity, etc.
I have suffered many years in jobs that I should not be in as an HSP. I constantly wonder why I am not happy or what I should do. I felt something was wrong with me. I am recently becoming more aware that being this way is not wrong. I am glad that there is advice and encouragement for people like us. I really don’t feel like such a bizarre person anymore. It is great to finally learn to except myself and how to get along in this world just as I am.
This is a great read. Thanks for putting it out there Kelly! 🙂
I have to disagree strongly with Travel Agent. I have worked for a few years for a call center that deals with the travel industry and travel agents. It has been one of the worst experiences of my life. The travel agents who call in are some of the most bitter, cut throat, entitled, bratty people I’ve ever dealt with. American travelers are extremely spoiled and difficult to deal with. I’ve only been able to hang on because I made a lot of sales bonuses and got to go to Europe a couple of times. I now have a good bit of savings and I’m about to quit as I feel like I’ve hit the wall. This site has given me a few ideas for a new career, thanks for that!
Thanks for the insight, Tom!!
I see what we are all really saying here is that it is environment that makes all the difference! I think it is less about WHAT you do and more about WHERE you do it. As clerical staff at a major university, I have the opportunity to move around. My current position is helping graduate students meet all requirements for their degrees. My job has some very busy and stressful times, then there are times where I have absolutely nothing to do and am bored out of my mind. Remember, life is all about balance. We, as HSPs, can do anything we want, we are not limited to a list of careers! We are strong, unique people! The world needs us — but it needs us in the right places.
You want to be a nurse, fine, be a nurse in a low stress environment – maybe home nursing, or hospice care.
You want to be a vetrinarian, fine, limit your job search to only be in no-kill shelters, on site vet, or specialize in spay/neuter.
Never let our title of HSP define us. If you find the right place you will be able to feel joy from success as well as have quiet time during the day to reflect and recollect.
Hi. My name is Hillary and I am 26 yrs old. I am currently in the middle of nursing school to become an RN. I have come so far on this journey, and now I am having serious doubts/fears about my being successful in this chosen career. I just recently figured out that I have HSP, and suddenly everything made sense. I would come home from Medical/Surgical clinical and would be too tired to get out of my car and go inside the house. I would actually fall asleep in my car, and wake up many hours later upset at how drained I felt. I have no children, have set aside dating and relationships (other than family and a few friends), and have no side job. My responsibilities are very minimal compared to the other students in my class. So why am I feeling zapped of energy??? The evening before clinical, my class has to go to the hospital and get our assigned patient information. We have to search through patient chart info and find all pertinent data. It is upsetting to me that I am always the last person in the room to finish getting my information, while everyone has already left and gone home long ago. No matter how hard I try, I am always there an hour or more than everyone else. Then, on the day of clinical, I feel like a chicken with its head cut off. Lots of things going on around me- it is so hard for me to focus. I am always forgetting to check certain things during the initial patient assessment and find myself going back into my assigned patients room multiple times to get the rest of my assessment information. Feel like my head is all fuzzy and it is hard for me to think. I am so stressed out. Very fearful of making a mistake that could unintentionally injure someone. I told myself that all those feelings are just because I am a nursing student on my first Med/Surg clinical. But I started to realize that as more clinical days passed, my peers around me were improving, and I was still struggling. The thing is research is showing me that most new nurses start out on the floor (medical/surgical) for a couple years, before being accepted into other fields of nursing. I guess you have to pay your dues. I am very fearful of this, and feel that working on the floor will slowly kill me inside. Does anyone here have some solid advice? I am in need of some serious help about what to do. Should I continue on this journey to be an RN, or should I abandon ship.
Hi Hillary, I’m so sorry you are struggling. I know that becoming a nurse is very hard work, very difficult. I cannot tell you want to do. Is there a school or career counselor you could talk to? Or a mentor in the nursing field? I wish I could give you some good advice but I am uninformed about nursing. Maybe someone else here can chime in??
Hello i am a registered nurse and have done 5 years on the ward surgical. at times it was challenging but as a HSP i realised it was more the staff and people who affected my enjoyment. I had a lovely boss for a while but she left and i was left with this awful boss with no sensitivity and could not deal with her. I am resigning there as i am currently getting chest pains and anxiety being there. nursing is good because you always have it to fall back on but i believe there is a lot of micro managing and awful work politics. i wish i could work with all highly sensitive people who understood me and were gentle.
As a sensitive person, I have come to understand that it is best not to try and force yourself into an idealised job situation. At work, I feel like a square peg in a round hole. There is a lot of pressure (that I am putting onto myself) to try harder not to make mistakes. Other people can “leave their emotions at the door” and “put on a work face” but I find this impossible to do. I greatly dislike the times when I find myself working from a small and busy office surrounded by other people whom I perceive as being better at their jobs (or rather more suited) than I am. I am now at the point of quitting through stress and because my boss is saying to me “why didn’t you do…” x, y and z. It is like being assaulted and I am taking time off for personal reasons. Ok, ok, I made a mistake! Don’t rub it in! I have come to realise that I don’t have to take this. I can walk away. It feels very liberating.
Hey guys, Im hoping you will be able to give me a bit of advise. I am very extrovert and an HSP. Im looking to retrain as I dont seem to enjoy any of my jobs I do. My interest are horses, food gardening and mental health. I have completed an online careers test and i seem to be most suited to a horticultural therapist and advising role. I like the sound of being a lecturer in food and nutrition and also a therapist. Is that suitable for a HSP?
My other thought was joining the mounted police. I am not sure how a sensititve person will deal with people being nasty to and about me and deal with traumatic situations. Paramedic maybe, my gosh im so confused!!!!
Any thoughts will be appreciated.
Hi Charlotte, thanks for your comment. For an extroverted HSP, a food/nutrition lecturer sounds pretty good. I know a lot of people hate public speaking but I personally enjoy it when I know I am helping people. I think it could be a very fulfilling career. I think HSPs can be great therapists, but some might find it too difficult to listen to other people’s struggles. I think it would hurt me too much. But if you think you can find a way to deal with that, therapist might be a good option, too.
Speaking as a practicing veterinarian (26 years) and an HSP, I would NOT recommend this career for an HSP. We deal with people all…day….long; 90% of what we do involves people – talking, listening, trying not to absorb other’s emotions – happy, sad, angry, confused, resentful, accusatory, overwhelmed – this career has been a mine field for me. I have learned a lot about how to deal with the public, but I am fried as a result. Never mind the people aspect, veterinary hospitals are often noisy, chaotic, rapid-paced places to work, filled with women – estrogen!! and few men. Think twice before choosing this career if you are looking for a calm, quiet environment in which you can avoid people. That would be a colossal mistake.
I love your blog and have found it extremely helpful. I am an Aesthetician, I have been working in the field for 11 years and i currently work in waxing salon. I have come to the realization that this not the right industry for me. People are demanding, it’s fast paced, competitive, chaotic, and too many women, the days are very long and by the end of the week I’m beyond burned out. I was hoping that you might have a suggestion for a related
career or position in the field that may be a better fit.
I have suffered from anxiety for years.. Recently started my dream job as cabin crew 6 months ago and my anxiety has gone up the wall.. Seeveral panic attacks and prescribed medication later iv had to make the decision to leave. Recently my friend who is a councillor told me the reason of my anxiety is due to me being HSP which makes so much sense and I feel so much better knowing the reason.. Currently trying to find a new career but anxious I’f im making the right decision! Looking to go back to Uni and study to become a school councillor! Loved reading this blog feels good knowing your not the only one out there!
Katie, I’m sorry your job didn’t work out but happy to hear you are working toward another path. Glad you like the blog!! 🙂
I am currently on disability for depression and anxiety. This is after realizing that the ever increasing workload and changing demands started taking its toll on my physical and emotional health. As the lowest rung of an accounting group, I was responsible for many things but lacked the power to ensure that they were completed. Now I am at the point where the company wants me to return to the same role and my therapist and psychiatrist both agree that the position is not/or was a good fit under the current manager. I am in the middle hoping someone will listen to me.
Hi all! I hope some of you are still on this post! I’m so glad to have found this website.. it relates perfectly to me! I have ALWAYS been an HSP.. ever since I can remember.. anyway, I wanted to put it out there that I think ANY sort of management position is NOT a good fit for an HSP. I know this from experience with my last two jobs. I feel like I have PTSD from the incidents at both positions. I stayed for four years in both and that was my breaking point. I was great with the customers but horrible with enforcing rules on my employees and dealing with customer complaints (I would take things very personally and end up breaking out into tears every time). One thing though is that I’m highly disorganized so that did not help me either. My first job was at a restaurant (not a sit down but not fast food) – they promoted me to a shift leader because the customers loved my personality and I was great at my job. I ended up with migraines EVERY day before work because I was so stressed out about something going wrong. I was robbed there as well so that DID NOT help my anxiety. I ended up leaving because I was in school at the time and my grades were suffering. After graduating from college, I went to work at a doggie daycare/boarding facility. I LOVE animals but this is definitely NOT the job for an HSP. Loud rooms, high energy and without proper knowledge of animal behavior (which anyone can miss at any second), a fight can break out in a heartbeat. Then you are left to explain to angry pet parents what happened and why they have to go pay hundreds of dollars at the vet. This job was OK actually until I was promoted to a management position.. again. Once again, I was a customer favorite, could remember every customer and dog by name, even if they hadn’t been there in 2 years.. but when it came time to explain to a parent that their dog is having diarrhea or was in a “scuffle” with another dog.. trust me, people are NOT understanding – even if the dog scratched HIMSELF. If you do consider the animal industry, make sure it is a controlled environment and please be aware of the liability that goes into this. In many situations, the company is well grounded and has learned from others past mistakes.. unfortunately, in my situation, our company was not and I was in over my head. We went through 3 ownership transfers within a year (nobody cared during this time AT ALL). We even went through a wildfire evacuation where my fellow co-manager and I were told NOT to evacuate. Two of us, with no prior business knowledge, maintained the business through those horrifying 48 hours without anyone checking up on us. After several other bad PR incidents (which we went through HELL when nobody knew the real story). Enough of my rant.. please do not consider a management position if you are HSP.. unless you are super comfortable with it and really think that it’s for you. Please also be weary of the dog daycare positions as it may seem like fun at first and yes the dogs are enjoyable.. but it is a very high stress job.
You sound like me! I’m EXACTLY the same way!! I can’t handle constructive criticism or confrontation AT ALL.. I immediately burst into tears and it’s been terrible.. especially in my last job where my boss was very opposite of me.. workaholic and no sympathy when she wasn’t even there for any of the stuff she said she would be there for. She was “supposed” to be my mentor but that all went out the window. I decided to go into horticulture as I figure plants are a lot less stressful and I highly doubt there’s much confrontation there.. but who knows, I haven’t gotten into the field yet.. just thought I’d give ya another suggestion! Good luck!
I learned to stop crying in front of bosses that are criticizing me but my face now turns bright red. How can I stop my face from turning red?! It’s so embarrassing!
I’m shocked to see Financial jobs for HSPs. I worked in wealth management for three years and it was a nightmare. I worked and two different firms and found it wasn’t just the people but the industry that made me miserable. The financial advisors I supported were closed minded and behaved like sales people. They were cut throat and stabbed each other in the backs. The CPAs I worked with were very impatient and tended to snap at me to diffuse their stress. It was very intense and I cried a lot (on my way to work, at work and on my way home from work) It took me years to find another job as I needed the work to pay my rent and bills. I don’t know anyone in Finance who is a HSP, they all tended to be extroverts. Although this is Silicon Valley, maybe it’s different here. I noticed most employers have incredible high expectations of their employees.
Massage therapy I love. Quiet, peaceful environment. Your clients can’t wait to see you, (i,e, who would be dum enough to piss off a masseuse before they work on you?). You can take it anywhere in the world, bartering is big if you deal with business owners only – so no weirdos. because no one says no to a professional massage. It’s a great field. Just don’t work for the assembly line massage place and only do swedish or medium pressure so your wrist and back don’t give out.
Ive been working professionally in geriatric medicine 7 years this post is lie . Healthcare is incredibly stressful. Between balancing work and school . You are constantly in school by the way to update liscensures or certifications bi yearly . Plus it can get expensive very expensive. Unfortunately depending on what you want to do not everyone finishes or is even cut out for this. If you can’t handle simple stuff like voimit, blood, poop Im not going to lie you’re gonna see these things.
Hi Angela, thanks for your comment but this post is not a “lie”, as you state. It is my opinion due to research and personal experience. Therefore, it cannot be a “lie”.
I love that people like you are giving your thoughts and opinions on different jobs, because it can help other people make informed decisions in their careers!
I worked in the office field for years and on 5th ave NY. Hectic and fast. Pressing. Deciding to career switch to plan a family I uninterestingly went into Cosmetology. I found I could cut hair like I was born with scissors in my hand and because I’m left handed, I looked at the teacher in a mirror all year. (cause she looked left-handed in the mirror). Being a hairdresser means you are a Bartender (listener), Psychiatrist (talk back and people just tell you their personal stuff without asking) and a Surgeon (using surgical steel) I’m a fast cutter so they were in and out in a moderate amount of time. Yes, time constraints. Yes, crazy customers. Yes, some pressure but since I was such a natural I made people feel good and that made me feel good. Some people you couldn’t satisfy at all no matter what. I love designing with scissors however I can’t do the job anymore. Money comes in at night and weekends and I gave up too much because of that. No daytime money. Just wanted to put that in there in case someone thought about it. Yes you can freelance in my State provided you are certified in makeup so freelancing was good but still. Society has just become so messed you can’t satisfy those people that are way too picky and if you have a conscious it will haunt you because of those people. I’m trying to career switch again. I like helping those that want to be helped and I prefer dealing with young-ens versus adults. Hope this helps someone. I know I learned a few things from the posts here. Thank you for doing this. For so long I thought I had Autism. I realize I’m not crazy. lol.
I feel that, with sensitive people, the more important factor is who they are working with. More often than not, it’s the sensitive ones that are easily please by the factors surrounding the job role itself.
Very insightful. Big thank you. Billions are lost to the economy because the wrong people are in the wrong place.
I am in my mid-50’s-with some college,yet I am working as a custodian at a school(nights) I do like being alone(for the most part)but my self-esteem has gone down the tubes.I didn’t expect to be working at this type of job at my age.I want to do something else but I don’t know what and I feel there is age discrimination ,also.And I don’t think I can do this job for the next 10 years!
First off I want to say terrific blog! I had a quick
question in which I’d like to ask if you do not mind.
I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing.
I have had a hard time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out there.
I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are
generally lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints?
Hello there, thanks for the comment. Clearing the mind can be tricky. I often wait to write until I feel sort of…inspired. That might sound cheesy, but it’s true. Meditating also might help. I recommend writing a list at the start of the day of all the things you want to accomplish that day. If you get to the point where you’ve crossed some things off this list, you may feel less anxiety about getting things “done” and more free in your mind to be creative. Tell yourself, “As soon as I finish XYZ, then I’ll take some time for pleasure writing”. It may help to give yourself permission to take time to write.
Hey everyone, I just wanted to extend a warm thank you for all the insightful comments, and especially to Kelly for this extremely valuable and enlightening post. Upon reading all the comments, what I’m gathering is that, not only is there a wide range of feedback, much of it is quite negative. While ALL of this honest insight is better shared than kept secret, and is greatly appreciated by many, we should also remember that no job is perfect, and each has their pros & cons. I find it difficult to take away anything positive from this article as most options here have seemingly been deemed as write-offs. I do feel that many of the jobs listed here are A LOT more suited to the HSP temperament, natural skill-set, and strengths, than many others out there, and can prove to be either fulfilling or, at the very least, tolerable. As others have mentioned, it depends highly on the individual role itself and particularly the management/working environment, as each is unique. I feel for everyone who is yet to find happiness in their means of making ends meet financially, but please… Read all the comments and then correct me if I’m wrong… Would you not go away feeling just as confused as before ( if not more), knowing it’s seemingly impossible to find one line of work with faults that someone hasn’t deemed a a deal-breaker? I am prone to idealism and perfectionism myself as a highly sensitive INFJ Empath, but unfortunately, the truth is… it is a practical, non-perfect world we live in, and while truth is certainly valued in terms of negative aspects, we need to keep in mind that at the end of the day, we have to do SOMETHING. Learning self-care techniques, and constantly aiming to improve ourselves the best way we know how, is both a great help, and if I’m going to be honest myself….it’s really our only option. So well done to Kelly for using your combined gifts of self-awareness, compassion and intelligence, to publish an article aimed at helping and inspiring other developing HSPs do their very best at selecting a career that is well-suited to them.
Just found your website. THANK YOU for giving us a place in this chaotic world. It comforts me to read comments from others who have the same experiences as I do.
I am thankful for the information in this article as it has made me feel better as a human being. After taking the Sensitivity test, I am finally able to grasp the idea that I’m not alone. That said, I don’t agree with the idea that Non-Profit organizations are good for HSP’s. I just lost my job in a very well know USA Non-Profit due to my “Sensitivity” and inability to focus on the “Big Picture”. This particular non-profit is all about accepting the Culture and team work with weekly meetings, monthly meetings and annual meetings. In each meeting basically – the management reminds staff (in not so many words) to “carry on” according to the mission. Tensions are high, there is very high turn-over, and there are always new ideas, policies and procedures to conform to (in the effort to raise more money); From this experience, I have vowed never to work for Non-Profit again.
Hi Tweeds, thanks for your comment! I have worked for nonprofits and had good experiences. The organizations can very HUGE amounts, so it’s not the same for everyone. We could be talking about small, local charities or huge national or international organizations. It all depends on your boss, coworkers, and work environment, you know?? 🙂
Yes, your point can be true. My particular work environment had most of the features that can drive HSP’s crazy. Of the characteristics of jobs to avoid listed above, the Non-profit I worked for had at least 7 of those listed. The cut -throat attitudes of the employees and the “more sales – more sales” mentality (because it is a non-profit) was especially unnerving for me. What I’m suggesting is that HSP’s investigate as much as they can about a Non-profit organization they may consider “fun” and a good cause. A “good cause” can be overshadowed by the culture of the office established by management. The management style of the organization is what I wish I had investigated. I’m hoping my comments may help a fellow HSP avoid a situation similar to mine.
Hi, after reading a few of these posts it seems that maybe HSP’s should group together and create ideas for better and more suitable working environments in cities or pool ideas via web based chat (Skype e.g.) I think it might benefit everyone and alleviate a lot of the suffering. Can you imagine the amount of amazing ideas! Anyone agree?..
I’m seriously considering becoming a market research analyst, or at least a data analyst of some sort. I want to work in (mostly) solitude and I wouldn’t mind at all working with spreadsheets and I would also love writing. To anybody reading this if you have any advice to give, how stressful exactly is market research?
just wanna chime in here. I’ve known I was an HSP for 5 yrs now, although I didn’t read the book till recently. I’m also an HSS (high sensation seeker), which makes me somewhat of a contradiction. in high school, my friends couldn’t understand why–after scoring touchdowns the night before, and flirting with cheerleaders after–I had to be alone bird-watching all day Saturday.
at any rate, as to jobs. I’ve been working a state job for almost 3.5 yrs now. it’s a good fit. not stressful. the only suffering is monotony and boredom. but I work hard: mainly for personal fulfillment and integrity. government jobs don’t pay very well, but they do offer benefits and lots of time off.
as for “fulfillment”, I wouldn’t say it’s incredibly fulfilling. it’s mostly task oriented. but one thing that’s important for me, is the ability to work though all my moodiness: so whether I feel good or lousy, I can still do a good job and get a lot done. I was NOT able to do this while working with people: I felt completely exhausted all the time.
as for personality types, I’m an ENFJ. I actually studied and obsessed over this for 10 yrs, governed by it and assuming that everyone else was similarly governed by it too. however, after discovering the HSP trait, I now realize that is supersedes all other personality theories. we are essentially a different SPECIES than the rest of the human race. I’m not exactly happy about this, but we have to survive in this rat race, filled and dominated by NON-HSPs who can handle just about anything thrown at them, or so it seems.
just my 2 cents.
I don’t think a travel agent is a good job people are very confrontational as they are shopping around and they have a sense of entitlement because they are spending their money. The sales targets are high the pay is low and the management is usually poor as you need no higher education. It’s a very false environment because you have to be a sales person and that’s not the natural personality of a highly sensitive person in my experience.
Thank you for your great feedback!!
Precisely what I was looking for, regards for putting
As a pharmacist, I’d say you don’t know the profession too well. Confrontation with nasty customers occur on a daily basis. As the “most accessible”, which translates as free of charge, healthcare worker, you are dealing with people nonstop. Not competitive???? With the overproduction of pharmacists (which began around 2008), many older pharmacists are losing their jobs and record numbers of new graduates never find a permanent, full time positions. With all the MTM being pushed, which involves cold-calling, we are similar to used car sales associates. I’d say this really isn’t a an HSP profession.
Yes! This is exactly what I was going to post. As a retail pharmacist, my job hits every single item on the list of things to avoid. In addition to being hectic and dealing with people non-stop, my performance is timed and measured. We are expected to check prescriptions within an unreasonably short time and somehow simultaneously perform MTM’s and immunizations. Plus, we basically work in a glass box on display to the public and get evaluated based on customer comments–not great for introverts!
Thanks! I struck it from the list.
I have to say this post is very helpfull. I wanted to ask, if someone has experience at being a language teacher or a translator or has an opinion on this field? I’ve read a comment that was really usefull, but I hope I can read more of this experiences.
I’m at my 20s and am currently working as an administrative, it’s a nice job, but I feel I need something more creative where I can feel more fulfilled.
It’s really difficult to find a job around here, so I’m thankfull. But I feel that I need a work that inspires me to be my true self.
I’ve taught English as a second language and overall I can confidently say that I loved it.
Working with adults was fun and exciting as it allowed me to create games and exercises that helped them understand.And it was most fulfilling to see them grow.
But adults can be just as bad as children. Many times their childish behaviour made me feel like I was at school again. Which when it happened, it frustrated me and made me feel unconfident.
With children and teens however, it was a most daunting experience. It was harder to engage them and the classes soon became hectic and frustrating. Too much going on.So much so that after 6 months I quit working with children but carried on working with adults for another 6 months.
Now I know myself better and am more confident. I feel and know that teaching feels natural,comes easily and it’s fulfilling. But, am also aware and accepting that I can’t cope with the pressure of teaching.
Translating is very difficult for the simple fact that I understand the feelings beyond the written words. Technical pieces are easier.
It’s nice to have that list. So thanks but I disagree with construction being a suitable job for an HSP. it’s just too noisy and rough! I did it for a little while just to help someone and it definitely did not suit me.
Hello, such a great idea to put together a list like this! Thank you! I’d like to add “translator” – it’s a quiet job where you can set a lot of the conditions yourself, and if you pick smaller agencies and don’t take express jobs, it’s perfect.
Great reading and thank you.
I recently found out that I am a hsp person,and it makes alot of sence.
I dont think farmer should be on the list, unless its self-employed and not a for the normal worker with hsp.
I’m from Danmark, where we are front runners in pig production in the world, as well as milk cows, mordern high tech farms with the worlds best genpole generating over 40 pigs pr sow a year is a very fast working, stressfull place with high lights and high noises, same goes for milk produceres here, monotonous work all day long, both with constant effiency control almost daily and constant new higher goals.
In my opinion farmer should not be on the list or corrected for self-employed with a small oneman farm.
Unhappy still after 15 years and didn know why, but now I know its because of being a hsp.
Just my 2cents
Kelly thanks for this amazing post, it has brought so many things to light.. I am one of the many that have an idea about what they would like. After parental pressures I studied Economics (although I wanted biology or massage therapist).In 2013 I was calmy living with my boyfriend on a farm and considering working as an accountant but then everything exploded, he boke up with me and I went abroad for an MA I was not interested in. That left me hanging ad I still cannot pinpoint how to find my balance personally and professionaly since every parameter in my life was overturned. Since then I left that line of profession behind me (it does not interest me at all) and have been searching what I would like to do and having great difficulty deciding. I started volunteering for environmental NGOs and while the job in most is fulfilling I can’t say for sure that studying biology at last would provide me with the work I would like as the academic route would require me to move too often (I hate moving) and I do not know what other kind of work I would enjoy as a biologist, all I know is that I am in love with the field and I have been feeling awful volunteering with people that have this degree while I don’t. Also if I went in the academic route I would specialise in the pharmaceutical use of plants, a field that is extremely competitive and has many pressures. I am also thinking of massage therapist in conjustion with clinical herbalist and doula (doula is an emotional assistant to the midwives during birth). I am very torn and I am just now realising that the reason for this is because I am HSP. I have the mental capacity, interest, will and concentration for research but emotionally I cannot take the struggle of uprooting and relocating constantly in chase of a tenureship, I always become depressed. I love animals but veterinarian is also out of the question because i would not spend a lot of time with them. Overall through these last 4 years of insanity:
Carer: It can be rewarding but it depends on the person-the one I had was a complete bitch. The professional carers I met were in 3 goups. People that saw it as a job and didn’t influence them. People that were very sensitive and somehow managed to say that the old people were not being personal and people who were sensitive and lost almost all their sanity becaus ethey were constantly insulted by dementia patients.
Gardener: It is a relaxing lie of work although quite boring if you do it professionaly (cutting people’s hedges mostly), unless you are lucky and are in a community garden planting whatever you want.
Environmental maintenance: Tedious work (repairing bridges and such-it loses its charm after the 10th bridge) but you get to see stunning places.
Wildlife veterinarian: Very rewarding in the NGO setting I was doing it, the people were amazing and I would willingly put 12 hours of work every day there. BUT it was an NGO and an illegal one at such. No need for a lot of paperwork, no red tape and everyone was extremely nice.
Listener on online platform- I propose it for anyone considering to become a psychologist, it gives you a taste of what to expect. I loved being on that platform because I helped people but I also switched off when I wanted.
Warehouse: I worked in the dreaded amazon warehouse and enjoyed only the solitary nature of the work. The noise, awful hours and constant time monitoring was unhuman.
Farm: I adored staying in the farm with my boyfriend and working the land, have chickens but most industrial farms are far from this idyllic reality. I would also not propose starting a farm with the purpose of making it profitable. Farming is awesome in order to have it and relax with your friends, plant some thing and maybe make enough to live on but not something to make money out of, it destroys it.
Project writer: I enjoyed the fact that I could use my imagination and write projects but I was in a place where I was allowed to work on my own.
Self-employed CV and application writer: Loved meeting clients 1-1 and motivating them to change career or make their CV look nice. It gave me a lot of confidence helping people twice my age and them seeing me as an expert in something.
All in all I love helping people, be it CVs , translations or talking (you de be amazed how many people just randomly start talking). I love nature and more specifically plants. I love animals. I love farms and traditional lifestyles. I have a very scientific mind and love biology and chemistry. Any ideas for the perfect profession for me? I m tired of running around in circles and crying my eyes out because I didn’t study biology when I was younger (27 now), any proposals greatly appreciated.
An actor– or any performer for that matter– is not not NOT a job for sensitive people. Imagine getting rejected over and over again and having no stability or control over what sort of jobs you get. It’s risky, cutthroat, and competitive. I’d argue that actors have the thickest skin out of any professionals out there.
Having been a professional dog groomer, a veterinary assistant, and worked in pet shops in my teens, I wouldn’t call any of those “bad” jobs (“bad” is subjective and personal experiences differ), but I would seriously warn against emotional fatigue. You have to understand that in the pet trade, you will witness firsthand how human insensitivity translates to serious suffering for pets. Even legitimately well-intentioned people can really harm their pets because that’s normalized in society. You have to learn to acknowledge and then wisely let go of the situations that you can’t help and learn to focus on the times you can make a difference. If you work with animals and you are sensitive/observant/high-empathy, you will detect animal neglect and abuse and tons of serious behavioral misunderstanding (much of it arguably unintentional/naive), and there will often be nothing that you can do about it. A lot of owners value validation for their current methods over the opportunity to gently learn what would work better for their pets. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help, because I think we should! We should just be prepared to deal with seriously intense feelings of grief from time to time.
Thanks for the input on these jobs!!
Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Taking the time and actual effort to make a
superb article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot
and never manage to get anything done.
I came to this post as i have been quite stressed with my job lately and want a career change but not sure what I should go for. I was thinking about teaching as a lower stress job but changed my mind after all the comments here. I must say this thread of comments has made me feel quite hopeless that there are no jobs for HSP s out there…. Even occupations that in theory we are suited for, because of the way our society and businesses are constantly going for more and more the pressures and deadlines and confrontations seem to be getting even worse, making employees miserable. I am worried that I will spend the rest of my life worrying and feeling unable to cope…. If i did not have to earn money i would just quit but then i would probably feel worthless and wasting my life. How do we reclaim our world back from the megalomaniac sociopaths who are shaping this world and our workspaces?
Hi Stella, I’m sorry this made you feel disheartened! Any job can be bad or good for someone. It depends on so many factors, like your boss and co-workers, not just the work itself. Please don’t lose hope! 🙂
Lol. Yeah, teaching is NOT a less stressful job. It got so bad that I would have total meltdowns in class. I sometimes had to walk out. I cried after school regularly. On Fridays I would come home and lie in the fetal position in my bed for at least an hour until I could move. At the middle/high school level you are constantly being cussed at, disrespected from everyone- kids, administration, parents… it was incredibly stressful.
That said, I just left teaching, and I am feeling the same way. After reading all of these posts, it feels like every job in the world has been ruled out. I feel hopeless too.
People with autism and hyperacusis fall under “highly sensitive people” a lot of what you suggested does not fit their lifestyle needs. I hope you will revise this. Because sound sensitive is becoming a growing issue. Not only affecting those later in life but children face autism issue already and more and more children are being diagnosed with hyperacusis. Working with Pet Jobs, Financial Careers, Trade Jobs, and more are unsuitable. Many people have an issue with phone use, group environments, surrounding sounds.
Hi Wendy, thanks for the comment. Dr. Elaine Aron would argue that autistic people are not highly sensitive. For one thing, HSPs are very in-tuned to everything around them and are good at reading body language, tone, meaning, etc. Autistic people are often the opposite. I have seen differing opinions on this. You can read more from Dr. Aron here: http://www.hsperson.com/pages/2Aug09.htm
Hello, fellow HSPers! My name’s Aishah & I’ve been working in a call center for a large cell phone company for the last 3 years. Hands down, it’s an awful job for one of us. Too much noise, bright lights & too many people make the job a living nightmare. I have no other options at the moment since I’m not a licensed driver & don’t own a car. I’m also a senior citizen helping to support grandchildren. Take it from me & avoid call centers like the plague. I spend all my time away from work in recovery-mode, don’t like my life & am not much fun to be around.
Thanks for the advice!! 🙂
Thank you for this article. I’m 24 and currently looking for a job. I recently quit my job at Starbucks. I worked really hard and was always busy, but it really all felt meaningless to me. I hated the people I served and I hated the people I worked with. Not as individual people, but just all together in the same place was just too much. People are so cruel to each other and the lack of human empathy in today’s world is painful to witness. Coworkers would talk about you behind your back and customers treat you like the scum under their shoe. It was hard just getting up in the morning. I’m not bad mouthing Starbucks in general. I really loved my job, making drinks and working on my latte art, if only I didn’t have to talk to anyone I’d be fine just making drinks. I am super OBSERVANT, and I realized that my coworkers didn’t feel the same way I did. I mean they felt the way someone does about working fast food, no one likes to do it, but I’m here to pay for college type of deal. I don’t go to school and I don’t have any children but I’ve always felt way more exhausted then them. I felt like this job was so tedious to me, it actually made me way more exhausted then my coworkers and even more depressed. I realized I needed to leave when I could no longer pretend to be happy. If someone didn’t like something about their drink or food item I would become super annoyed and just plain bitchy and that isn’t me. I couldn’t fake it anymore. This ‘Customer is always right’ shit is old fashioned and out dated. it just allows a way for adults to basically act like children to get what they want. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t think I was an HSP, but looking back people always told me “you are too sensitive.” I started researching and figured the best job for me would probably be self employment. I had thought about it before, but my anxiety and fear of failure kept me from attempting to chase that goal. I realize now, after reading, that it will be my best option going forward. I’m going to do my best and hopefully you’ll see my shop online ✊🏻
Hi, thanks for the great comment! Good luck with your self-employment adventure!! 🙂 I love the fist pump 🙂
What about being a Registered Practical Nurse? Would that be a good career for an HSP?
Hi Katherine, my friend started working as a nurse for a few months now. It seems quite stressful. While you are indeed helping people, and you can make incredibly positive impacts on peoples’ lives, your work can be a matter of life and death. You deal with people who are suffering. My friend works long shifts, however she only works 3 days a week, so that is a benefit–that you get a good amount of time off to recharge. Personally, I don’t think I could handle such a high stakes job. But then again, I would want a sensitive person to care for me if I was in the hospital. Here is a post about why having a sensitive caregiver is important: http://highlysensitiveperson.net/medical-hospital-compassionate-care/
I work as an occupational therapy assistant, which on your list looks like it fall under “health care” and “trades”. I also have a son with cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus, is legally blind and autistic. So compassion fatigue is a big problem for me. I think if o had one or the other, I’d be able to “recharge” easier and better handle the compassion fatigue.
Does anyone have a job that is good for a HSP? I’m not seeing anything positive and it’s so discouraging.
I have my degree in Psychology and had plans of continuing to get my Master’s in Social Work. When I worked in the field I realized the whole package of the job isn’t for me. I enjoy helping people but only when it goes right and let’s be realistic it’s not always going to be like that.
I’ve worked retail, mental health field, and at a daycare. While there were parts I liked I generally ended up being overwhelmed. On top of being a HSP I am also and introvert and have anxiety.
I want a career. Currently, my husband is in the military and that’s because he couldn’t find a job in his field (computer animation). I quit my job at the daycare when I had my son and currently stay at home. It’s the best option with my husband being in the military. I’m really looking for options after the military. My husband and I have a lot of student loan debt (another reason he joined the military) so I am not trying to add too much more.
I was looking at a laboratory technician but when I researched it further I’d have to take blood and I really don’t think I would feel comfortable doing that. Plus, I’ve never been good at science. I feel so lost.
Hi there! This episode addresses some of your concerns: http://highlysensitiveperson.net/episode56/
The answer is that there is NOT an ideal job for HSPs because it depends on SO many factors, including the coworkers, boss, and physical environment. I had a job that, on paper, should have been great, but I didn’t like my boss’ management style so I was unhappy. Then in another job I had an amazing, hands-off boss and great co-workers, so I loved it.
I know that answer is not satisfying…..it doesn’t make anything easier. There are some books out there on how to choose a career for HSPs that may help!! Good luck!
How about being an Art Director, any body having any experience in that? I am thinking of design or bringing in self practice in it.Thank you for the blog, I just needed when I was struggling with it.
Hi, I just quit my job in advertising. I wasn’t an art director, but know quite a few. You have to be “on” a lot. There’s so much you have to deal with – client presentations, working with so many types of people in different departments, having to communicate clear to get what you want. It really depends on where you go – it could be loud, open concept (hell), a lot of late nights, weekends too. I was a graphic designer and I would come home so drained. I wanted to become an art director too, but quickly lost the desire.
Note, I may be completely different from you. You may be an extrovert. I don’t want to deter you if it’s what you really want. You will learn a lot and also, advertising people can be a ton of fun.
I just stumbled on this website and I’m glad I did! Recent career guidance taught me I’m a HSP, albeit extrovert. I always knew there was something ‘odd’ about me. I was always an emotional, easily bewildered, easily overstimulated, sensitive person, with a very big sense of common justice. I want to make a difference in this world, I’m a pleaser, but on the other hand, I regularly catch myself on being selfish ;-). Though my psychiatrist (which I believe EVERYONE should have!) and career counselor think I should be even more selfish from time to time… :-p.
For 8 years, I worked for the local government, as a management assistant. Seems like an ideal job for a HSP/INFJ: governmental management assistants need to be loyal – no questions asked – dedicated, creative, etc. Plus you do something good for this world: you’re a lifeline for the citizens in your community.
But after a couple of years, my darn ol’ sense of common justice got in the way of politics. So I almost literally ran! Honestly, this was the best decision of my life! Everybody thought I was nuts: leaving a solid job, with a solid paycheck and retirement plan, close to home. Completely nuts! 😉
But I was tired of politics, my job as management assistant (all that paperwork…) and maybe also the steady (read: boring) live I lead. So I got another job, as a logistics manager. Not my thing, but it was something totally different and the people were very friendly. So it was a nice escape plan.
By that time I started career coaching and realised there was one thing I Always wanted to do: be a travel agent! I now regret I studied Communications (because nobody knows what they wanna do for the rest of their lives at 18…) instead of Tourism. But than again, everything happens for a reason. So I started an evening course Tourism. Which was a real eye opener for me. Nice students, all with the same passion for travel. Nice teachers, who are eager to learn you the ropes (instead of fearing losing their own jobs…). I have fantastic grades, allthough I always was an average student. In short; I found my way at this course.
And I would love to be a travel counselor! Not the ‘classic’ one: selling trips to ignorant customers just to get the necessary targets. I know revenue is also part of the job, but I see myself more as a ‘travel counselor’, which will be my ultimate aim. I will not stop searching until I’m a travel ‘counselor’, more than an agent. After all, that’s the future of travel agencies: being more and more of a counselor. Doing what a booking website cannot do :-).
In times of despirations, I also consider other options. Teacher, coach, counselor,… I even considered career coaching for a while :-). The coaching area seems temping, but there are so many ‘coaches’ in this world, for every single issue in your live. How do you distinguish yourself? I don’t think I’m ‘freelance’ material. Too little security in life… For the moment, coaching is too abstract. But who knows, as a ‘Plan B’? ;-). It’s intriguing, that’s for sure. Maybe I can combine my lust for travelling, counseling and coaching at some point?
And allthough I’m terrified of becoming a travel counselor and to be swallowed by the big terrified ‘world of sales, I’m positive for the future. Positive I’ll find my way in this. After all, I’m not the naive, influencial, ‘please like me’-kid I used to be ;-).
The Finance/Accouning field is very much defendant on a lot of factors. I worked for a small, family run, moving company where the Accounting department was very small. I had varied responsibilities that require a set “due date” but I was the one who set the due date. I do not have an Accounting degree, but neither did my supervised. I also was part of the managerial staff, so I was able to oversee the work of others.
Fast forward to working for a large international firm, where I was placed in the role of “clerical support” for the team. I had accounting responsibilities, but was also having to “push other team members” to provide me with there data by set due dates to be in compliance with our Auditing staff – those deadlines grew shorter and shorter. On my entries, making a mistake was recorded. Everything was measured and controlled. Finally, we went through a corporate merger which gave our entire team the sense that we would eventually be replaced. It took a toll on my physical and emotional health and I am now on long term leave of absense – I will soon be terminated for not being able to return to work in a similar position. I am also considering retiring early as it “sounds” better than termination.
I was the only HSP on the team. My manager never allowed us to work from home unless it was an emergency. I tried to move to another group where the manager was a bit more “easy-going” and many of his employees did work from home. Without the degree, I lacked the qualifications. I have tried returning to college, but have not been able to manage it without the tuition reimbursement. Obviously, that is now off the table
I am very sensitive! Now I am physically sensitive as well. I have always been very sensitive and when there is injustice, I fight it, I’m too sincere and I can sense everything a sensitive person does, at one point, I had to become vegetarian because my body reject meat, and now I can’t smell anything strong. I feel kind of sorry for my friends and family, but they understand! They stop using perfumes and everything that makes me sick! I am a therapist and I love it, I’m a social worker and kids just follows me, since I’m little. I have so many parenting skills because technically I raised many kids. People says, wow my baby usually takEs long to get use to people, but with me they just jump and laugh. I love to feel connected to more people.
Thanks for your comment! I’m glad to hear that being a therapist works for you!!! 🙂
Dear Kelly, Computer programmer is bad choice for HSPs. I have been working in software development my entire life. I wrote my first computer program at the age of 12. At the same age I also obtained very desirable programming certificate and later I graduated in the same area. I am apprised as an excellent programmer. Now I am 42 years old and I already had two burn-outs 🙁 the last one just recently. My general practitioner mention the possibility of being HSP. Then I consulted the psychologists and they did some tests and branded me as an clear HSP case 🙁 I never heard about it before and at this age it is hard for me to accept it and to understand a real impact which that can (and will) have on my life. Now I understand my behavior from the very early age until present day. I would like to mention here that the computer programming now-days is _not_ what it used to be 20 years ago. It is a very hectic environment where people get interrupted by “team members” (via social networks, chat channels, e-mails & mobile applications) all the time. Not to mention some software companies who stack employees in a cattle-alike “offices” without walls with 30-40-100 ppl in a single space. Even a cattle gets better treatment during the daytime – cattle can at least breath a fresh air and walk outside. In such “office” environment where everyone is talking/chatting/discussing aloud continuously in this open space it is very easy even for non-HSP’s to get overwhelmed with experience and just “shut down”.
Hello, thanks for sharing your experience! I am surprised to hear your doctor mentioned HSP, it seems like hardly any medical professionals know about it!! Did the psychologists give you Dr. Elaine Aron’s test?
I’m glad to get input from a programmer. Thank you!!
Does anyone have any experience or insight to being a researcher? (I’m relieved to see that it wasn’t crossed off or commented on above!) I am considering research psychology. Perhaps I’m inspired by Dr. Aron’s research. Drawn to it because I’m a deep thinker, great writer, able to give public speeches (when prepared!), and I have an interest/curiosity about the study of people. I’m doing looking into all of this/researching, but I don’t know what research environments are like, and what the actual jobs entail, what the hours are, who I work with, etc. I’d appreciate any insight or knowledge!
Thank you all. (I’m so glad this community exists!)
I work in Medical Records at a psychiatric inpatient facility. The medical records part is fine but forced psychiatry is a hell I would not wish on ANYONE. Most of the people who are imprisoned here are highly sensitive people who have just encountered too much stress and are unable to cope with some VERY difficult and traumatic circumstances. Instead of being given talk therapy and taught coping skills they are forced to take brain-damaging and highly addictive poisons. The job pays well and has great benefits but I really don’t know how much longer I will last. I’m honestly considering living in a van or starting a commune because I have become so disillusioned by the system at this job.
Library jobs are customer service. Some librarians have behind-the-scene jobs ordering books, but that is not the majority. Libraries are filled with patrons who don’t want to learn how to do anything themselves. I liken it to retail. Of course, many appreciate libraries, but many also feel a sense of entitlement as tax payers. My point is it isn’t a good field for HSP. It’s a customer service job.
I’m an interior designer and am completely miserable. The job is FILLED with confrontation– with clients, contractors, and sub-contractors. Things rarely go according to plan on a job site because of unforeseen obstacles, and every little thing is treated as an emergency. It’s so draining. I’ll be honest, it’s the career I always imagined myself to have, but now that I’m here, I see that it’s very little creativity and much more timeline and project management. Don’t even get me started on client presentations– pure dread for a HSP.
Article was very interesting I am looking for a job and having a hard time and would love to receive your articles thank you so much
A custodian, housekeeper, janitor are NOT jobs for sensitive people. My health is worse from working that field.
I would love to hear more….can you elaborate on what aspects of the job didn’t work for you?? thank you!
Chef is a high stress job. “Chef burn out” is real.
Frankly, it is not the job type, but the company culture that is important. Any of the mentioned jobs can be either elevating for people who are highly sensitive or can be a disaster. Nowadays unfortunately, most jobs are based on profit and efficiency. Even non-profits compete with each other for survival and funding, while government institutions lack clear political guidance on purposes or change together with political change and are thus chaotic to say the least, beside lacking clear goals due to lack of profit orientation, focussing often on efficiency again.
Efficiency and profit are all of the same kind: stress creators for the purpose of more money.
Highly sensitive people do not associate with making more money for the sakes of making people rich and exploiting the worker in the process. So we could say that today’s world is simply a challenge for people who are highly sensitive.
Instead of the above listing of job types, I would rather focus on the company culture of the place where you find your calling: do extensive research on where you are going to work, check in-house the atmosphere, spaces, people’s attitude, rules. Take a lunchbreak with a future colleague or check their videos on youtube or articles about the company, these all will help you a lot in deciding whether you will feel at home. Most places advertise themselves with values they are not adhering to, the values are there for investors and PR, do not believe their hype. Check it out for yourself and decide then. Good luck!
I am currently in internal audit and I don’t think it is a great job for a HSP because you need to talk to so many people and sometimes conversations around audit findings are not the most pleasant.
Last year I discovered I am a HSP introvert, when I was a kid I knew I was different, but the environment and being surrounded of extroverts made think it was something wrong in me and they convinced me to be like them. So I tried to do “the right”, and I was miserable, I am a creative person, and I liked a lot to draw when I was little but also play with lego and build puzzles, cartoons was my happiness, my family never was supported with drawings. I remember when I was in High school have a classmate very talented she showed me her drawings, I was impressed and at the same time I saw mine and I realise it wasn’t good like hers. But I continued telling my family I wanted to be a designer, I didn’t know other careers besides arts, graphic design and architect.
My family convinced me that arts never give you enough money unless you be a genius. So I enter to advertising and public relations university, was horrible!! I hated the school and my classmates too, but still I felt I had to be “normal” so I convinced myself to act like the others, I can’t deny I had happy moments but most of all was sad, frustrating, empty, depressing, stressful and so on. I was very good at subjects like marketing and user behaviour, but all was at the end about money and sell. It took me 6 years finish university, also before finish it I entered in Arts university, graphic design career. And was muuuuch better, but after finish it I still felt lost because I was bad at it but neither very good, and I tried to work in agencies (horrible places), I am a freelance, (i never last more than a few months in a job) affects me very much the lack of empathy, deadlines, stressful environments, stubborn clients, money, coworkers, and so on. I have taught in schools, I’ve been a waitress and more, and is awful. As a freelancer I realise I had to do one of the things I hate more, selling myself. I also struggle with money, clients thinks design is cheap.
I know in someplace inside of me I am very good at something, there must be a job ideal for HSP introverts, like me. I am very good in analyse, observe, empathy, resolve problems, find creative solutions, but as a graphic designer I realised those who have success are:artist ones and sell themselves very well. And I am not those two. I’ve read almost all the comments in this article, and there was 2 sentences that caught me, the first one said something like there must be companies that only hire and be made of HSP, and I would be happy picking trash next to the road if I had a nice work environment, or something like that.
I know that world is full of no-HSP, and usually people have told me “get used to find horrible people in the world and work with them”, and I say always whyyyy? there must another way, I think is time to HSP build companies, business for HSP, and if we have to work with no-HSP educate them to have a good relation and understanding of us. The world needs to become a better place for all, including minorities. As creative of different fields could be a good idea work together as a HSP. I want to be part of it, and find my passion, because I still don’t know what job suits to me.
great post, Karina. It is difficult any way to find an exact job that suits HSP. making a mobile app or totally online work (like making a website to sell items and interact with clients through automated procedures) are good solutions.. but sadly not every HSP is a programmer.
As an HSP, I learnt that every happy moment I rip from life is a great victory and I run my life in away to reduce pressure. finding the right Job thing is a great challenge though. 🙂
I really love your idea of having jobs where everyone is an HSP. It would be so nice!
Nice and well researched on the topic. A good one though
Can anyone add some insight to the fit of an HSP as a dietician? I’m drawn to it because it serves others. But I’m concerned about the work environment, etc. Any input much appreciated!
Hi, I’m 17 and looking to find colleges and narrow down my degree/career path. I’ve ALWAYS been a HSP and I’m so glad to have found this website to help find jobs suitable for HSP’s. For a long time I’ve been interested in helping animals. I know being a vet seems to be out of the question with responsibility and stress, but I’ve pondered the idea of majoring in animal behavioral therapy and work with dogs who have unordinary behaviors that won’t let them be put up for adoption right away. So I would work and aid in their behavior to aid and train them to be able to be adopted. I also know there isn’t many practices like this so I don’t know if it’s realistic. Even becoming an ecologist/conversationalist crossed my mind because I do love the outdoors, travel, and plants/nature.
Another job I’ve looked into the most the past year is Physical Therapy. It seems like a good career because I enjoy helping others and I would maybe like to specialize in Paraplegics or partner my physical therapy with fitness training. However I know it’s a lot of schooling and I’m worried there is a lot of behind the scenes stress that isn’t talked about and I don’t want to put all that time in college for something I won’t like. Even though it is a growing profession and promises a good salary.
Before even looking at physical therapy I dabbled in the idea of a nutritionist/dietitian, life coaching and holistic medicine practice. The more I researched into holistic/natural practice I was/still am interested in it but was disappointed when the complaints from people getting a degree in this field commented on the fact that the certification isn’t as good as a normal medicine degree. Life coaching was the first health career that called me but I was discouraged by people who said it didn’t pay well, and it would be hard to find a job.
I would just really love the input on any/all of these jobs
I have to say that i have enjoyed all of the post. It really made me reflect on what i thinks the HSP,s talent, which is writing. I remember growing up as a kid, I loved to write, when I was sad, lonely, or upset, I would take a pen to paper and let all of my emotions out on paper. However, as I have gotten older this has slowly faded away. I know I enjoy helping people, but all of the helping professions do not pay enough. Now, I am not all about a paycheck, but I am a single mother who does need to make ends meet. I have held several jobs jobs in the past year, all of about 10, which I am not prod of. I am wondering if I will ever find my true passion. One thing that I can say is that I have completed my Bachelors degree online in Communication, but have no idea what to do with it? I hope one day I will be able to find my true calling. I really want to get my masters in Sociology, but have no idea what I will do with it? Are there any sociologist that are HSP,s I would love the input!
Sorry for the typos…
Sounds like you know the answer already…write! Write about whatever you enjoy the most, and write from the heart. Forget sociology, do a writing course!!!!!
You would think interior Design would be a good fit for a sensitive person. Maybe in some instances it is, however after practicing in the field for a few years I have found it is not as suitable in many work environments. Many interior design work environments are very time sensitive and highly competitive. It is often Design it Fast, and price it to win, but you better make money. The pressure to draw and design fast, and to crank out as many projects as inhumanly possible is very high in many situations. I think residential work is more suited to highly sensitive persons verses commercial work. This is 15 years of experience and an MFA in Interior Design.
I would like to add the job of baby-sitter, nanny, childcare. I enjoyed my time as a freelance babysitter, taking walks to the park with the child, the low-key, slow, solitary pace. When the child naps, you can relax and be still. Of course, if it’s a problematic child (like a baby that won’t go down for a nap), it can be stressful, but I feel it’s a good job for an empath. It requires tenderness and intimacy, the very things you don’t find in most corporate, office jobs. I liked babysitting but ultimately could not do it full time because it was too low-paying. It could be a bit tedious, but I suggest it as good for the introvert.
I am a software engineer and I really like my job because of the people around me. I can deal better with stressful situations because of this.
My degree is in Interior Design. I spent the last 20+ years working in commercial design in a large city. I agree wholeheartly with the comments Melissa made about the industry. Maybe it’s different in smaller cities or like Melissa said in residential design.
I recently made a big jump and decided to move from the city to a small town. I’m trying to find my way with doing something different as a career and the list from this post has been really helpful. I have extensive training in Yoga but have taught just a few classes. I was curious if anyone had comments about HSP as a teacher. In my career as a designer, I was never really “jazzed” about doing sales presentations/speaking in front of people.
Awesome blog!! I loved this article. I think that a lot of the careers listed are or can be ideal for an HSP but I think THE most important aspect of this is the actual work environment and whether or not you have co-workers that are helpful or difficult to deal with. I am a licensed acupuncturist and practitioner of Asian medicine and have been for over 10 years. I find that one on one treatment of people is not only satisfying, but also very manageable for me. That being said, I did some teaching for a while for a school of acupuncture/Asian medicine and I found it to be VERY stressful! The classroom environment was not for me! I did an excellent job of putting together lesson plans, learning activities, PPT presentations, but all of my good plans could be laid to waste by one disruptive or argumentative student. I could not stay grounded and it lead to a lot of anxiety and heartache on my part. I also did teaching in the clinic where students followed me while I treated patients and that was much more manageable for me, but still stressful. So my point is, I can do a great job as an acupuncturist but it depends on the environment and who I am working with and how many people I need to deal with at one time. I hope people will take that into consideration when reading about the various recommended professions in this blog. I also hope you decide to take the cross mark off of acupuncturist as a profession for HSP!
I am a NICU nurse and I can say that I love my job! However, it’s true that sometimes I need to just step away for a moment of quiet during the day because of how hectic it can be. And sometimes having to work in a team causes a lot of stress for me. Especially since I am a perfectionist. But I think nursing is good for me. Maybe it helps that my babies don’t actually talk back to me, they only cry! Haha.
I am so glad I found this page!! Finally persons who understand <3
I would like to specify the Social Media Manager option you mentioned. I worked it for 3 years, for a big industrial company, and over the course of time it was very draining. Constant deadlines, the necessitiy to spill out perfect texts and channel performance every day and explanations/justifiation to inhouse departments add up inner stress. The perfectionist in you is challenged.
Plus when I was sitting in an open plan office, the noise/stimuli were too distracting.
If a person is very creative at writing and possesses the "flow skills", it can be wonderful. If you're sitting there digging for words…less so.
Recently a friend said to me when I complained that I fail at creativity, she said: Oh but you are creative, but it lies in a "visual", not "wordy" way. Well, true 😉
Since I am 17 the "which job is best for me" question stresses me out. Hopefully I'll find what makes me live a happy life careerwise.
Hugs to all
Accounting is fine if you’re doing internal accounting with moderate deadlines. I really suggest avoiding tax offices and firms that require you to sell, sell, sell services. I worked at a tax office that probably took years off my life.
Hi there! I’m too am one of the HSP, on top of that, an ADHD too! I’ve been working in a call centre for 5-6 years up to current moment. Despite all the muttering at work, I manage to get through the tough times with reward of windfall bonuses. It is only recently when we were forced to work like a cow, with little to zero toilet breaks, lunch time reduced by half, having to do overtime (unpaid), throngs of call queues mismanaged till the the service level dropped at an alarmingly critically low level, complaints increasing and lastly, major company loss due to fraudulence causing the bonus and salary cut to take place, totally no mobile phones allowed (if found out phones will directly be confiscated, warning letter will be issued and our “scorecard” ruined). Also all our talk sessions and rewards and recognition sessions all cancelled.
On top of that, the COO threatened our job scope with the automation project that is implemented for quite some time. Plus this company WILL NEVER protect you from any lawsuit by the customers/clients. If any, you will be terminated on the spot, and is required to attend court session if any, lastly you’ll be blacklisted as “Not recommended to hire” by the Ministry of Human Resources.
I’m quitting this job very soon as I found out I’m already a victim close to a lawsuit already. I’m now taking time to look for a job which doesn’t involve financial fraud risk now. Plus, no more financial institutions’ call centre for me anytime after this.
While the actual job of mailman/letter carrier could be good for HSP’s. The USPS is poorly managed and has constant confrentations because they are always trying to get you to do more work in less time.
All 💖😊 I am currently a buyer/purchaser and it is really emotionally and physically exhausting for me because you deal with so much confrontation, salesman, angry people, and so many emotions that it is not a job I would recommend to anybody who is a HSP. You are constantly talking to people all the time and I get exhausted talking to people for more than 15 mins because their energy drains mine. I don’t know if any of you feel the same.
Been in hospitality sales for over 6 years. The last 3 specifically I have been selling IT products to restaurants. I’ve changed jobs/companies 6 times in 7 years. I’ve been a HSP as long as I can remember. It affects my wife the most as she just wants me to be happy at work. We now have a beautiful 9 month old and now more than ever I need to find a career path that doesn’t cause panic attacks. I’d appreciate any suggestions. I have a BS in Hospitality management with 6 years sales experience. I want to leave sales but don’t know where to go. Any ideas are appreciated.
fHYaH0 Thanks-a-mundo for the post.Thanks Again. Great.
Thanks Kelly for this awesome blog and to all the others for sharing their thoughts.
I always felt like a weirdo during school. Something has to be wrong about me I thought to myself. I didn’t know how to name it what I am. Until a few months ago when I heard about HSP I knew the answer. Because of my high emotional sensitivity I felt overwhelmed in larger groups. So to avoid situations like parties I had to make up excuses. That made me feel so lonely and lost afterwards. Honestly not much has changed since then. (I’m 25 M, living in Switzerland)
What I want to do with my future is a question I’m struggling ever since.
Out of my helplessness, I decided to study something with good job prospects. I ended up studying civil engineering. In the middle of my studies I felt that I took the wrong path. Because I already invested so much time and energy into it I decided to finish my studies successfully. The work life of a civil engineer covers most of those circumstances an HSP should avoid:
-There is alot of pressure because of deadlines
-Confrontations with different stakeholders
-Alot of responsibility
-People deal with each other often in a rough way
After I finished my studies a year ago I made some internships because I wanted to find a niche area where all is a bit more relaxed. I know I’m not made for the classical field of civil engineering. The last internship I did was in a small company which worked in the field of planning retrofitting for waterpower plants. The team was really small with me we were four people. We were all working in a small room. It was almost impossible for me to focus on my work. There was almost anytime somebody talking on the phone. My boss had always a view on my monitor. That made me feel so uncomfortable. Unluckily before I started working there the only other civil engineer in the company quit his job. So there was no person I could ask questions about my field. All was a bit chaotic. Quite fast I knew there is no future in that company for me. So I decided to quit that job after 3 months. That was one month ago. During that time I was thinking alot about my situation. I started reading some books about HSP. I went to a career counseling but it was much of a help for me. In the professional world acceptance of HSP does not yet existing.
To earn some money I will do a temporary job as a craftsman. It gives me some time for that orientation phase. I’m thinking about doing something totally different.
I was visiting some vineyards recently to get in contact with some people in that field. Since a long time I am fascinated about the wine production. But also areas like the distillation of whiskey, rum, mezcal, …
The world of spirits fascinates me because of the wealth and diversity of tastes.
Getting to know new spirits for all over the world is like a great journey of discovery. Getting drunk is not my motivation. I have a strong sense of taste due to my high sensitivity.
Till now to be HSP was more of a burden. Why not do something where it’s a gift.
Nevertheless finding a job in that field won’t be easy.
“A ship is always safe at the shore, but that is not what it is built for” -A. Einstein
I just popped in to say that pastry chef should not be on this list…everything you do is timed or time sensitive, urging toward productivity and working with as much urgency as possible. In restaurants it’s as fast paced and challenging as any other position in the kitchen, and also there is a culture toward “rough” feedback that can be seen as degrading. Your value often centers around how quickly and how perfectly you can send things out the door. Further, it’s an extremely cutthroat industry, with few high paying jobs and sharp competition for the few positions available at reputable establishments. Even in its most relaxed forms, like freelance cake decorator, speed, perfection, and a thick skin are essential in working the industry. Any mistakes made when handling sensitive food or allergens could cause food borne illness resulting in seriously sick people/fatalities and likely a nasty lawsuit.
Hello, I am unemployed and trying to find a job that suits me. I struggle with anything customer service seems to make me anxious and panic. I feel quite drained. There isn’t much choice where I live. Care work and support work. I would like a holistic career in beauty therapy., nutrition or wellness sector etc. Not sure how to go about it ? There isn’t any careers advisors in the uk anymore. The government closed them all down. I can’t find anything online to be honest. any ideas ?
Social media writing, moderating and similar jobs are a definite “no”. Quizzical, combative, confrontational, harassing encounters are extremely hard to avoid on social media, as are emotionally influential messages, pictures and videos (puppies, kittens; acts of charity; flaunting of wealth, beauty, celebrity; political sparring; war, famine; hatred, violence, murder). Employed social media management is usually mostly about communicating and interacting with seen and unseen, but unavoidably felt, audiences and corporate personnel, through a relatable and appealing voice that is probably not one’s own, while using the social capabilities of the employed, who is often described as ideally “outgoing” and “a people-person” in the job qualifications.
Some of the factors that make a graphic designer and similar title unfavorable for empaths and highly sensitive people:
Several areas of commercial art and design, directly pertaining to marketing roles in business, are terrible vices for artistically creative highly sensitive people and empaths to choose for their career paths. From the nature of real-life demands of a typical job scope at the lowest of career situations (well-known to be especially stressful, laborious and spirit-testing) to much higher professional settings, to the confusion about and unwillingness to respect the (empathy-prone) value of services from commercial art and design–from outside of the professions and internally, even with widespread information about graphic design and design thinking that are casually thrown around as part of modern consumerism–and to the artist, designer, or probably more likely, production worker mislabeled as “designer” that must handle a lot of “ambiguity” as business copy likes to say, solving influential socio-political and socio-economic problems around marketing and product, juggling learning and applying rapidly changing technology, selling oneself’s skill set and carefully explaining one’s deeply personal or insightful ideas to extremely varied client personalities at various corporate positions, hiring or collaborating with other technical and / or design contractors / freelancers / co-workers, jobs being particularly deadline-crucial, a designer / artist must somehow output creative mental calisthenics through ethic and logic in communicative industry-standard form within a confined amount of time (not going to far into research journeys), all to produce results that not the average, but often “lowest common denominator” population can easily and quickly understand in order for a business to push a product or idea.
To have differing philosophies from the industry standard, or even “be different” within places of learning or employment while an artist or designer, add additional challenges and pain. Instructors at schools are prone to (negatively) affect professional trajectory, and a sensitive person’s general well-being, by imparting their biases, subjecting students to their social politics and not adopting adequate technical tools and practices, for multiple costly grueling years of post-secondary schooling. Without formal training, of course, it is tough to find jobs. With formal training, a lot of money, time and finite energy are down the drain, and yet there is much more to be learned, and not much money to be earned.
Contrary to typical non-empathetic assumptions about “creative” jobs, work in art and design is mentally, physically and emotionally taxing for non-sensitive people, and very much more so for sensitive people. Health maintenance is a common challenge for people in such time-consummate jobs further made problematic by uncontrollable / unreasonable peers, second-hand smoke, stressful stimulation and bodily danger during commute, repetitive stress injury, eye damage, aggravated hyper-sensitivity, other personal health issues, household obligations, personal ethical / hobby obligations, bills, debt, economy, etc.. A well-performing creative person needs to be not intimidated, not depressed, not in pain, not feeling restricted, not overwhelmed, not burdened by the unnecessary problems of ordinary life and uncertainly not a sensitive existence, in order to fulfill a satisfying and safe career as an artist and / or designer.
What I can’t understand is why it is assumed that highly sensitive people are automatically compassionate and should be care-givers! I am destroyed by these types of jobs! I absorb so much of the emotional environment that when I constantly give and am exposed to grief and suffering of others I want to die! One day in a Vet’s office makes me absolutely suicidal! To deal with putting a dog down or watching a patient die of cancer is the worst hell for me I can even imagine! I need to be away from people in my job so I can deal with people outside of my job!
Thank you for this. I’ve always wanted to be a child/family therapist but I may be too sensitive and get compassion fatigue. I’m know looking into macro social work that doesn’t work with clients directly such as public policy or research.
Hello, i dont think being an Auditor is good for an HSP. Being an auditor, you have to look for lapses made and tell your clients what they did wrong. Most people if not all do not want their mistakes to be pointed out to them and may be offended. I recently experienced this and i was being attacked personally just by doing my work professionally.
Thank you for this article! I am a school counselor and the school setting (particularly now with students’ rising mental health needs) is constantly chaotic, with a lot of face time with others in emotionally charged situations, multitasking throughout the day and putting out fires. I would reconsider this as a job on the list 🙂
This blog post is really Amazing for highly sensitive persons. keep posting.
Thank you for these job ideas I really appreciate you
By way of an update – I would take programmer/software developer off of this list, 90 percent of the job is social interaction and 10 percent doing actual work (and that is being generous). You will get hardly any time to hear yourself think. Also very cutthroat and competitive.
I have recently registered the fact that I am a HSP. I have always been more sensitive than others but I did not realise it was it’s own specialised trait! It feels so good to know I am not alone or a freak for being this way!
I decided I might need to reevaluate the job I wanted to do so if anyone has experience in this job or anything in Vet Nursing I’d really appreciate it if you could let me know if this job is suited for people with HSP or not
I do love spending time with animals and find it really rewarding and prefer to be around animals rather than people.
any help with this id really appreciate
Interior design is not an ideal career for HSPs at all.Its a fast paced stressful environment where you have daily pressure to deliver a lot in very little time.You are communicating with so many people(co-workers,superiors, contractors,workers, clients) which is draining for introverts.Also,remember that interior design studios are always open offices.Noone has their own cubicle which makes it difficult to have both boundaries.
I hated all my jobs in finance and acocunting. They’re so boring and have no meaning. And also, most of them are done in huge, open-space offices with many distractions, so they’re not a good fit for me as a HSP at all. Also, avoid sales. Just got released from my call center job that I hated. Phew! Maybe email support would work, but chat support no way.
I think dancing and singing are good as well as ecology and small-scale farming.
Hi Charlotte, I hope you found an answer to this. I have volunteered in a horticultural therapy charity and it was really stressful. 10+ veterans every day to be given a schedule of activities+ 1-2-1 councelling by 1 member of staff. It s a great role but you have to find the right company to do it
Hii, I have always been extremely sensitive and I am an extrovert but constantly being around people exhausts me. I have always wanted to become a surgeon, BUT the competition and putting in 12-15 hours every single day is not for me. Can people like me survive medical school and extreme competition? I’m terrified of getting yelled at but I love caring for people. What should I do?
I really appreciate that many HSP programmers have shared their experience here!
Also I’m surprised at negative aspects of the job environment though software engineer is often regarded as a “good for HSPs” job on the Internet…
Although my dream is becoming a novelist, I have to search a job to earn a livelihood.
For this reason, being a programmer seemed reasonable, but now I must have second thought.
Don’t agree about non-profit/charity job, but it depends on the organisation’s profile – if it fights against negative issues (e.g. abuses, environmental damage, racisms, etc) it can be very draining for an HSP that does not deal well with all this negativity or conficts.
At nearly 58 years old, I am in a really difficult place in my life.
After being diagnosed/medicated for ADHD as a child, then for depression and anxiety in my 30’s with no improvement, having a number of very bad relationships, and being miserable pretty much the entire 40+ years of my previous working life at no matter what sort of job I had, just now it seems I have finally discovered this personality trait that explains so much about me, (as in *textbook* description of my life) and I feel a huge sense of relief, but also great sadness that I am only now finding out what could have made me so much happier over all these years had I only better understood what was making me so “different” and hence so stymied in seeking and finding success and fulfillment.
I have been out of work for almost 18 months and have nearly exhausted my savings. I need to find work, but at my age, I am in no position to be trying to learn a new skill, and my heart absolutely shatters at the thought of just having to take “any” job just to earn a living…I…just…*can’t*.
I just keep going through my days hoping and praying that some magical opportunity presents itself and the perfect job for me just appears out of the blue. I have so very much to offer…I just can’t seem to make the connection with earning a living from it all.
A wonderful article, thanks…I’m going to go cry now.
Hey! I love this post so much! As someone who highly sensitive as well, this is a great guide to my future career choices. I am greatly inspired by you! Have a great day
I find, as an HSP, working in technology is NOT a good field unless you just have to work on your piece and turn things in. The technology industry is filled with meetings and presentations, which is not good for me and I am trying to get out.
I’m heartbroken to state that after being thrown out of two graduate programs for being sensitive and told that made me “dangerous” for others, therapist/mental health counselor is not a good fit for HSPs (but that’s not discrimination?)
Please be careful out there, the way I have been treated and thrown away has taken a physical and mental toll on me that is going to leave a mark. If you suffered from this like me, you’re not alone. If you don’t understand why people treat you that way, you’re not alone.