Planning a career is always difficult, but if you have anxiety, finding the right path can be a real challenge. In a previous article, we listed some of the best jobs for people with social anxiety, where success may come most naturally. We also believe that it is important to know which might be the worst jobs for people social anxiety disorder (SAD).
Most of the careers on this list are very community-involved. They would frequently require you to interact with other people, sometimes intense or even dangerous circumstances, and so are likely to produce feelings of anxiety. And while working on your anxieties by challenging them can be an effective way to overcome them, some of these jobs may be too stressful to be able to learn from them effectively.
But don’t give up!
The jobs we list underneath will be challenging for socially anxious introverts. But it would be a worse mistake to let your social anxiety choose your life for you, including your career.
Becoming a police officer is a very noble career but unfortunately, it can be considered among some of the worst jobs for introverts. It is an extremely demanding job which will often force you to interact with people who don’t necessarily think you are on their side.
To add to that, if you live in a bigger city, you may have to face dangerous situations and think on your feet. And even if you live in a smaller place or a rural community, you would have to speak to lots of people day in, day out. All of these may present anxiety-inducing circumstances.
Similarly, becoming a fireman or joining the military may be similarly difficult if you are socially anxious.
If you have social anxiety, then you might want to avoid the types of jobs that require the most social interaction. Unfortunately, many entry-level jobs such as waiting tables would require you to deal with people throughout your shift, which may put a lot of stress on you if you are not ready for it.
In addition, you would be expected to maintain casual friendliness with customers all day (and it might not be particularly easy with some). While this can be difficult on its own, you would also have to serve drinks and food, handle money, and coordinate with coworkers and managers all the while. And if your colleagues are not sensitive to your needs, this may add an additional source of stress which would make it all the more difficult to overcome your social anxiety disorder.
Even the most socially fluent can become a little angry and bitter with this job as it asks you to put a smile on even for people who haven’t necessarily earned it. All of the above makes this job one of the worst for people with social anxiety.
It’s a tricky one but this would likely be a difficult job for anxious introverts. There may be long stretches of time when you’d be alone in your car, waiting for a client or driving through the city to pick up customers.
But for every one of these instances, there will be one where you’d be alone with a stranger. If you think you may be prone to anxiety or panic attacks, this may be a very uncomfortable job to take on. It’s work that requires thinking on your feet, dealing with drunk or difficult customers and being able to defuse tensions.
In addition to all of this, it may be a bit difficult to get started in some places as you would have to provide your own vehicle (preferably with low fuel consumption).
Some people love being taxi drivers, but people were probably born to do different things.
Management is one of the jobs where you can expect that your time will mostly be spent talking to people, usually employees or higher-level managers. Whenever you are not, you would be balancing schedules, requests and complaints, most of which would be high-responsibility and potentially very stressful. There would be a lot of expectations placed on you (both from inferiors and superiors) so this may not be a good job if you are prone to anxiety or depression.
In addition, what can make this job even worse for socially anxious introverts is that you would be expected to be able to communicate effectively with lots of different personalities throughout the day. In this respect some bits of management would resemble those of waiting tables or driving a taxi.
Another entry-level position on this list of bad jobs for introverts that would involve talking to a stressful number of people every day. As with waiting tables, this type of work requires a high level of ease around others, even in stressful situations. Some customers may be over-demanding, or rude if you can’t immediately get to them.
Long lines in the evenings or during holiday seasons would add another level of difficulty and unpredictability if you find a job as a cashier. Because this job can be so overwhelming at times, it has the potential to provoke anxiety attacks.
And while exposing yourself and challenging your social anxiety is a way to overcome it, we would encourage you to take small steps in that direction and find work that can facilitate your growth.
Teaching may not be a very good job if you feel uncomfortable with public speaking.
We all cherish the memory of at least one teacher in our school years who made us feel special. And we should probably give them double the credit for their humaneness and the gentleness with which they addressed our frailties. It is not something that someone who feels uncomfortable around other people can do. Being a teacher is often very difficult work and one of the worst for anxious introverts.
You will be expected to speak to your students throughout the day, to your coworkers, and to parents.
In addition, teaching can be highly stressful. You would be taking responsibility for the development of hundreds of children or teenagers. Communication would be paramount
If you have social anxiety or phobia, you may think that being a stay-at-home parent might be a good option. But it involves a lot of stressful work as you would more or less become child’s public relations consultant. To do the job right, you would have to organize their birthday parties, their play dates, network with other parents at the playground, and coordinate events for them.
While the job title implies that you would be working from home, in fact you would often be out and about organizing things with other people.
Pursuing a career in law is a great opportunity for those who love to apply attention to detail and to do research. Lawyers, however, would often be exposed to high levels of stress and expectations from other people. You would be expected to be almost always on a call for your clients and superiors, both of whom would require a constant presence of mind in your job. This can make this job very challenging for people with mental health problems.
In addition, you would be expected to work on, or oversee, many high stakes cases, and appear in court if you are a barrister. These expectations and the possibility of stage fright in court could make this a bad job choice for socially anxious people.
Finally, if you become a partner at a law firm, you would be expected to bring in new clients, which often requires the art of impressing and gaining the trust of strangers, which could be especially difficult for some introverts.
Stage fright is the big one here. An occupation with the potential to expose you to stage fright may be a bad job for people with anxiety. This would include television and radio broadcasting, stand-up comedy, music, professional sport, acting, among others.
The large crowds or imagining thousands or millions of people watching you on their TVs may produce anxiety attacks.
Importantly, however, if you tend to be among the people who can completely enter the zone while performing, all of these may be good opportunities to follow your dreams. While we would like to help you avoid jobs that produce unnecessary anxiety, pursuing your dream career should likely be your top priority. So it is also ours.
Entering politics could be both hugely fulfilling and deeply frustrating. What is certain is that it would likely be a very stressful job for people with social anxiety disorder. Politicians are constantly sought after by the media for an interview, need to be present at a variety of meetings– with voters, labor unions, other politicians, you name it. In addition, policy is an extraordinarily responsible field and naturally there is a lot of public scrutiny, which might make this a particularly bad job for people with anxiety.
Even though social anxiety disorder, or anxiety more generally, can be a difficult obstacle on your path to success, don’t give up and let your anxiety run your job. Instead, try to assess your strengths, weaknesses, ambitions, and dreams to find the right career for you.
You will know when it is right.