15 Jobs for People with Social Anxiety

A woman sits at a desk in a workplace with people behind her and holds her head.
  • Social anxiety, a condition in which individuals feel severe symptoms of anxiety in social situations, can hinder the ability to find a job.

  • Integrating methods into the workplace for managing social anxiety is key. These include having a flexible work schedule, being able to work from home, and limiting interactions with coworkers, if possible.

  • Working in nature, with animals, or in the comfort of your own home can help with productivity if you have social anxiety.

Social anxiety is a common condition in which people feel a constant fear of being judged by others in work, school, or social settings. Approximately 12% of the U.S. population shows characteristics of social anxiety.

People with social anxiety feel heightened symptoms of anxiety in situations where they fear they may be scrutinized by others, such as during public speaking, interviewing, answering a question in class, or starting a new job.

Common symptoms of social anxiety include rapid heartbeat, trembling, difficulty making eye contact, and more.

One of the most challenging parts of life for people with social anxiety can be finding and beginning a new job. That being said, there are several jobs that are naturally more comfortable for people with social anxiety, whether because of the amount of social interaction, the physical environment, or the work schedule.

How to Find a Job When You Have Social Anxiety

Don’t let your social anxiety discourage you in your job hunt! There are many jobs that suit the needs of people with social anxiety, but also help them to engage socially in a comfortable setting.

It’s important to focus on your strengths when looking for a job. Think about what sets you apart from other applicants in a positive way. Replace “you are anxious around others” to “you are most productive when working solo.”

Ask questions about the position. It may sound obvious, but the best way to feel comfortable is to know what you're signing up for. If it is easier, you can ask the hiring manager questions via email to get a clearer picture of the job at the beginning of the process.

Job hunting can be stressful and overwhelming for anybody. Be careful to not be too hard on yourself. There will be highs and lows, but you are a qualified candidate and will find a job that works for you.

Prioritize finding a workplace culture that fits your expectations, with policies that allow for accommodations if needed. These can include having the ability to work remotely or in a hybrid setting, working solo rather than on a team, or being behind the scenes of a company instead of forward-facing.

The process of getting hired for the right job can also be daunting if you are socially anxious, specifically if there are one or more interviews along the way. You can prepare for the interviews with a trusted partner, and role play as many times as needed to feel more comfortable going into the interview.

Working With Animals

It is no surprise that animals are proven stress-relievers, specifically common household pets such as dogs and cats. Therefore, working in the presence of animals can be a useful tool for somebody with social anxiety to feel comfortable in the workplace.

These jobs include:

  • Veterinarian
  • Veterinary technician
  • Dog walker
  • Groomer

With each of these jobs, human interaction is very limited, again easing the feelings of stress for the socially anxious worker.

A veterinarian exams a dog on a table.

Working Outdoors

Another known treatment for relieving symptoms of stress is spending time outdoors. Therefore, jobs that involve being outdoors with limited interactions with other people can be really great for socially anxious individuals.

Some of these jobs are:

  • Gardner
  • Landscaper
  • Contractor

Tutor or Librarian

Working in education in a less interactive role, such as a tutor or librarian, can be very beneficial. In these roles, you are interacting with one or two people at a time, in controlled and comfortable environments.

As a tutor, you work flexible hours in the setting best suited for you — such as your home, the client’s home, or online.

Working as a librarian allows you to be in a quiet space, typically completing tasks completely alone or with a couple of coworkers.

Depending on the amount of social interaction you feel comfortable facing day-to-day, one of these two education-related jobs could be right for you.

A librarian stand in the stacks and reaches up to grab a book.

Accounting, Bookkeeping

Working as an accountant or bookkeeper, while tedious in their own ways, can be a good option for those dealing with social anxiety. Both positions involve working long hours, largely solo. There may be a need to interact with a few people a day, but overall, the position is quite independent.

Data Entry and Research

Today, many companies who hire employees for data entry and research positions allow them to work from home. This can be great for individuals with social anxiety, as the positions are equally as structured as in-person jobs, with strict deadlines and instructions but from the comfort of home.

Freelance Writer or Graphic Designer

Working freelance as a writer or graphic designer allows for flexibility and independence. Most communication and social interaction for freelance content creators is conducted via email or phone calls, making this category of jobs perfect for people with social anxiety.

It can be a comfort to be in charge of your own schedule and decide what jobs you take. You can adjust your amount of social interaction to your preference.

A man leans back in his chair and looks at sticky notes on a wall with ideas on it.

Start Your Own Business

Being your own boss can sometimes be the best option if you are especially anxious in social settings. Starting a business can be challenging, but the process can typically be done as independently as you want it to be.

As a business owner, you will be in charge of your own schedule and success. While you will have to interact with suppliers or employees at times, you will not have to deal with the stress of being under a supervisor or reporting to somebody higher up.

Where Can I Learn More About Managing Social Anxiety and Other Mental Health Conditions?

If you notice yourself feeling increased symptoms of anxiety in social settings and are having difficulty finding a job, consider looking into some of these roles.

In addition to finding a job that works for you, it is important to learn how to manage your social anxiety. Consulting with a healthcare professional is key to learning the tools to take charge of your mental health.

Dr. Anthony Puopolo

Dr. Puopolo holds a B.A. in Biology from Tufts University, M.A. in Biology from Boston University, and Doctor of Medicine from the Boston University School of Medicine. He also completed a Family Medicine and Psychiatry residency program in the U.S. Army.

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This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Consult a healthcare professional or call a doctor in the case of a medical emergency.

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