If you’re an introvert, highly sensitive person (HSP), (or maybe a sensitive introvert), and/or a person with a big heart, you need to be careful about your job environment, and choose a career or self-employment path that fits who you are, instead of trying to fit in to a bad match.
As a sensitive introvert with a big heart who got so drained by many jobs I tried, I learned the hard way. I’d love to save you some heartache in this post by providing some career guidance, ideas, and reassurance.
In this post:
- “Can I really find something that works better?”
- My Career Experience as a Sensitive Introvert
- What Works for Sensitives and What Doesn’t (work environments)
- Is Self-employment a Fit for Us?
- Career Ideas for Introverts and HSPs (the big list of ideas)
- How to Choose Your Best Career Path
- Don’t Dismiss Your “Crazy” Ideas Too Quickly.
“Can I really find something that works better for me?”
We can really thrive and excel in the right environment, and we can wilt easily in the wrong environment. Choosing well is very important for our well-being and happiness.
If you have a yuck feeling about work, I bet it is because the work itself or the work culture are a bad match for you.
You have so much to offer. Yes, YOU. The world needs your gifts. Sensitive souls are needed. I mean it. You can find a better fit. Not overnight, but a better way is possible.
There are low stress jobs for introverts, HSPs, and other sensitive souls.
No, there are no perfect stress-free professions. But lower stress is definitely a worthy goal. Yes! Stress is a natural part of life and we can be even more vulnerable to it as sensitive souls. We can do self-care, but that’s not enough if the situation continues to be draining.
So often people simply put up with far too much of a stressful situation, thinking we are the problem. Let’s rethink this.
My Career Experience as a Sensitive Introvert
I’m a highly sensitive person (HSP) and an introvert with a big heart. That’s 3 forms of sensitivity all in one body. (If you’re a Myers-Briggs Type fan, I’m an INFP which explains a whole range of sensitivity.)
I’ve tried all kinds of work environments from classrooms to cubicles, and many kinds of careers, and there were many rough patches in my work life. Now I have landed happily with being a self-employed career/ business coach (especially for introverts and HSPs).
In those various work experiences, sometimes I felt alive and energized and sometimes completely drained and MISERABLE and burned out. Oh I can feel the bad memories in my body as I write this. I want to reach out to you if you’re feeling that misery and beg you to believe it can be different.
Now I get what works:
I’ve studied what factors work for me and what works for others with a similar temperament. Now I can fairly easily tell you what is important for us in choosing our work environments and career paths. Work can feel great, really! I’ll explain what you need to know.
What Works for Sensitives and What Doesn’t
Of course everyone is unique in their talents, so this list of factors below is not the whole list you’ll need to find the right fit for you, but it is a good starting place as you create your own work wish list. And yes I will give some career ideas below that.
As you read these workplace qualities, they might seem obvious to you, but you have likely not let yourself want these things. Maybe you think it’s impossible.
Please let yourself want what you want, and to name it, in writing out your own work wish list. Dismiss whatever doesn’t feel true for you. (Writing down what you do want is super helpful for calming the mind and manifesting amazing things.)
👍 Work Environments Where Sensitive Souls Can Thrive:
- Freedom to organize our own time.
- Time to work alone.
- Allows us to think deeply or explore options deeply.
- Systems are clear and logical.
- Teams with a culture of kindness and respect.
- Work in which our sensitivity to others’ needs is valued.
- Work that calls on our best talents so we can feel energized in our work.
- Work that aligns with our values.
- A culture in which authenticity is valued.
- Where we can prioritize quality of life over other measures of success.
- Where there is enough quiet to think and find calm.
- Access to nature or views of outdoors.
- Honoring of nature or animals. (We tend to be big fans of nature.)
👎 Elements That Will Drain Our Energy/ What to AVOID:
- Loud and highly stimulating environments, like cubicle arrangements or hospital environments.
- Non-stop people time.
- Where our time is strictly managed.
- Work that is not aligned with our values.
- Lots of meetings that are not organized well.
- Competitive, cut-throat, unkind work cultures.
- Poor organization and illogical systems.
- A culture in which inauthenticity reigns.
- Gossipy and judgmental team cultures.
- Intense emotions are flying around, such as frequently angry customers or bosses.
- Salesy energy.
- Lack of any connection to nature, such as a windowless work area.
- Insensitivity to the earth or animals.
Is Self-employment a Fit for Us?
As you can see from the above list, being in control of our own work environment and decisions is looking quite good for us. Which makes you wonder about self-employment, as it did for me.
But is self-employment a fit for you in other ways? Some answers and ideas are here:
Self-employment Ideas for Introverts (and much of it applies to HSPs too).
Career Ideas for Introverts and Highly Sensitive People (HSP)
It’s so much about the work environment and team culture plus what makes your heart sing, so it’s really unique to each person, and thus tough to list all the possible jobs and what will work for you specifically.
Nevertheless, I’ll give you some pathway ideas that you might explore and see how your heart responds. I’ve chosen ideas that could make good use of your natural talents of tuning in deeply, and are more likely to provide you quiet time to think.
Here are some popular careers that real-life introverts and highly sensitive people (HSPs) have enjoyed. Not all jobs in this list will work for you because there are many other things that have to fit as well — the team environment, your other strengths, your values, and more.
This is not a list of what will work for you specifically.
It’s a list of ideas to explore and see what fits for you.
These ideas are all real possibilities in the real world market:
Health and wellness job ideas
- Health care professional with a focus on one-on-one interactions (occupational therapy, massage therapy, midwife, acupuncturist, alternative healer)
- Lab jobs in quiet environments (not the hectic hospital labs)
- Human services professionals/counselors focused mostly on one-on-one interactions
- Yoga teacher
- Wellness coach
- Spiritual counselor, interfaith chaplain
- Veterinarian and other animal care
- Animal communicator or behaviorist
- See also: 50+ alternatives to being a therapist
- Combine two of these, such as yoga teacher and massage therapist.
Helping/ leading/ coordinating jobs
- Training people about something you care about.
- Accounting, bookkeeping, or tax prep
- Executive coach/ leadership coach
- Life coach/ career coach
- Project coordinator/ project manager
- Professional organizer or productivity consultant (for personal or business purposes)
- Leadership roles in healthy organizations where authenticity, caring, and depth are valued
- Archivist or librarian (Beware that some library roles are now quite public oriented, like running a community center, but there are a variety of roles, some more quiet than others.)
- Park ranger/ nature guide/ nature center coordinator
- Training, supervising, and mentoring in a field you know well.
- Behind-the-scenes no-nonsense get-it-done person at a great organization (Not a real title but it might get you thinking of good ideas. Sometimes it’s best to start with the cause or organization you care about and then see what sounds good to you among their staff positions.)
Yes you can get paid to write. These are some popular and decent paying writing jobs.
- Grant writing
- Résumé writing
- Non-profit communications (such as fundraising appeals)
- Social media/ online content manager/ digital marketing (There’s a big demand here. Free course here can help you learn and gain credentials.)
- Copywriting/ online content creator (for topics you care about)
- Technical writer (such as medical information or technical guides)
- Speech writer
[I’m working on a new article specifically about careers for writers. Stay tuned by subscribing.]
Design oriented jobs
- Graphic design
- Web design
- Landscape design
- Videography or photography
Technical jobs (Bonus: remote potential, low-cost training, high pay)
- Database administrator
- Data analyst for a good cause (low-cost training for data analytics)
- IT support (sample low-cost training for IT)
- User experience (UX) design/ customer experience research (low-cost training for UX)
- Project management (low-cost training for project management)
- Cyber security analyst
Research and deep thinking
- Psychological sciences researcher/ educator (psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics)
- STEM professions (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)
- GIS professions (geographic information systems – for mapping data to solve problems)
- Academic research assistant
Strategic thinking jobs
- Digital marketing specialist
- Campaign strategist for social justice or climate causes
- Career or business coach
- Visual storytelling (combine your creative skills and strategic thinking)
- Strategic planning consultant
How to Choose Your Best Career Path
Perhaps you now have a few ideas that intrigue you, and a bit of a sense of what might fit for your introvert/HSP needs.
But how do you choose well before going too far down one path?
I explain a bit in this video:
With a little help, and some simple steps to walk through together, the picture can come into focus. What a relief.
Taking the time to look closely before choosing is an investment that saves you so much heartache and expense down the wrong road.
I’ve created an online course to help walk you through the steps (and there’s a no-cost option too):
Check out my course, “Simple Steps to Uncover the Best Use of You Now”.
Don’t Dismiss Your “Crazy” Ideas Too Quickly
Maybe you think you don’t have good ideas because you think your secret dreams are too unrealistic. It might be more possible than you think.
I’m not about following any wild idea without exploration first. I’m both optimistic and practical.
There are ways to explore ideas before investing down a path. I explain the exploration method in my career clarity course.
In the meantime, I welcome your comments and questions below.