While researching this article, I realized that I really don’t agree with many of the career suggestions out there for anxious people. The jobs often suggested for people with panic and anxiety disorders just seemed poorly thought out to me. So, what are the best jobs for people with anxiety?
The best jobs for people with anxiety depend on what kind of anxiety people suffer from and what their long-term goals are. Ultimately, the best job for anxiety is one that doesn’t cause too much daily stress, but also doesn’t encourage complete avoidance of stressors; allowing people to grow at a pace comfortable to them.
If there’s something you really want to do, anxiety should never be viewed as a barrier to keep you from doing it. With that said, it’s also understandable if you want to choose a field where your anxiety isn’t necessarily weighing down on you every single day.
Read on, and we’ll explore some potentially awesome job opportunities for people with anxiety, grouped by various common anxiety disorders.
Let’s dive right in!
Best Jobs for People with Anxiety
Does Anxiety Limit Your Job Choices?
Alright, first thing’s first: No matter which anxiety disorder you may be suffering from, none of them will absolutely bar you from any job or career path. Over the course of your life, your anxiety is going to be as limiting as you allow it to be. You can give in to your anxiety and spend your life avoiding your triggers, or your can confront your anxiety to ultimately diminish or eliminate it. Anxiety is a bit like obesity in the sense that genetics may play a role in the condition, but if you’re willing to put in some blood, sweat, and tears, you can absolutely come out on top of it. If you put in the effort, you can beat your anxiety and accomplish anything.
What is a Good Job for Someone with Anxiety?
So, we’ve established that there is no such thing as a job that can’t be done by a person with anxiety. But just because you can do a job doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice for you. Since you’re here, you’re probably wondering what some of the best jobs for anxiety are. Now, this is largely a matter of opinion, but the way I see it, there are two key components to consider when someone with anxiety is looking for a job:
- The job is not overly stressful or triggering on a regular or daily basis.
- While the job provides you with a comfort zone, it also enables you to leave your comfort zone from time to time; to expose yourself to a bit of anxiety when you’re feeling up to the challenge.
Anxiety is as individual as a fingerprint, and varies greatly from person to person. For this reason, it’s pretty tough to say just what jobs are best for people with anxiety. To make this task easier, I’ve broken the answer up into several lists based on various anxiety disorders. I didn’t want to be redundant and repeat jobs, so many of these suggestions are only listed in one category when they could apply to multiple. For this reason, it may be worth your time to skim through each list for ideas, even if it’s not the anxiety disorder you personally have.
It’s also worth mentioning that, when choosing these jobs, I tried to choose jobs that have good long-term career growth and earning potential (for the most part). Some of these jobs require a bit of schooling or education, but others are pretty simple to dive into right away. There may be easier jobs out there, but I don’t want you to sell yourself short. You can do this.
Alright, let’s get started!
Best Jobs for People with Social Anxiety
Somebody suffering from social anxiety is going to want a job where they aren't forced to interact with large groups of people on a regular basis. This likely means jobs that do not require presentations, speeches, managing large groups of people, or closing sales. At the same time, each position should allow you the opportunity to occasionally interact with clients or coworkers, so that you are able to expose yourself to your fears from time to time, on your own terms, and can ultimately conquer them. Here’s what I’ve got for you:
Having worked in aviation myself, I can tell you that being a pilot is an excellent job for a person with social anxiety. Starting your career is not always easy, as it can require a significant investment of time and money; but this isn’t usually any worse than the cost of going to college. Best of all, much of your learning can be done on a 1-on-1 basis with your flight instructor. Alternatively, you could go the military route to learn how to fly, but this could pose some challenges for anxiety sufferers.
The career potential for a pilot is great, as there is predicted to be a shortage of pilots in the coming years, and plenty of jobs available. Depending on where you are in your career, you could be flying solo or you could be flying alongside a copilot, or first officer. This is great because it allows you some small degree of human interaction, without forcing you to interact with many coworkers at once.
If you go on to fly for a commercial airline (this is where the big bucks are), you have the option to introduce yourself to the customers onboard. Plenty of introverted pilots never introduce themselves at all, while others take to the spotlight and address the crew and customers before the flight. This makes it a good job for people with social anxiety, because it gives them full control to test their limits and be social when they’re feeling up to the challenge.
“Firefighter” may not be the job that comes to mind when you think of stress-free jobs, and it certainly isn’t a job without its stress. However, if your anxiety is limited to social anxiety, this job can actually be a great fit for you. In fact, I volunteered as a local firefighter when I was in high school – during my worst years with panic disorder – and it was actually a lot of fun.
This is a job that allows you to work closely with strangers who become friends; and friends who become family. In my experience it was an extremely friendly, close, and fun environment. It can be stressful at times, but usually the job brings more pressing concerns than your social anxiety, so your own issues get left by the wayside.
Best of all, there are minimal barriers to entry – no student loans or years spent studying. If you aren’t sure about firefighting as a job, you can start as a volunteer for your local fire department. Just give them a call or stop by and see who you can talk to about signing up. If you like it, you can make a career out of it; if you don’t, you can always quit.
Working with Animals
Some of the other best jobs for people with social anxiety are jobs that involve working with animals. There are many careers that pay well within the veterinary or animal training fields. You could be a veterinarian, a veterinary technician or assistant, a rescue worker, a biologist, or a service dog trainer.
Most of these options tend to be popular amongst people with social anxiety. Not only are these jobs extremely rewarding, but your interactions with other humans are limited. Best of all, in most of these jobs you basically have the benefit of being surrounded by emotional support animals all day!
Anyone who has ever worked in a kitchen will know that this can actually be quite a stressful job. So why does it make the list of best jobs for people with social anxiety?
Well, for one thing, the social aspects of this job are usually quite limited. If you’re working BOH at a restaurant, for example, your social interactions are pretty minimal, and limited to a handful of coworkers. Also, this is a job skill that can be brought to vast number of different environments. You could be chopping up a salad quietly as the only chef in a small restaurant’s kitchen, or you could be flinging hibachi shrimp into customers’ mouths while singing “happy birthday” in Japanese. You can select the environment for such a job based on the limits of your comfort zone.
In fact, with a little bit of thinking outside the box, you could even be cooking meals in your own kitchen and selling them through a meal-prep service. The options are limitless in this career.
Landscape Designer or Outdoor Work
Landscape design, or just about any job that allows you to work outside, can be a welcome escape from social anxiety. Being a landscape designer requires some creativity, as you would be in charge of planning gardens, yards, golf courses, and other outdoor spaces. This can be a pretty high-paying job for people with social anxiety. Most people who get into this will have a bachelor’s degree.
If landscape design doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, there are plenty of other outdoorsy jobs that might work for you. You could start by buying some equipment and starting your own landscaping business, eventually scaling up, delegating jobs, and challenging your social anxiety as you grow.
The benefit of these jobs is all the time you’ll spend outdoors by yourself. If being in a crowded office space sets your social anxiety off, being alone in nature is the logical opposite and could bring you some relief.
This is another high-paying career field that’s predicted to continue to growing over time. These jobs will require a good bit of education, but you’ll never have a hard time finding work afterwards. As it is, there’s a bit of a stereotype about many engineers tending to be more introverted, so you may feel as though you fit right in.
As with the previous jobs mentioned, jobs within the engineering field can be incredibly diverse, with many different options for work environments. Most of these jobs will involve a minimal amount of person-to-person interaction, so this can be ideal for people with social anxiety.
Piggybacking off of what we discussed about engineering jobs, IT jobs for people with social anxiety are another great way to go. Like engineering, the IT field is rapidly growing and job opportunities are abundant. These jobs are well suited to “techy” people, and job environments can vary greatly.
Your work could be completely remote and have you working at home by yourself, or you could take a job that has you working in a group or with customers. Overall, this is a great job for anyone looking for the security of a comfort zone but also interested in venturing out of it from time to time.
Accountants keep track of and record the flow of money. They make sure the flow is accurate and legal. They can work in government or private sector jobs, or build their own client base. Accounting can be a great job for people with social anxiety because you will be doing most of your work alone. Becoming an accountant will require formal education and schooling.
Like the other jobs on this list, accounting is a great option for many because it can allow you to work alongside others without having to be “on” 24/7. Social anxiety in accounting is pretty minimal, but you usually do have the opportunity to chat with coworkers in an office setting if you wish to brush up on your social skills.
Best Jobs for Panic Attack Sufferers
The best jobs for people with anxiety and panic attacks can be a little trickier to pin down. Jobs for panic attack sufferers can be quite broad, because everyone has their own unique triggers which precede their panic attacks. If your panic attacks occur due to a phobia (such as agoraphobia, which we’ll discuss in the next list), finding a good job is as simple as choosing a field that does not involve those phobic triggers.
Finding the best jobs for people with panic disorder can be a little bit trickier. Panic disorder occurs when you learn to fear the panic attacks themselves. The fear and avoidance of anything that might trigger a panic attack eventually starts to cause panic attacks, creating a vicious cycle. In this list, we will be focusing on the best jobs for people with panic disorder, rather than the best jobs for people with phobias (since these are typically much easier to avoid). I chose these jobs based on what I considered to be ambitious without creating too much of the daily stress that can bring on or worsen panic attacks. Alright, then:
Psychotherapist or Counselor
Working as a psychotherapist or counselor may seem strange for someone struggling with an anxiety disorder, but it actually puts you in a unique position to relate to and help others. These kinds of jobs will require years of schooling and education, but the whole time you will be learning information that can be applied to your own anxiety, helping you to beat it in the long-term.
As for the job itself, you’d typically be in control of your working environment, so you could have it set up in whatever way helps you to relax. Speaking with a client one-on-on, from the comfort of your own office, with the added benefit of learning firsthand about your own anxiety, makes this one of the best jobs for a person with panic disorder.
Learning a trade and becoming a mechanic, plumber, electrician, carpenter, etc. is great career for a person with panic disorder. Not only are there many trades to choose from, but you can also choose to work for a company, or start your own business, depending on what you’re most comfortable with.
Many trade jobs pay very well, and while there will be years of training involved, you can do so outside of the traditional classroom setting that causes anxiety for many. These jobs are always in demand, and can be a great opportunity for anyone with panic disorder to grow at their own pace.
Much like being a pilot, truck drivers make great money and get to spend a lot of time to themselves. This can be a good job for people with panic disorder because, frankly, unless you have a fear of driving, there aren’t too many anxiety triggers for you to encounter while on the road.
If long periods of time away from home don’t bother you, this can be a great option. Hours and hours of alone-time provide a great opportunity for people to decompress while listening to music or a good audiobook; making this one of the best jobs for people with anxiety.
If you’ve got the time to learn some video editing skills, this is a job that can be great for anyone with panic attacks. With this skill down you could start your own business, do freelance work, or get hired on somewhere as a full-time video editor. This amount of flexibility can provide a great opportunity and environment for anyone who doesn’t do well in high-stress environments.
Photography can be another stress-free (or as stress-free as work can be, at least) job for people who suffer from panic attacks. This kind of job is probably best suited to artistic types, or those who genuinely enjoy the art of photography. Like video editing, photography can be done in any capacity from full-time work to traveling and freelancing.
Personal training is a great option for people who suffer from panic attacks for several reasons. First off, this is one of the best jobs for people with anxiety because you’ll get to spend plenty of time at the gym, keeping yourself in good health. Regular exercise is a great way to decrease general anxiety levels, so this can benefit you greatly.
In addition to the regular exercise you’ll get, you can build up a list of clients over time, and maintain a reasonably flexible schedule. Building your own schedule (while reasonably accommodating your clients) helps to create a less stressful work-life balance that should ultimately benefit people with panic disorder.
This is probably one of the best jobs for pepole with anxiety. I mean, think about it... It’s hard to imagine a work environment more conducive to relaxation than a spa. Of course, not all work as a massage therapist takes place at a spa – you could be working in a physician’s office, a fitness center, a hotel, etc. But nonetheless, each environment is sure to be a haven for people who suffer from panic attacks.
You could work with one client at a time, and set up the room in whatever way is most relaxing to you – lavender oil scents, calming music, etc. This would not only help you to prevent your panic attacks, it would also probably be appreciated by the clients!
Real Estate Agent
Since this is a sales job, I certainly won’t call it an anxiety-free job. However, if social anxiety is not your issue, this can potentially be a great option for people who suffer from panic attacks. This is one of the most flexible careers out there – you could work for yourself or with a team, you can choose which days you work, and the skills you learn on the job are easily transferable. In other words – you’re never “stuck.”
Having the amount of flexibility offered in a real estate job can be a massive relief to many people, which could potentially make this one of the best jobs for panic attack sufferers.
EMT or Paramedic
Okay, I know how crazy this one sounds. It’s probably hard to imagine a more high-stakes, intense job than that of an EMT or paramedic. But hear me out.
Some people who suffer from panic attacks are not going to do well in chaotic environments; that’s a given. But some people will have a surprising and unique talent for it. I am personally one of those people, so I promise you this is true.
See, when I used to have bad panic attacks, it was never in a chaotic environment. It was always somewhere too quiet, or too peaceful for me. It was at my desk in school, in the chair at the barbershop, in the backseat of a slow-moving car, etc. I would freak out when I was alone with my own thoughts for too long; when my mind had the “luxury” of traveling inward on itself. But in chaotic environments? I would thrive. A switch would flip and I was grounded in reality; my mind was too busy to overthink things like “how my breathing feels.”
In fact, as someone with panic disorder, I have actually had a stranger pass out in front of me when their heart stopped beating – and I had to perform CPR. Instinct kicked in for me and I got to work right away. There was no time for me to think about myself, and so the idea of a panic attack never even crossed my mind in such a chaotic environment.
All this is basically just to say: If you’re suffering from panic attacks and panic disorder, don’t be completely afraid to face the chaos. Anxiety can be a gift for some, as they may have more experience in dealing with intense and frightening emotions. Don’t be afraid to give jobs like this a shot, as you really might surprise yourself at how well you adapt in chaotic situations.
Best Jobs for Agoraphobes
This list is for the agoraphobes – those with a fear of leaving the house. For this list, I focused mainly on remote jobs. These are jobs that, once learned, can be done from anywhere – including one’s home (provided you find the right employment opportunity). As always, I feel it’s important to remind you… These jobs can help you to minimize your stress and anxiety in the short-term, but agoraphobia is no joke; Take steps whenever possible to help you become more comfortable with getting out of the house and confronting your fears through exposure therapy. And with that out of the way, let’s get started:
In the Internet Age, just about anyone who knows how to write can make a bit of extra money writing on the side. There are plenty of opportunities to be found online: Freelance writing, copywriting, SEO, sales writing, transcription, etc. Writing is a skill that can be developed at your own pace, although some people may have more of an aptitude for writing than others.
If you do have a knack for or interest in writing, you can make a good living doing so online, and it can all be done from the comfort of your own home: Agoraphobes, rejoice! This is one of the classic introvert jobs, and one of the best jobs for people with anxiety.
Programming / Coding
Programming and coding are huge right now, and will likely continueg to grow rapidly with many job opportunities for the foreseeable future. With technology advancing at the rate it currently is, it’s commonly suggested that all young people learn some coding: regardless of whether or not they plan to do it as a career. There are plenty of high-paying jobs in this field, all of which can be done from home: Web developers, UX designers, software developers, etc.
For those who are seriously dedicated, determined, and focused, there are many coding bootcamps that you can sign up for online. Many of my top-earning programmer friends say that these coding bootcamps are often sufficient for learning what you need to know and making good money even with an entry-level coding job: no college degree required. All of this can be done from your home computer.
Graphic design is another popular and agoraphobia-friendly job that can be done from home. Graphic designers are the people responsible for making all of the attractive logos and visuals you see online, as well as most of the images you see on clothing and just about any other well-designed physical products.
If you’re a visually artistic person who is also somewhat computer-savvy, graphic design might be a great career field for you to dive into. There is plenty of money to be made here either through a full-time graphic design job or through part-time freelancing; it’s a truly transferable skill that is useful in any industry.
Online Teacher / Tutor
There are many opportunities to make money teaching or tutoring children online, especially for native English speakers. I have one friend (actually a friend from Germany who was not a native English speaker), who taught English online for a while to students in China. He said that the pay was decent, and the job was extremely easy, intuitive, and flexible. He did not have any teaching experience prior, although you may be able to make more money if you do have a professional teaching background.
With the current state of things, online teaching is becoming a more and more popular option for many, which can be a blessing for many people with agoraphobia. This opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for you to teach from the comfort of your home.
Virtual Assistant (VA)
Many busy entrepreneurs and businessmen hire virtual assistants (VAs) to delegate simple day-to-day tasks to. This is not something that I have personal experience with, but from what I understand, just about anyone can get started doing this online and from home. I don’t believe that the pay for such a job is particularly high, but it can be a great way to get started making money from home while working to beat agoraphobia.
For anyone who already has, or is interested in developing, a nursing background, becoming a telehealth nurse may be an appealing option. In order to qualify for this job, you will require a nursing degree and nursing license. You would be helping to assess and monitor the health of patients, but you’d be doing so from a computer. This is probably one of the best jobs for agoraphobes, since it allows you to develop a career working from home, while also allows the option of transitioning into working somewhere like a hospital in the future if you so desire.
If you’re anything like me, the (long, hard, grueling) lifestyle of an internet-based entrepreneur might appeal to you. This can include things like blogging, affiliate marketing, eCommerce, social media marketing, creating online courses, etc. If people like Gary Vaynerchuk speak to the inner entrepreneur in you, this could be a fun route to take. Best of all, running your own online business is just about as flexible a job you could ever hope for, and it’s one of the best jobs for agoraphobes since you can do it from home. This path isn’t for everyone, however. If you do decide to go this route, just expect a long journey full of trial-and-error and missteps rather than the romanticized dream sold to you by books like “The 4-Hour Workweek.”
Online Customer Support Specialist
If you’ve got a ton of customer service experience from jobs you’ve worked in the past, you can probably land an online customer support specialist job fairly easily. These jobs exist within every industry, and many of them can be done from home as long as you’ve got a computer and a phone for work. This would involve interacting with customers on a regular basis, so this can be a difficult job for people with social anxiety. From an agoraphobe without social anxiety’s perspective, however, this can be a great work-from-home opportunity and one of the best jobs for agoraphobes.
Training dogs or dog-sitting is another potential job for agoraphobes. Nowadays you can freelance certain dog-related services using apps like Wag or Rover. Alternatively, you could start your own business and advertise locally. Many dog-related tasks such as training or exercising dogs can be done from home or from your own yard. This can make it a good job for agoraphobes – plus, if you’re an animal lover, you get the dual-benefit of having a friend to play with and potentially even explore with outside the comfort zone of your own home.
For my artistic agoraphobes here, there is an abundance of opportunities to make money online through your creative talents. If you have any sort of talent or passion for photography, film, painting, writing, jewelry making, arts and crafts, woodworking, etc., you can make tons of money in your spare time by creating and selling pieces online.
There are countless websites online where you can sell stock photos, original art, custom jewelry pieces, handcrafted furniture – you name it! Check out sites like Etsy to get an idea of what works. Whatever your artistic passion, I guarantee you there is a way for you to make money from it while creating and selling from home.
Jobs for Teens with Anxiety
For teenagers who are interested in working but not yet old enough, qualified enough, or experienced enough for the jobs already listed above – there are still jobs for teens with anxiety available to you. I’ll list a few quick ideas below, but most of these will be pretty self-explanatory:
From the time I was probably 12+, my friends and I used to walk around the block asking neighbors if they had any yardwork that needed to be done for money. This would involve weeding, raking, etc. Our work definitely wasn’t as good as professional work, but we were also much cheaper, and the old folks loved supporting hard-working kids. Even if you’re too young for a “real job,” this is a quick and easy way to raise some cash while getting a workout. The door-to-door aspect of this “job” is probably the only part that could make most people anxious, but this actually presents an awesome opportunity for you to squash that fear of rejection and social anxiety before they can get worse.
Dog sitting or dog walking is another good job for teens with anxiety. As mentioned earlier, there are apps these days to make this easier, but there may be age limits to use those apps. Whether you go through the apps or start your own business through word of mouth, this can be a pretty stress-free way to make some extra money as a teenager.
This one might be a little bit tougher for some of us (I don’t know if my own mother trusted me to babysit my sisters when I was a 16-year-old). You will probably be limited to family and friends for this type of job, but this can be a decent job for teens with anxiety if you can find the work. As long as you’re good with kids and okay with changing a dirty diaper or two, it probably shouldn’t be too anxiety-inducing.
A house cleaning job is a pretty good place to start for those with no prior work experience. I really have no experience with this one, so I won’t go into it too much; but from what I understand, it’s pretty intuitive – you’re being paid to clean houses. This could be a fun way to work at your own pace in a calm environment, and potentially work as a team with coworkers, preparing for a bit of what to expect from future jobs.
If you’ve got good grades and don’t mind some one-on-one social interaction, tutoring is a great way to make extra money in high school. You can choose to tutor subjects you enjoy, and have clients meet at a time that works for you – making this a great job for teens with anxiety. Best of all, tutoring tends to bring a pretty nice hourly wage compared to other first-time jobs. If you can build a decent client base, this could add up fast.
Retail (Restocking Shelves, etc.)
My very first job was at a BJ’s Wholesale Club. I was initially hired as a cashier, but it was a big enough store that they cross-trained me there for just about every other position imaginable, since I was always showing an interest in learning new things and picking up shifts. One of the jobs was called “recovery,” which really just involved taking old boxes off the shelves and pulling new product to the front. This was the absolute easiest job I ever had, and in a way, I almost miss it. I wandered around the store at my own pace, no one micromanaged me as long as the job got done, and I frequently gave myself breaks to flirt with the girls who worked at the customer service desk. Eventually, they moved me into working the dairy cooler, where I didn’t have to interact with customers unless I wanted to, and I basically managed myself as long as my job was complete by the end of the shift (I spent a LOT of time in that dairy box eating cookies from the bakery section and listening to music).
Something like this can rank among the best jobs for teenagers with anxiety. Try and keep an open mind, even if you can’t start in exactly the position you want. Express an interest to management about where you’d like to end up, and they should help you get there quickly enough.
Anxiety About Going to Work Everyday?
Can’t get a job because of anxiety?
If you’re at a low point and really need a career change or just don’t know where to start, consider what you are comfortable with. Even if it’s not something you’ve done before, is there a job you can think of where you can actually see yourself happy? This is the best place to start when choosing a job – whether you have anxiety or not. It may not seem like it right now, but anxiety is like a wave that fades into ripples; eventually it will get better.
If things ever seem really dire, you can always look into claiming disability for anxiety. In my personal opinion, this should be an absolute last resort, since it’ll be even harder to start back up again once you’ve stopped working. My suggestion is to take another look through the lists above, and really consider all of the best jobs for people with anxiety. Choose a few that seem possible for you to tough out, and start there.
Good luck! And let us know below if you have experience working any of these jobs with anxiety, or if you have any suggestions of your own to add!