As a highly sensitive person, you may find that some jobs are just too overwhelming and stressful for you. If you’re not careful, you could end up in a job that makes you miserable. Of course, a highly sensitive person can thrive in any job if they find the right fit.
If you identify as an HSP and have a dream job in mind, do not let this post discourage you! It is also worth mentioning that many of these careers can be adjusted to suit ones individual needs. For example, an HSP may not thrive as a nurse in an emergency room, but they may be perfectly happy working as a school nurse in a smaller setting. It’s all about finding the right environment.
Are you a highly sensitive person?
A highly sensitive person is someone who is easily overwhelmed by stimulation. They may have a hard time filtering out noise and may be sensitive to light, smell, and touch. They may also be highly emotional and easily overwhelmed by stress. As you can imagine, quite a few careers fit this description.
While being a highly sensitive person can be a challenge, it also comes with some benefits. Highly sensitive people are often very compassionate and empathetic. They may also be highly creative and intuitive. Often, those who are highly sensitive also identify as being introverted.
If you’re a highly sensitive person, consider a career that allows you to use your strengths. You may also want to take a look at your hobbies. What are your talents? What do you enjoy doing? This is a great place to start when trying to find your dream job.
Check out these affirmations for landing your dream job.
Strengths of the highly sensitive person:
- Compassionate: HSPs are very compassionate people. They may be drawn to careers that allow them to help others, such as medicine or massage therapy.
- Empathetic: HSPs can be very understanding and empathize with others easily. This can be a valuable trait in careers such as coaching.
- Creative: HSPs often have a very active imagination and may be drawn to creative careers such as writing, art, music, or cosmetology.
- Intuitive: HSPs often have a strong intuition and can be very insightful. This can be helpful in careers such as coaching or counseling.
Challenges of the highly sensitive person:
- Sensitivity to Stimulation: Too much stimulation can easily overwhelm HSPs. This can make careers that are high-stress or fast-paced, such as investment banking or sales, very challenging.
- Easily Overwhelmed by Emotions: HSPs can have a hard time processing and managing their emotions. This can make careers that are emotionally demanding very challenging.
- Need for Alone Time: HSPs often need more time to themselves than the average person. This can make careers that require a lot of social interaction, such as teaching or customer service, very challenging. They may also worry too much about what other people think.
Things to avoid in a job as a highly sensitive person:
- Jobs that require strict deadlines or high pressure
- Jobs that are very loud or overly stimulating
- A job that requires a lot of travel or is otherwise highly unpredictable
- A job that involves working with difficult people or situations
- A job that is physically demanding or involves working long hours
- A job that is unstructured or has a lot of change
- A job that is unfulfilling
- Jobs with long commutes
The worst jobs for empaths and highly sensitive people:
1. Emergency medical technician
The emergency room is a chaotic and often stressful place. As an emergency medical technician, you would be responsible for treating patients with life-threatening injuries. This job would likely be too overwhelming for a highly sensitive person. Highly sensitive people are often very empathetic, which can be a benefit in this career. However, they may also find it difficult to see people in pain and suffering. There are plenty of great careers in healthcare suitable for introverts and HSPs.
Alternate jobs: School nurse, Homecare Nurse, Medical Records Clerk, Physical Therapist, Radiology Technician
2. Police officer
Police officers often have to deal with a lot of stress and chaos. They may be exposed to violence, crime, and death on a regular basis. Even though police officers often have a lot of support, the job can still be overwhelming for a highly sensitive person.
Police officers must deal with the public on a daily basis, often in high-pressure situations. They also see and deal with some of the worst that humanity offers, from violent criminals to victims of crime. This can take an emotional toll on even the most hardened police officer.
Alternate jobs: Fraud investigator, Private Detective
Besides working in a fast-paced and competitive environment, salespeople often have to deal with a lot of rejection. This can be a tough job for anyone, but it may be especially challenging for a highly sensitive person. Typically, extroverts do well in sales, (though there are some introverted salespeople who have found success by using their strengths). Having a thick skin is essential for this career.
There are many sales jobs, from car sales to door-to-door sales. If you’re considering a career in sales as a highly sensitive person, you may want to consider a low-pressure industry or even work from home.
Alternate jobs: Researcher, Accountant
4. Bartender / Nightclub Worker
Working in a noisy and crowded bar or nightclub can be overwhelming for a highly sensitive person. You will likely be constantly bombarded with noise, light, and people. This job would require you to be on your feet for long periods of time and to deal with intoxicated people. If you’re a highly sensitive person, you might be better off working in a quieter environment.
Alternate jobs: Barista, Server, Hostess
5. Public Relations
Public relations is a fast-paced and often stressful career. You would be responsible for managing the image of your company or client. This would require you to be always on the lookout for potential problems and to deal with difficult people. Of course, there are some introverts and HSPs who excel in this career. However, it’s generally not a good fit for someone who is easily overwhelmed by stimulation.
Alternate jobs: Social Media Manager, Writer, Graphic Designer
6. Event Planner
Event planners are responsible for organizing and coordinating all aspects of an event. This can be a very challenging job, as it often requires working long hours and dealing with last-minute changes. For the highly sensitive person who prefer to plan and organize in advance, this may not be the best career choice. Last-minute changes can be very stressful, and the constant need to be on the go can be overwhelming.
Alternate jobs: Interior designer, Photographer, Architect, Editor, Web Developer
The kitchen is a chaotic and often hectic environment. As a chef, you would be responsible for cooking food for customers. This job can be very stressful for a highly sensitive person. You need to handle the temperatures, the noise, and the chaotic/demanding environment.
Being a chef is not an easy job, and it’s certainly not a good fit for someone who is easily overwhelmed by stimulation.
Alternate jobs: Food critic, Food blogger, Bake Shop Owner
8. Attorney / Lawyer
Noisy, stressful, and full of potential for conflict, the legal profession is often cited as one of the worst possible careers for highly sensitive people. The long hours, the pressure to be constantly on the lookout for potential problems, and the need to remain calm and collected in the face of adversity can be extremely difficult for those who are easily overwhelmed by sensory input and emotional stress. If you’re a highly sensitive person who’s considering a career in law, it’s important to be aware of the challenges you may face and to make sure you’re prepared to deal with them.
One of the most difficult things about being an attorney is the constant exposure to stress. Legal cases can be highly emotional, and even the most experienced lawyers can find themselves feeling overwhelmed by the intensity of it all. If you’re a highly sensitive person, it’s important to manage your stress levels and avoid getting bogged down by the negativity of your work.
Alternate jobs: Forensic accountant, Historian, Librarian
While some HSPs make excellent teachers, it is important to note that this can be a very challenging career. Teachers are often expected to work long hours, disruptive students, difficult parents, and challenging behavior. If you are considering a career as a teacher, be sure to consider your own level of sensitivity and whether you feel you would be able to handle the challenges that come with the job. Of course, the grade level you teach will also impact the level of stress you experience. Teaching younger children typically requires more patience and energy, while teaching older children may be more intellectually demanding.
Alternate jobs: Private Tutor, Daycare provider, Substitute teacher, School counselor
10. Social Worker
Social workers often deal with some of the most difficult situations. From abuse and neglect to homelessness and addiction, social workers are constantly exposed to the dark side of society. This can be a very tough job for a highly sensitive person. If you find yourself to be an empath, it is important to find ways to protect your own emotional well-being while still being there for your clients. It can be difficult not to “take your work home with you”.
Alternate jobs: Volunteer coordinator, Fundraiser, Life Coach, Virtual Assistant
11. Flight attendant
As a highly sensitive person, working as a flight attendant can be quite challenging. The long hours and constant exposure to other people can be very draining, and the work can be quite stressful. This is also a very noisy job, with the constant background noise of the engines and the PA system. If you are working on a busy flight, there may also be crying babies and disruptive passengers to deal with. The change in time zones can also be difficult to adjust to, and the job can be quite demanding physically.
Alternate jobs: Travel agent, Travel blogger, Hotel management
Working as a firefighter is one of the most stressful and demanding jobs, both physically and emotionally. Firefighters are constantly exposed to danger and must be prepared to deal with the aftermath of traumatic events. This can be a very difficult job for a highly sensitive person, who may find it difficult to cope with the stress and trauma of the job.
Alternate jobs: Registered Nurse
The careers in this list are some of the most difficult for highly sensitive people. If you are considering one of these careers, it is important to be aware of the challenges and you make sure you have a great support system.
Remember, it is never too late to change careers. If you find yourself in a career that is proving to be too challenging, don’t be afraid to make a change. There are many other options out there, and you deserve to be happy and fulfilled in your work. Maybe you want to spend a few days a week as a stay-at-home-mom. Or, you might find yourself seeking an exciting career in the hospital. You may also like this post on the best careers for introverts in healthcare.
If you identify as a highly sensitive person, let us know in the comments which career you think would be the most difficult for you. If you have a career you love, we’d love to hear about that too!