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Are you scouring the internet and newspapers for job vacancies, and perhaps you've found quite a few that sound like great opportunities? But there's only one problem: you suffer from anxiety and you aren't sure if these jobs are suitable or if they’ll set off your anxiety triggers.
When it comes to finding the perfect job, people with anxiety can find it very difficult to fit into their new role (or even show up for an interview).
If you feel the same way, or you keep taking on jobs that add to your anxiety, you'll be happy to know you aren't the only one.
So, to take some of the pressure off, I have put together a list of the worst jobs for people with anxiety. Let this guide steer you away from jobs that are big no-no’s that are going to aggravate your anxiety further.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal emotion that every human experiences on different levels throughout their lives. This emotion is our brain's way of responding to stress and warning us of potential danger.
Anxiety becomes a problem when the emotions pile up excessively, heightening or interfering with your daily activities. It can sometimes become so bad that it’s completely debilitating and causes havoc when your mind runs away with you.
These anxious feelings can be so powerful that they cloud your judgment and cause you to make irrational decisions and mistakes. The thing about anxiety is that the more stressed you get, the more anxious you become and the more counterproductive your day is. This is definitely not an ideal condition for the workplace.
We live in a fast-paced world that’s full of competition, quick fixes, and too many choices. It’s no wonder that more and more people are suffering from increased levels of stress and anxiety as information and decision overload hits.
Potential Side Effects of Anxiety
Everyone experiences anxiety differently. Here's a look at a few of the potential side effects of anxiety:
How to Deal with Anxiety
Let's take a look at some of the ways to deal with anxiety:
1. Unfortunately, you can't control the big things, but you can start by trying to control what you can.
2. Make smart decisions, such as picking a career that doesn't add to your anxiety.
3. Choose a partner that brings out the best in you and takes away your anxiety rather than adding to it.
4. Practice mindfulness in your daily life and in the workplace.
5. Start exercising to help you relax. Do things like yoga or running.
6. Ensure you're getting enough sleep and follow a healthy diet.
7. Cut out cigarettes, alcohol, and caffeinated drinks, as this amplifies your anxiety levels.
The 15 Worst Jobs for People with Anxiety
Here are the top 15 worst jobs for people with anxiety:
Job #1. State Trooper
Being a state trooper takes a lot more than just being able to enforce the law on the roads. You need to communicate with people confidently and unwaveringly, which can be tricky (even for someone who doesn't suffer from anxiety), especially when a motorist is upset or annoyed.
A big part of being a state trooper is responding to emergencies and making arrests when necessary. This can be pretty challenging for a person who suffers from anxiety, as confrontation causes your anxiety to worsen and, in severe cases, can leave you frozen on the spot.
State troopers deal with a lot of different people on a daily basis, and they have to react to situations without hesitation. People with anxiety may find this role debilitating, and their delayed response could further aggravate the motorist and lead to more confrontation (which in turn, adds to your anxiety).
Job #2. Au Pair
Let's face it, au pairs have to step in to take the role of a parent when they look after children. An au pair is much more than a daycare teacher or a nanny. They basically become part of the family.
As an au pair, you'll be expected to cook for the children, help them with their homework and extracurricular activities, clean up after them, take them to and from school, and sometimes even go away on holiday with the family.
Children like to test their boundaries and see how far they can push someone until they've established that you're in charge. Being an au pair is not a good fit for a person with anxiety, as you are often expected to move to a new country with different cultures and languages.
Just this fact alone can amplify your already heightened anxiety. Plus, there's the reality that you won't have your own support system nearby, which can worsen the whole working experience.
Even people who don't have anxiety can sometimes be triggered because they have to step out of their comfort zones.
Job #3. Call Centre Agent
A career as a call center agent might be challenging if you have anxiety and get worked up easily. While it might sound like the perfect job (as you don't need to deal with people face to face), you still have to deal with people. In my experience, people are often more confrontational over the phone, where they can hide and be more verbally abusive than usual.
As a call center agent, you'll be expected to answer questions at the drop of a hat and provide practical solutions (depending on which company you're working for). This can be very stressful if you have anxiety.
One question might throw you completely off your game and leave you fumbling for answers while the client expresses their obvious irritation and impatience on the other end of the line.
Most call center agents also receive ratings at the end of each call, and this process is very stressful and can worsen your anxiety.
Job #4. Lawyer
Lawyers are generally good public speakers and are comfortable talking in front of an audience. They also have to be influential and very charismatic to win over the jury and judge. A good lawyer must often think on their feet to protect their clients in court.
When someone hires a lawyer, they want them to be confident and sure that their case stands a chance. Unfortunately, if you have anxiety, this confidence is often hard to portray, especially if you feel nervous.
Another thing to remember is that lawyers often have to deal with public scrutiny and unhappy clients. People with anxiety will find this career very taxing, as lawyers are basically taught to be pessimists. They always anticipate the worst outcome so they can be prepared to handle any situation—talk about adding matches to your high-octane anxiety.
Essentially, a lawyer is a professional worrier, and this is a very high-pressure career that certainly won't appeal (or be any good) to you if you have anxiety.
Job #5. Journalist
Your primary role as a journalist is reporting on some of the worst parts of humanity, and this alone can be a huge trigger if you suffer from anxiety. Journalism is romanticized in movies, which can be very misleading.
As a journalist, you'll need to report on crime, corruption, global warming, and domestic and child abuse. Sure, there are some happy stories in between all the violence coverage, but these are few and far between.
Along with this career comes deadlines, nasty competition, and hours of interviewing people for the inside scoop. This can be an absolute nightmare career for a person with anxiety, and going into this type of career isn't the wisest decision.
Journalists are known for drinking a lot of coffee, spending time alone, and not getting enough sleep. These factors can negatively affect (and add to) your anxiety levels.
Job #6. Mentor
Being a mentor is a huge responsibility, as you're preparing young minds for a bright future and hoping to positively impact their lives. As a mentor, you'll be expected to offer guidance in several areas, be available for extracurricular activities, and attend meetings with staff and parents.
Dealing with children who are easily distracted or disinterested in their school work can cause anxiety and great stress for a mentor. Mentoring isn't the right choice for you if you're looking for a more relaxed career (especially if you have anxiety).
Along with mentoring a student or more than one student, you also have admin and reports to get through. As a result, many mentors suffer from burnout and job dissatisfaction, leading to anxiety and depression.
Did you know? In the U.S., mentoring is rated one of the most stressful careers available.
Job #7. Auctioneer
Now here is a highly competitive job. Auctioneers have to stay on top of their game; otherwise, the next eager and fast-talking person can replace them. You'll need a loud and clear talking voice, a good sense of humor, and a sharp mind. There’s no time to be distracted by your anxious thoughts.
Once you're in front of all of those people, you need to be able to start the betting, which means you have to read quickly, speak fast, and watch who puts their paddle up. Unfortunately, if you're struggling with anxiety, this intense multitasking will only amplify your anxiety and make it harder to concentrate on your tasks.
Job #8. Doctor or Surgeon
You'll need to be really passionate about saving lives and helping people to do well in this role. To be a doctor or surgeon is a calling, and not everyone is built to handle this career. Doctors work under very stressful conditions, as their patients' lives are in their hands.
As a result of all the pressure, doctors suffer from burnout and other mental issues. Being a doctor means you're on call 24/7 for emergencies, and sometimes even your holidays get interrupted by work.
This is not the ideal job for a person with anxiety, as the increased stress can lead to panic attacks. Doctors have to deal with uncomfortable questions and are often the bearers of sad news.
The last thing a person with anxiety wants to deal with is facing a family and giving them terrible news of their loved one’s prognosis or of their passing.
Job #9. Psychiatrist
Being a psychiatrist is probably one of the worst jobs a person with anxiety could pursue. This job puts a lot of strain on your mental health and can be highly stressful. Psychiatrists do so much good for others, but it can be very difficult to separate yourself from your work (especially if you have anxiety).
You may find yourself dealing with very mentally ill patients and even have to deal with suicide scares, which puts tremendous stress on you to diagnose and treat your patients correctly.
Psychiatry will put you through some very emotional situations, which, coupled with your anxiety, can lead to a serious nervous breakdown or burnout.
People with anxiety will find this job very hard and run the risk of hating their chosen profession and making themselves very ill.
Job #10. Dictaphone Typist
Dictaphone typists are expected to convert audio into text accurately and quickly. This can cause heart palpitations and severe stress, especially when working on a deadline.
If you pursue a career like this, remember that everything you type will be checked by your boss (which can be nerve-wracking, especially if you're a perfectionist as well).
Different situations, such as whispered recordings, can trigger anxiety. This sound might irritate you as you can't determine what the person is trying to say, making your job even harder.
Your irritation may turn to anxiousness, stress, and even panic as you struggle to make sense of the recording.
People with anxiety typically don't like making mistakes, as this could result in extra attention being placed on them and having their boss hover over them until they get the job done correctly.
Being a Dictaphone typist means you need to grow a thick skin to deal with criticism, and you'll need to handle high-stress situations calmly. Unfortunately, this job doesn't go well with anxiety, as you may make more mistakes due to the increased levels of stress you're experiencing.
Job #11. Veterinarian
Working with animals sounds like a perfect job for a person who has anxiety, right? Not at all. Being a veterinarian comes with a lot of stress and sometimes even depression. Yes, a vet does help injured and sick animals, but there's also the uncomfortable and heartbreaking reality of euthanization.
More than often, pet owners are too distraught to sit with their pets when they have to be put down (due to severe illness). As a vet, you would have to take on this emotional burden all by yourself. This can be traumatic and cause more stress for a person with anxiety.
You'll also be expected to talk and explain the condition to the owners once you have diagnosed their pets. This interaction can also cause anxiety if the pet owners are distraught or angry.
Another problematic aspect is that some people can't afford veterinary care for their pets, which means you might be left with the horrible situation of refusing a pet the care they need.
If sick and hurt animals make you uncomfortable and anxious, then a job in this line is not advised.
Job #12. Salesman/Saleswoman
As a salesperson, you'll have to deal with people daily and use a strong communication skill set to try and sell products to them. So you'll need to be confident, persuasive, and good at holding a conversation.
You will have to reach a certain target each week or month to make your salary, which is often commission-based.
This can cause anxiety as you try to make sales and reach your target. Salespeople are generally competitive and don't usually work as a team.
This is a very pressing job, and the added stress will affect someone with anxiety. Not everyone has the kind of personality needed to be a salesperson.
Job #13. Stay-at-Home Parents
While this is not a traditional job (although some people would argue this), as you don't receive an income, this is still one of the most stressful and testing jobs out there. Homeschooling your children is nothing short of a full-time, round-the-clock job.
If anything, you can't allow your anxiety to get the better of you when dealing with children. Trust me when I say that teaching children in a home setting can be very stressful (even if you are a qualified educator). Your children may find it difficult to see you as their teacher rather than their parent.
So, from the beginning, you'd need to establish strong ground rules that you are their teacher and not their parent when it's lesson time. On top of this, teaching is hard, especially when you're unfamiliar with the material and you have to do a crash course to refresh your memory.
You might also have to do your housework or actual work in between homeschooling your children. If you have anxiety, your stress levels will rise with this new role and the responsibility for their educational future doesn’t make things easier.
Job #14. Firefighter
Being a firefighter is no walk in the park and comes with huge responsibility and stress. If we're being honest, the only fun thing about this job is sliding down the fireman's pole.
Firefighters have to fight to keep people safe, and when it comes to fire, you're not in control (and this is something you need to make peace with). When you’re anxious, you want to be in control.
If you're an anxious person, the weight of this job will press down heavily on you. You're in a constant state of “what if this goes wrong?” and “what if I can't save them?” Firefighters also experience vivid nightmares as they relive traumatic moments.
As an anxious person, this will only make things worse. Firefighters also have the horrible reality at the back of their minds: that they may develop cancer from breathing in toxic fumes or they may die while they fight a fire. This is enough to make anyone very anxious.
Job #15. Model
When you look at a model, your first impression is usually that this person is gorgeous and oozes self-confidence. This couldn't be further from the truth, as most models suffer from an array of mental disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, anxiety, and depression.
This is all thanks to the long hours spent at photo shoots, the unpredictable weather during shoots, and the constant hovering of employees and coaches. Interviewing to get a job is highly stressful, as you're opening yourself up to harsh criticism and comparison to other models.
Models are very hard on themselves to be the best. They're expected to look perfect all the time and have to participate in strenuous exercise to keep in shape and stick to intense diets.
Depending on your agency, you'll be expected to wear certain outfits and sometimes model them in front of an audience. People with anxiety will find it very difficult to fully embrace this lifestyle (and job) of a model.
Final Thoughts on the Worst Jobs for People with Anxiety
It's important to remember that anxiety is completely normal, and everyone feels anxious at some point during their career. Don't be discouraged from going out there and getting a job just because you have anxiety.
Sure, it's not nice to experience anxiety at a heightened level because of a job, but there are ways that you can learn to deal with your anxiety if your job doesn’t add to it. It’s the one thing you can choose to control.
Be sure to check out our guide on the six types of anxiety disorders (and how to manage them) for more information on how to deal with your anxiety… so you can go out there and land your dream job.
Finally, if you want a simple way to reduce your stress and anxiety, then try writing these 35 mindfulness journaling prompts to live more in the present moment.