The severity of a person’s struggles with anxiety can be influenced by a wide range of genetic (internal) and environmental (external) factors. One external factor that can have an outsized impact on a person’s quality of life is their career. Today, we take a look at some of the worst jobs for people with anxiety.
Worst Jobs for People With Anxiety
Any list of the worst jobs for people with anxiety is going to be subjective. Depending on the type of anxiety disorder a person has and the severity of their symptoms, it’s entirely possible for them to be successful in any of the jobs on this list while they’re struggling with an anxiety disorder.
However, in general, the career paths that we’ve listed below can pose particular challenges to people who have anxiety.
Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals have demanding jobs that often require them to manage large caseloads while interacting with highly emotional patients and their family members. Making one seemingly small mistake can have catastrophic consequences, so experience, focus, and confidence are prized attributes in these careers.
A person who has agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), specific phobia, panic disorder, or generalized anxiety disorder may have difficulty finding fulfillment and satisfaction in this line of work.
Many people who struggle with anxiety value structure and certainty. While schools operate on a fairly well established schedule, a teacher’s day-to-day interactions with students, parents, administrators, and other teachers will usually be far from predictable.
Also, teachers need to be prepared to respond to challenges from students and parents on a regular basis. For people who have various forms of anxiety, the demands of this career can be overwhelming.
The category of first responders includes emergency medical technicians (EMTs), firefighters, and police officers. This is one of the broadest entries on our list of worst jobs for people with anxiety, but these roles share certain features and demands that make it appropriate for them to be grouped together here.
First responders need to be comfortable operating in a demanding, ever-changing environment where emotions can run high and lives are often on the line. They need to have supreme confidence in their own capabilities, and they need to be able to adapt at the drop of a proverbial hat to take on new responsibilities.
Customer Service Representative
Whether speaking with customers face-to-face or over the phone, customer service is a stressful and often thankless job. People typically contact customer service representatives when they have had unpleasant experiences with a store, company, or organization. This means that customer service reps have to be prepared to absorb a steady barrage of less-than-friendly comments from people they have never met before.
If your anxiety makes it difficult to speak with other people, or if being constantly criticized would have a detrimental impact on your anxiety symptoms and general well-being, then customer service may not be the right choice for you.
To be a flight attendant is to take on several different roles simultaneously, all while confined in a relatively small space with your customers, often for an extended period of time. Flight attendants need to be highly organized and extremely flexible, as the demands placed on them by passengers can change significantly from flight to flight or even moment to moment.
Someone who has agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), or certain specific phobias would be highly unlikely to find joy and success in this role. Someone with generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder might also be well advised to explore another career.
Sales representative is another entry on our list of worst jobs for people with anxiety that can include a variety of disparate positions. Some sales representatives deal with retail customers in stores, while others deal primarily with personnel from other businesses, often over the phone or via email.
Some sales representative positions are high-pressure jobs that require specific expertise and extensive travel, with your paycheck directly reflecting your ability to close large deals. This job can require you to spend time in unfamiliar environments, engage in heated negotiations, and respond to challenges from customers and clients, all while knowing that your commission-based pay leaves you little room for error.
Depending on who their employer is, personal assistants may be required to be “on call” 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This can be a high-stress, low-reward job, which requires you to ignore your own needs in order to best assist your employer. Each day can bring an array of new challenges and crises, which you will be expected to manage with little support from anyone else.
One of the reasons why this position is on our list of worst jobs for people with anxiety is that being a personal assistant can give you little time to decompress, practice self-care, or manage your mental health.
Journalism has always been a demanding career field, but in recent decades the stress, pressure, and uncertainty of this job seems to have skyrocketed. Journalists often have to communicate with people who either would prefer not to talk to them or who are outwardly hostile toward them. Ongoing budget cuts have reduced staffs dramatically, which means that journalists are required to do more work with less help (and often for lower pay).
Though journalism is an essential component of a healthy democracy, the people who do this work are often treated extremely poorly and subjected to a regular barrage of criticism and unfounded accusations.
Human Resources Manager
For someone who has social anxiety disorder (social phobia), being an HR representative may sound like a nightmare. Individuals in this position are often responsible for tasks such as enforcing organizational policies, resolving conflicts, and informing people that their positions have been terminated.
As with teachers, flight attendants, and customer service representatives, careers in human resources often involve interactions with people who are angry or frustrated. You need to be prepared to respond to emergencies on a moment’s notice, all while managing your daily workload, maintaining a professional demeanor, and putting the organization’s needs ahead of your own.
You may be surprised to see veterinarian on our list of worst jobs for people with anxiety, but this is a high-stress profession that places great demands on a person’s mental health. For example, veterinarians must be able to quickly assess and address the needs of patients who cannot talk to them about what they are feeling, and who may be actively trying to escape or attack them.
As with doctors and nurses, veterinarians often need to go into great debt in order to complete their education. If they are working in a private practice, they are also responsible for leading a staff and managing a budget. They often work with animals who have traumatic injuries, or who have been abused or neglected. And they must understand that direct exposure to death is a regular part of the job.
Find Anxiety Treatment in Nashville
If anxiety has been preventing you from pursuing a productive and satisfying career, Arbor Wellness is here to help. Our anxiety treatment center in Nashville, Tennessee, is a safe and welcoming place where you can receive personalized care from a team of highly skilled professionals.
Our dedicated caregivers will work closely with you to determine the full scope of your needs and identify how you have been impacted by your struggles with anxiety. We’ll use this information to develop a personalized plan that can put you on the path toward improved health and a much more hopeful future.
When you’re ready to get started, the Arbor Wellness team is here for you. To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Admissions page or call us today.