Do you find it difficult to focus in a noisy room? Do you feel emotionally drained after spending time with people? Are you easily overwhelmed by strong sensory input like bright lights or loud noises in your work environment? If so, then you might be a highly sensitive person.
Highly sensitive people often have an innate tendency to avoid stimulation and thrive more in environments that are less stimulating. In this blog post we will explore the best jobs for highly sensitive people as well as some careers that may not work out so well for those who are extra sensitive.
The way you feel about your job is an important part of your day. If you’re not happy, no amount of money will make up for it. There are jobs and careers out there that might be a better fit for highly sensitive people like yourself who need to work in an environment where they can thrive.
It’s tough being an introvert and/or someone with high sensitivity, but these traits also come with some wonderful benefits such as empathy and creativity which makes them great candidates for many types of jobs including social worker, psychologist, writer or graphic designer among others. It’s time to start thinking outside the box when it comes to what jobs highly sensitive people excel at!
Read on if you want to learn more about the best careers for highly sensitive people.
What are the characteristics of highly sensitive people?
Highly sensitive people have a higher sensitivity to light, sound, and physical pain than those who are not very sensitive. They may also be more emotional and and have more strong intuition than other types of people. Brain scans of highly sensitive people show that their mirror neurons are more active than non-highly sensitive people so they feel all emotions, both negative and positive more intensely.
As babies, highly sensitive children respond more strongly when they are touched as compared to less sensitive children. Highly sensitive adults also have an immediate negative reaction to the news of a death or a negative future event. They are also more worried by fictional situations, even when they know that those situations are not real.
Highly sensitive people often think deeply about things and feel strong emotions intensely because they are so aware of everything going around them. They tend to be introverts who enjoy spending time alone to recharge.
They are sensitive to the emotions of others and can often take their energy personally. Highly sensitive people are affected strongly on an emotional level by what they experience in their lives. This makes it very important for them to have emotionally supportive people in their lives because people who are not sensitive might not understand why they would react so strongly to something that other people wouldn’t. You likely have high emotional intelligence as an HSP so it’s important you work in a role that acknowledges that in some way.
Highly sensitive people have what’s called a “low threshold for stimulation.” This means that they quickly become overwhelmed by situations and experiences which seem normal to those who are less sensitive. For example, a highly sensitive person may feel overwhelmed visiting a shopping mall on a crowded day while an introvert may have no problem at all. They also tend to be stressed with social rules and being judged by others which can lead to them feeling like they just don’t fit in anywhere.
What do highly sensitive people want out of work?
Highly sensitive people often have a very strong desire to be of service to others. They may want careers that allow them to help others without becoming overstimulated in the process.
They want work environments that are quiet and calm, where they can think deeply about their projects and not feel like they have to multi-task or rush through tasks too quickly.
Highly sensitive people are also usually very creative and enjoy thinking about new ideas. They want work environments that will allow them to express their creativity in a way that fits the task at hand.
Highly sensitive people can thrive in jobs and careers that don’t require them to work long hours, take part in quick decision making or handle intense pressure. For this reason, a part-time job might be a good fit.
They want a meaningful job that adds value to their lives. It’s a good idea for them to consider jobs that are more creative in nature such as writing, art, music or psychology rather than careers like sales or customer service that tend to be really fast paced and require you to deal with lots of people.
The meaning of a good job will vary for different people so it’s important to know what you want from work.
It would also be good to consider a career path that allows you to take regular breaks, have alone time, and work on your own schedule. Traditional roles can often present a unique challenge to HSP given the office environment and overstimulation. You might also want to consider companies that have work from home employees.
You career path can also depend heavily on your strengths as well. The best way to figure is out what your strengths are is to ask your friends and family members what they think you’re best at. You can also learn more about the personality tests job seekers need to take here.
The 40 Best Jobs and Careers For Highly Sensitive People
Highly sensitive people tend to have a good eye for detail. They may make great:
1. Family Medicine Physician
Doctors are able to give patients the attention they need in order to get them feeling better and back on their feet again. I think there is a big need for HSP physicians because many doctors are not truly in-tune with their patients.
On a high level, psychologists help others by listening carefully, asking questions, and solving problems. In this role, you can work one-on-one. A psychologist can diagnose mental health condition, which a therapist or counselor cannot do.
Professions in the helping and caring professions are excellent for highly sensitive people. Therapists listen carefully to others’ problems, ask questions to help them understand what they are experiencing, and give support and understanding when needed.
4. Online Media Writer
They can use their writing skills to share a story with the world that brings about meaningful change. Writers strive to make a difference in the world through their words and they get to spend their days creating a story that touches the hearts of others.
This career path also lets you work at coffee shops! An environment which many HSPs enjoy because it lets them be around others but also be able to leave if the environment because overstimulating.
5. Social Work Case Manager
Social workers help other people by helping vulnerable populations. They can be mediators, provide thoughtful advice and direction as well as resources. As a highly sensitive person, you may find it very gratifying to use your emotional intelligence in this career path.
6. Graphic Designer
For someone who is sensitive to color and sound, it can be very gratifying to see the beauty of your creation. Artists are known for their creativity which is also another one of the characteristics highly sensitive people possess. These people have deep and meaningful personalities that help them create incredible works of art. They can use this kind of power to bring about positive change in the world through their art.
7. Professor at a Small University
If you have a love of learning, consider teaching as a career. The university level lets you tap into higher thinking and being at a small university means you have a smaller pool of people to interact with.
8. Graphic Arts Librarian
Not only do librarians get to spend their days surrounded by books, but they also have the opportunity to help people find information that will impact their lives in meaningful ways. This job may involve more people interactions which can be challenging as an empath, however, that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t enjoy it.
9. Scientist or Researcher
Scientists get to spend their days learning about the world through experimentation, which is exactly what highly sensitive people love to do! Being a researcher involves analyzing information from multiple sources in order to discover something that no one else has before, which is ideal for someone who is creative and highly curious.
Tutoring one-on-one or in a small group could be a good fit for you, especially as a side hustle at first before you build up your client roster and are particularly knowledgeable in an area.
11. Middle School Counselor
Counselors help others by listening to them and supporting them through their struggles. Counselors are good listeners who want to help others work through issues they may be facing. Working with middle school students can be rewarding at a pivotal time in student’s lives.
Accountants make sure that businesses have all of the financial resources and information they need in order to run smoothly. This role requires attention to detail which many HSPs have an eye for.
13. School Social Worker
School districts often hire to assist struggling students. These professionals partner with teachers and parents to create plans that address emotional, behavioral, social, and/or academic development issues.
Architects have the opportunity to design buildings, houses and other structures with a special focus on the people who are going to use them. They can even create new designs for buildings that fit users needs perfectly.
Highly sensitive people have a great amount of depth to their personalities which makes them be in tune with others, which is exactly what an editor need to be!
16. Marine Biologist
Biologists get to spend lots of time studying how nature works by exploring its many different facets, and in this case, that would be marine life.
Psychiatrists are able to use their understanding of the human mind and its many complex facets to help people who need it. This role requires more education than being a therapist or a counselor or psychologist so if it is something you want to do, perhaps do an informational interview or shadow a psychiatrist to get a better idea of what a day in the life looks like.
18. Business Owner or Entrepreneur
Self-employment has some great benefits, including being able to make your own hours and choose the work that you want to do. You will likely have more freedom as a business owner than you would at a typical job.
19. Physical Therapist
Helping others heal from injuries or recover from illness is a rewarding job. You can work one-on-one and make a direct impact in people’s lives.
Actuaries use their knowledge of math statistics and finance to help companies figure out what their future expenses will be. This job can have a lot of pressure, so be sure to take care of yourself if you go this route.
21. Public Relations Manager
Public relations managers get to spend lots of time listening to others in order to figure out how best to manage a company’s image. This can be particularly helpful for people who are highly sensitive, since they need to often spend time in quiet and alone but can also work with like-minded team members who share a common goal.
22. Pelvic Floor Therapist
A friend of mine has a pelvic floor therapist who identities as a HSP and loves her role. She enjoys the work, getting to build relationships with patients, and problem solving while working towards a common goal – healing the pelvic floor.
23. Business Consultant
Business consultants get to spend their days talking and advising other people about business strategies, which can be a great way for sensitive people to help others understand things they don’t normally have access to. If you have experience in an industry, consider consulting.
24. ER Nurse or Paramedic
These positions allow highly sensitive people to work behind the scenes at an emergency room instead of being in front of the public (they are still very important jobs). If you want to be a nurse, here are career goals to set as a nurse.
HSPs can truly thrive in caring roles which can widely vary from being nursing to being an in-home caregiver. Cargiving doesn’t mean changing an old lady’s diapers…
HSPs are often known for being intuitive and valuing relationships. If you are spiritual, perhaps this is a path your would want to consider.
26. Recreational Therapist
Recreational therapists have an interesting path as they plan, direct, and coordinate recreation-based treatment programs that improve the quality of life for people with disabilities, injuries, or illnesses.
27. Video Editor
Love people but don’t need to be around them all the time? Editing video can be a great path for you if you want to use your skills to create a beautiful finished product and help others shine.
28. Life Coach
Life coaches work to help other people deal with personal issues that they may be facing. This could include issues at home, in school or in the workplace and can be a very rewarding job for sensitive people who are good listeners.
29. Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants help other people manage many different aspects of their business and personal lives. This can include things like booking travel plans, answering emails or managing calendars.
30. Reiki Master
Reiki Masters are highly intuitive people who use energy to heal others instead of using medicines or surgery. This can be a great job for people who still wish to help others, but don’t want to get as involved in the medical field.
Every photographer is different, but they all spend their time taking pictures of people or places. This can be a great job for sensitive people who want to work with others, while still not having many direct interactions on a daily basis.
Chefs get to focus on using their creativity to create delicious meals for other people. This is perfect for sensitive people who love to be creative and enjoy food a lot. You don’t need to be a chef in a traditional high-stakes restaurant, either. Maybe starting your own cookie business is what you could thrive in!
Pharmacists spend their time helping other people with their health using prescriptions and advice. This can be a great job for sensitive people who want a career in medicine.
34. Real Estate Agent
Realtors help others buy and sell houses, which is perfect for many sensitive people who like to help others make big life decisions.
35. Web Developer or Software Engineer
Web developers spend their time creating websites that can be used by other people who need to find information. They also build apps and programs, which is perfect for sensitive people who are good at understanding how things work together.
36. Speech Pathologist
Speech pathologists study how to improve the quality of someone’s speech after an injury or illness. They also may help people with disabilities learn how to communicate better, which is perfect for many sensitive people who like working on ways to make other people feel comfortable in their own skin.
37. Occupational Therapist
Occupational therapists study how people move and adjust their activities to suit their needs. This is another great job for sensitive people who like helping other understand what they need to feel comfortable in the world.
38. Interior Designer
Interior designers study how to make spaces more comfortable and beautiful for other people. They spend a lot of their time thinking about the different ways people work and live, which makes them great sensitive role models.
39. Yoga Instructor
Yoga instructors get to focus on helping other people deal with their physical health, which is great for sensitive people who like working closely with others.
Landscapers spend their time making sure that the spaces outside of buildings are as beautiful and comfortable as possible. This can be a perfect job for sensitive people who love being outside.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, as there are many jobs out there that highly sensitive people can do and thrive in.
What Careers Are NOT Good for HSPs?
These are just some examples the worst jobs that are not a good fit for highly sensitive people:
Being the boss means that you have a lot of responsibility in terms of making decisions, supervising employees, motivating them and dealing with their concerns.
2. Office Workers
Spending long hours sitting at a desk isolates HSPs from the people they care about and the activities they enjoy. A loud office environment might be overwhelming for HSP so keep that in mind too!
Working as a salesperson requires being in situations where you are competing for customers’ attention and can cause sensitive people to feel too much stimulation.
4. Bus Drivers
Bus drivers have to deal with a lot of traffic in an unfamiliar setting, which can be stressful to highly sensitive people.
Highly sensitive people prefer to avoid physical danger as much as possible because they can become easily overwhelmed and extremely distressed by it.
6. Delivery People
These workers have to deal with so many different kinds of situations in a short amount of time that it is hard for them to know how they will feel until they are already there and experiencing it. This can leave sensitive people feeling very overwhelmed.
7. Massage Therapist
Massage therapists get to touch and help people on a daily basis. This can be very overwhelming for highly sensitive people, especially since they often avoid physical contact with others.
8. Child Care Worker
While child care might overall be very rewarding for a highly sensitive person, the sounds and sensory overwhelm are too much to deal with on a daily basis and will impact highly sensitive people negatively.
Highly sensitive people can also have a harder time in jobs that do not allow them to work independently or creatively.
Should I tell my employer about my sensory processing issues?
Whether or not you decide to share your sensory processing sensitivities with your employer is going to depend on a few different things. If working at the job you have now makes you feel overwhelmed, depressed or anxious it is a good idea to tell your employer so that they can help you find ways to manage your sensitivities at work.
If your job makes you feel comfortable and happy, then there’s no need for you to tell your employer. Since you already feel comfortable working there, you don’t need any changes made to accommodate your sensitivities.
Should I get a new job?
You can change jobs if you really want to – but make sure that the switch is actually going to help. For example, If you know how to deal with sensory overload at work it’s easy to stay there. You might not have a big problem at all! If you’ve been struggling just because of the noise level but can handle it with earplugs then that’s a different story. It would be silly to switch jobs when your only issue is the loud noise.
If you’re thinking of getting a new job because your workplace is too chaotic for you, then just remember that not all jobs are going to have the same level of chaos. Just be sure you’ve done some research about the job before you take it so you know if it’s what you want to do or not. Job interviews can be an overwhelming for an HSP so make sure it’s a field you’re truly passionate about.
We hope this list of 40 careers has helped you explore some new possibilities as a highly sensitive person.
As we’ve mentioned, it’s important to find the work that is right for you and your personality type so that you can be successful in what matters most to you. It may take more time than other people need to research these options more deeply before making a decision on which career path is best suited for your needs, but once you do decide on one of these paths, we’re sure it will feel like home! Which option appeals most to you?
BEFORE YOU COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE…
There is no “right” or “wrong” way to be a highly sensitive person.
I believe that regardless of your traits or how you define yourself as a person, you can succeed in anything you want as long as you understand how to take care of yourself. Don’t put yourself in a box based on a specific trait you have. Work with yourself, not against yourself to excel in your life, however you choose. Being highly sensitive is not a fault, it’s a wonderful gift.
Some HSPs are introverted, some are extroverted. You have preferences as a person, too. You might not be talented at graphic design but thrive in mediating situations even if they drain you at the end of the day. Take time to learn more ABOUT YOU! Lean into your own strengths. This list is designed to inspire you and get you thinking more about what you want in a career. If your current one isn’t working for you, explore other things.