What are the best and worst careers for empaths?
“Being a sensitive empath is a beautiful thing as an artist”
Some jobs are more satisfying and less stressful for empaths than others.
As an empath, I know that to excel in and enjoy our work, we must make the most of our sensitivities. We must express our intuition, our thoughtfulness, our quietness, and our creativity rather than trying to be someone we’re not.
The Best Careers for Empath
In “The Empath’s Survival Guide,” I present the pros and cons of certain careers and working conditions for sensitive people. Traditionally, empaths do better in lower stress, solo jobs, or with smaller companies. They are usually happiest working part or full time at home, away from the office frenzy, noise, politics, and nearby energy vampires. (They’re easier to deal with by email, text, or phone because they’re at a distance.) In such a job, you can plan your schedule and plan regular breaks to decompress.
Related: What is Your Level of Empathy?
Many of my empath patients prefer being self-employed to avoid the drain and overwhelm of coworkers, bosses, and packed schedules. Empaths tend to do better on their own time than with the frequent team meetings that are required in large businesses (unless the team is unusually positive and cohesive).
If you’re employed by a business, it may be possible to arrange a part-time home office situation and do your work virtually, with ongoing access to the Internet, emails, texts, and Skype. Increasingly, people don’t always have to be tied to their office to do their job well, a perk for empaths that allows them to have more choices in their work location. However, if you work at home or alone in an office, be careful not to become isolated or to push yourself too hard. Balance your alone time with “people time” among colleagues and friends.
How do these considerations translate into real-world jobs?
Empaths do well being self-employed business owners, writers, editors, health care professionals, artists, and in other creative professions. Many actors and musicians such as Claire Danes, Alanis Morissette, Scarlett Johansson, and Jim Carrey have admitted to being “highly sensitive.”
Other good jobs include website and graphic designers, virtual assistants, accountants or lawyers with home offices, or independent electricians and plumbers who can set their own appointments. Being a real estate agent or roving business consultant can be fine too, as long as you establish good boundaries regarding when you can be reached and don’t overschedule yourself. Landscape design, gardening, forest ranger work, or other employment that puts you in nature are wonderful for empaths as are jobs preserving the earth and her ecosystems.
Many empaths also go into helping professions because of their desire to serve others. As a psychiatrist, I get great satisfaction from helping my patients, as long as I can take care of my own energy and don’t absorb the stress from my patients. Similarly, many empaths become physicians, nurses, dentists, physical therapists, psychotherapists, social workers, teachers, yoga instructors, Chinese medical practitioners, massage therapists, clergy, hospice workers, life coaches, or volunteers, or employees of non-profit organizations among other heart-felt jobs. Working with animals, animal rescue, dog grooming, as well as veterinary medicine are gratifying choices too.
But, to thrive, empaths in the helping professions must learn how to stop taking on the stress and symptoms of their patients and clients. They can do this by scheduling breaks between clients to meditate set clear limits and boundaries with people, and take adequate time outside of work to relax and refuel. However, jobs such as being a police officer or fire-fighter, though often heroic, may be too stressful for an empath because of the high sensory stimulation and ongoing physical and emotional trauma inherent in these careers.