Jobs Highly Sensitive People Enjoy

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The things you are passionate about are not random; they are your calling.

— Fabienne Fredrickson

The following is an excerpt from the book, The Empowered Highly Sensitive Person, How To Harness Sensitivity Into Strength In A Chaotic World

Work can be very draining for highly sensitive people, so it makes sense that we need it to be meaningful. Being an HSP at work can feel like you have extra challenges. Research shows that HSPs in the workplace are highly valued as they tend to perform highest as rated by supervisors. This makes sense given how hard we try to do a good job in our work. They also have the highest stress levels. Your workplace colleagues will often see you as helpful and dedicated. I have observed that HSPs put a lot of themselves into their work. Often colleagues have grown to rely on you.

Some of our challenges revolve around burnout. We often work through our breaks, do extra work at home, pick up the slack of our colleagues, and use our perfectionist measurement stick to measure everything we do. Common experiences can include getting frustrated by co-workers or having strong reactions to what might feel like criticism.

Working through our breaks doesn’t work well for anyone, especially HSPs. Research backs this up. Our ability to concentrate reduces significantly after twenty minutes of sustained focus. Studies that have tracked workers found we typically only spend two hours and fifty-three minutes of our eight-hour work day doing our work! The rest of the time is spent talking to co-workers about non-work-related subjects, eating, and reading and watching news and social media sites.  Productivity increases when breaks are taken every two to three hours. However, those breaks must be at least fifteen-minutes long, and they must allow our minds to relax. Reading the news and scrolling through social media sites are not an effective break for our minds.

Research has also shown that working from home increases productivity, sometimes as much as 13.5 percent. “Work-from-home employees work a true full shift (or more) versus being late to the office or leaving early multiple times a week and found it less distracting and easier to concentrate at home.” Maybe even more importantly, those employees remained with the company longer and took few sick days.

Remember your strengths as an HSP—you are intuitive, creative, detail oriented, compassionate, and kind. Your depth of processing allows you to see many angles. Given enough time to process, you can be good problem solver, and having high emotional intelligence can make you a great communicator. HSPs can read facial expressions and body language that up to 80 percent of the population might miss. You have increased activation in your insula, leading to higher self-awareness and social consciousness. You might catch details others miss. Depth of processing also helps with complex decision making. Our extra-creative brain helps in brainstorming and coming up with innovative ideas. You have a lot of value at work. Creating a mind shift that focuses on what you do offer, rather than what you think you don’t can also help. Walk into work standing tall and proud and believe that you offer a lot of value.

In a poll I did recently on my HSP Facebook page I asked what jobs HSPs were doing that they loved. Here were the responses:

  • Joyful Living Educator (work online from home, often in pj’s 😊).

  • Consumer Health Librarian at a hospital ~ Love it ♥️

  • I work in IT on the software development side. I’ve done QA for 14+ years and am working to transition to BSA. I love what I do - I use my logical, rational side and being an empath gives me an edge for the soft/people skills needed.

  • I’m a nurse, currently working in a doctors office and working on my RN degree. I love the contact with patients but it’s draining. Long term I want to make a living with my handmade skincare business. I need the freedom and flexibility that comes with it

  • Middle school Librarian. I’m only one year in but LOVE IT SO MUCH!! My background is in marketing and it hasn’t been fulfilling... I’ve been searching for my “dream job” my whole life. I’m 44 and I think I finally found it! 👍🏻😁❤️

  • Mum first of all (with 2 hsp female teenagers) business owner, a friend that counsels a lot of my friends.

  • I love what I do and am very passionate about it. I take care of babies and moms. Postpartum doula, newborn care specialist and bereavement doula who works with postpartum mood disorders.

  • I’m a volunteer fitness instructor at my senior center.

  • I was a homeschool mom for years which I absolutely loved.

  • I’m a voice coach working with actors in the theatre... It does give me an outlet for my creativity, curiosity, and passion! Ultimately, my sensitivity makes me better at my job, but my job is hard on my sensitivity.

  • I notice that many of these jobs involve helping people, which we are inclined to do even though we find it exhausting! I was a school teacher but am now a private tutor.

  • Health coach. I work from home for an amazing start up company. All of my interactions with clients are through personal messages. I love the connections and helping others improve the quality of their lives, but I'm a way that allows me to manage my energy. ❤️

  • At 50 Quit my nearly 30 year career in the graphic arts/ paper industry to work for myself. I now teach yoga, meditation, Groove dance and do some side work data entry from home. Love it! I so needed the change.

  • I am on my pension. So now I am a traveler and hobby photographer. Before I had an education as an artist, I became a computer operator, a sailor after that working in a taxfree shop, then a bartender in a squash centre, an insurance salesman, on a disability pension from there on, sitting in loads of boards, started a couple of foundations, started writing and became an editor, started a company, that got sold, started another company after a while, I was then 65, stopped working there last year and sold my shares. The typical life of an hsp, anything is interesting.

  • Mental health counselor. Emotionally draining some days but rewarding, and is the perfect outlet for fulfilling the need inside me to use my compassion and empathy.

  • My business provided specialty training relating to improving physical safety, including Basic Self Defense, Bodyguard Training for Moms, KeySlinger Self Defense Training, Raising Nonviolent Children and more. I love it. I get to control my class sizes and when and for who I work. Marketing events are exhausting, but I get to schedule time to recover from them. I enjoy the high of introducing women and children to the power they already have.

  • I’m a Psychotherapist. I really love my job most of the time, especially with deeply open and willing clients. The all-day peopling can sometimes be overwhelming.

  • I'm a graphic designer. I love the work. It's such an amazing fit for me, but it's when I have to meet with clients that really frazzles me. I wish I could do it from home instead.

  • Retired “Principal Mapping Technician” of a huge utility company (we drew maps of natural gas lines & did all the gas related record keeping). After almost 33 years, had to retire when it got so stressful it affected my health. Now I volunteer for CA State Parks doing native plant restoration, and the local “no-kill” animal shelter, working with the cats 😊

  • Work from home, alone, love it

  • Counsellor, specialising in Family Violence. Love my job, find it exhausting sometimes!

  • Yes! Professional.artist and private art tutor. I love it!.

  • Therapist in private practice in San Diego, CA 😁 The flexibility of making my own hours and having control over my caseload works great for my needs as a HSP!

  • Nature is my passion, then capturing nature in camera creatively with a focus on light emanating from the sun, moon or stars. Natural light. I love to be in nature & capture its beauty. I do very minimal processing of photos.

  • LOVE my job! It’s completely counterintuitive to the logic of me being an absolute introvert HSP.. and I don’t understand how I do it myself.. but I do. And I’m really good at it! I am a bartender🍸

  • I'm a teacher....I can't imagine not working with children, but it's exhausting and very draining. I love my kids more than anything though!

  • I’m a bookkeeper and I love it.

  • Daycare provider for under 3's working from home, recently changed career direction completely after realising that being a Dietitian was not a very good fit for me. Totally thriving in my new work xx

  • Director of Children and Family, love, love it! Although it is exhausting sometimes.

  • Writer and college writing professor. I love it so so much.

  • Currently a Post Placement Support Consultant however, finalising a Master of Rehab Counselling and a Grad Cert Employment Relations. I'm also a volunteer for a grassroots group who advocates approaching politicians setting up meetings etc.

  • Music teacher, love my calling!

  • Civil Engineer, love it. I have an amazing boss and I work with a really good group. That is what makes it for me :-) also, it is a very quiet environment which helps immensely!

  • Preschool teacher, love my kiddos 😘

  • Retired, former CPA, also did compliance work in the financial planning world, bookkeeping and after retirement a very part time job buying textbooks from college students for a book wholesaler. Best jobs were those I could do from home, but learned and grew as a person by being around others.

  • Trauma and Crisis Counsellor, special interest in First Responder Support and Victim Empowerment. BWRT practitioner. Tertiary educator in trauma and crisis, volunteer counsellor for volunteer wildfire firefighters in Cape Town area. Love it and hate it but will never stop doing it.

  • Primary school counsellor for 16 yrs and now work from home as an animal communicator to support ‘alive’ pets with health issues and also I communicate with deceased pets to bring comfort, peace and closure for pet and pet guardian. That’s the life of a highly attuned nervous system!

  • Special needs teaching assistant but I'm looking at getting out as I’m burnout. My days are filled with negativity and anxiety, I don't like who I've become. So, I've just finished a mindfulness training and have completed my Life Coaching qualification...exciting times ahead!😍

  • I am an Elementary Educator (I teach 3rd grade). Prior to teaching, I worked as a Social Worker for the Dept. of Child and Family Services in Salt Lake City, UT.

  • I work in the health insurance industry, I like my work, but struggle being at a desk all day. 😆

  • Collection Agent for 20 years. Not the best environment but I know I'm good at it.

  • I go back and forth between the nonprofit world and the campaign world. While it’s not as stable as I’d like, I enjoy it!

  • Currently barely scraping by as a house/pet sitter but I enjoy it.

  • Reflexologist. It's calming for both me and the client. <3

  • Former College Advisor and College Instructor. I've been teaching Yoga for twenty years and still love it. For the last year, I've also had a Travel, Food, and Photography IG Blog. 💜 It's a good life, but I've learned to create it to play to my strengths (HSP/empath) and minimize stress. 😍

  • in strategic sales. Love working from home, like 60-70% of my job!

  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - stressful but I love it

  • I’m an animal behavior specialist for the local county shelter 💕🐕🐈💕

To learn more about how highly sensitive people can be happier at work, how to feel valued, find a career you love, how to share your ideas your way, the best ways to communicate with your boss, and even how to ask for a raise as an HSP, Continue reading from the book, The Empowered Highly Sensitive Person. 

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About Julie Bjelland, LMFT

Julie is a psychotherapist, author, and leader in the field of high sensitivity, and has helped thousands of highly sensitive people (HSP) around the world. As an HSP herself, Julie understands what it's like to live with high sensitivity and strong emotions, and is on a mission to empower HSPs to live their best lives.

Julie has developed proprietary tools and techniques to help reduce the challenges and increase the positives that HSPs experience on a daily basis. These techniques have been developed over years of working with highly sensitive people and have proven extremely successful for her clients and students.

In her free time, Julie loves being in nature, around animals, gardening, learning, and daydreaming about having a little farm one day. She shares her home with her partner, two children, and a houseful of pets and plants.

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