To ask what job you do if you have social anxiety?

(59 Posts)
hexagonal Mon 13-May-13 16:02:37

Also if you don't have a degree (dropped out because of the anxiety).

Everything I've done before involved working around people and I'm not sure if I can handle that anymore, I had a bit of a breakdown last year because of it.

I'd love to do something like proofreading but not sure about freelance work, also don't think I would get any since I don't have experience or a degree.

So, if you have social anxiety, or even if you just hate people, what do you do?

Doubtfuldaphne Mon 13-May-13 19:37:16

Typing from home for lecturers/architects/bigwigs? I Did that up until this year as I had horrible anxiety and Ibs. I have now started working with the public though, even when I feel like I just can't do it- I always feel so much better for it when I've completed a shift, it's done wonders for my confidence smile

hexagonal Mon 13-May-13 19:39:13

Thanks Mumsyblouse, I'm going to look into going back at some point. I was already a mature student when I started and I think that added to my anxiety tbh. I didn't really know how bad it was at the time though, for years whenever I went to my old GP about my anxiety he just shrugged it off and I never really got any help for it, or any acknoledgement that there was something wrong.

Another problem with going back to finish my degree is funding, I don't think I'll be elligible for another student loan, especially since I dropped out in the middle of the year.

nannyof3 Mon 13-May-13 19:41:07

Working with children

raisah Mon 13-May-13 21:10:37

Working with kids can be stressful :-) , imagine a room full of screaming toddlers if you have anxiety issues.

If you are in London try the Royal Vetinary College in London (part of Uni of London) for work experience/jobs. They have 2 sites, one in Camden & the second just outside London in Herts.

ShabbyButNotChic Mon 13-May-13 21:18:57

Another vote for working with children, i have mild depression and social anxiety, and have worked in childcare for 10years. I find it really good as i have to focus on others, so don't worry about my own problems too much. It also provides some light relief! A room filled with 8-12 year olds certainly has some interesting conversations flying round! I often get to the end of a shift and realise "ooh, im fine" as daft as that sounds. I basically am run ragged, and don't have time to worry!

coffeeinbed Mon 13-May-13 21:24:29

Funnily enough my job involves a lot of communication with people, pretty much all I do.
Somehow it's fine if I do it for work, but not socially/privately. I just separate the two and function much better in a professional environment.

PimpMyHippo Mon 13-May-13 21:35:06

I'm a receptionist. I can deal with the social interaction this brings by putting on a "game face" for work and basically pretending not to be me! But it's not ideal - even the slightest confrontation with a difficult client will have me shaken up for days (fortunately most of our clients are lovely) and I have absolutely no life, I literally do not leave the house apart from going to work, because it takes absolutely all of my energy. I'm sticking with it because it is related to the field I want to work in, and if I can hang on for a few more years there will be the opportunity for training/promotion to a role that will suit me much better. I am constantly debating with myself whether I will be able to stick it out for that long, and I worry that I will have another breakdown in the process, but I know I will never get such a good opportunity again so I'm trying to push on!

hexagonal Mon 13-May-13 21:42:27

I've been trying to get receptionist jobs, PimpMyHippo, I figured it wouldn't be as bad for my anxiety as working in a shop. I had one interview and they pretty much rejected me straight away, didn't even bother asking questions.

I hate my life.

JambalayaCodfishPie Mon 13-May-13 21:53:56

Im a teaching assistant in a secondary school, hoping to become Asst SENCO.

Im very comfortable here now, but was genuinely terrified for my first year, and still struggle if I know I have a big, all services type meeting coming up. I have to 'prep' myself, and what i'm going to say, and have been known to cry afterwards, with relief.

Im very happy though, and my confidence has grown outside of work too. Ive trained as a fitness/zumba instructor, and in September i start my degree.

CBT helped me overcome an awful lot of my fears. That and finding a partner who REALLY understands it all, never pushes me and protects me in situations he knows i still might stuggle with.

PimpMyHippo Mon 13-May-13 21:54:39

sad It is so difficult to get a job at the moment even without the added stress of anxiety, I really feel for you. Do you have the option to take a short break from job hunting and regroup a bit, or are there time/money constraints preventing that?

hexagonal Mon 13-May-13 22:16:16

Nope, no money. Just about enough for rent this month. I'm trying to get any job I can as soon as possible so I don't have to deal with the Jobcentre twats anymore. I cried all the way home after my last appointment.

PariahHairy Mon 13-May-13 22:19:20

I'm very socially anxious, yet found caring jobs mostly ok, I was a HCA. It's totally different from free form social interaction, you mostly know what is expected of you, with regards to conversation. Obviously some patients will initiate chats, which was nice, but it's different because it's a controlled environment and you have a specific role.

If you drive, there are lot's of caring jobs visiting people at home, I would love this because you are basically working alone and also get breaks from the full on interaction. Sadly I don't drive.

HoppinMad Mon 13-May-13 22:22:09

Nothing sensible to add, but wanted to say I can sympathize. I am sahm so cannot really help with job suggestions but I have social anxiety also but in the past managed to do shop assistant work which really helped my confidence. I think what really helped was I knew I had the knowledge of the products we sold and the customers were coming to ask me about them.

I still cannot do speaking in groups or any public speaking. Get the whole blushing face, shaky voice sweats. Its the reason becoming a sahm was such a relief as I dont have to worry about all that. Unfortunately its the reason I initially didnt go on to attend uni aswell sad my best friend and I were pretty similar academically, passed gcses with flying colours. She is now a doctor and me, well I am where I am. It saddens me alot that this anxiety held me back in life to such an extent. I would love to deal with it, but I dont think they do funding for MIND anymore? My DH was referred by GP for cbt but they never got back to him.

HoppinMad Mon 13-May-13 22:27:48

Too many buts in my post, sorry horrified reading back blush sahm for too long

iworemyfringelikerogermcguinns Mon 13-May-13 22:37:19

I teach in HE. It's interesting to see that so many other people also work well where they adopt a "role" and can prepare, even though they struggle where expectations and interactions are less controlled.

stickytoes Mon 13-May-13 23:39:43

I have had social anxiety pretty much all my life (am also on the autism spectrum), I'm a sahm. Weirdly I used to be a waitress, I could manage that as it became a ritual. I was never very chatty, but was happy to have a standard list of set questions/responses. Have also done shop work and telephone work, and cope with those because they were basically routine jobs. I don't think I could do those jobs now though.

Being a sahm is probably my ideal though, just having to manage my own DH and dc! Even that gets a bit much sometimes, as I find it hard to deal with some institutional contact, like with medical/education staff or other mums. I am doing a degree p/t and the social aspects of it are hard, but I try to stay invisible during things like seminars and make up for it by excelling at written work. My lecturers have been brilliantly supportive, so if you can find a way to get funding to finish your degree, I think that would be a good idea.

I am not sure if I'll ever work after I graduate, I really like the stimulation of education and I might continue with an MA, but I think employers are just too unsympathetic towards conditions like ours. I do get DLA at the moment, and DH is able to/happy to support us, so there is no need to push myself into work as such.

raisah Tue 14-May-13 03:05:56

Try signing up to a temping agency such as Brook St (they are national & online) as they also supply temps to unis & NHS for a variety of dfferent roles. It will give you a chance to try different roles in diverse companies to see what suits you. All the temps at my workplace come from brook st & 2 have a condition similar to yours & seem to cope ok.

FunkyDiamonds Tue 14-May-13 10:53:57

Op, I think it's amazing that you are working around your social anxiety. I wish I could too, I've suffered since my mid teens and because of it I haven't worked at all.. In fact I avoid leaving the house as much as possible. It's been over ten years now and I can't see things changing, I wish I could do what you do but the longer it goes on, the more it feels like a downward spiral and nobody would want somebody without qualifications AND zero experience in anything! I just wanted to say I admire you and anyone who is strong enough to work through it and good luck in the future x

ElenorRigby Tue 14-May-13 11:19:59

I suffered from social phobia/anxiety from my teens into my thirties and was very disabled by it.

hexagonal are there any SA support groups near you? For example Triumph over Phobia or Self help services

I found support groups helped me even more than CBT or medication.

As for my work, its geeky, I'm an electronics geek, fixing stuff, which means I'm a back room person.

shumway Tue 14-May-13 11:25:38

Library assistant.

chillynose Tue 14-May-13 11:26:25

I work as a checkout assistant in a supermarket and i suffer from anxiety

LarvalFormOfOddSock Tue 14-May-13 12:34:46

Hi OP. Just want to add that you're not alone, if it's any help. I have panic disorder and it's really curtailed my life in so many ways. I was lucky enough that it didn't hit me until mid 20s though, so I got a degree and travelled etc before that.

Of course,it's best to try to overcome the illness, but like you say, sometimes the support just isn't there and it's more practical to focus on what you can actually do without starting on the road to another breakdown.

Strangely enough, in a previous life (pre DS) I was a careers adviser so I'll have a bit of a think and see if I can come up with anything more useful! At the moment I'm struggling to do my one day a week volunteering or even leave the house some days. It's so frustrating as I began the volunteering for the benefit of my mental health and it's doing nothing but adding to the anxiety and feeling of incompetence at the moment.

hexagonal Mon 20-May-13 13:26:57

Hi again, I've read everyone's replies. I've thought some more about working with children but I really don't think it's for me. I think that amount of responsibility would be really stressful. I've also had a look at volunteering at animal shelters , unfortunately the ones closest to me would be quite difficult to get to, and they don't refund travel costs.

I've had a few job interviews in the last week, two of them have already turned me down and I don't have much hope for the others. All the vacancies I see seem to want people who are outgoing and 'great communicators', whatever that means. I've also signed up to a recruitment agency but haven't heard anything back.

I do have an interview for volunteering coming up which I'm really hoping to get, if only to prevent me from sitting at home feeling utterly useless all the time.

LarvalFormOfOddSock Mon 20-May-13 13:31:02

Good luck with the volunteering OP! I agree that the job market is very skewed towards extroverts but keep trying...I hope you find something that you enjoy.

Potteresque97 Mon 20-May-13 13:32:25

Just saw this, try getting into software testing. You can do iseb courses, although its not essential, I do a lot of testing (functional) and it is good for anxiety as code is either right or its wrong and as long as you clearly document what you are doing...Take advice on the best/cheapest way to get into it though, it recruiters may be able to give some guidance, can't help with. That as had a conventional path into it.

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