What Are the 10 Worst Jobs for People with Social Anxiety Disorder?

Challenging Jobs for People with SAD

If you suffer with social anxiety disorder (SAD) you may have trouble finding a job in which you feel comfortable. As you work on overcoming your social anxiety, gradually challenging yourself can be helpful. If, however, you are still facing severe anxiety, a job in the public eye may just make things worse. 

If you want to be a stand-up comedian, teacher or police officer—don't give up on those dreams! Just realize that those professions and others may be particularly challenging if you are managing social anxiety.

On the other hand, you don't need to feel bad if spending time alone is how you recharge. You may in fact be an introvert, in addition to having social anxiety, and a solitary job suits you best. The key is not to let social anxiety dictate your choice of job.

Jobs that may be most challenging for those with SAD often involve dealing with people, handling conflict and managing difficult situations. Below are some examples of jobs that fit this description.


Social anxiety may hamper your ability to function as a server.
Being a server can be challenging for those with social anxiety. Getty / Taxi / David Woolley

Although many teenagers and college students take part-time serving jobs to earn extra cash, there are many aspects of this job that may be challenging for those with social anxiety disorder.

As a server, you will be expected to be friendly with your customers; doing so helps to ensure that you make larger tips. Other potentially challenging aspects of this job including pouring drinks, serving food and dealing with unhappy diners. 

On the other hand, if your anxiety is managed through treatment, becoming a server may give you the confidence to handle other social situations with ease.


Cashiers face social demands in their positions.
Being a cashier requires good ability to deal with the public. Getty / The Image Bank / Holly Harris

A position as a cashier involves dealing with the public, handling money, making change and sometimes working under pressure.

Although on a quiet day this job may not present too many social challenges, on a busy day it will be filled with opportunities to challenge your social anxiety.

If you are at a point that you are ready to challenge yourself and talk to strangers all day—apply! Otherwise, you may wish to work on your symptoms first.


Being a salesperson may challenge your social anxiety.
Salespeople face challenging social interactions daily. Getty / CaiaImage

Salespeople not only have to deal with the public, but they have to be persuasive, confident and good at developing rapport.

Many salespeople work on commission, meaning that your income is tied to how well you perform at work. In addition, most positions in sales involve pressure to meet sales targets.

This can sometimes create a competitive atmosphere amongst coworkers, rather than a feeling of camaraderie.

Police Officer

Being a police officer can drain you both mentally and physically.
Police officers must work with difficult people daily. Getty / Moment / J. Castro

There are many aspects of a police officer's job that could be challenging for those with SAD.

As a police officer, you must be able to think on your feet, take action and make quick decisions. You must also be skilled at dealing with difficult people and potentially dangerous situations.

Police officers are also sometimes called upon to give presentations to community groups.


Social anxiety must be overcome to teach.
Teachers face social challenges at work. Getty / Hero Images

Teachers do some of the most important work; they prepare our young people for life and a career.

In addition to the public speaking demands of a teaching position, as a teacher you will also be called upon to meet with parents, help with extra-curricular activities, and communicate with other teachers, principals and school support staff.

Stay-at-home Parent

Being a stay-at-home parent may challenge your social anxiety.
Stay-at-home parents have many social obligations. Getty / Hero Images

There are many aspects of being a parent that can be challenging if you fear people. Parents often arrange play dates for their children, organize daycare, plan birthday parties, and coordinate sports and music activities. When this job is done right, it involves a great deal of social interaction with a variety of people.


Social anxiety may derail a politician's career.
Politicians face many social pressures. Getty / Robert Daly

Politicians are generally speakers by nature. They are usually charismatic, influential and capable of uniting people. In addition to public speaking requirements, politicians must deal with public scrutiny, relations with other leaders, and potential rejection by voters.


Supervisors must have excellent skills for managing people.
Managers spend a lot of time dealing with people. Getty / Thomas Barwick

Managers can be found in every type of work. Typically, employees with the right credentials are promoted within a company until they reach management levels. Managers are also sometimes newly hired to bring fresh perspectives to existing employees. 

There are many aspects of managerial jobs that may be challenging for those with social anxiety disorder, including dealing with many different people and problems at once and constant interruptions during the work day. Managers also must report to those in superior positions.


Performance anxiety can interfere with life as a performer.
Performers must overcome performance anxiety to succeed. Getty / Hero Images

The job of performer can include any position that involves being in front of an audience: musician, talk-show host, news anchor or radio personality are just some examples.

These types of jobs are particularly challenging for those who suffer from stage fright; Donny Osmond and Barbra Streisand are two performers who have overcome these obstacles to succeed.

Professional Athlete

Social anxiety can impede the performance of a professional athlete.
Professional athletes often fall prey to social anxiety. Getty / Harry How

Many professional athletes do not realize until they are in front of large crowds that their job is just as much about performance as it is about skill.

It does not matter if you are a scratch golfer when you play by yourself; you need to be able to perform as well in front of a world audience as you do when you are alone.

Athletes such as Zack Greinke and Ricky Williams understand what it is like to deal with SAD as a professional athlete.


Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Anxiety and Stress in the Workplace.

Penn State. Probing Question: Can a Shy Person Be an Actor?

Psychology Today. Ten Tips for the Shy Job Seeker.

University of Connecticut. Don't Let Anxiety Get in the Way of Your Career.

U.S. News. How People With Social Anxiety Can Find, Land and Keep a Rewarding Job.

A Word From Verywell

Remember, if you have SAD, you should not be discouraged from pursuing careers that you believe would be fulfilling. At the same time, it is important to assess your strengths and find work that showcases what you are best doing. When you find a job that allows you to shine, that you enjoy waking up to each day and that offers enough challenges (both socially and professionally), then you will know you have found the right fit.