The Worst Jobs for People With Social Anxiety Disorder

If you suffer from 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 may be challenging if you have SAD.



Pregnant waitress bussing table in restaurant
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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 helping customer at grocery store market checkout
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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.



Salesman on phone
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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

Back view of a police officer
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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.



Teacher reading book to students
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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

Back yard birthday party
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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.



Man speaking to reporters
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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.



Woman talking to colleagues at a conference table
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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 workday. Managers also must report to those in superior positions.



Musicians performing on stage
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The job of a 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

Golfer hitting a ball down the fairway
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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.

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.

Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

By Arlin Cuncic
Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety."