For some OCD sufferers, traditional educational system or career plans may not work out. However, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) should not stop you from having a fulfilling and satisfying career that brings your skills out.
OCD is a disorder, which can be overcome with treatment and therapy. Finding a job for people with OCD may probably take a bit of an extra effort because the unnerving thoughts and challenging behaviors can become a hindrance, but with the right help, you should be able to identify jobs where you can perform well and thrive.
We are going to help you by listing some of the best jobs or career options for people with OCD. You might also want to know if you have the disorder. So, we will learn the basics first and then take you through the jobs.
How to Recognize Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a chronic and life-long mental disorder that is characterized by controlled, obsessive thoughts and compulsive, repetitive behaviors, which often manifests a strong impulse to repeat an action or word, or habit again and again. Many people have mild OCD, which is relatively common. Mild symptoms usually do not disrupt a person’s day-to-day life. For instance, some people like to keep their kitchen towels in a particular order, in terms of color or size, and they often get annoyed when it is not.
However, aggressive and chronic OCD varies wildly where the compulsions center around fear (that something bad will happen if a specific task is not completed), unwanted sexual thoughts, and aggressive thoughts. The symptoms of this disorder usually develop during childhood and vary throughout life. However, OCD can also develop in adulthood.
Example of severe OCD includes an obsessive thought that your child may die or get hurt if you don’t put the books in correct alphabetical order or you may die if you do not wash your hands fifteen-twenty times after touching something dirty.
Some of the Common Symptoms You May Observe Are:
Obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions can often surround many things but the most common ones are:
– Fear of germs
– Worry about getting hurt or hurting others
– Urge to put things in order
– Urge to clean
– Believe in certain numbers and colors
– Constant consciousness of breathe-in and breathe-out, eye blinks, body-sensation, hair fall, etc.
– Checking on doors, light switches, washing hands several times, taking a bath for hours
– Need to count steps, titles, bottles, etc.
Workplace Challenges for People with OCD
OCD can be challenging in the professional sphere. The stress of battling this disorder can make you a poor performer at work. It may also disrupt your relationship with peers and clients. For instance, the obsessive thought of germs in your body may not allow you to shake hands, hug, or handle money can put you in trouble if the sudden urge to wash your hands 30 times during an important meeting does not already.
Even if you decide to tell your boss or peers about your OCD ahead of time, the social stigma of mental illness is so strong that you would do almost anything to hide it from the public and co-workers.
Therefore, you must identify the best work atmosphere for you where you can work peacefully and where your obsession and compulsive thoughts will prove useful.
8 Best careers for People with OCD
There are many OCD friendly jobs today. What is gaining prominence is the awareness among people on how to cope up or help coworkers with mental illnesses. So, you will as well be able to secure a job in the following work environments without any stress:
– No restriction in walking around the workstation
– Flexible job or work from home option
– Flexible working hours
– No human interaction
– Jobs that need to be accomplished in a careful, orderly manner
You have to find jobs that are beyond the traditional 9 – 5 job and that do not trigger your obsession or compulsive nature.
You can easily find fulfilling jobs in the digital industry and technology. Any job that pays for conscientiousness and attention to detail would be great for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder. So, here is a list of jobs that will be perfect for people with OCD.
Since people with OCD often have a mania towards cleanliness and tidiness, the job of housekeeping is perfect for them. You have to get rid of germs, clean the house, change the sheets, water the plants, and do umpteen number of tasks that involve perfection, detail, and haphazard cleaning and maintaining.
Photography is gaining excessive popularity now, thanks to the advent of digital marketing and social media platforms. You can choose to be a photographer and fulfill your compulsive desire to click perfect and detail oriented pics. Since you will be working independently and using your own tools and gadgets, you will work at peace, away from social anxiety.
A career in the military is a perfect choice for the detail-oriented, perfectionist person with OCD. The military job requires adherence to strict rules and regulations and having good work ethics. Cleanliness, tidiness, and job perfection are a few symptoms that can prove excellent traits in people with OCD.
Software programmers create, develop, apply and test codes to establish a web and mobile applications, internet, mobile phones, and websites. The job nature is such that it allows a person with OCD to stay focused and glued to what he is doing. You have to work independently, follow a systematic approach, pay attention to small details, and remain obsessed about completing the project on time with perfection. It is, therefore, one of the best jobs for people with OCD.
Accounting and Bookkeeping
Accountants always have clear guidelines because they work with details and numbers all day long. It is an excellent choice for someone with this disorder because your job will involve computing data based on a formula, which require intense concentration, organization, and details. Since people with OCD are obsessed with strict rules and regulations, they will thrive in a job that works on stringent accounting principles.
Editor, Writer, and Proofreader
Just like playing with numbers, playing with words is a great way to stay focused on the current work, which stops your wandering mind to bad thoughts. Your primary job would be writing articles based on stringent research and correct grammatical, typographical, and compositional errors before the article is sent for publication. The writing job is a complex world for it needs long working hours, fixing things, changing things, and concentration – all of these are found in ample in people with OCD. The good news is that the field of writing is gaining popularity and it is one of the jobs for people with OCD that can be done from home or any remote place.
The work of a travel agent is simple from outside but complex and detail oriented from inside. You will process huge amount of information with regards to tourists and journeys, such as flight schedule, travel itinerary, food and sightseeing, hotels, tourist guide, photography, and hundred other planning and coordinating works that go into scheduling a trip. The job does not tolerate errors and requires paying attention to minute detail and adherence to travel rules and guidelines to make this more attractive for tourists. You can work independently as a travel agent, something that you would prefer for your mental disorder.
What better than a person who has conquered a severe disorder and achieved success can be a life coach? If you wish to act out your controlling nature in a positive way, then the best way to do it is by dedicating your life in helping others in overcoming their fears and mental disorders. You could channel your symptoms, become a professional nag, and inspire people. People easily look up to those who had a challenging life before. So becoming a life coach could be beneficial for you.
Worst Jobs for People with OCD
Although the specificity of the job depends upon your particular symptoms and obsessions, you should avoid workplace situations that:
– Need interaction with customers for long hours
– Being approached by people all the time
– Require physical contact
– Require to ask permission for using the washroom
– Need handling of incoming calls steadily
– Need money to be handled, such as credit cards, coins, etc.
– Require you to touch raw food products with hands
– Have A strict working schedule
– Untidy and unclean office environment, such as food or coffee stain on your table
People with OCD may also experience a generalized anxiety disorder, therefore you should try and avoid jobs that require you to interact with people every day for long hours.
Jobs that people with OCD should avoid include:
– Flight attendance
– Restaurant and food service
– Customer service
– Health care provider, such as nurse
– Daycare volunteer
– A social worker for the underprivileged
– Driver and chauffeur
Do check this section for more information and upcoming job updates.