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Some Thoughts About Choosing a Career For a Highly Sensitive Person

It seems that career choice, career change, either forced or self-imposed, is always a timely topic. Some important questions to consider include: Can you incorporate your passion into your work life? Would you like to pursue another line of work? Are you burnt out? Are you bored? Would you like to start your own business?

Below are some tips on choosing/changing a career:

  • Have a vision of what you need to do now. Think in terms of multiple streams of income. You might consider temporary work or other types of freelance projects. You can still work in your current job, as you explore other options.
  • It’s important to remember that every experience you have will help you. Even if you aren’t in an ideal situation right now, you can always use your education and skills. You haven’t wasted your time. More experience opens up more options, and you never know when you can use something you’ve learned.
  • If you’re unemployed or under-employed, work through anxiety by seeking professional help. Put some joy in your life, rather than turning your situation into a catastrophe. Accept your circumstance, and work with it the best way you can.
  • Use your highly sensitive intuition to guide you to your best career possibilities. If you have an idea on a career, even if it seems odd or like a long shot, don’t immediately discount it. Consider all options, and follow your gut feelings. You can narrow your choices later.
  • Define who you are, and who you aren’t. Identify your skills and interests. This is important information to know about yourself. Write this information down, and add to it over time. Embark on a journey of self- discovery.
  • If you want to start a business venture, consider partnering your services with someone else, so that you can cross promote each other. Getting customers can be a big challenge in the beginning, so “partnering up” can be a great way to build momentum.
  • If you decide to start a business and are having trouble affording certain things you need, look for opportunities to barter. For example, you may need graphic design or marketing help to get the word out, but you can’t afford these services until you make some sales. Do you have things that you can offer to someone else in exchange for something you need?
  • Think about re-educating yourself by taking online and in-person classes. Are their qualifications that you are lacking in order to pursue your dream job?
  • Research the types of jobs that you may be interested in. Learn the tasks involved, salary ranges, and the types of qualifications you’ll need. If you know someone in a career that piques your interest, contact them, and set up a time to talk. You can learn more about the job and possibly get advice or leads.
  • Think through, and write down your values. Include things that are extremely important to you. For highly sensitive people especially, jobs are more than just paychecks and accomplishments. It’s important that our work has meaning and fits in with our values.
  • List the factors that have kept you from moving toward your dream career. Come up with a plan to overcome your roadblocks.

Possible HSP Careers include:

Accountants, lawyers, architects (building and landscape), researchers, writers, event planners, statisticians, engineers, graphic designers, web designers, social media professionals, efficiency experts, musicians, artists, nurses and healthcare professionals, teachers, energy healers, massage therapists, life coaches, information specialists such as librarians, pet groomers, pet sitter or walker, florists, bakers, photographers, members of the clergy, craft persons, sculptors, horticulturists, social work, physical therapists, working in non-profit organizations, volunteer work, and virtual assistants.

The benefits of self-employment— Flexibility in schedule and environment. Unlimited income. You don’t have to deal in office politics. You can do work that is meaningful to you. You can conduct business in the way that you’re comfortable with. You don’t have to deal with ethics challenges.

Downside of self-employment—It can be a lonely existence. You take all the risk. You must be self-motivated. You have to be able to ride out the highs and lows. You can’t be easily discouraged. You might not get the feedback that you desire.

What are your thoughts about choosing a career? I’m interested in any ideas or comments that you have.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Shana

    Hello Cliff, I really appreciate your speaking about careers for highly sensitive people. I am self employed as I find this works well for me, rather than working for a company. I am very grateful to be running a business that I am passionate about, and look forward to going to my (home) “office,” every day.
    My question, however, is this: As a highly sensitive person, I am trying to come up with options for reaching people/marketing/letting potential customers know I am here.
    I am somewhat outgoing, though, I still want to get more comfortable, letting people I meet, know what I do. Do you have any ideas for people like myself, that are more sensitive to situations; for example I am not likely to present myself at a group/meeting to share myself and my products. I feel more comfortable one on one, and am quite skilled in this environment. I am wondering as to what other hsp’s do, who work for themselves…how do they make contacts, how do they market?
    What I would really like to find online is a support group for hsp folks who are in business for themselves…so we could share ideas, and support each other. Do you know if there is such a group?
    Thank you so much for your time, Cliff. I really enjoy both your e-newsletter and your blog.
    Sincerely, Shana.

    1. Cliff Harwin

      Hi Shana,

      I appreciate your comments about my work! I really appreciate it!

      You and I have much in common. I’m also more comfortable in one on one situations. I’ve been self-employed for 35 years. I own a pest control service business. What type of business are you in?

      I realized at a young age that I couldn’t work for others. I was never comfortable in group or meeting situations. I grew my business by giving great service. People recommended me to others. I asked my customers for referrals. I also expanded my business by purchasing other pest control companies.

      I’m in the process of making major changes in my life. I’m retiring soon and my wife and I will be moving over 900 miles to be close to our daughter. I plan on working full time on my books, newsletter, blog, and am thinking about having online events for highly sensitive people.

      About your business…You need to figure out who your target market is and where they congregate. That’s where you can make your contacts. Also you have to think about the type of people you like to work with. This is extremely important for highly sensitive people.

      Please keep me posted on your progress. Feel free to contact me if you have any thoughts or questions.

      Best Regards,

  2. shana

    Hello Cliff, thank you so much for your reply to my post re. Highly Sensitive People: Some Thoughts About Choosing a Career, For a Highly Sensitive Person. I formulate and sell therapeutic, healing, natural body care products via my website.
    One of the challenges for me is coming up with creative no cost ways of marketing. However I am very creative and enjoy thinking outside of the box.
    I have also been searching for ideas from other highly sensitive entrepreneurs on the web; have found some interesting websites.
    I believe marketing/running a business is different for highly sensitive people. For example, I am really “”word sensitive.”
    Certain words cause a lot of tension when I hear them, read them, or say them. Therefore I have come up with a creative way to deal with this.
    I simply re-frame these words. I use a different word to describe the tension producing word, and this works great.
    I wonder if other hsp’s experience this kind of thing too?
    Also I am starting to value my hs self more than I have in the past. I am very empathetic, I love to help people, very good at tuning in to people, etc, and these will all be very helpful in my business.

    It sounds like you are in the midst of some major changes, with retiring and moving! I am so glad to hear that you will be continuing your hsp blog, etc.
    If you are doing online hsp events, could you let me know, or post it in your blog? This sounds like a wonderful idea.
    Thank you again Cliff, for your wonderful blog!

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