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the ultimate guide

highly sensitive person careers

“Realizing that there are two types within the same species – ideal in their own different ways – helps those of us who struggle to keep up with the rat race to find an identity. Not just as the fragile ones but also as people who have talents that the rest of the world needs. We are not just the ones who are unable; we have resources that are essential for the survival of the species.”

ILSE SAND

highly sensitive person careers

the ultimate guide

highly sensitive person careers

“Realizing that there are two types within the same species – ideal in their own different ways – helps those of us who struggle to keep up with the rat race to find an identity. Not just as the fragile ones but also as people who have talents that the rest of the world needs. We are not just the ones who are unable; we have resources that are essential for the survival of the species.”

ILSE SAND

hsp career problems 

Welcome to the Ultimate Guide on Highly Sensitive Person Careers!

We can talk about the benefits of being a highly sensitive person and embracing our true selves all day long, but that doesn’t negate the fact that navigating life as an HSP in a non-HSP world is hard.  

And it’s especially hard when it comes to navigating the world of work.

We want to contribute, make a difference, and yes, most of us also need to make money to pay the bills.  

But most work places and work cultures aren’t set up to accommodate sensitive people.  So you almost inevitably end up spending a huge chunk of your waking hours in a setting that’s not a good match for your temperament.  Which in turn means excessive stress slowly wearing you down, day after day after day…

This stress typically originates from one or more of the 7 most common HSP career problems listed below.

1. PHYSICAL OVERLOAD

Physical triggers are probably the most obvious culprit of HSP workplace misery.  Constant exposure to noise, smells, or flickering lights will irritate most HSPs both mentally and physically.

2. Emotional Overload

HSPs tend to be high in empathy and very in tune with the moods of everyone around them.  We literally feel other people’s feelings in our own bodies.  Even for HSPs who have learned techniques for keeping other people’s emotions separate from their own, spending extended periods of time around people who relish conflict and aggression or people exuding negativity might turn out to be an exhausting endeavor.

3. Time Pressure

HSPs process information deeply and like to think things through.  We also need more downtime than non-HSPs to give our sensitive nervous system time to recover from overstimulation.  This is why careers that require fast action or constantly being “on” are likely to cause excessive stress for HSPs.  We are not go-go-go people.

4. Meaningless Work

While the business world mostly focuses on the bottom line, HSPs tend to be caring and compassionate people, who obviously want to make a living, but who also seek to make a difference and make the world a better place.  We want our work to be personally meaningful and to have a higher purpose.  This is why work environments where performance and profits are valued above all else are likely to depress HSPs.

5. Workplace Cultures That Take Advantage of Conscientious People

HSPs are naturally conscientious people who often fall in the “people pleaser” and “rule follower” camps.  We like to do the right thing and meet expectations.  While these qualities are beneficial in some situations, possessing them also means that HSPs who don’t have good personal boundaries are easily taken advantage of.  They will pick up the slack and burn themselves out.  And even for HSPs with good boundaries, constantly battling a workplace culture that’s founded on unreasonable expectations can prove to be extremely taxing.

6. Boredom

The "funny" thing about HSPs is that while we are easily overstimulated physically, we are just as easily understimulated mentally.  Our brains are designed for deep processing and they get hungry without a steady diet of intellectual stimulation.  :)  So many HSPs will get bored and dissatisfied if their work is repetitive or if it doesn't provide opportunities for continued growth.

7. A Work Situation That Is Not A Good Fit With Your Personal Life

None of us just work.  We live full lives with responsibilities and demands outside of work.  And sometimes you can't pinpoint a problem with the work per se.  It's more that you just have too many things on your plate when it's all combined and not enough capacity to carry it all.  This is a situation many HSPs find themselves in when kids are added to the mixture.  Prior to kids, you could use your free time to recharge, but with kids, it gets harder to find the time.

Can you relate?  If yes...  If you nodded your head at one or more of the problems above, then read on...

hsp career solutions 

With all that being said, I want to give you hope that it IS possible to achieve career satisfaction as a highly sensitive person if you know what to look for and you’re willing to put in some effort and keep searching for just the right fit for you.  The HSP career problem may be more challenging to solve than most, but it’s still solvable!  And that’s why I wrote this guide.  In the articles below, I share some of my essential truths about finding career satisfaction as a highly sensitive person.   

3 Reasons Why HSPs End Up On The Wrong Career Path
5 Reasons Why HSPs Stay On The Wrong Career Path
HSP Career Change: 5 Tips To Help You Succeed
Worst Jobs For The Highly Sensitive Person
5 Job Categories You’ll Actually Like As A Highly Sensitive Person
Upsides And Downsides of Self-Employment for Highly Sensitive People
7 Ways Self-Employment Helps Me Meet My HSP Needs
5 Ways HSPs Get Stuck In Career Transition And How To Get Unstuck

want support?

If you'd like more support on your career journey, below are three ways I can help you.

hsp career discovery online course

This option is for you if:

  • You are dissatisfied with your current career, but unsure what you could be doing instead OR
  • You have some ideas for career alternatives, but you want to fully consider all your options and reflect deeply on what you want before moving forward.
  • You want the structure of step-by-step strategies, guides, and worksheets, but you want to progress at your own pace. 
  • You tend to follow through on goals you set for yourself without outside accountability.
$100
HSP career discovery coaching via email

This option is for you if:

  • You are dissatisfied with your current career, but unsure what you could be doing instead OR
  • You have some ideas for career alternatives, but you want to fully consider all your options and reflect deeply on what you want before moving forward.
  • You want the benefits of working with a career coach, such as accountability, clarity, and perspective.
  • You like writing more than talking and you like to take your time to "process" before responding.
$300
1:1 career coaching for hsps online via zoom

This option is for you if:

  • You have wanted to change your career for a while, but have not been able to make progress on your own.
  • You want a customized coaching program designed to get you unstuck regardless of where you are in the career transition process.
  • You want personalized support for overcoming fears and doubts that hold you back from taking action.
  • You want access to career assessments like the MBTI or the Strong Interest Inventory.
$500 for 5 sessions
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