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Careers for Highly Sensitive Persons and Empaths - Carve Your Own Niche

The author values sensitive people and wishes for them to be empowered to offer their bit and make a difference in the world.

Who do you refer to as "Sensitive"? Establishing the context.

Sensitive persons strive for wholesomeness as far as is possible, circumstances permitting.

They are a paradoxical blend of caution and spontaneity. Their caution stems from a need for thoroughness, mindfulness and refraining from causing harm while their spontaneity stems from their naturalness and authenticity.

With the above, it is obvious that the word "sensitive" here does not refer to those with fragile egos who are defensive to constructive criticism & sensitive only to self. Sensitive here is used refer to that refined and amiable nature that is attuned to picking up energies & stimuli in the environment and in interactions with other people. They are wired to respond to what they sense with understanding and compassion rather than exploit like some others.

It leaves them feeling empty to do a thing just for the heck of it. It must add meaning and value.

Do you identify with that as your general nature (I am not speaking of deviation from it as is natural in a major life crisis)? Then this article could be for you.

Care for others


Scanning the needs of HSPs and Empaths

Before plunging into career options, let's study their needs to know what kind of environment helps them to thrive and what causes them to wilt away. Beyond a certain threshold, environment can override will.

They need:

  • Personal physical and mental space
  • Freedom to manage their own time
  • Solitude from time to time to assimilate their experiences. They are reflective and introspective in nature so this is important for them.
  • Work-life balance. Given their need for thoroughness, its tough for them to not put their being into their work and work in an auto-pilot mode.
  • Mature and logical systems that value quality over quantity and don't just have lopsided judgements based on "number of hours" alone.
  • A well lighted workplace with access to nature.
  • Quiet personal time to think clearly.
  • Kind, amiable and sincere co workers over overly gossipy and judgemental ones. An employee who maybe away from work for hours may complain to the boss about the empath's social media recreational usage in between work or after completing work and the boss may interfere in this personal aspect instead of sticking to work. This maybe a trifle but it is avoidable. There are cases of more serious harm from spreading rumours and gossiping.

The kind of environment that is not particularly helpful:

  • Awe out of respect and strictness to get the job done is one thing and desired but excessive use of force and creating un-necessary terror by nitpicking is damaging. Environment with such leaders can shrink the empath.
  • Aggressive and loud cubicles & robotically fast paced culture.
  • Micromanagement: To inform when one is new and learning is desired but to micromanage at every instance is unrequired and detrimental to mind and confidence.
  • Excessively pushy and illogical management
  • Constant multitasking and cold calling all day
  • As mentioned before shallow & gossipy co workers
  • Inauthenticity in basic hard factors, like not keeping word on variable pay, bonuses and all that was mentioned in offer letter at time of payment or not providing experience letters etc.

There's a place for you!

"You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should"

— Desiderata, Max Ehrmann

The Reality

In an ideal scenario, barring a few militarian jobs, most could operate from a place of empathy to a large degree, with some unavoidable human error.

However, that is not the case in current world. While stress and politics are part of most professions, minimizing them and seeking a relatively better place to work or a profession to be self employed in could be the goal.

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Sensitives in Corporation

Sensitives in the first instance are unassuming and undemonstrative unless invalidated when they are compelled to speak their truth. In a "make some noise", focus on "visibility" alone kind of culture they may feel out of place. They prefer their work to speak for itself. Corporation may therefore feel like a difficult place for them but this is not always the case.

A study called "Emergenetics" studies personality of employees and culture of organisation. While most focus on business networking, structure and technique, some lay emphasis on truly social aspects.

There is no ideal place, some cultures are better suited for certain personality types.

Empaths may identify better with a certain type of business and certain kind of people than others. As the adage goes, birds of a feather flock together.

Being amiable, many on the work floor may share issues at work with them so they are reservoir of information on what is going on in the minds of many employees and can help with solutions.

Certain roles in corporation fit them, they just need to research on an organisation with whom their values may match to a greater degree than the rest.


Career Options!

Empaths work best as self-employed, but that may not always be feasible. Here are few options I could think of for sensitives:

  1. The creative professions: painter, sculptor, designer, dancing and singing teacher, photographer, interior decorator etc.
  2. The academia: where they can nurture students, or even as a researcher- probe deeply and provide insights. The challenge here is the number of classes so that the empath doesn't have to talk all day long day after day and can do justice while correcting answer sheets or submissions.
  3. Niche in corporations like "diversity and inclusion", CSR, certain IT roles etc.
  4. Organisations that work for the downtrodden, underprivileged or for world peace.
  5. Counselor: One on one psychological counselling.
  6. Writer: Empaths are aware and pay attention to certain details of circumstance beyond the physical, which if they are able to articulate well they can bring valuable insights to the table.
  7. Psychotherapist, nurse and medical professional: These are helpful professions that require sound perception and caring but in a fast paced hospital that prioritises commerce these may not suit the empath. If the empath is able to establish healthy boundaries and can cut the communication where necessary so that it doesn't drain them, they can be in these professions in a nursing home or personal clinic where they choose the number of patients they are going to see.
  8. Running a creche
  9. Alternate healing therapies: such as acupressure and acupuncture.
  10. Running a spa boutique: to relax people
  11. Make up artist:you read that right, make up can sometime be used to enhance a person's personality. The empath with his/her sensitivity can understand which kind (light or loud) will suit whose individuality.
  12. Management by coaching: In certain companies managers who are like mentors/coaches are preferred. The empath can also choose to be a life/business coach and with their spiritual insights they can help better than others with their supportive style.

A small note of love

Your satisfaction at doing meaningful work that is about more than just getting a paycheck home is important. Your love for the work is valued but let no one convince you that they love you only for the results you produce. You don't have to work day in and day out with the intent to earn the love of people or achieve something for that matter for popularity.

You have to work because you need it, you enjoy it and it fulfills you.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2020 Neha Rohra


Neha Rohra (author) from India on November 28, 2020:

Thank you for sharing your experience Dr Anindya

Dr Anindya Dasgupta on November 28, 2020:

Excellent article again. The thoughts about doctor is something I happen to agree with also. Most doctors are not empaths and for an empath being a doctor is mostly very painful experience not fulfilling at all. I really like the last section small note of love. Satisfaction comes from the fact that it was a hard day and my abilities were used well.

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