Are you a highly sensitive person (HSP) struggling with your career? You are not alone. It’s no secret that HSPs are prone to burnout, and for many that stems from work related reasons. However, all is not lost as there are a number of factors that increase the chance of a HSP finding happiness in the workplace.
Work With Meaning
HSPs prefer to have work that has meaning. HSPs are not generally happy when their working life is just about bringing in the money. Money is of course important, but for a HSP to find happiness in the workplace there has to be something more attached to the pay check at the end of the month – a sense of achievement, of contribution.
There has to be a feeling that your work is making a difference to someone somewhere – and the fat cat at the top of a company earning a healthy salary from your hard work does not count.
HSPs flourish when they see their work as a calling.
The Importance of Down Time at Work for a HSP
Down time is important for a HSP, even during the working day. This may take the form of getting out of the work environment for lunch into a quiet environment, going for a walk, or simply spending short breaks alone.
Being a HSP doesn’t mean that it is impossible to cope in busy, chaotic environments, as long as you are able to exercise a certain amount of control over your own downtime and retreat when it gets too much.
Going home drained and incapable of doing anything more at the end of a day is not a fun way to live, but it is reality for many HSPs.
Down time is as important for a HSP in the workplace as it is anywhere else.
Why HSPs Make Great Employees
- A HSP thinks carefully before taking action, mulling over the possible consequences prior to acting.
- HSPs are creative.
- A HSP is loyal to the right cause.
- HSPs are all about detail.
- HSPs are in tune to the needs of others, including emotional needs. They read situations and body language well.
- HSPs don’t like conflict and would rather see a group working cohesively together, It’s a good trait for a manager. They’ll avoid office politics and concentrate on the job in hand.
- HSPs are great listeners, making them empathetic leaders.
- HSPs have great intuition when it comes to dealing with people.
- HSPs require little supervision and are great at self-motivating, if the work is meaningful.
What a HSP Thrives on in the Workplace
- A job that allows a HSP to determine their own working hours is a major plus. Think along the lines of homeworking and freelancing.
- Jobs that require attention to detail.
- Jobs that allow independent working.
- Jobs that require a HSP to really hone in and focus on issues, requires deep thinking.
- Meaningful connections in the workplace, teams that work harmoniously.
- Being seen, and being acknowledged for their contribution.
- Feeling valued.
“I hated being an employee number in a multinational organisation, where nameless faces pass each other in the corridor. Working in a crowd of strangers could never put me at ease.”
What I Realised About My Career Once I Knew I Was Highly Sensitive
What a HSP Doesn’t Need in a Job
- A HSP is unlikely to thrive in a job that puts them under constant stress with multiple demands on their time.
- Jobs that require continuously working to tight deadlines are probably not ones that a HSP will last long in. Not with their mental health in tact in any case.
- An open plan busy office environment will unlikely be a fun place to work if you are a HSP. Open plan offices provide constant distraction and noise and little autonomy over your own work environment.
- Office politics are not usually something that a HSP likes to be involved in.
- Corporations where it’s about money first, second and third.
- A lack of ethics.
- Hard targets or sales will likely not go down well with a HSP. Working under constant pressure, and failing to find meaning in what you are doing doesn’t sit well with a HSP.
- Constant team work will drain a HSP. Many HSPs will produce their best work alone, when they have time to think and process different scenarios. Being asked to collaborate with others continually will drain a HSP and block their creativity.
Careers That Work for a HSP
- Creative professions – acting, writing, graphic design, artist, proof reading or editing (HSPs have an eye for detail and are so great at weeding out mistakes), musician, music or art teacher, fashion designer, photographer.
- Caring professions – nursing, social work, counsellor, therapist, coaching, tutor.
- Freelancer jobs – autonomy around clients, working hours and schedules as well as job content work well for a HSP.
- Independent roles – jobs that don’t have supervisors hovering over you. HSPs perform less well whilst being watched (the same applies to children during tests etc).
- Business owner – HSPs make great leaders and owning their own (small) business is something that definitely works for HSPs.
- Nature or ‘green’ careers – Think beyond enclosed offices and buildings. HSPs have an affinity to nature and care about the environment. Combining those passions into a career is a good way to go. Think along the lines of working with animals, gardeners, garden design, environmental engineer, conservationist scientist, park ranger, archeologist, landscape architect.
Over to You
What jobs have you had that were complete mismatches? If you are a HSP and happy in your workplace, what factors make it a good place to work? What careers do you think best match HSP traits?