Best Jobs For People With OCD – Why We Should Stop Generalizing

Have you ever wondered about what the best career options could be for a person living with OCD?

Well, if you google “best jobs for someone with OCD”, you will find a crazy number of articles that are trying to give an answer to your question. And most of them will suggest you jobs that are suitable for people who love order, numbers and facts or positions which require very little or no interaction with customers.

I do not deny the fact that your mental health is a crucially important factor to consider when you’re looking for a new job but should we really determine our whole career path based on our mental disorders? I mean, using the same logic we could come up with a list of best jobs for people with diabetes or with any other chronic disease – and that would sound pretty shocking and prejudiced would it not? ‘Cause having a chronic health condition does not define anyone as a person. So, why do some people think that OCD does?

I Think We Should Just Stop Generalizing

One thing that I noticed while reading a few “career advice for people with OCD” type of articles is that they are overgeneralizing OCD sufferers. What do I mean by that?

Well, let’s start with the number one stereotype – we are all neat freaks. Having OCD means that you clean your home at least 5 times a day and of course, your fear of germs will make it absolutely impossible for you to work in a place that is not perfectly clean. So you should better look for a job at a sterilized office building! Also, we all know that people with OCD will always pay attention to detail! And this habit could make them perfect proofreaders, software developers or even travel agents …but wait…. have I just said “travel agent”? Maybe not! ‘Cause we also know that OCD will also make you an introvert! Everyone knows that. People suffering from OCD are all introverts! And finally, do not forget that those with OCD completely adore following the rules – so should better look for a workplace with strict rules!

Now, are you being serious? As you might have guessed, these were not my own thoughts. I just found them while browsing the internet and I was pretty shocked to see the number of bloggers/authors/people on different forums who give career advice to their readers based on their mental health conditions. I know they were trying to help and they had good intentions but I think they have actually ended up reinforcing a stereotype.

Further reading:
5 common misconceptions about OCD

OCD Does Not Define You

Dear reader, do you have OCD? Yes? That’s something we have in common but let me tell you a few more things about myself – apart of my OCD – and let’s see how much alike we are.

I am Mark. I am an extrovert who enjoys being the center of attention – and I have always been pretty good at public speaking but I just hate creating reports or spending hours analyzing data. That’s just not my thing. My attention to detail is also pretty poor because I am the type of person who will often get distracted by some random thing. Unfortunately, I am terrible at meeting deadlines and I am a master procrastinator – not because I am lazy but because I can easily get bored of things. While working on a project I will always find something much more interesting to look at….and actually start a new project before finishing the one I have committed to. However, I am pretty good at handling last minute requests and stressful situations (for some reason, stressful situations at work help me keep my mind off my OCD!). And I just love meeting new people. I also enjoy travelling and I am fascinated by art and fashion but I have never had any interest in science.

Well, reading this short introduction, you could learn more about me as a person and you could potentially imagine what my dream job would look like: a lot of travelling, meeting new people and probably something more creative.

But would all other people living with OCD consider this the ultimate dream job? Of course not! Because all of us are different. We have OCD but it does not define who we are. We all have our own personalities, our own dreams, our own skills, our own experiences and competences. Some of us are perfect managers while others are great teachers or scientists. And saying that certain jobs are better or worse for us just because we have OCD is….sorry but ….it’s just bulls***t.

Your OCD Will Always Find You

Another thing that I have noticed is that one of the main idea behind considering some jobs “OCD friendlier” than others, is avoidance. Working as a software developer or a graphic designer or an accountant sounds “safer” than being a flight attendant.

Like let’s say you have always wanted to work as a flight attendant but suddenly, you started having intrusive thoughts about jumping out of a plane (or maybe even hijacking it) or beating one of the passengers up with an umbrella. So, you would think that having an office job could solve your OCD problem but believe me, it won’t.

An office building is a seemingly safe environment but it’s also full of “OCD opportunities”. Like….okay, there’s no plane to jump out of and no passenger to harm but you can still swear at one of your co-workers or get contaminated with an opportunistic bacteria at the office kitchen.

It’s like as if OCD had thousands and thousands of different faces. You may actually be able to escape one of your obsessive thoughts but that will not solve your problems on the long run. The only thing that will is getting proper treatment!

Follow Your Dreams

So, you have OCD and you want to know what the best job for you is? I can give you an answer to this question. It is the one that you have always dreamed of! The one that matches your personality and the one that you love doing.

And don’t let your OCD stop you! It’s an evil monster and the best way to get rid of it is seeking professional help. Don’t determine your career path based on your OCD because it doesn’t define you as a person.

Further Reading

Your Thoughts

As you know, there’s one thing I enjoy more than sharing my stories: reading yours. And I think the topic I’ve chosen for today’s post is a little bit more controversial than most of the other topics I’ve been writing about – so I am really interested in hearing your opinion. Do you think that there’s such a thing as a “best job for someone with OCD”? Has your OCD had an impact on your career choices? Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section!

Love ❤

Mark

7 thoughts on “Best Jobs For People With OCD – Why We Should Stop Generalizing

  1. Hi Mark,

    Very good article again and very thoughtful! Reading what the “best jobs for people with OCD” are supposed to be, it really seemed to me as if the purpose was to “do what OCD wants” in a way: what I mean by that is that OCD convinces you that if you do or don’t do something you or your loved ones will be safe. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to do it, you have to.

    Also as you said, avoidance is far from being the answer.

    I do recognise myself in some stereotypical traits mentioned but I also think that’s not all there is to me. And actually, I’ve started going against my OCD, doing tasks I thought would be terrible but that really interested me… And it did turn out well! I’m enjoying myself much more!

    So I totally agree with your take on this!

    I may not always comment but I really enjoy reading your articles!

    I hope you are well.

    Thank you,

    Athena

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Athena,

      Apologies for the extremely late reply. And thank you for reading my articles and I am very glad that you enjoy reading them – it really means a lot to me! ❤

      Exactly! it really seems like most of the jobs people think are the "best for OCD" are the ones that are actually forcing you to act on your compulsions or the ones that help you "avoid your OCD thoughts" – and as you said that's very far from being the answer.

      And well..I also recognize myself in some of those stereotypical traits. In my case it's usually when it comes to checking things. Like…I am not too worried about order, cleanliness or symmetry but I always have to check if I locked the door or if I have any grammatical mistakes in the emails that I had sent. And one of the most time consuming compulsions that I have is that I sometimes need to listen back to my training recordings (I am a corporate trainer) to make sure that I did not say anything silly or incorrect.

      That's a fantastic idea to start doing tasks that you think would be terrible – it's something I should do a little bit more often. So I think this will be one of my new year resolutions!

      Hope you are well too! Do you have any nice plans for the holidays?

      Thank you,

      Stay safe,

      Mark

      Like

      1. Hi Marc,

        I’m also sorry for the late reply!

        Yes, exactly! The way you put it is much clearer than the way I phrased it but that’s exactly what I meant: that might be well-meaning but that is also missing the way OCD truly works…

        Oh yes, I totally understand that… Checking emails, checking school work (I’m still a student), etc. And I understand the frustration that must come with it, especially when you have to listen back to yourself so much. I really hope that it will get better for you and that some of these compulsions will ease!
        I’m not worried at all about order as I’m one of the most disorganised people I know but I worry a lot about my work in terms of content and presentation. I’m working on being a bit kinder to myself and also of course understanding that perfection doesn’t exist!

        Oh I’m glad you think it’s a good idea and I hope you’ll be doing it next year too!

        Yes I’m going to spend the holidays with some of my family members while respecting social distancing and wearing a mask as much as possible. Of course I’m still worried about it. And you, do you have anything planned?

        Stay safe too,

        Athena

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Athena,

        Apologies for the late reply again.
        I can totally relate to that! I would also check my schoolwork over and over again when I was a student and my perfection would sometimes make me give up on things – like when I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do a project the way I imagined it, I would just….rather not do it at all. And of course, people often misunderstood me (and I do not even blame them for that) ’cause they thought I was just lazy but..that was really not the case. It was my perfectionism.
        And thank you! 🙂 I am getting better at keeping my compulsions under control!

        Same here! haha I am EXTREMELY disorganized, myself. My room is a huge mess and I am always late for work – that’s usually because of the fact that I have always been a night owl and I have never been able to get used to getting up early in the morning.
        And I too am working on being kinder to myself and learning that perfection doesn’t exist but it’s not easy 😀

        Spending the holidays with family sounds great! I am planning to do the same. My country has gone into a very strict lockdown so most of us will just stay at home and celebrate with close family members.

        What are you studying?

        Joyeux Noël!

        Mark

        Like

      3. Hello Mark,

        I’m sorry to reply here to your message but there was no “reply” option under your last message for some reason…

        First and foremost, Boldog Karácsonyt (I really hope it’s right, I don’t know Hungarian at all)! I’m sorry I’m a bit late.

        I never understood why people thought perfectionism was a “false shortcoming” to sound good during job interviews. When perfectionism becomes TOO MUCH it’s totally unproductive… And I’m trying to learn that perfectionism isn’t worth the anxiety and pain that it brings.
        I totally understand what you mean by being seen as “lazy” when you just feel that you can’t do something. I used to say that I was lazy during my internship when my OCD got bad, even though I actually felt terrible.

        I’m really glad that you are getting your compulsions under control, that must be very relieving to finally have more time to do something else (and obviously the anxiety gets lower too; that’s, of course, the whole point).

        My room is a real mess too, it’s unbelievable!
        Being kinder to yourself is very hard, but when I succeed in showing compassion to myself I feel… calmer, more relaxed, it’s a fantastic feeling. But of course, sometimes a little nasty voice chimes in the background, which is annoying but expected.

        I really hope that you had a nice Christmas with your family and that you all enjoyed yourselves despite the difficult situation.

        I’m studying history! I really want to become a historian and a history teacher: not really a job where you don’t interact with people even though that’s what these websites say is “best”!
        You said in another article that you are going to study psychology so I hope that you’ll enjoy it!

        Boldog Karácsonyt again (… please excuse me if it’s not right)

        Best wishes,

        Athena

        Like

  2. “spending hours analyzing data – checked
    type of person who will often get distracted by some random thing – checked
    I can easily get bored of things – checked
    start a new project before finishing the one I have committed to – checked
    stressful situations at work help me keep my mind off my OCD! – checked
    love meeting new people – checked
    enjoy travelling and I am fascinated by art – checked”

    So with all this and with all of my problems I find out that working for myself and with objectives for me should be better. I’m not good at working with other people because I’m a perfecionist and love to keep learning things. I use art and writting to express myself and make the compulsion on details doing detailed patterns so my thoughts don’t take control of me. I’m a pure-o it’s hard and it’s even harder people don’t know that I’m and the fight I get in life. But I keep fighting and overcoming each day that’s my purpose, and the way I live with my dreams.
    It’s still hard I only understand what I have in the begining of this year but it’s better to know.

    I really like read you.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Apologies for the late reply and thank you so much for reading ❤
      Well, apparently we have a lot in common!
      That is so nice that you are working for yourself – that is one of my dreams like…I am satisfied with my job but on the other hand, it would be so much better to work as a freelancer.
      And well, I too am a perfectionist. And art and writing have also helped me a lot ❤

      Thank you for reading

      Hugs

      Mark

      Liked by 1 person

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