If you’re an introvert or suspect you might be, there are jobs you should avoid. Introverts have qualities that make them suitable for many jobs, but not these! These jobs will cause burnout, frustration, and a sense of meaningless at work for introverts. Before applying to jobs, look over this list of the worst jobs for introverts.
Table of Contents
- How to Know if You’re an Introvert
- Common introvert traits
- Job Description Red Flags for Introverts
- What should Introverts Look for in a Job?
- The 23 Worst Jobs for Introverts
- Final Thoughts – The Best Jobs Align with Personality Types
How to Know if You’re an Introvert
Everyone exists on a spectrum from introvert to extrovert, and though some may live on the extremes, most people fall somewhere in between. This means that you’re more than likely more introverted but still display some extrovert characteristics, or more extroverted but also have some introverted traits.
If you fall closer to the middle of this spectrum, you might be an introverted extrovert, someone who gains the benefits and disadvantages of both sides.
I recommend taking a personality test such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to determine if you are an introvert.
But you can also get a good idea of whether or not you are an introvert simply by asking yourself, “Do I have introverted traits?”
Common introvert traits
Everyone exists on a spectrum, so you don’t need to exhibit all these personality traits to consider yourself an introvert. However, here are some common characteristics that introverts often share.
- Socializing is draining
- You prefer working alone rather than in a group
- You often reflect on past events (especially interactions with others)
- You’re a highly sensitive person
- You think things through before making decisions
- You enjoy time alone – it recharges you
- You have a small group of good friends
- People describe you as quiet, reserved, or shy
Job Description Red Flags for Introverts
Regardless of the job, if you’re considering applying for a position with one of these responsibilities listed in the job description, think hard about whether this is really the job you want.
Even if you’re not easily overwhelmed or overstimulated and you’re OK with sometimes being the center of attention, if you have an anxious temperament or you’re deeply sensitive, these types of jobs may be hard to cope with.
- Client/Customer facing
- Open Plan Office
What should Introverts Look for in a Job?
- Independent Work
- Work at Home
- Interacting with small groups or individuals
- Personal Space in the Office
The 23 Worst Jobs for Introverts
Sales is a dream job for extroverts who thrive on social interaction and love the challenge of talking someone around but for introverts, sales can be an absolute nightmare. If you don’t enjoy pressuring people into parting with their money or think you won’t, sales isn’t the job for you.
The constant need to interact with people makes a sales job draining for introverts who often need some alone time to recuperate and recharge after dealing with people. Unfortunately, a position in sales won’t allow you the time you need; instead, a few weeks in, you may find yourself looking for a different career.
Networking is critical to being a successful salesperson, so even in your free time, you’ll be expected to keep up with potential clients via social media, at conferences, or local social events. Naturally, extroverts thrive off this kind of stimulation, but if you’re introverted, this is one day job you want to avoid.
It may surprise you, but you probably know more about the teaching career than any other. Anyone who went to school knows what it takes to be a teacher. You sat in class for over a decade, watching your teachers work.
Teaching is a huge mistake for introverts who find it hard to deal with people, especially groups of people, for extended periods. You might remember from your days at school that managing a class of 30 children isn’t easy, and although you get a couple of breaks throughout the day, the average teacher still teaches 5 hours a day.
For a very introverted person, teaching will be a struggle. The workload placed on teachers outside the classroom, such as grading and extra curricula activities, makes burnout a severe problem even for extroverts. For introverts, it may be too much.
Consultants come in many different shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common: clients consult them and expect advice, help, or answers. Being a consultant is a client-facing job requiring three main client interaction types.
- Information Gathering
- Presenting Solutions
The first part of being a consultant is to find clients and convince them to do business with you. This part of the job is much like being a salesperson and requires the same skills: Cold-calling, networking, and promoting. These can be hard for introverts, but if you work at a large consultancy, they may have a dedicated sales team, so you don’t need to concern yourself with this aspect.
Information gathering is the consulting stage where you find out the problem. For example, a client may tell you that sales are low, but the solution could be creating a new product, increasing marketing, or investing in a new online platform. Usually, the consultant will need to speak to personnel in each department to understand the company’s problem before they can offer a good solution.
Presenting solutions is usually done in the stereotypical presentation in front of the board members fashion. Speaking in front of a high-powered group can be stressful for introverts. Remember, you’re not only presenting your solution but also selling them on the idea that your solution is the right one.
4. Social Worker
Social workers protect children and support families that need it. Good social workers are usually high in the personality trait of agreeableness and are open to talking problems through at length with people who need assistance. They care deeply about the people they are trying to help and are willing to spend as much time as necessary to get them what they need.
Introverts may find social work hard because it requires so much time being spent with other people, discussing their problems, sometimes not even solving them, instead just hearing them out the same way a therapist may listen to a patient. In this way, social workers usually have excellent communication skills.
Most introverts would rather go away to work on the problems and come back with a solution, but this isn’t always how social work works.
Retail positions pose numerous problems to introverts. First, there’s the obvious constant social interaction, but the unpredictable and uncontrollable nature of customer demands can make working in retail more difficult for an introvert. Working in retail, you never know when a customer will start asking you questions or when someone else will walk through the door.
Introverts like to control their space and time and are much better able to deal with meeting new people if they have some warning beforehand. Unfortunately, retail jobs rarely afford you this.
6. Real Estate Agent
Real estate agents do much more than walk people around houses. They need to be ready at a moment’s notice to help clients find their dream home. This means talking to them and getting a clear picture of what they need, explaining the different areas of the city, school districts, and local amenities. And this is before taking them to houses all day.
Networking is an essential part of being a successful realtor. You need to know the right people to sell big houses and make big commissions. This means a lot of social events outside of your work hours.
Real estate agents are salespeople when it all comes down to it; they need to make the sale to earn their commission. This can be troubling to introverts who usually don’t feel comfortable pressuring people.
7. Waitstaff Restaurant Server
Serving in a restaurant is a job suited to extroverts; they enjoy it more and earn more too. Diners tip more to extroverted servers who are happier and more helpful.
As an introvert, you may struggle to deal with customers, especially when they’re unhappy with you. Waiting tables is stressful as diners expect good service, tasty food, and timely delivery. Behind the kitchen doors, the kitchen staff may also be stressed, meaning you must deal with two sets of unhappy people.
Of course, there are times when being a server can be really rewarding and easy, but after your shift is over, you may still need a lot of alone time before you recover. Is that something you want to put yourself through each day?
8. Travel Agent
Travel agents aren’t as common as they once were, with so many people opting to book their flights and hotels online but if you are considering a career as a travel agent, think again. Travel agents are another type of salesperson, but instead of selling a product, they are selling a dream of a perfect holiday.
The only way to be successful as a travel agent is to talk to new customers and sell to them all day. This can be tough for introverts who find talking to new people draining and selling out of their comfort zone.
The other side of being an estate agent is dealing with unhappy customers who have experienced problems on their holiday. It takes advanced communication skills to calm an angry customer down and make them walk out satisfied. Could you do it?
Police jobs are primarily suited to assertive types of people; these generally tend to be extroverts. Any apprehension in approaching people needs to be trained out of a police officer; otherwise, they are unable to do their job effectively. Police are usually required in high-stress situations; they must resolve them as quickly and peacefully as possible. This can mean putting themselves in harm’s way or even taking responsibility for people’s lives.
While not all jobs in the police require you to be out on the street fighting crime, think carefully about joining the police if you’re highly introverted.
10. Customer Service
You’ve surely spoken to customer service representatives before, and it’s unlikely it was for something positive! Customer service personnel are a company’s first defense against problems and complaints.
The tendency of introverts to reflect on past events can be a real problem for customer service work that involves dealing with upset or angry people. Combined with this, the general aversion to talking to people and a customer service job can easily lead to feelings of despair for introverted people.
Medical personnel such as doctors and nurses are in the business of curing people. It is a field of work that demands constant interaction with colleagues, patients, and their families. You are seldom alone as a doctor or nurse, hours are long, and you have very little control over what you do – everything depends on the patient.
Some introverts can handle life in the medical industry, especially in research. If you can constantly interact with small groups or one-on-one, life as a doctor or nurse may still be attainable, but if you’re very introverted, especially if you hate small talk, find another field.
12. Flight Attendant
Imagine you have to look after 100 people, aside from bringing them their meals and drinks, there’s always something else they want, they’re never more than two steps away, and you’re locked into a room with them for hours. Although for long-haul flights, flight attendants do have access to secret hidden bedrooms, most of their time is still spent serving passengers.
If this doesn’t fill you with dread, you’re probably not an introvert but for those of us who need to be able to hold the world back so we can pull ourselves together, being a flight attendant is the worst job for introverts.
People hire attorneys when they need legal advice or legal representation, which means that most of your work as a lawyer or attorney is done with or for your clients. While talking to clients in your office may not seem too challenging even for very introverted or shy people, you may also be required to defend your clients in court or negotiate with other parties.
Aside from public speaking during trials, a successful lawyer must be a community pillar. This means frequently being seen at events, networking, and arranging charitable contributions. You may want to shy away from some of the duties of an attorney, which is why it’s one of the worst jobs for introverts.
14. Health & Beauty Specialist
Giving massages, facials, or painting nails all have one thing in common; close contact with another person. If you’re the type of introvert who doesn’t mind one-on-one interactions, then a health and beauty specialist job may be something to think about. But if you need your own time and space each day, there are many careers more suitable for the introvert than this one.
15. Insurance Agent
Insurance agents are known for being pushy and willing to say anything to get you to sign on their dotted line. While most insurance agents aren’t as bad as the stereotype would have you believe, there is a hint of truth behind it. To get someone to hand over their hard-earned cash for something they might not ever happen requires the gift of communication.
Sales skills are paramount if you want to be a successful insurance agent, not to mention finding new clients and building a relationship with them. Unfortunately, introverts tend to struggle with all of these things.
While a quiet life dedicated to the Lord in prayer may seem appealing to many introverts, a pastor’s life is rarely so peaceful. Pastors do more than a sermon on Sunday morning; they also spend their time:
- Counseling Parishioners
- Organizing charitable events
- Fundraising for the church
- teaching theology
- Leading prayer groups
- Charity in the community
- Supporting the dying and widowed
Almost all of a pastor’s duties include the members of his congregation or the community. Remember, the word pastor means shepherd, and a shepard can’t leave his flock very long.
Working as a receptionist raises a few of the introvert’s red flags; first, it’s a job whose primary responsibility is to deal with people. Second, you have very little control over when social interactions will happen; when people walk in the door, you’re on. Ans third, you have nowhere to run and hide as a receptionist. You don’t have an office when you need a few moments to gather yourself, and you can’t leave your post for more than a moment or two.
Perhaps if you worked as the front desk receptionist for a firm with very little foot traffic, it might be more suitable, but is that the kind of job you want to spend your life doing?
18. Event Planner
An events planner is a conductor of people. Getting people to do what they need at the right time the way a conductor conducts an orchestra. The only difference is that instead of standing alone, pointing at people, an events planner needs to communicate directly with every supplier, caterers, location managers, decorators, musicians, staff, and attendees.
Managing so many people simultaneously while staying in contact with everyone is the type of job you’d expect an extrovert to thrive in. Introverts may still be able to get it done, but it will take so much more out of you.
Though cool, quiet types make great bartenders in movies, in real life, most people want a friendly, engaging, and extroverted bartender. Someone they don’t need to wave at, hoping to catch their attention, because they’re already refilling their drinks as they chat away.
Small talk is something that most introverts find disagreeable or at least uncomfortable, so being a bartender that engages with patrons will be difficult, and your tips jar will reflect that.
Human resources is the job of managing the people of a company. they organize:
- Hiring and firing
- Employee relations and settling employee disputes
- Training employees
- Employee compensation and benefits
Everything involving the employees of a company comes through HR, if and when they are hired, how much they get paid, what training they get, and when they’re fired.
Large companies have a constant flow of new talent coming into the company, so performing interviews and meeting potential hires will be part of an HR job. Introverts find meeting new people difficult and dealing with conflicts between employees is something most introverts would wish they could stay out of.
The tendency for introverted people to reflect on what they have done might make firing people an unnecessary cause of stress in the lives of introverted HR or personnel employees.
21. Bank Teller
If you live in a small sleepy town where you only get a couple of people in the bank before lunch, being a bank teller might be an excellent job for an introvert. But working in a busy bank in the city will be a brutal occupation for an introvert. First, there are all the people; you may have to service over thirty different people before lunch.
Second, is how incessant it is; if there’s a line, you won’t get a moment to rest and rearrange your thoughts, which is essential for introverts. By lunch, you’ll feel frazzled, and your hour off may not be enough to recover before being thrown back into the vortex again after lunch.
22. Supermarket Checkout
Working on the checkout, you meet person after person after person. You’re on display to the world, and everyone who passes through needs something from you. There is no holding the line back while you gather your thoughts, no alone time while you’re working, and no time to think things through. The conveyor belt keeps rolling in, and you keep scanning, greeting, and taking payments until the clock announces you’re done.
An extrovert that enjoys chatting to the people passing by with their shopping carts may see the fun in a job like this, but an introvert may grow to hate it quickly.
While therapists occasionally need to see their clients in groups, most often, a therapy session is one-on-one, but just because the work doesn’t involve vast numbers of people doesn’t necessarily make it suitable for introverts. A therapist needs to be deeply engaged and concerned for their patients, which people with introverted personalities may find draining.
Therapy sessions can, of course, be arranged with the breaks you require after draining sessions but spending day after day in deep conversation with patients can take its toll on those without extroverted tendencies. Finding a job more suited to your personality may be more optimal.
Final Thoughts – The Best Jobs Align with Personality Types
While it’s possible to be successful in any job, regardless of your personality type, the best jobs for any given person will always be the type that aligns well with their characteristics. So before applying to any job, check what the job involves, what the job responsibilities are and what the job requires of you.