Careers for People with OCD

Sally Painter
Reviewed by Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Gabrielle Applebury
businesswoman using laptop

Flexible and part-time careers, as well as those that don't greatly increase the amount of stress in one's life can be great options for people with symptoms of OCD or OCPD. Keep in mind that symptoms of OCD and OCPD will vary greatly in terms of severity and while looking for a new job it's important to always prioritize your mental wellbeing.

Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder is characterized by a rigid adherence to rules and regulations, a critical self-view, as well as a strict and unwavering moral code. This level of perfectionism can interfere with the individuals' personal life, as well as career. Like many personality disorders, OCPD develops during childhood as a survival tactic and may increase in severity as the individual becomes an adult. Those with OCPD may have experienced parents who were emotionally distant, physically and emotionally abusive, perfectionists, and may have also had personality disorders that interfered with their ability to parent in healthy ways.

Rules and Regulations Offer Comfort

Inflexibility is a common symptom of OCPD, and because of this, those with OCPD tend to enjoy the structure of strict rules and regulations. They may not flourish in jobs that require them to interact frequently with customers throughout the day, or those that require creative freedom. Like all mental health issues, OCPD varies in severity, but if you are finding that your symptoms are negatively impacting your life, it's best to seek out a professional mental health clinician who can help you reduce and eliminate your uncomfortable symptoms, especially because OCPD is often a comorbid diagnosis with anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, as well as trauma disorders and substance abuse.

1. Military

The strict rules and regulations in the military offer a solid framework with expectations and duties that are clearly defined. The rigidity of military disciplines, the striving toward perfection and being in control should naturally align with the characteristics of those with symptoms of OCPD.

2. Accountant or Bookkeeper

An accountant or bookkeeper enjoys working with numbers and precise systems that are repetitive. This may appeal to some people who have symptoms of OCPD. This job is very detail oriented and predictable, making it a good potential match for someone with these personality traits. In this line of work, you are responsible for recording and tracking financial expenditures, assets and transactions. There are several verification processes that require tracking and double-checking transactions, reconciling bank statements and constantly keeping up with money flow to ensure everything is accurate.

3. Clinical Coder

The positions can include, technical coder, medical coder and diagnostic coder. A coder works within one of the many healthcare industries either publicly or privately. All of these positions require analyzing statements for clinical services or transactions and then assigning the industry standard codes to each one based on a preset classification system. The set of protocols, codes, double-checking, verification, and predicatable processes may be a good fit for some people with symptoms of OCPD.

Focused businesswoman using computer

4. Stenographer/Transcriber

Stenographer jobs can be found in the medical and legal professions. You will need a solid knowledge base of either medical or legal terminology. The medical stenographer/transcriber will work strictly with medical reports. The legal stenographer/transcriber will work with court documents or in the courtroom. Transcripts and captioning for videos and audio files are possible career choices. These processes may appeal to the detail-oriented who prefer a structured work environment.

5. Proofreader

Avid wordsmiths will love a career as a proofreader. The act of proofreading is an enjoyable detail-oriented task in looking for errors and sentence structures that are incorrect or out of place. Many proofreaders are able to work from home and set their own hours making it a great option for those who are actively seeking treatment for the symptoms associated with OCPD.

6. Loader and Packer

A loader/packer must clean all packaging materials prior to loading products into their shipping containers. Set procedures also include weighing and then labeling the products. Prior to shipping, loaders/packers inspect the products for any problems or defects. The packer is required to keep accurate records of all the materials, items and shipment. All of these requirements lend themselves to a structured and predictable work environment.

Packer in Distribution Warehouse

7. Software Developer or Engineer

A software developer or engineer designs and develops computer software using specific computer programing tasks and set protocols. These IT jobs require programming skills, testing, analyzing, and developing various software. The tasks are often repetitious but held within computer programming parameters. This position will appeal to those who enjoy multi-tasking and are details oriented.

8. Circuit Board Electronic Technician

Circuit board electronic technicians perform highly detailed inspections of various circuit boards. These can include visual inspections of things, such as the quality of solder joints and if the components are correct and placed as they should be. Techs make comparisons of the board to the circuit board schematics as well as make any required modifications. Other duties include meticulous documentation as well as entering data. This position offers a highly detailed work environment with an emphasis on checking for imperfections.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder falls under the category Obsessive-Compulsive and other disorders in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (V). Those with symptoms of OCD may experience distressing, intrusive, and disturbing thoughts (obsessions), followed by compulsions which are behaviors done to quell the obsessions. Like all mental health disorders, OCD falls on a scale of mild to severe. If you believe that you are experiencing symptoms of OCD, know that there are treatment options available. OCD tends to be incredibly exhausting, anxiety provoking, and time consuming, which can make it really difficult to hold down a career. If you have symptoms of OCD, finding a flexible or part-time job can be super helpful so you have time to seek appropriate care and reduce your symptoms.

1. Part-Time Writer/Editor

Many companies hire remote full or part time writers or editors to work on their websites. This career path can include writing blogs, crafting social media copy, writing articles for magazines, and writing pieces for websites. For those who enjoy writing, this option may be a good fit.

2. Proofreader/SEO Expert

Proofreading or SEO writing are other great options for those who are experiencing symptoms of OCD. Often times proofreaders and SEO writers are hired as freelancers and can craft their own hours. This makes managing symptoms a lot easier without the pressure of working set hours during the day. This means those who are dealing with symptoms of OCD can work around their needs and prioritize their self care.

3. Self-Employed Artist

Working as a photographer, furniture restorer, or artist can be great options for those with symptoms of OCD. Being self employed allows the freedom to set your own hours and control how much work needs to be done each day. Self employed artists can take breaks when needed and prioritize their mental health.

4. Web Analytics Developer

A web analytics developer collects user and/or visits to websites to measure the web traffic and analyze acquisitions and conversions to understand how a website is being used. This data can also offer insight into how a website can be better developed and more profitable. Often times, web analytics careers can be done remotely and may also have flexible hours.

businessman programming on computers

5. Online Instructor

Teachers or experts in specific fields may find being an instructor for online courses is a better fit than a classroom or office setting. Online instructor positions allow the teacher to work in the privacy of their home and at their own pace. Coursework can be taught via audio, video or written tutorials allowing the online instructor to set their own schedule.

Finding the Best Careers for People With OCD

Since the severity of mental health symptoms can range from mild to severe, it can be difficult to pinpoint which careers are best suited for people who have a diagnosis. If you are suffering from symptoms that are negatively impacting your quality of life, know that there are tons of treatment options available to you are varying price points. Finding a job that allows you to prioritize your mental wellbeing is possible. The best careers for people with symptoms OCD are those that are enjoyable and do not induce additional anxiety. Careers that are flexible or part time may be especially beneficial for people working through symptoms of OCD.

Careers for People with OCD