When choosing careers for shy people, you have to determine whether you want a job that will pull you out of your shell or one that will allow you to stay comfortably quiet and out of the limelight. Shyness itself is typically a discomfort experienced in interpersonal situations that prevents you from pursuing your social or professional goals. Shy people can learn to interact more comfortably in social and professional roles, but you may not feel that it's worth the effort. Think carefully about whether you want a job that requires social interaction or one that allows solitude.
Careers for Shy People: Options and Ideas
Often shy people struggle to initiate conversations or make small talk in business situations. By choosing a career that walks you through the social interaction, you'll have an easier time adjusting to the effort. The more "scripted" these initial interactions are, the less you'll have to worry about what to say or how to interact, and the more comfortable you'll become. Options include:
Receptionists answer phones, greet customers and maintain schedules and appointments. A good receptionist can answer common questions and assist customers and other staff members as needed. While receptionists must interact with people every day, the interactions are typically initiated by the other party and are kept fairly short.
Office managers keep an office running smoothly by managing clerical and support staff, ensuring all supply orders are being made and managed appropriately, scheduling conference areas, taking minutes at meetings and other general office duties. While office managers do have to regularly interact with other people in the office, much of the communication can be performed through email and office managers are very rarely required to interact with the public. Finding a job in a smaller office may be a good place to start so that you aren't faced with the potential stress of managing a large staff until you're ready to take a bigger job.
They say that those who can't do, teach. Well, sometimes shyness can get in the way of pursuing a high-level management position in a big corporation or taking on a job as a broadcast journalist. If those are the careers that you're interested in, you may want to consider becoming a college professor. Even though professors have to learn to stand in front of a classroom to teach their subject, they actually have a lot of control over the interactions they have with students and other colleagues. You can choose when to take questions from students, decide how to run your classroom, select your own office hours and determine how to deliver tests. That level of control over social and professional interactions can make life a little easier for shy people. Plus, with the increased development of online programs, you could look for positions that allow you to teach remotely rather than in person.
Computer Programmer or Technician
The technology field is flooded with individuals who are either shy, introverted or both. Computer programmers and technicians often work behind the scenes with minimal interaction with other team members, and almost no interaction with the public. Much of the communication required can be maintained through email or online forum, making face-to-face interaction infrequent.
Writing careers like technical writing, online content creation, freelance magazine writing and book authoring require limited interaction with other people. You may have to occasionally interview a subject or talk with an editor or publisher, but most of the work is performed in solitude.
There are careers for shy people in almost every field of practice, you just have to look carefully at job descriptions to determine whether or not a particular position will work for you. For instance, you may not want to pursue a career in nursing, but that doesn't mean healthcare is off limits. There are a number of healthcare technician or medical billing positions that allow shy individuals to stay behind the scenes.