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.
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.
- Coping with OCD at work
- When Your Brain Is Drained – OCD & Mental Exhaustion
- When OCD Is Holding You Back – 7 Barriers Preventing You From Achieving Your Goals
- Is it OCD or OCPD?
- 5 common misconceptions about OCD
- OCD at work: how to spot the signs and offer support
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!