Best Jobs for People with OCD (7 great jobs)

In this blog post, we will list out the best jobs for people with OCD. We will understand the challenges of working with OCD and discrimination individuals with OCD face while employed. Then, we will look into considerations individuals with OCD should have in mind while on the lookout for jobs and the management of OCD in the workplace. Finally, we will list out a few jobs that people with OCD must avoid.

Best Jobs for People with OCD

Following is the list of best jobs for people with OCD:

  • A software developer or engineer;
  • Writer or editor or proofreader;
  • Artist;
  • Bookkeeper;
  • Online tutor;
  • Transcriber;
  • Medical coder

A Software Developer or Engineer

People with OCD generally do well in this field. For those who have good technical skills, a software developer is an excellent option as the information technology industry is rapidly growing. This job entails creating computer or software programs with various tools for programming.

Certain things can help in this career, such as having particular skills and education. Skills such as testing, analyzing, and programming skills, coupled with prior experience in the software industry help.

This occupation requires attention to detail and a certain amount of multi-tasking.

Writer or Editor or Proofreader

People with OCD interested in writing can pursue a career in this field. Specific companies, including content marketing agencies, look for freelance writers. It is immense flexibility in work hours and workspace environment. This flexibility can be incredibly helpful for people looking to improve their mental health while managing employment. 

With eventual growth in this field, individuals can go on to become proofreaders or editors. Certain writers also develop expertise in specific areas like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). 

Artist

Individuals with OCD benefit from using art as an outlet to express themselves. Those who are passionate about art can even sell their pieces of work. There are various options to choose from, including painting, photography, and sculpting. 

Apart from being useful for taking care of your mental health, your artwork might help customers going through something similar. 

Bookkeeper or Accountant

Bookkeepers are required to maintain and process records of transactions. They help businesses are generating more income than they are spending.  Accountants, on the other hand, perform bookkeeping activities as well as handle other financial duties.

Both these professions can help individuals with OCD who are good at numbers. Moreover, individuals can work either full-time with the company or performing freelance activities for diverse clients. The latter comes with considerable flexibility regarding preferences for work schedule and workplace.

Online Tutor

Individuals with OCD with a passion for teaching may experience anxiety while teaching in classrooms. Teaching online courses is the ideal alternative. Nowadays, there are various means of instruction, including tutoring audio, video, and written tutorials. 

Another benefit of online tutoring is flexibility regarding work hours as per convenience. Further, there is the freedom to plan the material to be taught. 

Transcriber

Most of these professionals work in fields related to medicine and law. For instance, a transcriber may be required to record things said in the courtroom, for which knowing specific jargon related to the legal industry may be necessary. 

Although a certain level of knowledge is required for a transcriber, this job provides a structured role, stimulating people with OCD. Further, it allows individuals with OCD to maintain their attention, keeping them from thinking anxious thoughts. 

Clinical Coder

These professionals are placed in Healthcare sectors, and they are required to analyze and maintain medical records, statements, transactions while assigning standardization codes to them.

Working on policies and processes, analytical thinking, attention to detail, and verification skills are required for a clinical coder. There are various options in this field, such as technical, medical, and diagnostic coding. 

People with OCD are recommended to work in structured settings with a proper schedule to remain focused. Doing so helps them keep their anxiety and associated thoughts away.

Challenges of Working with OCD

There are various challenges individuals suffering from OCD face. Let us take a look at some of the challenges of working with OCD:

  • Coming late to work as the compulsive behaviors take time to be completed;
  • Challenges related to being around people;
  • Challenges related to shared workspaces;
  • Intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors while at work affect performance;
  • Problems concerning traveling in public resulting from intrusive thoughts of harm or contamination.

Specifically, in the workplace, they may have issues with their co-workers and employers. Their tendency to micromanage and re-check documents multiple times could cause misunderstandings. It could also make them late to important meetings and appointments. Their rechecking behaviors could create a negative impression that they lack interest and motivation to work.

Moreover, the stigma concerning mental health conditions could be severe enough to make individuals with OCD go out of their way to conceal their issues from other people. 

Discriminations in the Work Environment

There are sure signs of discrimination that people with OCD commonly go through in their workspace: 

  • Co-workers may use demeaning adjectives such as crazy, mad, insane while talking about psychological well-being;
  • Employers disallow paid leaves for employees to tend to their mental health;
  • Employers would not consider promoting individuals with OCD, fearing that their difficulty would not allow them to perform well;
  • Employers, colleagues, and others in the workplace are inconsiderate. They make fun of or are enraged by the needs of people with OCD, such as taking frequent breaks or not committing to specific duties; and
  • Coworkers label people with OCD as being unfit for the job position. 

Considerations while Job-Searching

Make sure to consider the following while job-searching:

  • Minimal social interaction;
  • Flexible work hours;
  • Options to work from home;
  • No restrictions on bathroom breaks and walking around the workspace; 
  • Structured work schedule and job description;
  • Few to no triggering stimuli in the surroundings;
  • Good pay; and
  • Jobs that are detail-oriented and require conscientiousness.

Management of OCD in the Workplace

Mindfulness

Mindfulness practices can help dismiss intrusive thoughts even during work. Allow yourself to be mindful and let the moment pass. Although it may be difficult initially, with practice, it gets much more comfortable. Incorporate mindfulness slowly into your everyday life to see the improvements.

Psychotherapy

Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) Therapy is the most common therapeutic intervention provided by mental health professions for combating OCD. ERP allows people to gradually expose themselves to their fear until your brain registers the irrationality of these fears fully. 


ERP can be practiced outside of therapy sessions, even at the workplace, by doing the following:

  • Tackling intrusive thoughts with mindfulness;
  • Recognize the intrusive thought and acknowledge the associated anxiety;
  • Take a break to intensify the thought and come to terms with it. If the obsession is related to contamination on the desk, expose yourself to the fear by placing your palm on the desk for a couple of minutes;
  • With practice, you will eventually get better at overcoming these intrusive thoughts.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is commonly used to help people recognize, comprehend, and alter negative styles of thinking and behaving. They are made to develop problem-solving skills and put them to practice to build adaptive coping habits. ERP is a component of CBT.

Brain Stimulation

There are specific brain stimulation interventions, including Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). The FDA has approved these interventions for OCD treatment. Those individuals who are not responsive to conventional therapies may consider brain stimulation therapies.

Medications

The physician or psychiatrist may prescribe medications such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). These medications may temporarily affect work by making you tired, lethargic, and nauseous. As soon as the body adjusts to the medicine, these side-effects become less intense. 


Jobs to Avoid for People with OCD

There are several jobs out there that may be unideal for individuals with OCD. These jobs may contain triggering stimuli and maybe a harmful fit considering their need for perfectionism, all-or-none thinking, and difficulties making decisions.

These are the jobs to avoid for people with OCD:

  • Public speaker
  • Cashier
  • Physiotherapist
  • Newspaper reporter
  • Customer service representative
  • Salesperson
  • Manager

Conclusion

In this blog post, we found out the best jobs for people with OCD. We also understood the challenges of working with OCD and the discrimination employees with OCD face. Next, we listed a few considerations individuals with OCD should keep in mind while on the lookout for jobs and the management of OCD in the workplace. Finally, we listed out a few jobs that people with OCD must avoid.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Frequently Asked Questions: Best Jobs for People with OCD 

Can people with OCD work?

Yes, people with OCD can work. Everybody has the choice to disclose their illness to their recruiter. The employer is not allowed to discriminate against employees and must make reasonable employment adjustments for individuals with disabilities. This regulation is as per the Equality Act, 2010, which categorizes OCD as a disability.

What are things to not say to people with OCD?

There are various things to not say to people with OCD, some of which are:

“I love my OCD.”
“You are exaggerating”
“Do not worry; even I do these things sometimes.”
“I am so OCD!”
“It is all in your head.”
“Why is your room a mess?

Who is typically affected by OCD?

People, including children, adolescents, and adults, are affected by OCD. The majority are diagnosed within the age of nineteen. Earlier onset is seen in more males than females. The diagnosis of the disorder beyond 35 years of age is also possible.

Is OCD considered a disability?

Yes, OCD is considered a disability if it has a severe and considerably long-term (more than a  year) impact on the individual’s daily functioning, as per the Equality Act, 2010. OCD entails a lot of anxiety caused by obsessive, intrusive thoughts. To reduce this anxiety, the individual engages in repetitive, ritualistic behaviors known as compulsions. 

Is it mandatory to disclose my OCD to my employer?

No, it is not mandatory to disclose your OCD to your employer. However, OCD that involves compulsive behaviors that are time-consuming, such as checking and handwashing, could affect your job performance. Some may have pure obsessions, which may be mentally draining and disallows them from concentrating. In both cases, it is advisable to let your employer know.

How can I stop an OCD obsession?

Here are a few things to try to stop an OCD obsession:

Try to keep your worries aside until a later time;
Alter the ways you obsess;
Try letting go of worries and bodily stress;
Have a designated “worry time”;
Create and listen to short recordings of your obsession over and over again. Listening to it frequently will eventually not cause distress;
Expose yourself to the fear or avoided situations.

How intelligent are people with OCD?

People with OCD are known to have above-average intelligence. They are highly imaginative and creative.

What we recommend for OCD

Professional counselling

If you are diagnosed with OCD then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

References

https://www.disabledperson.com/blog/posts/8-amazing-jobs-for-people-with-ocd-in-2020

https://fairygodboss.com/career-topics/jobs-for-people-with-ocd

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Sara Quitlag is an Applied Psychologist, with a deep interest in psychopathology and neuropsychology and how psychology impacts and permeates every aspect of our environment. She has worked in Clinical settings (as Special Ed. Counselor, CBT Therapist) and has contributed at local Universities as a Faculty member from time to time. She has a graduate degree in English Literature and feels very connected to how literature and psychology interact. She feels accountable and passionate about making a "QUALITY" contribution to the overall global reform and well-being. She actively seeks out opportunities where she can spread awareness and make a positive difference across the globe for the welfare of our global society.