The Best and Worst Jobs for People Struggling with Schizophrenia

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Landing a job with any mental illness isn’t easy. But what proves to be more difficult is sustaining that job.

And people with schizophrenia might just have even more of a difficulty. For no people with this illness will have similar experiences [1]. Therefore, though treatment has its benefits, there’s a lot for the person to overcome on their own terms. Finding a job with schizophrenia only adds to this struggle.

This article offers an outline for people with schizophrenia who are either looking or have already landed a job. We’ll review the best work conditions, the worst, and the jobs that correlate with these conditions.

At the end, we invite you to ask further questions.

Best Work Conditions

The following conditions are based on symptoms most people associate with schizophrenia [2]. However, it should be noted, not everyone will feel the same symptoms and, in turn, not feel all of these are ideal conditions for a work environment.

It may help to write down what YOUR ideal conditions are on a piece of paper and, from there, go job hunting.

But, for the time being, you’ll probably want to keep in mind a few of the following conditions when seeking out work:

  • Accommodations – Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), accommodations are allowed to be made to those with a disability (this include schizophrenia) [3]. These accommodations include a flexible schedule, a service dog, and time off for treatment. However, since this can have downsides to an employer, many may simply avoid hiring people with a disability. This is something important to keep in mind when applying for work.
  • Flexible Hours – Upon applying for jobs, you’ll want to get a sense of the schedule you already have in place. Do you like to wake up bright and early or are you more of a night owl? You’ll want a job with flexible hours that can adjust to your schedule. Furthermore, you’ll want to make sure this job is aware of any treatment plan you may be currently enrolled in.
  • Lack of Stress – It’s safe to say everyone looking for a job is hoping to land one where there’s little stress. But when it comes to schizophrenia, stress can worsen your symptoms and cause further complications. It’s just as important – if not more important – to maintain your mental health as it is to earn a salary.
  • Manageable Commute – People with schizophrenia tend to prefer to work nearby as it eases their stress. A quick and easy commute can make all the difference. Therefore, you’ll want to check out places within a couple miles of where you’re already located. If you can find a job where you work from home, that’s all the better.
  • Minor Social Interaction – Though this isn’t the case for everyone, there’s a number of people with schizophrenia who prefer not to interact with people. There’s nothing wrong with this and there’s plenty of opportunities out there where your social interactions are at a minimum.

Worst Work Conditions

As should be expected, the worst work conditions for people with schizophrenia are all opposite of those mentioned above [4]. These include:

  • Quick-paced environment
  • Lots of stress
  • Necessity for social skills
  • Strict and overtime hours

The unfortunate truth is, many jobs out there (especially, entry-level positions) require the above factors. Though this doesn’t make it hard for people struggling with schizophrenia to find work, it makes it extremely difficult to maintain said work.

With that in mind, you may want to place special interest on the list of jobs below.

Best Jobs for People with Schizophrenia

As you go about your job hunt, keep in mind the support group around you. Whether it’s through a treatment facility or friends and family, talk to the people who know you best and get their opinion on jobs you’re interested in.

If you don’t have a support group, you can always reach out to a job coach to help identify where you might best fit. This is a great option as s/he’ll be able to gain insight into your symptoms and stressors and point you in the direction of jobs that avoid these things.

Yet, what remains most important is finding out exactly what you’re good at. If you have a knack for tech, you may want to get into computer programming. If you love cars, you might want to look into mechanics. Figure out what YOU’RE passionate about and try to develop a career path that works around this.

While you develop this career path, you can keep in mind what you’d like to avoid due to schizophrenia.

With all the information granted above, here are some jobs that are best geared towards those struggling with schizophrenia:

Affiliate Marketing

One of the greatest ways to work from home is through affiliated marketing. The way it works is you pick a topic of your interest, reach out to companies that feature products in that interest, and promote their products.

From there, you’ll earn a cut whenever someone buys a product through your affiliate links.

This kind of work allows for flexible hours, the ability to work from home, and offers you a chance to move forward in something you care about.

Crossing Guard

Some people with schizophrenia prefer to be outside while getting their work done. If so, you may want to look into being a crossing guard.

There are little requirements for the position, so, if you’re looking for entry-level work, this may just be it. Though it’s worthy to note, you will be surrounded by a large number of people.

Data Entry Clerk

Depending on where you apply, a data entry clerk position offers employees very little stress and, sometimes, a flexible schedule.

Your main task will be to scan papers and copy customer information. You may also be responsible for opening mail and inputting check information.

Delivery/Truck Driver

Do you find yourself most relaxed when behind the wheel, cruising down the highway engulfing yourself in your favorite music? If so, a package delivery or truck driver is a perfect option for you.

Though you may need some training in order to drive those giant trucks, once you get the hang of it, you’re signing up for a job with little stress and socialization.

For truck drivers specifically, the only downside is you’ll have to spend large amounts of time away from home.

Freelance Writer

As a freelance writer, I can safely say this is one of the best options for people with schizophrenia. This is due to the fact that it incorporates all the traits of the best work conditions mentioned above.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to become a freelance writer, there’s a lot of free information currently available on the web. However, don’t hesitate to reach out through our contact page if you’re looking for personal advice.

Graphic Designer

Have you proven yourself to have a strong sense of creativity? Becoming a graphic designer can be a great career.

Most employers in this field will work around your schedule and there are plenty of options to work from home if you prefer. Furthermore, you’ll be allowed to display your creativity and produce multiple clients to bring in hefty revenues.

Janitor

Becoming a janitor isn’t the most appealing job, but it’s one of those careers that pays off in the long run. Why?

  • Easy tasks
  • Little social interaction
  • Minimum stress
  • Steady work and pay

Furthermore, you can most likely find a janitorial position somewhere near you, whether it be in a hospital, office space, or school.

Librarian

Do you prefer quiet spaces with little social interaction? Look no further than a library.

Most of your tasks will simply require you to find books and other materials, shelving books, and keeping books in order.

Pretty simple and pretty relaxing.

Virtual Assistant

People who work as a virtual assistant tend to complete miscellaneous tasks for business owners. This can either be done online or in-person, but people with schizophrenia may benefit more from online assistance.

Some tasks you’ll be responsible for include:

  • Data input
  • Field calling
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Typing documents

Worst Jobs for People with Schizophrenia

Now that you have a sense of the best jobs for people struggling with schizophrenia, we’re going to offer you a quick taste of jobs you might want to avoid.

Again, not everyone with schizophrenia feels the same and, therefore, you may find yourself suitable for the jobs mentioned below. However, when it comes to standard symptoms of this mental illness, it’s determined that the following jobs are most likely not for you:

  • Emergency medical technician (EMT)
  • Fast food works
  • Post office worker
  • Salesperson

Coping with Schizophrenia in the Workplace

No matter where you might work, you’re always going to have to maintain your job while coping with schizophrenia. This isn’t easy even if you get a job best suitable for you.

With that in mind, we’d like to offer you a few tips for coping with schizophrenia in the workplace:

  • Continue with your medication
  • Get into a support system
  • Seek out jobs with supported employment programs
  • Seek out therapy
  • Understand your triggers

Your Questions

Still have questions concerning schizophrenia and the workplace?

We invite you to ask them in the comments section below. If you have any further information or personal experience with schizophrenia in a work environment, we’d also love to hear from you.

We try to reply to each legitimate comment in a prompt and personal manner.

Reference Sources

[1] Iowa Now: How schizophrenia affects the brain

[2] MedlinePlus: Schizophrenia

[3] ADA.gov: Information and Technical Assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act

[4] U.S. Department of Labor: Entering the World of Work: What Youth with Mental Health Needs Should Know About Accommodations

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