Depression is a serious mental health disorder that impacts millions of Americans every year. When you struggle with depression, it affects every area of your life. Whether you’re experiencing depression yourself or dating somebody who is depressed, the job hunt can be a difficult situation. So we’ve compiled this list of 11 jobs for people with depression, and why we think they are good fits.
As we always remind our readers in posts about depression, remember you are not alone. If you or somebody you know is at risk of harming themselves or another, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.
What to Look for in a Job
First, let’s consider what we may want to look for in a job or career when depressed. Of course, depression symptoms can vary from one individual to another, and this may dictate what type of job will be best. Generally, people with depression can feel like they have no direction in life, or a sense of hopelessness. Finding the right work can go a long way in helping this.
These are just a few ideas of careers and jobs for individuals with depression. You can consider for yourself what is ideal in a job, and perhaps use the list of qualities above. You may also consider reaching out to a specialist life coach. One of the benefits of life coaching is finding purpose, direction, and guidance when it comes to your professional life.
Due to the nature of depression, there are a few basic qualities you may consider in a job:
- Appropriate amount of interaction with customers/clients
- Appropriate schedule and hours per week
- Some freedom to set own schedule and hours
- Ability to engage in creativity
- Ability to spend time outdoors if wanted
- Finding something that feels like it has purpose
These may vary greatly. For example, one person with depression may find it beneficial to have a job where they interact with people regularly, as social interaction can boost mood. Another may find it more helpful to have a solo job, where they don’t have to be “on” for others people.
1. Digital/Computer Work
First on our list of jobs for people with depression is computer work. I actually live with depression myself, and work primarily online. If you have the skillset, this is a great way to go because you don’t have to interact with too many people during your day. I spend my days handling a lot of the web work for Shifts and other websites, and get to set my own hours.
Like any job, it requires a certain set of skills. However, you can learn these skills. I taught myself how to code websites, how to use HTML and CSS, and how to do SEO. With a digital job, you get the freedom to work from home, set your own hours, and engage your brain.
There are many benefits of being self-employed, but there are also downsides. You have to have some discipline to actually work, you have to handle your taxes appropriately, and you may have to handle your own marketing. However, the payoff can be wonderful. You have nobody to whom you must report, no set hours, and the freedom to work how you want.
There are many things you can do to employ yourself. Some are on this list. You can work digitally, you can walk dogs, you can teach English online through various platforms, or you can be a graphic designer. Figure out your passion and skillset, and consider starting your own business working for yourself from home!
Writing is a job that will only appeal to some individuals. But for those who enjoy writing, it’s a great way to earn a living when you have depression. There are always websites out there looking for English-speaking writers on various topics. You can find websites in an industry in which you’re interested, or try writing for a variety of sites to keep your mind engaged and interested.
The benefit of doing this is that you get to work from home, you have freedom to work the hours you choose, and you don’t have to interact with other people very much. If you’re feeling depressed, you can feel depressed. It also is a great way to use your mind and perhaps find some passion.
4. Household Jobs
Household jobs may be another great option for someone with depression. You may work for a company, or work for yourself. Household jobs include cleaning, plumbing, carpentry, gardening, etc. These are great jobs because it is generally just you getting a job done. You have a problem to be solved or a task to do, and it generally doesn’t involve a ton of social interaction.
You can find companies to work for that are hiring, go to a trade school to learn a new trade, or start your own personal business. One great thing about these types of jobs is that if you want to work, you can work. If you don’t, you don’t have to. It really offers a lot of freedom and space for you to honor where you are.
5. Working with Animals
We discuss many unhealthy ways of dealing with stress in our post 9 Unhealthy Ways of Coping with Stress at https://shifts.coach/stress-management/unhealthy-ways-deal-stress/. One effective way of dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression is working with animals. It’s a great way to find some relief, and do work that feels meaningful and impactful.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, spending time with pets may actually help improve symptoms of depression. As such, you may investigate becoming a dog walker, working at a veterinarian’s office, or at a pet store. Maybe you can start your own dog walking business and work for yourself!
Now, accounting may not seem like the most exciting job in the world, or even one that is great for people who are depressed. If it feels unbearable, you can move on. But, many people with depression are exceptionally smart, and love numbers. Furthermore, accounting is all about solving problems, and this solving of problems can be great for esteem and mood when you’re going through a depressive episode.
You can work as an in-house bookkeeper at a specific business, for an accounting firm, or for yourself. Accounting is a great career for people with major depression, as you have room to grow, climb the ladder, and increase business. As an accountant, you also won’t have too much interaction with other people. Just you and the numbers!
7. Factory Work
Factory work may not jump out as the ideal job, but it can be great work for someone who is depressed. At a factory, you won’t have a lot of interaction with customers. You also will have room to climb the corporate ladder, as employees are often promoted from within at factories. One of the reasons it makes the list is that the work is often repetitive, making it easy to master once you get the hang of it.
Working in a factory may offer you the stability of regular work hours, the benefits of health insurance and time off, and the esteem of getting out of the house. Once you learn your job, you should be able to do it no problem. Because of the repetitive nature of the work, you may not have any problems doing it when you’re going through a depressive episode as well!
Landscaping is a bit like household work, but this is a specific type. Landscaping or gardening gives you the change to be outside and get some Vitamin D. You also can gain the esteem of turning a yard or outdoor area into something more beautiful. It’s quite the feeling of accomplishment.
You may find a company to work for, or you may work for yourself. When I was in college, I couldn’t hold down a regular job at all. Instead, I put ads on Craiglist to do household work. I most often got hired to plant plants or pull weeds. I got decent pay, chose when I would show up, and was forced to be outside (even when I didn’t necessarily want to be) which is good for me!
9. Park Ranger
Like landscaping, being a park ranger gets your outside. According to Harvard Health, spending time outdoors can significantly improve mood and symptoms of depression. Park rangers certainly don’t spend every moment outdoors, but it is a job where you are outside more often than the norm. You also are spending time in nature, where it’s quiet, peaceful, and good for regulating moods.
There are often more parks than we realize. You can look online at nearby National Parks and State Parks to begin your investigation. To become a ranger, you may need specific education. However, you can also try working for private parks and outdoor places as well! Zipline parks, rock climbing parks, and river rafting areas are great examples.
It may seem strange to try to help others when you’re struggling with depression yourself, but many therapists have mental health issues. As you learn to live with depression, you may have a unique perspective. Working with clients and others struggling with depression, you have the ability to meet them where they are.
You may also consider becoming a life coach. With your experience with depression, you may have a lot to offer your clients. Your understanding and compassion can be a great gift to those around you. There are many types of life coaching, and you can certainly find your perfect niche.
11. Libraries and Bookstores
Like writing, a library or bookstore will certainly only appeal to the right person. However, it provides a great environment to work in. You get to be around books, curious people, and mostly quiet spaces. There’s not a lot of pressure to be anything around books, and you can just be yourself.
Although it may seem like bookstores and libraries are a thing of the past, they’re still alive and thriving. You can find small local bookstores, or apply for a job at your local library.
These are just some ideas for good job options. Remember to be honest with yourself, and find what works for you and your depression. You may also check out some tips for keeping a job while depressed to help you keep the right job when you find it!