Ideal Career Choices for Empathetic People


There is a great deal of satisfaction to be found in helping others. Studies have evidenced a ‘Helper’s High’ associated with the endorphins released when we help another fellow human being. Most people, at some point or another, will have made the extra effort to help someone in need, but there are undeniably individuals out there with a much higher degree of empathy than others.

Empathy

Empathy is the act of sharing and being understanding of the feelings of others. It is putting oneself in the shoes of another individual and attempting to understand their issues from the perspective of the individual experiencing them. There are three types of empathy:

Cognitive – this is a more logical and practical application of empathy. It is about seeing from the perspectives of the other individual but not necessarily sharing in the emotive responses displayed.
Emotional – this is feeling what the other feels and experiencing the emotions alongside them. This form of empathy is commonly adopted from childhood, where a child will exhibit the same emotive responses as a parent if they are happy or sad, for example.
Compassionatecompassionate empathy is understanding the feelings of others and being proactive in efforts to help and support the individual. This is the form that most people think of when explaining empathy.

Here are 5 suggestions for careers that may suit an Empath:

1.   Nursing

If you have an interest in the medical sector, then nursing may be for you. You will need to be educated to a Bachelor Degree level, and training will offer you ample opportunity to apply your new skills along with your empathetic nature in a real world setting while you qualify. Once qualified, there are variety of settings you may find yourself in:

  • Schools
  • Health centres
  • Hospitals
  • Retirement homes
  • Clinics
  • Patient homes


As a nurse, you may be looking after people who have life-limiting conditions, unwell children, families of those who are sick, the elderly, or the disabled. Each individual will have their own characteristics, their own beliefs, and their own set of personal needs, and it will require a great deal of patience and empathy in order for you to relate with your patience and build ongoing relationships to better improve the health of those in your care.

2.   Social Worker

If medical practice is not your thing, then you may be drawn into working within the social services sector. As a social worker, you are likely to face a whole host of scenarios that will exercise your empathetic muscles. You may face some challenging issues, such as addiction, poverty, homelessness, adoption, marital conflict, domestic abuse, or child protection. These can be testing for even the most compassionate of people, especially with issues that you have direct experience of or strong feelings towards. As an empath, you understand the importance of seeing issues through the eyes of the sufferer and acting in accordance to this.

It will be necessary to obtain the correct training to put you in good stead for a career in social work, but it is possible to get an online social work degree. You will then be primed for a career in social services, mental health clinics, or as a therapist or counsellor.

3.   Caregiver

Unlike nursing and social work, carers are able to work without qualifications at a degree level. You will need the appropriate job training and first aid certification, and you may find that caregiving motivates you to climb the ladder into social care or nursing in the future. Caregivers are often either mobile in people’s homes or in residential homes requiring additional support, such as retirement homes, hospices, or care homes.

As a carer, you will be dealing largely with personal care for children, those with disabilities, or the elderly population. The role will involve you assisting these people through their day to day lives, enabling and facilitating independence, feeding, bathing, clothing, or sometimes administering personal care. This is where empathy comes in, as you will need to be mindful of the dignity and personal feelings of those you care for and gauge the balance between how much assistance is needed in relation to how much is wanted.

4.   Education

If they enjoy working with and nurturing young minds, then an empath may be drawn to the education sector. Empathising with children is a skill many adults outgrow, and seeing situations through the eyes of a child and demonstrating patience is a talent not everyone possesses. Education isn’t limited to the classroom, you may wish to run specialised classes such as sports or music, work at kindergarten level, or get a job in the private sector.

There are many areas that will allow you entry into the sector, as meal time or teaching assistants don’t necessarily require qualifications but will need to undergo checks and training to maintain the safety of the children in their care. Meanwhile, teachers will need to be educated to a degree level. Research the required training needed for your career choice.

5.   Charitable causes

Working for a charity requires both empathy and commitment to the cause you are representing. There is a charity for almost every conceivable cause nowadays, so explore those that mean the most to you personally in order to allow your empathy to be utilised to its absolute best. It is possible to be involved in charity work on a voluntary basis as well as through employment.

Be empathetic to yourself too

Displaying empathy can be emotionally exhausting. It can be easy to save all your empathy for your patients, clients, or students and neglect to show any to yourself at times. If you are experiencing a drain, take the time to put yourself back into your own shoes and be compassionate to your own feelings. Practice some mindfulness or relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, controlled breathing, or simply enjoying a favourite pastime like reading or a long walk to calm and restore yourself. Remember to avoid carrying the weight of everyone else’s worlds on your shoulders.

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"Pleasant words are as a honeycomb: sweet to the soul and health to the bones." Proverbs 16:24