If you are a person who tends to have a lot of empathy for others and is always looking for opportunities to help other people out, there’s a chance that you might be looking for a work environment that offers some specific experiences or features. Not every work environment is suitable for a highly empathetic person who is looking for the chance to exercise this skill in their work environment.
Although empathy is a trait and quality that can help to improve your interpersonal relationships in any workplace and people who have a lot of empathy can certainly succeed in any area, the work in some roles might not always be quite as enjoyable or rewarding for them.
People who have a lot of empathy for others often seek out roles where they will be required to put this skill into practice and put themselves in the shoes of the people that they are working with. They will generally look for a work environment that requires them to spend time with other people whether that’s through interacting with clients, patients, customers or coworkers.
For somebody who has a lot of empathy, the option to use their career to help and support others is often also a top priority when looking for a professional field. Finding a career path that is rewarding and fulfilling for you as a highly empathetic person might sometimes be challenging, but the good news is that there are several roles that are best filled by people like you.
In This Article
Human services is a field that covers a range of different roles where the main aim is around helping and being there for others. Human services professionals will often work in a wide range of environments and with a diverse range of people from all backgrounds to help them with various situations.
For example, you might be working to provide support to victims of domestic violence and abuse, working in crisis centers for mental health, or working with individuals who need help and support for overcoming substance misuse problems, to name a few. Human services workers are there first and foremost to help others, and a lot of empathy and compassion is required in order to succeed in these roles.
Nursing is a career that is often a top choice for many highly empathetic people. In this role, you may often find yourself working with people who are going through some of the toughest and most frightening times of their lives. Often, nurses are dealing with patients who are in pain, scared and worried and they might be rude or short with them as a result.
A good nurse knows that this is nothing personal and is able to empathize with how the patient might be feeling. They will put them at ease by taking an interest in their situation and figuring out if there is anything that they can do to help other than providing the healthcare that is needed. Nurses will often go the extra mile for their patients wherever possible; it’s clear to see that this is a role that is often favored by highly empathetic people with a strong desire to help and support others.
Substance Abuse Counselor
A substance abuse counselor is a professional who works closely with patients throughout their recovery process. They work in a range of different settings and have a main set of responsibilities that are focused around providing the right standard of care to their clients and offering support to their relatives.
For many substance abuse counselors, one of the most highly rewarding and fulfilling parts of this career is the chance to witness the growth and progression of your clients over time. However, it’s important to bear in mind that this job can also be quite emotionally taxing and draining for some people, since it is not uncommon for some clients to relapse, which can often leave you feeling like you are on an emotional rollercoaster ride. Although this can be a difficult part of the career, the success stories can definitely make all the struggles worth it.
Social workers are responsible for helping a wide range of different clients better cope with and overcome different problems that they face. Social workers may work with individuals, families or communities. They deal with a wide range of different problems, and possess knowledge, skills and expertise that allows them to help people through some of the toughest times of their lives.
Social worker training is designed to equip these professionals to help individuals develop healthier coping mechanisms to improve their lives. As a social worker, you may be providing support and assistance with a range of different issues, which can often mean that you come face to face with some incredibly difficult or heart-breaking situations. The work can be very emotionally demanding, especially in times of crisis. However, seeing your clients succeed and move forward into a happier and more fulfilling life can make it all worth it.
Mental Health Counselor
Working as a mental health counselor gives you a unique insight into the lives and inner feelings of the people that you work with. With an increasing number of people now seeking help with their mental health as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health counselors are in higher demand than ever before. Working in this role gives you the chance to help people with issues such as anxiety, depression, and the management of more serious mental health conditions or disorders.
In this career, you will be working in a highly confidential environment where clients will need to trust you in order to open up to you about things that they might not talk with anybody else about, which requires a high level of empathy, compassion, and great communication and interpersonal skills.
Family or Relationship Therapist
Similar to a mental health counselor, family and relationship therapists work with people to help them overcome issues that are causing problems in their lives which can sometimes by caused by or related to mental health.
However, these therapists will help their clients do this within the context of their romantic or family relationships. Family therapists work together with families to assess situations and create plans of actions for their clients to follow in order to help them improve their connections with one another and make better choices in their daily lives.
They might work with families who have experienced trauma or where one member of the family is suffering with a mental health or substance abuse issues. Relationship therapists tend to work closely with couples who are having issues in their relationship and want to improve aspects such as communication, or couples who simply want to prevent issues from arising by developing the skills that they can learn in therapy.
Many highly empathetic people are drawn towards working for non-profit organizations that are dedicated to helping others. Working in roles like these gives you the chance to focus mainly on the work that matters to you the most. Many non-profits will focus on specific community needs and provide resources to the groups that they support in order to help achieve their goals. For example, many non-profits work with groups such as refugees, homeless people, people with certain health conditions and illnesses, veterans, and other groups who might require additional help and support from caring people.
Working with people might not always be the best fit for somebody who has a lot of empathy. For some, a career working with animals might be a better fit, especially if they have the ability to empathize with animals as well as humans. Vets work with pets, zoo animals and livestock to provide medical treatment, healthcare checkups and more.
The responsibilities in this role can vary a lot; however, it is a role that can be ideal for somebody who has a lot of empathy as it gives you a unique and meaningful opportunity to connect with pets and their owners. However, bear in mind that working as a vet can sometimes be very heartbreaking. You may sometimes have to make decisions in the best interests of the animal that are extremely sad for everybody involved, along with witnessing situations that can be quite upsetting such as terminal illness in animals, or animal abuse.
If your empathy extends to everybody – even people who have committed crimes in the past – then a career as a probation officer might be good fit for you. Often, people who are on probation due to a crime that they have committed or having been released from jail are not inherently terrible people.
Many people commit crimes out of desperation or due to feeling that they have no other choice. As a probation officer, your empathy skills will come in handy for helping these people feel seen and heard, often for the first time, and providing the support that they need to turn their lives around.
If you have a lot of empathy for others and want a chance to practice it every day at work, these are some ideal career options that you might want to consider.