While most people have experienced the nagging sensation of “did I cut off the iron before I left home?” and gone back to check, people with obsessive-compulsive disorder do this constantly. Although it’s designed to, the constant checking doesn’t relieve their anxiety. In OCD obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors become so prominent that they interfere with everyday functioning.
Helpguide.org defines obsessive-compulsive disorder as anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and repetitive, ritualized behaviors the person feels compelled to perform. If you are an OCD sufferer you probably realize how irrational your thoughts and behavior are, yet feel powerless to stop them.
Most people with OCD fall into the following categories: Washers, who fear contamination and have hand-washing or cleaning compulsions; Checkers, who constantly check things like if doors are locked to avoid harm or danger; Doubters and Sinners who fear if everything isn’t done perfectly something terrible will happen; Counters and Arrangers, who may have superstitions around certain numbers, arrangements or colors; and Hoarders who compulsively keep things they don’t need out of fear something terrible will happen if they throw something away.
Although it shares some similarities with obsessive-compulsive disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder causes a person to focus excessively on details, lists and rules. A person with the anxiety disorder may feel bad about their condition, but the person with the personality disorder feels this disorder is helpful to his life. These people are often seen as stubborn, resistant to change and stingy.
Jobs Where OCD Is Helpful
Any job environment that rewards conscientiousness and attention to detail would be good for a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Jobs where OCD is helpful would have clear expectations of one’s role and what he is to accomplish. They need to be able to accomplish things in a careful, orderly manner without a lot of interruptions. There are many famous people with OCD who have experienced great accomplishments in their careers, in part due to their condition, so it is important to find the correct fit in a career. The following are just a few of the careers that might work well with OCD.
Housekeeping – Since OCDers are often perfectionistic about cleaning and like to get rid of germs, any job which requires cleanliness and order would give them a chance to express this need.
Military – A career in the military requires adherence to strict guidelines and rules and a good work ethic would bring advances and promotions.
Accountant – Working with figures and details all day long with clear guidelines about what is accepted would be an excellent choice for someone with OCD.
Life Coach – A person who deals with other people’s goals and aspirations and has the ability to help them keep on track and become like a professional “nag” to insure compliance would give the OCD person a chance to act out their controlling nature in a positive way.
Police officer or Corrections officer – Both of these careers require maintaining a strict schedule, checking up on people and disciplining them, and following rigid rules and guidelines, which work well for OCD.
Computer Professions – Some computer-related professions, such as programming, require the ability to be meticulous and highly focused, which OCD people excel at. Often these jobs are done in independent environments where the worker doesn’t have to report directly to others.
Banking – A bank teller, for example, has to constantly count and check figures, and most professions in the banking industry require a degree of exactness most OCD people would have no trouble with.
Travel Agent – A travel agent needs to have the ability to organize, coordinate and schedule itineraries of people in detail and can often work at home or independently of others.