Work and the Highly Sensitive Person
One drawback of canceling the Netherland (33rd) HSP Gathering Retreat last August (2017) was I didn’t get to meet Esther Bergsma, counselor and author of Highly Sensitive Children, in person. www.hoogsensitief.nl
Besides her book on highly sensitive children, she is now doing research on work and the HSP. She will share the results with all of us and it is exciting to anticipate what the statistics will tell us. Please take a moment to complete her survey. https://nl.surveymonkey.com/r/HSPatWork
Meanwhile, it is understood by many, that many HSPs find it difficult to thrive in “corporate” work environments or cultures. There are not many work environments which do bring out the best in us, so it is important to either move toward creating a more optional work environment at home, or speak to your employer about possible small changes that could benefit everyone. Many HSPs have begun to realize just how much of an influence and impact our environments can have on us. The more positive our enviroments ~ the more we thrive. The more negative our environments ~ the more our sense of well-being can slowly erode, and at worst, we can find ourselves struggling to keep from disintegrating.
Dr. Barrie Jaeger, author of Making Work Work for the Highly Sensitive Person, describes what it can feel like in negative environments. It feels like Drudgery. Jaeger encourages all HSPs to find a way out of drudgery as soon as possible, even if it means taking a pay cut.
Her book also encourages becoming skilled in a higher paying area, such as computers, legal assistant, consultant. These skills can lead to a “Craft job” which are usually a more tolerable, flexible and higher paying.
Finally, many HSPs find themselves “called” to pursue more meaningful, life changing work and Jaeger identifies this as a “Calling.” Callings can take years to materialize, and one can only follow a unique path of “divine breadcrumbs” to actualize their calling, or life purpose.
Whether a sensitive extrovert OR a sensitive introvert, it is helpful to become aware of what can optimize our work and/or home environments:
- Quiet or soft energy, with friendly, caring, egalitarian co-workers
- A flexible, adaptable environment in which everyone is aware of the energy they are bringing
- Creative co-workers who can offer support, ideas or encouragement when asked or needed. The same idea would go for family members as well.
- Finding and having a “meaning” in our lives, whether through a side job, a hobby knowing that a “psychic income” is totally preferable to “material income.”
- Free-lance work, or self-employment often works best for HSPs because it offers flexibility, and allows one to honor work/life/family/HSP needs.
- Ability to have conflict successfully managed and resolved, preferably by those trained in conflict resolution. Many places of employment can offer this training.
- Evaluations which teach, encourage, not criticize.
- Having our ideas and perspectives heard
- Freedom to perform work tasks in my own way
- “Home like” settings with plants, music, books, pictures. With a little creativity, this more personal expression could be created in a cubicle.
What is not conducive to our HSP sense of well-being:
- Open office floor plans, although at home this might be preferred
- Strict deadlines
- Being micromanaged
- Feedback that is critical and not constructive
- Environments that are stagnant not open to growth and development
Feel free to add more suggestions in the comments below, and please remember to complete the survey soon, as I think there is an up-coming deadline.
Finally, another great book for HSPs and work is: Do What You Are by Tieger & Tieger. This book is based on your Myers Briggs type and the newer editions have included information about jobs in health services, education, and communications technology.