13 Career Paths for the Creative Introvert
Introverted and creative people often need freedom and flexibility in their workday in order to feel content. Unfortunately, the majority of good-paying office jobs are rigid, high-pressured, and usually involve spending day after day wedged in a cubicle under fluorescent lighting.
It can be easy to despair for an introverted creative trying to find their place in the world. The lethargy that comes from intense unhappiness can be misunderstood as laziness, apathy, or lack of motivation. However, once they find their niche, introverted and highly creative people can not only bring a tremendous amount of productivity and enthusiasm to their workplace, but also experience a high level of satisfaction within themselves.
If you are a struggling introverted creative looking for a career change, these 13 suggestions may help give you a nudge down the road to professional fulfillment.
1. Rare Book Dealer
Yes, this is a real job and it’s a bit like panning for gold. Most books aren’t worth very much, but when you find one that is, you’ve hit the jackpot. Being a rare book dealer requires many hours of digging through piles and boxes at garage and estate sells looking for your literary four-leaf clover. Many rare book dealers own shops or operate their businesses digitally from their homes. The downsides to this line of work is returns are uncertain and there isn’t much in the way of formal training to learn the trade. The California Rare Book School in Los Angeles and the annual Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar in Colorado Springs offer some training, but the majority of rare book collectors have simply learned the trade by practicing it through many years.
Thriller writer Lee Child once said, “Writing is show business for shy people.” Fortunately, today's technology makes it easier than ever to begin writing on a public platform. A personal blog can be started in minutes, and oodles of self-publishing options are available. Many people are able to cobble together a living by freelance writing or work as copywriters remotely from the comfort of their homes. There are a wealth of sites that offer information on how to get started doing this. Here is an article that offers links to 92 websites that pay writers. Start pitching your work and see what you land. Your dream job might be just a few emails away.
The creative and introverted person often has skills and qualities that seem custom made for a life in academia. Though working as a Professor definitely involves some stress and challenges, it also offers a respite from the traditional workplace and allows you to spend a life devoted to your discipline and the pursuit of knowledge.
4. Freelance Designer
If you are skilled in design, setting yourself up for freelance work is a great option if you are looking to get out of a typical 9-5 cubicle situation. Make liberal use of the contacts and networks you have formed during your career. You often have more available connections than you think. Creating and maintaining profiles on sites liked LinkedIn can be a great way to make your skill set and portfolio public, in addition to keeping the lines of communication with your professional network open.
Teaching, performing, conducting, composing, and recording are just a few ways a talented musician can think about monetizing their skills. If you don’t want to give up your day job quite yet, giving lessons privately or through a music store is a great way to establish a stream of passive income that also may lead to more opportunities to perform and connect with other musicians.
A quiet, relaxed atmosphere surrounded by books can be heaven for a quiet, bookish introvert. Librarians are highly knowledgeable and their skill set is in demand for jobs at schools, universities, nonprofits, and public establishments.
Curators often work for galleries and museums and are responsible for a variety of tasks that involve selecting and organizing works of art to be displayed. If a passion and knowledge for art is what fuels your fire, art curating may be in your near future.
For the empathetic creative, giving your life to ministry can be a very healing and rewarding career path. Able to use your intuition, creative approach to solving problems, and gentle nature to heal and nurture others can be personally rewarding and spiritually fulfilling.
9. Art or Music Therapist
Art and music therapists use their crafts to help people who have trauma or disabilities to be able to communicate through art. Qualifications for this field include training in education, psychology, and of course art or music. If you have this trifecta of gifts or training, you may find being an art or music therapist to be an incredibly rewarding use of your talents.
10. Music Production
Certificates in music production are widely available, comparatively affordable, and offer you the flexibility to work for yourself or for a studio. If you love sound and layering melodies, have a high attention to detail, and don’t mind working in the evenings a lot, this could be a great option for a musically minded creative.
Skills in videography and video editing can be utilized in a variety of ways, from starting your own media company, to shooting wedding footage, to working as a videographer for private schools and universities. If you love capturing the beauty of the moment on film, this may be a good path for you to explore.
12. Social Media Manager
Managing social media accounts can be great for the introvert who also longs to connect. While engaging with the public is a large part of the job, the added pressure of face-to-face interaction is taken out of the equation, allowing you to respond after taking a moment to breathe and collect yourself. It can also be a lot of fun to get paid to browse and curate content for your favorite social networks!
An Archivist typically works in museums maintaining, preserving, and cataloging precious artifacts, documents, and works of art. They also create digital records and maintain databases in addition to helping acquire new items to add to the archives. If you enjoy organization and tasks that are quiet and detail oriented, this may be the direction your career takes next.