Scared of bosses, co-workers and clients/customers: What type of work?


Due to my cpstd issues, I am always anxious about working for others or having clients/customers.
Any little bit of criticism and I feel like I'm a failure or that they're mad at me and hate me.
If clients leave or I don't get great reviews, I feel like I've let everyone down.
No matter what job I've ever had, I either cried on the way to work, during work, after work or all of the above just from the built-up tension.
I'm more aware now of why I respond the way I do, but I don't know how to get past it. I will work on it with my therapist, but I'm curious to hear everyone's thoughts.
I'm very fortunate that my husband has a decent job and we get by, but I would like to contribute more. Over the past couple of years, either I haven't worked or I've done part-time temporary gigs. I'm currently working as a crossing guard, which has been fine. Little interaction with people and not too many hours. But honestly, I'm a little bored and lonely. I know things will be less lonely in the summer when I see my horse riding friends and can join running groups so I'm just sticking with the current situation and will re-evaluate once school is out. Since I don't need a career, I'd like to find something part-time that has a little human interaction, but won't place me in positions where I'll get triggered and end up feeling like shit.
What do you all do for work? How do you cope with people who trigger you? Any ideas for me?


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My last job was an eCommerce auction lister position for Goodwill which required little in the way of human interaction but allowed for some as I had about 100 coworkers. I really liked it. These days I have some physical limitations that get in the way of the following but I also worked as a sign-maker, tile setter, cleaner, and caregiver. Cleaning was too isolating and terribly depressing for me. I liked tile-setting and making signs, but caregiving was genuinely rewarding and not particularly high-stress and I would not have stopped were it not for my body rebelling.

I've been working toward trying to develop a career and so I spent a long time in school and spent some time as a volunteer grant writer, editor, and proofreader during my schooling. I enjoyed those situations but ultimately felt pretty isolated in each. As I have recovered, I have found that too much social isolation really gets me down, so now I am looking to tutor online with hopes to one day work in adult education in ESL and writing. This makes good use of my education but doesn't make me feel like I am not interacting as actual writing work tended to. Also, working virtually means I feel a tad safer when people get upset and it gives me a buffer zone where I feel like I can process my feelings a little better before I open my mouth in response to anything which lowers my stress in a lot of ways. That said, there are some conversational English opportunities out there for people just to talk to English language learners that do not require any education -- only a clear English language speaking voice. Most don't appear to pay more than $10 an hour, but they are social from a distance which might be helpful for you.


What sort of things are you interested in?
I've worked in the horse industry for about 20 years. It has always been pretty much my life. Other than horses, I'm not sure what else interests me. I have a farm with 3 horses so I'll be busy maintaining all of it once the weather warms up.


One thing I love about covid(What???) is that a lot of us ended up working from home and gained so much time from transit and socializing (forced socializing at work...gosh no more3pm cake for the gazzilion reasons of baby shower, who is leaving, christmas dinner)...that I started to enjoy my job more. I do not talk for days with anyone...I work with applications from all over the world so I can only send emails for communication and everything is scripted. I used to hate it but now I love it.

I wonder, since you love animals, if you could do dog walking or dog are contributing, not too much people interactions, and you seem to have the just crossed my mine.


@grit I'm so happy for you!
I actually thought of dog walking/sitting and had business cards and t-shirts made. I put ads on the local FB sites and gave cards to the vets and groomers in the area. In 4 months, I have had exactly zero calls. Not a single one. So, with most things I try, I gave up.

@DharmaGirl I love that you found something that works for you. I'm not a chicken person and I have a black thumb but have been thinking of things I could make and sell. I'm just not very good at making things or coming up with ideas. I'm tempted to take in a couple of boarders. I keep saying how nice it is not having to worry about keeping everything perfect and only having to take care of my 3 horses, but it also gets super lonely riding by myself all the time. I'd just have to make sure and actually charge enough to make the extra work worth it. My place isn't fancy and my indoor is pretty small so I'm not sure if anyone would even pay what I'd need to charge. In the summer I do offer schooling opportunities and charge a small fee. I've even thought about teaching lessons again, but then I'd have to get a lesson horse and I'm not sure I even have the confidence to teach anymore. If I didn't get clients then I'd just have an extra horse to take care of and pay for. Basically, I don't have the confidence for anything. Why would anyone want to board here and I'm not good enough to teach lessons. Those are the thoughts that won't stop running through my head. After so many years of putting everything I had into learning and training and completely immersing myself in the horse world, I got burned out and never felt good enough. I gave up.

So, here I am bored and lonely, missing my horse life, but too damn anxious and scared to do anything about it. I keep giving up. I guess this is something I need to bring up with my therapist.

Thanks for your comments.


I can relate to all of that. The crying on the way to work, the feeling I'm not good enough for one thing or another, getting super triggered on customer jobs. I am in my own different mess right now, so I'm definitely not perfect. But as far as those issues go, I went to therapy weekly along with meds, and worked on my mental health while working completely online for years, until I got better. Few different tough times I survived in interesting ways. I learned how to spend less on food and budget. I did transcription work, graphic design, virtual assistant work. At one point I sold jewelry on etsy(never done it before, learned on the go because I needed finances) and did okay on it, considering at the time I was at my worst mentally. I also got into selling digital patterns on etsy, now toying with the idea of making coloring pages and art prints. I think you should make a list of all the things you've done and learned work wise and all the stuff you like(like horses) and try to find some common ground between the two lists. Look into what other people with your skills do for a living. (like you can be good in drawing, but that can go into selling paintings, selling art prints, design work, and many different options. or if I like horses and I can draw I could draw horse paintings. or find writing gig connected to horses. it doesn't have to be as direct as horseback riding lessons). I believe it's totally possible to find a job that is not fully customer oriented yet a job you are good at. Make lists, take some walks and think about what job might be suitable, you will build your confidence as you do things and gain experience. Wish I could help more, I hope you find something suitable soon.


Since I don't need a career, I'd like to find something part-time that has a little human interaction, but won't place me in positions where I'll get triggered and end up feeling like shit.
Basically, I don't have the confidence for anything. Why would anyone want to board here and I'm not good enough to teach lessons.
Ever worked for a horse-centric charity? Off the top of my head there are the people based ones (theraputic riding for kids with disabilities, people recovering from accidents/strokes/etc, equine therapy -like for treating PTSD) and the horse-rescue groups throughout the US, Latin America, & Europe.

Rani G2

@NotTooLate ...
Do get the fear about people and criticism.. How have things been for you ?

Unfortunately, working in a medical office, I have to deal with two new colleagues and stressed patients.. trigger is pulled now and then.. what really hits my core is power struggle. It will always be hard to digest. Anywhere where I feel I must be nice or the need to be liked is a trigger for me, I dislike the need to be liked and at the same time going against an innate need is futile, and also at the same time selfworth not having to be dependent on their liking (Or Id say acceptance). Considering all of this and somehow communicating with respect is exhausting.. I don’t know what I’m writing..