Career Counseling For The Mentally Ill

March 12, 2013 Alistair McHarg

According to a recent study conducted by the ASAAS (American Society for the Advancement of American Societies), over 93% of U.S. citizens will be touched by mental illness at some point in their lives. With the 2012 census weighing in at a portly 312,780,968, that works out to really a lot of people.

A more detailed breakdown of this massive demographic is very instructive, especially in light of challenges encountered by the mentally ill when seeking employment. The following terms, sanctioned by ASAAS, indicate psychological impairment on an ascending scale of severity (least to worst).

11% - personality enhanced

7% - characters in search of a playwright

9% - strange arrangers

13% - alternate reality ramblers

8% - attending a séance with Syngen

15% - antediluvian starfish

7% - sea lion impersonators

20% - puzzled jig saw chipped tooth sharpeners

3% - bananapram umbrellastand chiming lunar tox

It’s no secret that mentally ill workers in all these categories are frequently burdened with erratic employment histories marred by abrupt terminations, unexplained absences, damaged office furniture, and colorful police reports. Getting back in the game can be daunting, which is why the demand for career counselors specializing in these cases has never been greater.

Naturally, career advice will differ depending on the illness of the job seeker. But, a useful addendum to the ASAAS report, summarized here, offers a handful of suggestions that are tailored to specific candidate needs.

OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) – Do not apply for work as a parachuting instructor or bomb disarming specialist.

Tourette’s Syndrome – Do not apply for work as a 911 operator or auctioneer.

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) – Do not apply for work as an air traffic controller, trapeze artist, or lion tamer.

Work at nudist colonies is recommended for kleptomaniacs but should be avoided by sex addicts.

Compulsive liars will almost certainly find employment in used car dealerships and law firms but are advised to head towards Washington where their expertise is always in demand.

Narcissists are strongly advised to investigate so called “reality TV” programming for lucrative gigs requiring no effort, talent, or labor; however, they should be aware that doing so will subject them to an endless onslaught of their own ilk, which may prove both unnerving and disquieting.

This is only a smattering of sound suggestions to be found in the report; to read it in its entirety contact ASAAS directly.

APA Reference
McHarg, A. (2013, March 12). Career Counseling For The Mentally Ill, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Alistair McHarg

June, 22 2016 at 10:44 am

I actually did a spit take reading this. I'm right there. Just lost my job. Well, "Lost", who are we kidding. I didn't go to work one morning and the building was gone. My job didn't need to be "found". I was canned for not stifling and for my inability to know how to socially navigate. Again. I'm just coherent enough to feel like a complete failure, but not sane enough to know how to fix it, despite drugs and therapy. I really needed this laugh.

March, 14 2013 at 2:39 pm

Good evening Alistair :) I think that someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder should avoid being a tour guide. Also, someone with ADHD should avoid being an electrician, so should someone with OCD,they'd get too obsessed on making a panel spark blue. Have a nice weekend!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
March, 15 2013 at 10:21 am

Terrific input, Cindy. I'm still smiling over the DID tour guide - that's inspired! Have a great weekend!

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