07 October 2020

Male and female job seekers with bipolar disorder standing confidently dressed in work clothes

58% of people living with bipolar disorder quit working outside their homes, according to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Many people with bipolar disorder experience challenges when looking for work. Despite this, many people successfully find fulfilling work that works for them.

If you are having difficulty finding or keeping a job that works for you, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed or disheartened sometimes.

The good news is there are employers and workplaces out there offering roles which support your long-term mental wellbeing.

Experts say work can be helpful for people living with bipolar disorder. Working in a supportive environment can give you a sense of structure and purpose. Moreover, it can reduce feelings of depression and build your confidence.

A woman with bipolar disorder looking for a job, standing at a 4-way crossroads

What to look for in a job when you have bipolar disorder

People living with bipolar disorder are capable of finding fulfilling work in a range of different jobs.

Symptoms, skills and interests vary from person to person. In your job search, focus on finding a job which enhances your unique strengths and helps you manage your mental health.

Consider the following job features:

What workplace environment do you need?

Many people with bipolar disorder find that high levels of stress can induce manic and depressive moods. It can be helpful to find work in low-stress environments with supportive colleagues.

What kind of schedule and structure suits you?

Many people with bipolar work best with a regular, stable routine that helps with mood balance. Experts recommend avoiding any shift work or jobs that disrupt a regular sleep pattern.

Do you need flexibility?

If your bipolar disorder symptoms make it difficult to stick to a strict routine, you might prefer a flexible role. A growing number of jobs can be done from home with a flexible schedule and workload.

a woman with bipolar disorder searching for a job

What are some good jobs for people with bipolar disorder?

Writer

Technical and copy writers often work from home creating or editing content for businesses, schools and other organisations. If you have a knack with words and want a flexible role, this might be a good fit for you.

Receptionist

Receptionists are responsible for tasks such as answering phone calls, booking appointments and greeting customers. Businesses of all shapes and sizes need receptionists. When you find a supportive work environment, reception work can provide a low-stress and stable routine.

Web developer

Web developers use codes to build websites that are functional and easy to use. If you like problem solving and working independently in an evolving industry, web development might be a good fit for you. Developers often work as part of a larger team within a company but many are also freelancers.

Man with bipolar disorder sitting at a desk, looking for a job on a computer

Accountant

Accounting jobs usually involve completing consistent tasks in a calm office environment. If you have a head for numbers, you might enjoy the stability this role can bring.

Audiologist

Audiologists help people who are experiencing hearing problems. They often work in a calm, low-stress environment. It can be a rewarding role that helps improve the quality of other people’s lives.

Sonographer

If you want a low-stress career in the medical field, you might enjoy being a sonographer. Sonographers perform ultrasound scans for pregnancy, injuries and health assessments. They often write summaries about their findings, maintain records and work with other health professionals to care for patients.

Jeweller

Jewellers design and create jewellery out of a wide range of materials. Sometimes they also do repairs, adjustments and appraisals of jewellery. You’ll need a good eye for detail, excellent hand-eye coordination and a creative flair.

Hair stylist

Hair stylists help others feel and look good. You can work in a salon with steady, regular hours or find flexibility by freelancing. Hair styling is a great career for those with a creative flair who enjoy meeting new people from all walks of life.

Finding and managing work when you have bipolar disorder

Finding a job that works for you can take time. It’s normal to feel disheartened or overwhelmed along the way.

From searching for jobs online to managing interviews and putting your best foot forward in your resume, there’s a lot to think about. When you’re living with bipolar disorder, there may be a number of extra factors to consider and manage.

Sometimes a little help can make all the difference. If you’re wondering how to find a job with bipolar disorder, APM is here for you. We help people with bipolar disorder and other mental health conditions find and keep a job that works for them.

If you’re living with disability and are seeking additional support to find meaningful employment, register for our Disability Employment Services program to see if you’re eligible.

Author

Diane Early

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