Generally, my approach to work changes from day to day. Most of the time, I like working with some sort of background noise — even music. However, there are days when I appreciate having the option to quiet down and spend the day working in silence. With that in mind, I want to list some jobs that would be perfect for people who like to work in a quiet environment.
As it happens, the professions I’ve narrowed the list down to have a lot in common with fields that are typically dominated by introverts. So whether you like silence or just want to avoid human contact, I’m sure you’ll find the right career for you right here. Before I present my findings, though, let’s talk about why someone might want to avoid working in noisy offices in the first place.
How Noise Affects Your Work and Productivity
If you’re someone who needs peace and quiet to function, you probably aren’t a big fan of traditional open concept offices. The huge rooms often leave nothing to the imagination, so you end up having to put up with various office noises. Your coworkers keep talking amongst themselves, someone’s got their tunes playing, and the ancient printer in the hallway seems to be getting louder every day. Still, there are ways to make workdays more tolerable.
If you’re struggling with the noise, I’ve already written about how you can implement some soundproofing tips in your cubicle. Obviously, your open cubicle will never be completely silent, but the advice I shared should help. You can also ask for the cubicles to be made of soundproof partitions instead of the regular ones you already have.
On top of that, there are plenty of other ways for you to keep your office quiet. For instance, you can talk to your office manager about switching to quieter appliances and tools — from the paper shredders and keyboards in the office and hand dryers in the bathrooms to the kettles in the break room. As you can see, I’ve already said plenty about all of those topics. I’m also sure that you can find quiet alternatives for pretty much any machinery you’re working with.
In any case, there are some jobs where noise is pretty much a fact of life. For example, construction work is famously loud — so much so that even the people who don’t work in the field find the time to complain about it. And while you might think noise is, ultimately, a simple annoyance, there’s more to it than that.
Negative Effects of Working in a Noisy Environment
If you’re a construction worker, a chef at a restaurant, or even a hair stylist, you’re probably used to the constant noise. However, having to work in a noisy environment can have permanent consequences on your mental and physical health.
Over time, machines that produce over 60 or 70 decibels of noise can become downright grating. Having noisy jobs can increase stress levels, which can lead to higher blood pressure, not to mention irritability. Trust me, that particular trait will definitely make you less popular with your coworkers. Furthermore, being surrounded by noise every day can also impact your sleep — which comes with a multitude of other problems as well.
Noise can also impact our ability to focus on excelling at our jobs. So if you need an argument to present to your boss when you approach them about all of those quiet appliances, that one is as valid as any of them. After all, how productive can you be if you can’t concentrate on what you’re doing?
Advantages of Working in a Quiet Environment
On the other hand, silence can help you zero in on what you’re supposed to be doing. Giving your brain that break from auditory stimuli can greatly improve your focus and lower your stress levels. In fact, I’ve found that instituting a quiet hour or two per day can help even the friendliest office buddies regain their focus after they stray a bit too far off task.
However, that’s not to say that absolute quiet is always necessary. Just recently, I had the opportunity to do a deep dive into the world of white noise. Did you know that low-level sound is sometimes even better than complete silence? Specifically, having white noise running in the background can disguise some of the more sudden noises that can cause disruptions.
Listening to white (or pink or brown) noise at work has been shown to improve focus, memory function, and creative thinking. Still, that’s really a matter of personal enjoyment. Some people don’t like the sound of white noise at all, so you’ll need to get to know your coworkers’ preferences before playing white noise at work.
Ultimately, a bit of noise won’t hurt anybody. The real problem occurs when the volume rises over a certain threshold — say, 70 decibels. Anything louder than that, and you’ll begin to feel the damaging effects of noise pollution. Yet, some jobs do allow you to work in relative silence — so let’s talk about those.
Jobs With Quiet Work Environments
The truth is that most jobs can be done in peaceful settings. As an example, let’s look at the medical profession. Usually, we assume that doctors have to deal with a lot of noise. In fact, some of them do, particularly those who frequently have to deal with health emergencies that require hospital codes. That much of Grey’s Anatomy is true — working at a hospital can be incredibly stressful and loud.
However, family doctors don’t typically deal with all that noise. If you take the time to research almost any career path, chances are that you’ll find a quiet version of that career. With that in mind, here are the quietest jobs you could find in the following seven career fields.
Art and Design
If you crave silence, and you’re also a generally creative person, a career in art and design might be the perfect fit for you.
Now, artists can work in many different settings. When they work in large creative teams, those tend to be loud and unruly groups. However, more and more artists now work in relative isolation as freelancers.
Whether you work in an office or from home, you’re probably working flexible hours. Furthermore, as a freelancer, you’ll have complete control over your surroundings. So if you do end up working from home, you can soundproof the area you’ll use as your office.
There are plenty of career paths you might find yourselves on in the field of art and design. Any of the following jobs would come with plenty of peace and quiet:
- Video game artist
- Graphic designer or illustrator
- Fashion designer
- Interior designer
All of these jobs can be solo ventures or they can require teamwork. So depending on your specific situation, you may or may not have silence while you work. Either way, if you love being creative, you’ll probably enjoy working in this field.
However, you should also know that most of the people with professions I’ve listed often aren’t free to do whatever they want. After all, they always have clients to answer to, so even if they are technically self-employed, they do have certain obligations.
Business and Finance
It would be easier to transition into talking about business careers by claiming that they’re the opposite of the creative ones I’ve just mentioned. However, as easy as it would be, the comparison wouldn’t really be true. Plenty of business careers allow people to be creative.
For example, paralegals or legal researchers need to use their experience, intelligence, and creativity to offer possible solutions to the lawyers they work for. Indeed, paralegals and attorneys should ideally have similar skill sets, with one major difference. While lawyers are required to represent their clients, paralegals do most of their work surrounded by books and records. What can be more serene than that?
There are plenty of careers in business that are fairly calm and quiet. But if you need some more examples, you can also become a number cruncher. Specifically, you can be a statistician, an accountant or an accounting manager, a personal financial advisor, or even a market research analyst. None of those jobs involve a lot of noise, and I imagine they would be pretty stress-free if you’re someone who finds comfort in numbers.
Culture and Entertainment
When you think about culture and jobs in entertainment, peace and quiet probably aren’t the first things you imagine. However, there are many types of jobs in that particular industry that require concentration. Namely, I’ve narrowed this field down to three types of careers:
- Writer (journalism, technical, creative, non-fiction, or content writing) or proofreader
- Translator or interpreter
- Curator of a museum or librarian
So let’s break these down one by one, shall we? First, as a writer, you’d mostly get to set your own schedule, much like artists. That’s not to say that you won’t have pressing deadlines. Still, if you have a way with words, and you like learning new things, a writing job will probably suit you.
On the other hand, proofreading requires meticulous attention to detail and a high-level understanding of grammar. As a proofreader, your days would mostly be spent trying to unravel some writer’s slapstick work. Fortunately for us, though, that kind of work requires silence and focus.
Similarly, translators and interpreters also need to work in relative quiet in order to do their jobs well. Trust me, translating one language to another just doesn’t work if you’re surrounded by Chatty Cathys or music. You just end up throwing a line from a song into your translation by accident.
Finally, museum and library workers can typically expect a decent amount of silence throughout the day. If anything, those two institutions are places where anyone can find a moment of contemplative peace. Even the work that can be found in those institutions is calming, mostly consisting of record-keeping. Sounds like a dream job to me!
Engineering and Computer Science
Unless you’re working in a field of engineering that requires you to be present while they’re testing aircraft or other loud machinery, chances are that you’re going to be working in relative silence. Aside from being an aerospace engineer, there are also much less mechanical routes you might take to obtain the title of “engineer.”
For example, environmental engineers use biology, science, and engineering principles to find solutions for ecological issues. Similarly, civil engineers find ways to improve the world by planning and overseeing the construction of basic infrastructure, like roads, bridges, harbors, and similar.
Obviously, these jobs are all wildly different, and they require different education and on-the-job training. Still, if you’re aiming for an “engineer” position, these are all ways to get to it.
Computer science jobs are maybe even more solitary than engineering jobs. Whether you’re a computer programmer, a web developer, or an IT technician at a large company, you can be sure that most of your days will be fairly quiet.
Still, having lived with a computer programmer for several years, I can also say that the subject of silence comes down to personal preference. My roommate went through noise phases, listening to music when his job was going well, and reverting to dead silence when he needed focus. But then again, all of these jobs can be loud if you crank up the speaker volume.
Freelance designers can technically fall into the general category of private sector professions. However, having already talked about those jobs, I want to mention several others that wouldn’t fit into any other category.
First, I want to talk about private security companies. If you want to work in silence, I recommend sticking to the night shift. Furthermore, some security companies offer cleaning services as well, which can also be fairly quiet, especially for the people who do their work at night. And best of all, that leaves you with a fair amount of daylight before you have to go to work.
As another aside, you can also be a private chef. They get a fair amount of quiet time, as does the rest of the staff on a private estate.
I’ve already mentioned that some engineers rely on the same principles natural scientists use. However, it’s important to note that the people who work exclusively as scientists usually work in quiet environments as well.
If you love doing research and experimenting in a particular scientific field, you’ll probably be left to your own devices while you work. Mathematicians, physicists, astronomers, chemists, and many other scientists can do their job without seeing another person for weeks at a time.
While I was researching jobs with quiet work environments, I realized that solitary work is often silent. Or, at the very least, it’s as silent as the worker wants it to be. What came to mind instantly is transportation — specifically long-haul truckers, although I suppose private drivers can also expect silence on the road.
However, the life of an interstate driver isn’t precisely what most people would dream of. They’re away from their homes for long stretches of time, so they’re often either lonely or at least bored. Still, you can always eliminate the boredom with music or even audio books. Just make sure that you’re keeping the volume below the legal limit.
On Working in Quiet Environments
When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time thinking about my future job. I had no particular plans, but I had plenty of interests, so I could imagine myself doing all sorts of things. However, even as a kid, I was pretty sensitive to noise. So I was already hoping to find a job that would allow me to do my work in relative silence. As luck would have it, I stumbled into a career of helping other people achieve the quiet I, myself, was looking for.
Today, I hope I’ve managed to point you towards some professional options as well. Whether you have a high level of education or no education at all, any of the jobs I mentioned will allow you to work in peace, if that’s what you want. So which of them did you find particularly inspiring?