The Best Animal Lover Jobs . . . for Introverts, Independent Spirits, & Idea People

By Paula Fitzsimmons

I love alone time. Having the personal space and time to devour a good book, think, create, and daydream is part of who I am. According to research, including that performed by the mother-daughter team of Katharine Briggs & Isabel Briggs Myers – creators of the MBTI® personality inventory – my temperament leans towards the introverted side.

Introverts tend to be independent spirits. We’d rather be – and are often more productive when – working solo or in smaller groups . . .this is when we’re in our element.

This isn’t a data-backed statement, but I suspect the animal welfare community, as a whole, gravitates to the indie side.

This is not to say you can’t still excel at being a veterinarian (yes, being a vet requires excellent people skills), animal adoption specialist, or public relations specialist if you’re an introvert – because you certainly can if those are the goals you want to pursue.

But as a fellow introvert, I have a sense you may find yourself gravitating towards one of the following professions. While reading through this list, keep in mind that many of these positions can be mixed and matched. For instance, grantwriting consultant with article writer; blogger with graphic designer; or ecommerce store owner with e-book writer.

Writers, Authors, and Journalists

Writing is primarily a solo activity. It requires imagination and inquisitiveness, the ability to generate ideas (lots of them), and analyze data – activities that as an introvert, you may very well enjoy.

The writing field is pretty broad and involves different levels of interpersonal communication, but here are some niches for you to consider. You may also want to read my article “Writer, Author . . . Animal Lover” for more inspiration and resources.

• Create & maintain your own blog on an animal-related or environmental topic. Can you add a fresh spin to a topic . . .whether it focuses on animal welfare, conservation, or cruelty-free products?

• Write articles & blog posts for online &  print publications. Think conservation & companion animal-related magazines, and even mainstream publications that have a “pets” section.

• Write grant proposals for nonprofits.

• Self-publish a book or e-book. Technology has made this option much more feasible and economical.

• Write college textbook supplement. You’ll need at least a Bachelor’s degree to pursue this. John Soares of Productive Writers has experience in this very niche.

Are you an introvert or extrovert? If you’re interested in learning more about this topic . . .

• The Myers & Briggs Foundation website contains reliable resources & information, including this questionnaire.

• Excellent books have been written on personality typing in relationship to careers, as well as introversion. A few of my favorites include Quiet, Do What You, The Introvert Advantage, and Introvert Power. There are many good books on these topics, too.

Artists, Creators, and Inventors

An artist’s ideas and visions are created internally – not by group consensus. A few ideas you can pursue with your own talents.

• Maintain & design websites for nonprofits, veterinary offices, and pet supply companies.

• Create animal-themed fashions & accessories. Do online searches for terms like “cruelty-free fashion” for examples.

• License your art. Some companies will purchase a license giving them rights to use an artist’s work on their own products. You may have seen kitchen towels, totes, and tee shirts sporting animal or nature-themed designs. One example is Whole Foods Market, who has commissioned work from Etsy artists for use on their reusable grocery bags.

• Invent. What can you create to make the world a better place for animals and the planet?

Animal Rescue or Sanctuary Caregivers

Look closely at job descriptions for animal rescue and sanctuary caregivers, because they can vary. Although you’ll be spending a lot of time near animals, you may also have to interact with volunteers and the public – so be mindful of the job description. If you don’t mind working an overnight shift, some of this may be lessened.

Small Ecommerce Store Owners

This can be a tough business to maintain, simply because of the vast competition. If you have ten stores selling the same product online, there’s bound to be price wars – and that can lead to profit losses. But if there’s something unique you can create or sell that fills a special need, it may be something to consider.

Wildlife Biologists

The science field attracts a lot of introverted types. And that makes sense, because it’s a discipline requiring a great deal of critical thought, idea formation, and yes, even creativity. These are activities introverts tend to enjoy.

As a wildlife biologist you have an opportunity to make a difference for animals and their habitats. Several animal welfare nonprofits, for instance, need solid data in order to make prudent decisions and create policy.

While nobody fits neatly into any one category, understanding your own personality type and whether it leans towards introversion or extroversion, can be useful in determining what type of career or job you choose. If you’re more of an independent type, would you be content having a job that requires a lot of face time with other people? Knowing yourself can be incredibly helpful not only in life, but also in your choice of an animal welfare career or job.

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6 Comments

  1. Dear Paula,

    Thank you so much for your website – it is an excellent resource for animal lovers! I definitely fit into the category of “introvert, independent spirit and ideas person” and have decided (after many years of being unhappy in the “wrong” job) that I should attempt to pursue my dual passions for animals and writing.

    My ideas revolve around researching and writing about animal welfare, wildlife and environment as a way of advocating and raising awareness about important issues. It would be good to have the option of being able to do this either within an animal/environmental protection NGO or as a freelance writer/journalist. At present, I am stuck as to which study path would be best to lead me towards this dream.

    Do you think it is best to focus on learning about writing (eg. a degree in journalism) or about animals/environment (eg. a degree in animal behaviour)? Or do you think it is necessary to have both (eg. a degree combining journalism or creative writing plus a minor in biology)? If you have time, would you mind giving me your expert advice as I’m sure you know far more about this field than I do? Any suggestions would be so appreciated! Thank you.

    • Animal Jobs Digest |

      Hi Green Pixie,

      Thanks for writing and for the kudos on the website. I’m happy to tell you what I know, but I also urge you to seek out feedback from other professionals in the field.

      There isn’t one path to becoming an animal welfare or environmental writer. For example, I took Journalism & Comm courses in colleges, but my Bachelor of Science degree is in the natural sciences. With freelancing, my experience, as well as that of fellow freelancers, is that a degree doesn’t carry a huge amount of weight. Having a degree has certainly helped, but clients seem to be more interested in a writer’s portfolio and writing skills.

      It’s different with staff writing positions. Most animal and conservation nonprofits & magazines hiring for editorial-type positions are typically asking for a degree in Journalism, Communications, English, or Marketing. But of course, this depends on the publication or employer.

      Many of the editorial jobs posted on Animal Jobs Digest encompass a lot of writing, but other roles as well, including editor, social media guru, and so on. For instance, earlier this year Alley Cat Allies was looking for an Editor. The job involved writing website articles, blog posts, newsletters, press releases, etc.; as well as editing and management roles. The requirement for this job was a BA in Communications, Public Relations, Journalism, or a related field.

      Woodstock Farm Sanctuary was hiring a Marketing & Communications Manager; they were asking for a four-year degree in a related field or applicable experience.

      I’d suggest checking out ads from different organizations and / or editorial requirements from publications you’d like to write for to get a feel for what they’re looking for. Try extending your search to positions that incorporate a lot of writing, such as Editor, Social Media Coordinator, and Communications Director. Or you may want to simply contact various organizations and ask them for their input.

      Another career to consider is that of Grantwriter – there is currently a lot of need for skilled & experienced fundraising professionals.

      A great site for researching environmental writing jobs is the Society of Environmental Journalists. Their membership consists of heavy-hitters in the environmental journalism field.

      I hope this helps.

      All the best. : )

      –Paula Fitzsimmons

      • Thank you so much, Paula. 🙂

        That is all really helpful information. I’ve never even heard of the Society of Environmental Journalists before so I’ll definitely look it up.

        From the jobs you’ve mentioned, it sounds like it might be a good idea to have a big focus on journalism/comm’s/writing but I’ll definitely also try to talk to or email people working in this field.

        I’m currently looking into degrees where I can possibly incorporate both science and writing courses (though options are somewhat limited where I live!).

        Being a grantwriter sounds very interesting… do you happen to know if journalism/comm’s provides the best background for this?

        Thank you so much again!

  2. Hi Paula,
    Sorry about the late reply but thank you so much for that information. Science communication has been suggested to me before so I should definitely investigate that option.
    I so appreciate your time and help! 🙂

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