Dogs Rule. Snakes Earn. Fish Go Into HR

I always suspected there was something more than coincidence that Catbert, the “evil” head of HR where Dilbert works, is a feline. Having cohabited with cats over the years, I wondered if Scott Adams was making some sort of metaphoric allusion.

Now, CareerBuilder says Adams would have been closer to the truth if he had used a fish.

The company’s weekly survey of work-world issues turned its attention to pet ownership, discovering that fish owners were likely to hold jobs in human resources, or in a few other areas, including finance, transportation, and hospitality.

Cat owners, says CareerBuilder, are more likely to work as physicians, real estate agents, science/medical lab technicians, machine operators, and personal caretakers.

Dog owners are more likely to be in the C-suite. And snake owners more likely to earn six-figures. (Does owning both improve your chances of being a very highly paid executive? CareerBuilder doesn’t say.) Snake owners are more likely to be editors and writers, which belies the income finding, although I completely understand the ownership connection. For editors.

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But fish owners as human resource professionals? I struggled with that one, until I took a step back and looked at this as a food chain issue. Now stay with me here.

Dogs chase cats, cats eat fish. HR professionals are forever seeking a seat at the table. Alas, the closest they get to the table is to be served as one of the courses. The few who do get to sit there are most certainly not the innocent goldfish who populate home aquariums. (Pet store goldfish can be bought in bulk. When they are, they’re called “feeders.”)

There you have it. Dogs are at the top of this little food chain. Fish at the bottom. And cats? Right there in the middle, drawing your blood, running the tests, delivering the news that your house is underwater, and being the caretaker that sucks your breath when you’re too weak to resist.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


3 Comments on “Dogs Rule. Snakes Earn. Fish Go Into HR

  1. Hi John,

    Interesting an(im)alogies. My experience is somewhat different:

    3PRs: sharks, snakes, leeches, lampreys, tapeworms
    Internal/Contract Recruiters (like me): sloths, donkeys, bats (blind), turkeys
    HR: sheep, cattle, parrots, ostriches
    Hiring Managers: weasels, chameleons, scorpions
    Candidates: rats, roaches, slugs, (occasionally) silk worms

    Now, I want to let you know that I don’t think that most of the people in *these categories are like the animals I’ve listed- that would be both unkind and unfair.
    Many are in fact far more unpleasant than these critters…..


    Happy Friday, Folks!

    Keith “Who Really Likes Recruiting Though You’d Never Believe It” Halperin

    *If there are other folks in our profession that I haven’t demeaned, please let me know.

  2. Fish and HR I feel doesn’t make sense. You get a fish because it is an easy pet to take care of. You feed it once a day and maybe look at it for a couple minutes. An HR professional wants to help and support people, well good HR professionals, so their personality would be that of a dog-lover. Just a thought.

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