What your pet says about your career

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Job searches can eventually feel endless and thankless. Just reading news about job searches and the economy is enough to bring down your mood. Sometimes it’s nice to have a fun distraction, such as the basket of adorable kittens pictured to the left.

Look a them! Unless you have allergies, you can’t help but fall in love with them.

To help lighten the often sullen mood of workplace news, a recent CareerBuilder survey asked workers what pets they have at home, how much they earn, and what their level of job satisfaction is. Here’s what the survey found:

  • Dog owners are more likely to have a senior management position (think CEO, CFO, or VP)
  • Workers who own snakes or reptiles are the most likely group to earn six-figure salaries
  • Workers who keep birds report the most job satisfaction

Here are the other correlations found between pet owners and their occupations:

Bird owners: Advertising positions, sales representatives, construction workers, administrative professionals

Cat owners: Physicians, real estate agents, science and medical lab technicians, machine operators, personal caretakers

Dog owners: Professors, nurses, IT professionals, military professionals, entertainers

Fish owners: HR, financial professionals, hotel and leisure workers, farming, fishing and forestry professionals, transportation workers

Snake and reptile owners: Engineers, social workers, marketing and PR professionals, editors, writers, police officers

Does this sound right to you? Does your four-legged (or gilled or cold-blooded) friend match up with your work history?

106 Comments
  1. That is great, I have 3 cats, and a ferret. I have had cats most of my life. I worked almost 20 years in the retail/management areas. The last 5 years I have been a fulltime caregiver for my mother, who passed away this August.

    • Well, Jatin, there are exceptions to every rule, and no survey or personality profile is a foolproof indication. So, since you aren’t big on reptiles as pets, what would you prefer? I once worked with an electrical engineering student who preferred cats.

  2. I have 2 cats and have had both cats and dogs. I took care of my husband for the last 2 years of his life. I have had fun jobs, like at McDonald’s, but I really enjoy medicine. I used to be a medical sect., but had to quit when my mother moved up here with us. Mom was a full time job. I was able to interpret the medical jargon for her, and that was good. I did the same for my husband. But I always wanted to be a doctor.

      • I have a horse too and I’ve had 3 different careers. Horse people are extra special, but it does make one wonder. Maybe we need to do a survey for horse owners!

        • My pets include: Two goldfsh, one cat, one dog, one pony, one horse, two sons and one husband.
          I have worked in food service, secretarial, customer service (retail), veterinary assistant, farm supply clerk and as a tutor in English and Biology.
          I guess that having horses makes one more than a little diversified. However, I suppose they weren’t included because horses are classified as livestock, not pets.
          Funny, as both of mine are pasture ornaments since the pony is too small to ride and my 30-year-old horse has arthritis and is unsound for riding.

    • I was wondering about us horse owners too. I have 3 horses and 2 cats. Our 2 elderly dogs passed away almost 2 years ago. All the animals here are rescues except one of the horses. I’m currently unemployed and taking care of my elderly in-laws.

      • Mike from #6 above, Excellent Answer! Sometimes we just need a little fun in our lives. I personally get tired of the pessimistic responses to articles, especially the light-hearted articles that make you chuckle just a little. Who cares if they’re accurate or not, if they break up your day and give you a little laugh, they’ve served their purpose.

  3. Okay well I never have fit the mold. For the last 15 years I have had a cat. I am an Engineer and a Service Veteran. I have never even once figured a snake as a pet but was a dog owner when I was a kid. I guess that is why I have one of the best TRAINED cats around. He comes when I snap my fingers.

  4. I have three cats and I work in market research during the day (HATE IT) and in theatre at night (LOVE IT). I find it incredibly interesting that most entertainers own dogs, given the higher level of care required and the amount of time you spend away from home.

    • I guess you have to become a professor. I have cats. The survey would explain why I’m changing career path from admin to teaching.

  5. I have dogs, cats and birds. My favorite are dogs. I’m currently a professional dog trainer and run a retail website selling dog products. I was in the military for 18 years and IT for 14 so I guess I did fit the bill.

  6. I have two dogs, two cats, and two snakes, and loaned one of my pastures to three horses for a while. My cats are obedience and toilet trained. Rats make better pets than gerbils or hamsters or other small animals.

    I manage projects, teach and create training products, do graphic design work, and write tech manuals among other things, and I am the president of my company. I am completing my BS in EE, and I am a pyrotechnician for fun.

    This is a cute article; that and the comments made me smile.

  7. Interesting article as I have had dogs but currently have a Cockatoo. Interesting that people with pet birds tend to be Administrative Professionals, because I am trying to find a position in Administration. Have had previous experience.

  8. I am in HR and have had fish, cats and dogs. I only owned fish because my parents thought it was a good pet for a child. My husband who is an engineer would never own a snake/reptile. We have two dogs.

  9. This article gave me a chuckle! I have 4 cats that have a great apartment,(I’m the maid) and I have the most experience in machine operator! >^..^<

    • Funny thing, Lisa, there is a saying: Dogs have masters. Cats have staff. Have to count horses in among those animals that have staff. A few years ago, Ihad JUST finished cleaning my horse’s stall when he walked in, looked around, dropped a pile and looked at me as if to say “I know you’re the maid, there’s you one more.” Then, he nonchalantly walked back out into pasture and went back to grazing, the old coot!

  10. I am currently unemployed but I am on the verge of working an externship in order to obtain my associate degree in Health Science. I have also worked in warehouse, retail, and foodservice. I currently have six parakeets and one lovebird and one dog. About a year ago, I had 24 birds, 2 guinea pigs, a dog and a hamster. I guess that could qualify for a variety of jobs or a patient at a mental clinic.

    • I am an unemployed Architectural Draftsman. I have an eleven year old Australian Shepherd. (I tried breeding them until one of the puppies developed glacoma.) I also have a small pond on my porch with 5 goldfish. I just got two half grown kittens and I have things ready for goats. I used to raise sheep and also had a few goats. I have had dogs most of my life. I have also had cats about half of the time. I don’t like cats in the house because they get on the kitchen counter. I have had parakeets, finches, rabbits, and hampsters, but not all at the same time. As a child I had turtles. I have also had chickens and geese. I hope to get chickens and geese again. I also hope to get a house rabbit in the spring. I want parakeets again and I would love a canary.

  11. I have at home two cats and Macaw bird. I am involved in Insurance business, marketing , advertisement, publishing, but never had 6 figurs income>>>>wow, I would like to…

  12. 3 cats, 1 dog, 1 Betta fish, 1 Quaker Parrot, 2 lop-earred rabbits
    1 Bachelor’s Degree 1 Associate Degree both from state universities with a 3.97-4.0 GPA
    1 recruiter

    NO JOB and none on the horizon. Sounds like your author didn’t speak to many people. I know more unemployed people with pets and without pets. The article makes no sense, there is no correlation.

    • It was a “fun” survey, not a scientifically based survey to be published. And look at all the stir it produced! Animals and food seem to always get people’s attention (“doughnuts at the meeting? I’ll be there!”)

  13. I really thought I’d open up and see job listings, not some kind of nonsense about animals and jobs. I do not have an animal, don’t want one, and don’t want you sending me some rubbish about about animals again.

    • I agree with you, Joan. I don’t have pets either. Seems like most of the articles written on here and Monster have no real value. Just supposed experts trying to tell you what worked years ago, not today. I don’t give them much credence.

      • With negative attitudes you wont get a job… Lighten up and see the good and fun in life and a job will come much faster. Its not easy I know but its easier to see in the light than the dark.

        • Poor souls!! Animals can bring a lot of unconditional love to you when you really need it. You should not post to this if you find it so offensive! Give the people that DO want to share a break!!

  14. Okay, I consider these findings rather amusing not to mention incorrect because a vast majority of artists, writers, and editors I know, own cats – not reptiles.

    The bird owners in the same group are IT people, non profit workers and a graphic artists.

    The dog people rocket scientist, cartoonist & editors. Only one nurse.

    I think this study has very little to do with reality or else they handpicked their participants to prove what they wanted.

  15. This is the most ridiculous article I have ever read. Completely untrue and unrelated to reality.My father is an engineer and he does no own reptiles. He owns fish and none of these careers is even remotely related to his field “HR, financial professionals, hotel and leisure workers, farming, fishing and forestry professionals, transportation workers”

    My husband like birds and he is in the hospitality industry, again, completely unrelated.

    My mom does not like to have pets and she is a Chiropractor.

    And I like dogs and again, completely unrelated “Professors, nurses, IT professionals, military professionals, entertainers” I am in hotel management.

    Anyone that takes this article seriously is just silly and not grounded with reality.

    • Amy, all this article is saying is that if you own one of these animals, you are more likely to be in this profession, not that it’s true in every case. Correlation is different from cause and effect. You obviously didn’t read nor did you understand the point of the article.

  16. I have an 11yr old Iguana that I have owned since he was a ‘hatch-ling’: he is now 5 feet long!! I’m still reaching for the six figure income, hearing that my pet is in that group of owners is inspiring!:)

  17. I find it interesting that snake and reptile owners are likely to be editors or writers.

    I’m an editor/writer who’s had ten pet rats over the years, the animals that get fed to snakes. (For everyone out there who owns snakes, it’s best to feed them humanely euthanized rats. A frightened live rat will shred reptile skin in a flash, and it’s difficult to stitch that stuff back together again.)

    At the moment I have two basset hounds. I’m not an entertainer by any stretch of the imagination, but they sure are!

    • With the rest of us Looking and working at finding a job… In the meantime we have a friend who doesnt critizes or say what are you gonna do now… they just love on us and help keep our stress levels down…

  18. I am a R&D and quality profesional working in the Appliance and Automotive industries for 20 years. We have 3 birds and a Dog, all of which are rescues.

    • Wow, Jim, I think you are in a category by yourself. When I took all those career tests, one of the careers that kept coming up for me was undertaker. Instead, I became a hospice chaplain. I have two cats, and at one time I had 39 cats. I’ve also had dogs and birds, and a few short-lived goldfish. Cats are low maintenance and high entertainment, I have found. And they keep my feet warm at night.

    • Jim, I think it makes you an interesting person to get to know! I love wolves and other woodland critters. Currently, I have four cats and one dog, all rescues, and I’m a lab tech, hehe.

  19. OK , That was interesting. I have 3 mini horses, 1 mini donkey, 2 dogs 2 cats 2 peacocks, 2 chickens and 5 pot belly pig. Yep, like a lot of you unemployed since Oct Am in Human Resources I guess I like everyone as you can tell from my assortment . The Ark would of been a great place to work lol

    • I have raised all sorts of animals….everything from a opposum, squirrels, dogs, cats, horses, ponies, …..I guess I am with you. I would enjoy the ARK….but then again, I am a teacher. Close….lots of different personalities. ….but sweet.

  20. What did the critters in our family say about my job?

    Doodah (Balinese/Maine Coon) “Get a new job with more milk and shrimp perks.”

    Duncan (Bearded Collie) “Win the lottery, let’s bounce all day, and ignore cats!”

    Harry (Maine Coon) “I survived living in Omak, WA (check out what Omak winter weather is like!) through the worst part of winter as a stray. Got my tail caught in a door, and later part was amputated. Was discarded when I nipped because I appreciated the love. All the “peoples” here accept me and make feel welcome (although Duncan doesn’t like cuddling). I’m JUST grateful. Plus I’m allowed to “sing” for my meals.

    So, three “rescued” critters. And, I love and enjoy each of them.

    And my spouse, too.

    • David, with the exception of the fish, all of our animals were foundlings or rescues, so I suppose that means people who have primarily rescued pets would work out well in fields requiring understanding and compassion. Maybe I should go for a degree in Social Work…

  21. I think that this is interesting and funny, except for the few grouchy people who do not like animals. They sure are missing something. Cats can be ‘quite a trip. I had hoped to train my cat, instead he is training me, what he likes and doesn’t like. He is special and I love him dearly. I also have a ferret. We had two of them a male and female. The female died, but she sure was funny. She was just like a human female because she was the ‘boss’ and she would run and jump over the male and do all kinds of funny things. Sure do miss her.

    • The reason the grouchy people are grouchy is probably because they have no animals. I don’t know about you, but I have never trusted anyone who doesn’t like animals and/or children. I have always had animals in my life; dogs, cats, birds, rats (my stepson introduced me to them)and a hamster that I found outside my back door. Each was special in his or her own way and added joy to my life, especially when things weren’t going well, like now. Yes, I am still looking for a job and some days I cry. But through it all, I am comforted by not only my human family, but my animal family as well. With two adult cats and a beautiful orange kitten, that my son and I rescued when the kitten was just 2 days old, I feel truly blessed. They will all hold me together until, and after I get a new job. I wish all of you well in your job searches…. yes, even the grouchy ones!

      • They forgot the science study that animals lower stress. Reason some serivce animals are for anxiety and go vist the sick and nursing homes.. Life is Enough to make anyone grumpy when you dont have an animal to love you..

  22. Lighten up people. The survey wasn’t meant to be scientific or to be definitive for everyone. As to being upset at getting this article via email. It is one of many in the email and you don’t have to open it if you aren’t interested. The title itself is clear enough as to the subject.

  23. This whole thing started out wth a very clear explanation that this was just an attempt to lighten the mood. I read that and continued, because it was interesting and my mood could use lightening – been looking for a job since August.

    Some people seem to have read it simply so they could get upset and send in a mean spirited response. I would suggest that those people get a cat or a dog, but they would probably kick it – so better that they do not.

    We have six dogs, one cat, one cockatiel and five chickens and I have hit the 100k mark a couple of times in the past, and plan to again.

    • Best of luck in your search, Barry. I’ve been looking for two years and have come to the conclusion that there are very few jobs in my area – and so many applicants for those that I get lost in the shuffle.

  24. Maybe this survey can help me convince my husband I dont have a job because a cat, 1 dog, 2 horses, 1 grandson, (oops forgot he isn’t a pet but just as much love and fun) isn’t enough I need a few more… unemployed since feb of 09

  25. Quite funny…..What is the result of someone who had had all pets on the list?
    Currently one dog, 2 cats, 2 tutles and fish. Past pets included 1 bird, 1 gerbil, rats, cats, dogs, and a snake…..

  26. I have worked for nearly 25 years in the construction business and never had a dog or cat just fish. Now I am in the criminal justice field and still own fish. This goes to show that this is not completely right or close.

  27. Hi!! It’s fun reading your survey and responces. I really dont own a pet. I had fish in the past but had lost them because my husband over fed them, while I was out of town caring for my sick mother. My profession is Social Worker. I might own a dog one day but I will have to build a dog house first. You see I am a West Indian and dogs are not allowed in my bed. I love the comments.

    • Dogs aren’t allowed in my bed, either, Eda. It’s a sainted fact that you can bathe a dog all you want, but 2 hours later, they smell like dogs again.

  28. The stupidest identification of what kind of jobs are correlated for certain pet owners. Am cat person and and there is absolutely no correlation to field of interest in employment description list at all – you’ve got to be kidding! Just another ridiculous list.

    • Anyone who has the time and finances to rescue a pet, PLEASE DO SO and those who think this is a ridiculous survey, “lighten up”, count your blessings, pray for others that are out of work and pray for yourself to lose the bad attitude. There is nothing wrong with a little distraction from the weary days of unemployment. EVERYONE NEEDS A LAUGH NOW AND THEN, EVEN YOU……….

  29. To Jim, the mortician with a pack of wolves, a skunk, and a squirrel: that means you might be a redneck, but you should be a taxidermist!

    • Sorry to have to say this, Patricia, but that was in pretty poor taste. All the animals mentioned look a lot better in motion just doing their thing than they do dead.

  30. I have 2 horses, a dog, and no time do even do my own chores. I’m a nurse. I’m wondering about this study and how they find animals relevant to positions….? perhaps relevant to personality?

    • I think you are correct. The pet is more likely to fit personality. In addition, those who have managed to fit personality with carreers and pet might be able to enjoy both more? Just a theory……..

    • I’m with Carrie on this one – I think one’s choice of pet (or one’s pet’s choice of human – ALL of my non-fish animals have picked ME, not the other way ’round) says more about personality than profession.

  31. Well the comments are funny and wish all of you that are out of work with pets the best finding a new job. To those working and still have time for your pets is wonderful. For those of you that really can’t see the fun in this survey and have no pets and are working – count your blessings and rescue a pet to make you a happier person in life! I have been out of work since May (Exec Admin Asst-12 yrs)and no job in site. I have a beautiful 5 month old granddaughter that I am spending time with along with 8 cats and 3 dogs, all that are rescues. This is a full-time position but does not pay in cash but pays in lots of love giving my time to the ones I love the most…

    • Survey says I should like fish, since I am an accountant. Guess I really missed the boat because I love my 4 cats (all ages) and a dog (all rescues). They entertain each other and smother me with love when I am home.

  32. Well, I have to say that I like most animals. I wouldn’t say no to a smaller snake, such as a Ball Python, as a pet, but I don’t want a lizard. Absolutely no insects or arachnids as pets for me. For me, a pet can have anywhere from zero to four legs, but more than four is just too many.
    I like dogs. I like guinea pigs, rabbits and gerbils. Not too fond of hamsters, as I have a fair number of scars on my fingers from them biting me when I was a kid and had upwards of 100 of them. Not fond of rats, either.
    Birds are pretty, but too noisy and too high-maintenance for me.
    I LOVE horses and cats. I mentioned high maintenance above, and horses certainly can be that, but for me, it’s a labor of love.
    I love wolves, but do not consider wolves as pets, since they simply aren’t meant to be pets – they are wild and should stay that way.
    I suppose, over all, that I am a horse and cat person, not necessarily in that order.

  33. 100% accurate! I am a computer programmer and the adoptive parent of two beautiful rescue dogs! I love my mutts as much as I love my job! <3

  34. I am an ecologist with 3 cats who lives with my truck driver husband, his dog and our 4 horses. Can you tell I’m not a dog person? Even though Maggie is a sweet, well mannered rescue who is a pleasure to have around, I just find dogs to be too needy. The horses, though are another matter — a lot of work and horribly expensive to buy and keep but ultimately so rewarding that it’s worth it. There’s nothing like the partnership between a woman and her horse!

  35. this article is spot on. i am unemployed and i have no pets. i had many when i was employed, but since loosing my job, i had to eat them.

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