CareerBuilder Survey: Dogs Rule, Snakes Earn, and Fish Go Into HR

Catbert is the Evil HR Director in Scott Adams' comic strip "Dilbert."
Catbert is the Evil HR Director in Scott Adams' comic strip "Dilbert."

Catbert, the “evil” head of HR at the business where famous comic strip character Dilbert works, is a feline. Having cohabited with cats over the years, I wondered if cartoonist and Dilbert creator Scott Adams was making some sort of metaphoric allusion with that.

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

CareerBuilder’s weekly survey of work-world issues turned its attention this week 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 also 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 that 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 former editor of and contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor before transitioning to digital media. In 1994, he launched one of the  first newspaper sites. Before joining ERE Media , 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 where he developed and managed a team of developers, content producers and digital advertising and marketing specialists.

Today, John is a contract writer producing whitepapers, blog posts, thought leadership articles and marketing content and managing  social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing.His website is

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.