Career Expert Warns Workers With ‘Golden Retriever’ Personalities That ‘Black Cats’ Are Much More Successful

"Enter the black cat era of your career."

Group of employees looking at paperwork fizkes / Shutterstock

We’ve heard of the golden retriever boyfriend, that guy who’s sweet, relaxed, and just happy to be hanging around you. However, this personality type can also present itself outside of romantic relationships, crossing over into professional territory.

A career expert warned workers with ‘golden retriever’ personalities that ‘black cats’ are much more successful. 

According to her TikTok bio, Jennifer Brick is “your career bestie” who offers advice on how to “get over your toxic career.” She breaks down different aspects of corporate life to help people put their best selves forward and get the most out of their jobs while learning how to play the game.


According to Brick, there’s a better way to get ahead than being a happy-go-lucky, committed golden retriever type — and it starts with channeling your inner black cat.

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“You need to become the black cat at work instead of the golden retriever,” Brick advised.

“The black cat is the person that is just going to be successful,” she explained. “They don’t need to pursue opportunities because opportunities are being given to them, [and] are being created for them. It happens with ease, and it is because they know, deep down, that they deserve it, and they radiate that energy.”

Knowing your own worth starts with taking account of your values and believing in yourself. It’s an energy that radiates outward, leading everyone around you to wonder how you’ve cultivated such an unbothered personality brimming with effortless self-assurance.

A black cat worker is “extremely confident in themselves,” Brick said, describing one of the many positive attributes of our beloved feline friends. 


Confident black cat woman at work fizkes / Shutterstock

“The black cat is never looking for others’ attention,” she continued. “It’s never seeking others’ approval.” A black cat “doesn’t want anyone to like them … And that is exactly why people are so drawn toward the black cat.”

In contrast, a golden retriever ‘is constantly chasing after being liked and taking on extra work and doing all the things to prove themselves.’

The golden retriever worker might lean more towards people-pleasing behavior, even though it can hold negative consequences, including not knowing how to set firm boundaries, which can often lead to burnout at work.

@yourtango Is anything ever really THAT urgent at a corporate job? #corporate #worktok #burnout #40hourworkweek #employee #genz ♬ original sound - YourTango

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Instead of chasing its tail looking for approval, the black cat is “leaning back and they are paying attention to the things that matter, the things that are going to advance them in their career.”

She also shared that the black cat doesn’t shy away from office politics, either. 


They’re not afraid to “own their confidence and step into their full potential,” she concluded, before asking her followers who they would rather be.

Confident black cat worker leading a meeting fizkes / Shutterstock

People seemed split down the middle in terms of owning their black cat era versus maintaining their status as golden retrievers.


One person made the astute observation that Brick’s pet-based personality theory overlooks certain aspects of access and privilege in the workplace, saying, “I think there’s an equity aspect you’re missing about who’s given opportunities.”

Our work relationships are more important than we often give them credit for. All people should be given the right to show up as their full selves, yet not everyone gets that chance. 

Still, each workplace relies on a certain internal sense of balance to stay afloat: For every successful, nonchalant black cat, there’s a hard-working golden retriever going above and beyond to make a difference and show up as their best selves, too. 


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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture and all things to do with the entertainment industry.