Who We Are at Work: Six Types of Employee Attitudes

By Oechsle, Sixtus | Workforce, November 1998 | Go to article overview

Who We Are at Work: Six Types of Employee Attitudes


Oechsle, Sixtus, Workforce


Shell Oil Co. hired a top survey research firm to study 1,123 Americans this summer on their attitudes about work. The results showed that people generally fit into one of six categories:

Fulfillment Seekers

Do you want to make the world a better place? You're probably a Fulfillment Seeker. A large majority of Fulfillment Seekers believe a good job is one that "allows me to use my talents and make a difference," rather than one that provides a good income and benefits. Most say they have a career as opposed to a job, and a substantial majority say they are team players rather than leaders.

Fulfillment Seekers are mostly white, married and satisfied with their jobs. You'll find these teachers, nurses and public defenders in a variety of "rooms": classrooms, emergency rooms and courtrooms.

High Achievers

To pass muster as a High Achiever, plan on laying out a career path; a large majority of achievers say they have followed a career plan since a young age.

Their planning apparently pays off-The High Achievers group is the highest income group, with nearly a quarter earning more than $75,000, and the group with the highest educational achievement. Most are leaders who take initiative, and a majority hold managerial positions and are male. Look for these lawyers, surgeons and architects in operating rooms and law offices.

Clock Punchers

Put on a happy face? Forget about it. Clock Punchers are the least satisfied of any group surveyed, with nearly all of them saying they have a job rather than a career. An overwhelming majority say they ended up in their jobs largely by chance, and nearly threequarters say they would make different career choices if they could do it all over again. Clock Punchers are predominately female, have the lowest household income (35 percent below $30,000) and are the least educatedhalf have a high school diploma or less, and fewer than 1 in 5 has earned a fouryear college degree. These cashiers, waitresses and hospital orderlies aren't happy campers.

Risk Takers

Risk Takers have something in common with bank robbers: They both go where the money is. …

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