What Your Favorite Donut Says About Your Personality at the Office

In honor of National Cream Filled Donut Day today, we’re going to have a serious discussion about donuts in the workplace. In your author’s opinion, part of the downfall of Western Civilization can be directly linked to the health kick that decided an occasional donut was blasphemous. Sure, you shouldn’t down an entire dozen donuts … unless you have a whole weekend to sleep off the sugar headache, of course. But, making you feel guilty about enjoying a delicious deep-fried and glazed slice of heaven is just wrong.

Now, before my editor goes nuts and comes looking for me wanting to know what this has to do with work problems, we’re going to scientifically* look at how your choice of donut can tell a lot about your personality at work. Are you someone who thrives on change, or do you prefer constancy? Do you play it safe, or are you always thinking outside the (donut) box?

Below, we’ll look at a baker’s dozen of the most popular donuts and what your favorite donut says about your personality:

1. The Maple Bar

One look at a maple bar, and you’re instantly transported back to your childhood. When you were a kid, you loved maple bars because a) you didn’t care for chocolate longjohns, and b) other than a bear claw, which was always for the adults, it was usually the biggest donut you could get. As an adult employee, you might be a little bit resistant to big changes at work. That’s because you tend to be a sentimental traditionalist with a very long memory. “Why fix things that aren’t broken?” is your mantra on the job. Like Christopher Walken, you’ve got a food fever, and the only prescription is more maple bar. Slap a piece of crispy bacon on that puppy and you’ve died and gone to heaven.

2. The French Cruller

Favored by engineers and art history majors, the french cruller is a wonder of architecture. Its perfect symmetry almost makes it too pretty to eat. Almost. If you prefer crullers, you’re obviously a very deliberate, detail-oriented person, and often, an underestimated power behind the throne visionary. In other words, you’re the Tyrion Lannister of your organization and you prefer the donut that most resembles a crown.

3. The Powdered Sugar

No matter how carefully you nibble at it, you cannot eat this donut without making a mess. But darn it … it’s totally worth it, right? The PS eater doesn’t mind getting his or her hands dirty and are often the leading problem-solver on any work team. Your co-workers wait to look and see how you attack a problem or a project before they make their move. But first, you have to wipe up all the powdered sugar on your desk and—if you’re a guy—on the front of your navy blue shirt.

4. The Plain Cake

Often derided as the most boring of donuts, the plain cake actually is the perfect storm of form over function. You just want a donut with no fuss. Frosting and cute designs are for others, because you’re too busy to wait for the “Hot Donuts Now” neon sign to go on. You’re deceptively smart because you know that lone plain cake donut will still be sitting in the box eight hours from now, untouched by your peers, so you can take your time getting it. On the job, you like things simple and you look for the quickest route between you and the solution to problems. You’re too busy to be boring. Besides, unlike the powdered sugar freak, you like keeping your hands, nose and clothing clean.

5. The Glazed Cake

You believe the plain cake donut is edible, but boring. You enjoy the plain cake consistency, but for you, the glaze is the game changer. You’re a sentimental traditionalist, but with an edge to your personality. You’re the charcoal-grey suit with sensible shoes person that wears shocking red silk underwear underneath. Your car still has a CD player, but you listen to Swedish thrash metal CDs. You see the necessity for consistency to keep things running smoothly, but you secretly thrill for the occasional emergency to keep people on their toes. After all, a little change now and then makes life at the office much more exciting. Not unlike adding a coat of sweet, sweet glaze to a boring plain cake donut. When you get on a health kick, you switch to the blueberry glazed cake for your serving of fruit.

6. The Cream Filled

This marvel is like a piece of birthday cake turned inside out in donut form. Cake on the outside, frosting on the inside. Simple to behold, one bite and you could be met with an explosion of whipped frosting or silky Bavarian cream. On the job, you aren’t afraid of work-related unknowns because eating a cream filled is like playing culinary Russian roulette. You don’t know if or when that cream will explode out of its shell. But it’s all good … you’ll figure it out and revel in the surprise of it all. You like to see how things unfold, and you’re always up for any workplace challenge. You can tell who the cream filled lover is in the office by the abundance of napkins they keep in their desk drawer.

7. The Jelly Filled

This donut is like its cream-filled counterpart, but with a slightly darker edge because of the jam or jelly inside. Like the cream-filled, it can explode on you, but instead of fluffy cream, you can get a giant glob of sticky red raspberry jelly on your clean white shirt. Still, the jelly lover is not afraid of the unknown and tends to like a little bit of mystery on the job. As a jam lover, you like solving puzzles and looking for answers. Like the powdered sugar donut eater, you don’t mind getting your hands dirty on the job, which is good, because now there’s jam all over your desk.

8. The Apple Fritter

There are some misguided souls that debate whether a fritter is technically a donut. Large and oddly-shaped, it’s unlike any of the other donuts in the box, isn’t it? I would tell you that there are smart people in this world that believe all kinds of conspiracies, but that doesn’t mean that WE have to take them seriously. The apple fritter-phile is the freethinker of the work group … the rebel who thinks outside the donut box and won’t be pigeonholed by management or anyone else. He or she doesn’t fit in completely, but doesn’t really care.

9. The Reliable Glazed

The Superman/Captain America of the donut world, this unassuming wonder is the steadfast mainstay of the donut box. Not sure what kind of donuts to bring into the office and don’t trust the 15-year old kid behind the counter to give you a decent variety? Bring a couple dozen glazed and nobody will bat an eye. You’re the steady, reliable employee who doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles to get the job done. You regularly work overtime and willingly burns the midnight oil when needed. The job has to get done, doesn’t it? And you’re the one to do it.

10. The Sprinkle

Covered in bright frosting and crunchy sprinkles, this is the extrovert’s donut. It’s usually the loudest one in the box, unless it’s seasonal time (we’ll get to that next). Everyone’s eyes are attracted to these donuts as soon as the box is opened, whether or not they want their eyes to go there. You might not have a loud work personality, but you like light, bright and happy things. You’re anything but boring and your cubicle decor is probably fun, too. Your co-workers stop to talk to you, since you always sprinkle them with insightful comments, a warm smile and great jokes.

11. The Seasonal

You open the box and unexpectedly see jack o’lanterns smiling back at you or Christmas wreaths and snowman-shaped donuts … Woo-hoo! If holiday-themed donuts are on the table, then you’re all over them. You’re the fun-loving life of the party of the office who is really just a kid at heart. You usually work in sales and marketing, but probably not in engineering.  Everyone likes you, except for the plain cake person who wonders why you’re eating a donut meant for kids. Your personality and sense of humor is thick with good-natured frosting and you’re anything but plain. Where are the heart-shaped Valentine’s Day donuts? You’ve got some cheer to spread throughout the office!

12. The All-Chocolate

The all-chocolate donut is always yummy and reliably consistent. No matter if it’s made of yeast or cake, you know exactly what you’re getting all the time—chocolate, and lots of it! When that donut box lid opens, this fudge-colored angel immediately grabs your attention and kicks your id into action. This donut is a heaven-sent chocolate delivery device at eight in the morning. As an employee, you tend to pick favorites, and you might be a bit inflexible in your choices. You know what you like, and you see one perfect answer for every workplace problem. The answer when it comes to choosing a donut is always going to be chocolate, chocolate, and chocolate. Your co-workers can have their plain cake, sprinkle or jelly-filled lives. Someday, they’ll figure out how wrong they are, won’t they?

13. The Bear Claw 

It’s massive, decadent and over-the-top. You’re obviously the CEO.


That’s it for our baker’s dozen of work personalities. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to dive back into my “research.” Some of you may be thinking that I forgot YOUR favorite donut and you’re probably right. My youngest kid would be furious that I negected donut holes, but that would have made 14 kinds of donuts and I didn’t know what comes after a baker’s dozen. Plus, I was too full to Google it. Maybe next time. But for now, the glazed blueberry cake donut in the box has “me” written all over it.

* Is this research remotely scientific in any way? Nope. It was conducted using a “two dozen for the price of one” coupon from a donut shop here in Kansas City! The p values are higher than a real scientist would find credible, but in this case p stands for “pie-hole,” which is what I stuffed with donuts. In addition, it’s based on a research sample of one. So, take it with a grain of salt, or a glaze of sugar, as the case may be.

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