Which Doughnut Are You at the Office?

Every year, the first Friday in June is National Doughnut Day.  Other than honoring my favorite forbidden food, the genesis of the day has an absolutely fascinating history that most people have forgotten or never knew. It celebrates the doughnut and honors the Salvation Army Lassies, the women that served doughnuts to soldiers during WWI.

doughnutsIn 1917, four American women ventured to within a couple miles of the front lines (yes… the REAL front lines with trenches, dysentery, mustard gas and artillery shells) to provide aid and comfort to the boys fighting with the American Expeditionary Force in Europe. Home cooked foods, music and prayer services provided by these brave volunteers were a morale boost to the troops. Two Lassies, Margaret Sheldon and Helen Purviance, decided that doughnuts would be a perfect thing to remind the boys of home. They gathered rations for dough, used empty shell casings for rolling pins, and then fried the dough by heating lard inside metal helmets like the soldiers wore. (Legend says this is why American soldiers were called “doughboys” by our allies.) In a letter home, Purviance said a typical day consisted of “ … two women cooking, in one day, 2,500 doughnuts, eight dozen cupcakes, fifty pies, 800 pan cakes and 255 gallons of cocoa, and one other girl serving it. That is a day’s work.”

So, in honor of Margaret and Helen, the Patron Saints of My Expanding Waistline, we’re going to have a serious discussion about doughnuts 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 doughnut was blasphemous. I mean … OK, maybe you shouldn’t wolf down a dozen doughnuts in one sitting. 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, we’re going to scientifically* look at how your choice of doughnut 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 (doughnut) box? How much could you learn about a prospective employee if you put him or her in a room with a hidden camera and a couple dozen assorted doughnuts? (“What do you think of him, Jill?” “Well Jack, he’s eaten a plain glazed and put a dollar next to the box to pay for it. Definitely NOT marketing material. Accounting, maybe?”)

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

1. The Maple Bar/Chocolate Long John

doughnuts, donutsIf your choice is the maple bar or long john, you have a bit of greediness in you as these are usually the biggest doughnuts in the box. In fact, maple bars and long johns rarely make it inside the box because many doughnut shops will put these Herculean beauties in a separate bag of their own. And when you were a kid, mom and dad let you carry the bag because it was the only way to shut you up. As an adult at the office, you’re often in charge of handling the office supply cabinet, or better yet, the bigger supply closet because they know you will watch that sucker like a greedy leprechaun watching a pot of gold. No way Tim in Accounting is walking away with an entire box of those nice black gel pens. Not on your watch!

2. The French Cruller

doughnuts, donutsFavored by architects, art history, and French Literature majors, the cruller is a wonder of light and airy eggy construction. If you prefer crullers, you’re obviously a very deliberate, detail-oriented person, and often, an underestimated “power behind the throne” visionary in your department. You have the boss’s ear at all times and you seemingly have your boss’s back at all times. Well, except that time you felt cheated with your raise so you invited your boss out for happy hour drinks, and then when he left after a couple of beers, you made an anonymous call to the police about a guy matching your boss’s description leaving the bar drunk. Bwa-ha-haaaaaa! In other words, you’re the Tyrion Lannister of your organization and you prefer the doughnut that most resembles a crown.

3. The Powdered Sugar

donuts, doughnutsWithout doubt, the messiest doughnut ever. But darn it … it’s totally worth it, right? The PS eater doesn’t mind getting his or her hands dirty and is often the leading problem-solver on any work team. 99 percent of the time, you’re voted to be team leader on every work group. 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—off the front of your navy blue shirt.

4. The Plain Cake

donuts, doughnutsPlain cake proves how clever you are. Untouched by your peers, you can take your time getting your favorite doughnut because it will still be sitting in that box even after Nicky in the warehouse finishes off that half-eaten sprinkle that someone left in there because they took two bites and decided they didn’t like that kind. (You know who you are, you barbarian!) If your plain cake gets a tad stale, 12 seconds in the microwave will fix it. Not 15 seconds, because that’s too long and 10 is just fool’s gold. No siree, 12 seconds is optimal zappage. On the job, you like things simple and people enjoy working with you because, like your doughnut, you speak plainly. Unlike the powdered sugar doughnut weirdo freak, you like keeping everything neat and tidy. You’re best suited to work in engineering or accounting.

5. The Glazed Cake

donuts, doughnutsPlain cakes are OK, but dull. You enjoy the consistency, but for you, it’s all about that glaze. Like plain cake, you are a bit conservative, 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 is an 11-year old Ford Taurus that still has a CD player, but you listen to Swedish thrash metal. 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 plain cake doughnut. When you get on a health kick, you switch to the blueberry glazed cake for your serving of fruit.

6. The Cream Filled

donuts, doughnutsCream filled are for people too sophisticated to do jelly filled. 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 which bite will cause that cream to explode out of its shell, but it’s all good because you revel in the surprise of it all. You like to see how things unfold, and you’re always up for any workplace challenge. Everyone 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

donuts, doughnutsThis doughnut is like its cream-filled counterpart, but with a slightly darker edge because of the jam 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 jam 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 are a bit of a maverick and a thrill-seeker. You always get picked to talk to the boss about concerns in the department. Like the powdered sugar doughnut 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

donuts, doughnutsThere are some misguided souls that debate whether a fritter is technically a doughnut. 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 (JFK, flat Earthers, dinosaurs never existed, Star Trek is better than Star Wars), 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 doughnut box and won’t be pigeonholed by management or anyone else. He or she doesn’t fit in completely, but also doesn’t really care. These people usually work in creative services.

9. The Reliable Plain Glazed

donuts, doughnutsThe Superman/Captain America of the doughnut world, this unassuming wonder is the steadfast mainstay of the doughnut box. Not sure what kind of doughnuts to bring into the office and you 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 because you’ll still be a hero. 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 burn the midnight oil when needed. The job has to get done, doesn’t it? And you’re just the one to do it.

10. The Sprinkle

donuts, doughnutsCovered in bright frosting and crunchy sprinkles, this is the extrovert’s doughnut. It’s usually the loudest one in the box, and everyone’s eyes are attracted to these doughnuts 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. It’s impossible to be unhappy in your presence.

11. Doughnut Holesdoughnuts, donut holes

The great giver of the office, you like holes because you can share them easily with friends. You are in charge of every party in the department and people often come to you for party theme suggestions during every holiday. You have the top-three bakeries on speed dial for emergencies and you know every wedding caterer and DJ worth knowing in town. If you have kids, you’re the popular parent because there’s nothing you enjoy more than baking to-die-for cupcakes for first graders. You’re kind of the mom of your department, even if you’re a guy.

12. The All-Chocolate

The all-chocolate doughnut lover is ruled by the id and is a free-thinker most of the time. The only exception is when that doughnut box is opened and his or her laser focus zeroes in on that dark brown piece of nirvana. Woe be it to the unfortunate summer intern who reaches for the chocoholic’s round mound of cocoa catnip, the all-chocolate doughnut. The poor kid might end up pulling back an arm with no hand attached. It is historical fact that women prefer all-chocolate donuts to men by a margin of 10,000-to-1. And by that I don’t mean that only one man likes all-chocolate for every 10,000 women. I mean that women prefer all-chocolate donuts to men period.

13. The Bear Claw 

It’s massive, decadent and over-the-top. You’re obviously the CEO. The question about you is in how you eat it. Do you first pull off each “claw” and have five doughnut holes before you eat the foot, turning one doughnut into six? If so, you like to maximize your ROI, while keeping an eye on the debt/equity ratio of breakfast. If you just start eating at one end and don’t stop until the other side, globalization is not your primary goal. You want to maintain strength within a certain area and don’t want to spread your assets too thin. Regardless, you drive a nice car and you take wicked awesome vacations to places your staff will never go. Ever.

donuts, doughnuts


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 doughnut and you’re probably right. 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.

Oh, one last thing, a special shout-out to my colleague, Ashlee, who heard me discussing this blog in my office, got hungry, and went out and got us doughnuts. She brought me a lemon meringue doughnut. I love my co-workers! So, on National Doughnut Day, be like Ashlee and bring in doughnuts!

* Honestly, this research isn’t remotely scientific in any way, shape or form. It was conducted using a “two dozen for the price of one” coupon from a doughnut shop here in Kansas City and my grown up children helped me sample! 

donuts, doughnuts

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