You decide: Team Eeyore or Team Tigger?

I was prepared for the interview. I had done my homework and was ready for anything. I had my resume laid out in front of me, so that I could speak to specific skills and experiences that I wanted to highlight. I had a separate list of questions that I wanted to raise. I even logged into the Microsoft Teams meeting room 20 minutes in advance. I was on the ball. 

The first few questions were all as I expected. Tell me about yourself? Tell me about a time when you had to exhibit resilience and flexibility? Tell me about a time when you had competing priorities, how did you deal with them? I knocked each of those questions out of the park. I was on a roll. I admit that I even started to get a little cocky. The interviewer must have read my thoughts because the next question came out of nowhere. 

So, Brian, how would you describe your work style, are you an Eeyore or a Tigger? Um, say what? Can you repeat that again? 

In A.A. Milne’s stories about Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore is generally characterized as a gloomy, old gray stuffed donkey, while Tigger is an orange and black tiger who is filled with great energy and optimism, and while well-meaning, his actions can sometimes lead to chaos and trouble for himself and his friends. 

A trick question

I wanted to cry foul, but, of course, I couldn’t say that in my interview. I gave the question some thought as if I was figuring out how to best solve world peace or, at the very least, the best way to improve employee engagement by 20% and increase profits by $2 million. 

We’re writing about growth this month on The Heart of the Matter. In turn, I’ve been thinking a lot about my own growth and development and how I best learn. In my interview, I wanted to say “neither” of the two Milne characters or that I chose Winnie the Pooh. Who doesn’t want to be Pooh? Oh yes, he’s a little naïve, but he’s friendly, thoughtful, and is always willing to help his friends. Plus, who doesn’t love a big spoonful of honey every once in awhile. However, I felt answering with Pooh was a cop-out and would show that I couldn’t make a decision or that I wasn’t playing by her rules. 

I wrestled some more with the question. Now I have my Eeyore moments, I tend to be a realist. I see risks and concerns around every tree in the 100 Acre wood or curve in the road, but I generally find my way to optimism. Likewise, I like Tigger’s enthusiasm and passion, but I wouldn’t describe myself as mindless. I see how his excitement can be dismissive of others and bring down the rest of the team. 

And the choice is . . . 

Finally, I made up my mind and made my choice. I told her that while I had elements of both characters, I ultimately take on more Eeyore. I want to know the risks; I want to know the challenges and then work my way to positivity. Like Eeyore, I told her that I’m incredibly loyal to my friends and coworkers. For good measure, I added that I love Milne because of his focus on human frailty and perseverance. We make mistakes, we fall down, but we get up and move on and learn from them. 

The rest of the interview went fine. Did I give the right answer? Who knows? Your guess is as good as mine, but I’ve made up my mind and the next time I get that question, I’m going to make up my own rules and choose Christopher Robin. Yea, yea, he wasn’t a choice, but he’s the one who said, “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” 

Whoever said that has to be a pretty good choice and have a clear understanding how we grow and learn, right? 


Thank you for reading. Please join in on the discussion on the HoTM site. In addition, please visit my personal blog at or follow me on Instagram at @writingfromtheheartwithbrian.

All the best, Brian.

Images by Pexels.

41 thoughts on “You decide: Team Eeyore or Team Tigger?

  1. Wow…wow…wow…what an answer. If I’d been that interviewer I would’ve offered you the job on the spot — (but I know that’s not how things work, even when you’re a superstar) because your answer oozed emotional intelligence and savvy. The ‘eeyore or tigger’ question is a new one to me…and I thought I’d heard/seen all the wacky incarnations of questions designed to get at personality and work ethic, demeanor. Love your response…and I think you channeled your inner Christopher Robin beautifully! “Smarter than you think”? Oh yeah! Thanks for all of this, Brian! 😊😊😊

    Liked by 4 people

  2. What a fun post to start this Wednesday morning! What an interesting interview question. I think you gave a great and thoughtful answer, whether or not it was the “right” one. I’m not sure how I would answer–both Eeyore and Tigger are almost caricatures at opposite ends of the personality spectrum… well, I know what I’m going to be thinking about for the rest of the day!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is a good steady learning curve for me. I’ve only ever been fixated on Winnie and now I’m learning about all the other characters. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The HR lecturer in me wants to shout out against this question and I think you answered it well. I think you should have said Christopher Robin. Stupid question, stupid interview team. The question says more about them.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. My thinking is picking either one would show that you conform and can’t think for yourself. It depends what/who they’re looking for … someone who can think for themselves or just follow orders 😁

        It’s like I’ve just been marking(grading) interview plans … question one student wrote was along the lines of do you like socialising and chatting? 🫣 had to point out that’s maybe not such a good question

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You bring up a great point though — their questions really do show a lot about them. For example, I passed up an offer two weeks ago, because the firm just gave a bad feeling. It was hard to do but had a lot of questions on whether I would be a good fit.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It’s difficult sometimes, but if your gut is giving you a bad feeling its better to walk away. However I know that’s not always possible.
        Interviews are a two way process. The company is being interviewed too

        Liked by 1 person

  5. If the interviewer was clever, he might have appreciated a frame – breaking answer. Who knows? Sounds like you grew from it in any case. Kudos to you, Brian.

    Remember the scene from Men in Black when Will Smith and several others took a test? It’s good to hear real people are still being interviewed instead of AI super machines!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this post – and the wisdom of Winnie-the-Pooh stories and characters and your story well-told. Especially this line, “I want to know the risks; I want to know the challenges and then work my way to positivity.”

    But I’m thinking about how you handled being thrown a curveball. It is the thing we can’t prepare for – and your response – to slow down instead of bounding into an answer was so wise. That, more than the specific of your answer which was also good, should have told the interviewer all she needed to know about what an amazing person you are!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Absolutely love this story. I loved Pooh as a kid, but haven’t seen or read any of it in so long, I’ve forgotten much of it. I liked your answer. I mean, childrens’ books must have exaggerated characters in order to keep a child’s attention. No one is all Eeyore or all Tigger. It’s unrealistic to think so – at least for a realist. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Spot on. I doubt any of us would REALLY enjoy having a Eeyore or a Tigger around us all the time, it’s just too exhausting 😀 I wonder if that’s why Pooh drowned his exasperation in honey all the time…

      I think the answer was great: they’re probably checking how you’d deal with a “curveball”, and I did great! You gave a thoughtful answer. If it’s an environment you’d work to work in, they wouldn’t want 100% of either character, no? Imagine being surrounded with all Eeyores or all Tiggers… How much honey would you need then? 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Brian, it sounds like you nailed that answer with great thoughtfulness and decisiveness. I love the answer. Fingers crossed for a positive outcome. Keep us posted!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hiring is an extremelry time consuming and expensive process. And unfortunately these ‘animal questions’ are becoming more and more popular because they are useful to identify candidates with more to offer, and they make the best applicants stand out, but personally I think they are trite! Wishing you well on your employment journey, because you are a very talented individual!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the encouragement AW! It means a lot. I’m fortunate, I’m doing some contracting/consulting on the side, so I feel blessed versus maybe some of my peers, but it’s still a strange position to be in. Thanks though for your kind comments, they mean a lot!!!😉☺️☺️☺️☺️

      Liked by 1 person

  10. What a strange interview question! I kind of question its appropriateness from a DEI point of view. If someone didn’t grow up in an English-speaking country, they may not be familiar with the Pooh stories or the characters. In any case, I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to this. I would probably have said I’m more Eeyore-like with a few Tigger elements thrown in.

    And that Christopher Robin quote is one of my all-time favourites.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This reminds me of the book The Tao of Pooh. I read it years ago, but your question is straight from its premise that we’re all someone in the 100 Acre Woods. I’m Pooh, btw, playing pooh sticks whenever I can.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Probably good for us to be thrown the proverbial curve ball! It makes us think and go deeper than the basic questions that we expect. I’m definitely Eeyore with a dash of Owl thrown in. I can be pedantic–like the times I’ve tried to explain the subjunctive to my boyfriend. (who doesn’t care at all about grammar!)

    Liked by 1 person

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