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The simple office coffee mug test that could reveal your true personality.

So it turns out what you do with your humble office mug can actually tell you a lot about your personality and the personalities of the people around you.

This is bloody great news if you like to psychoanalyse your workmates (and look, who doesn’t?) and silently judge them behind their backs.

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and all-round self help guru, has a new book coming out in September called The Four Tendencies.

In the book, Rubin has identified four hidden personality types that actually drive everything we do. They are the Upholder, the Questioner, the Obliger and the Rebel.

Upholders respond readily to both outer and inner expectations, Questioners question all expectations (they’ll only meet an expectation if they think it makes sense), Obligers meet outer expectations but struggle to meet their own expectations, and Rebels resist all expectations.

In a recent blog post, Gretchen asks her readers to imagine you’ve just been hired in sales at a small-medium sized office. You haven’t met the cleaners yet but you know they come in every night and you haven’t been told anything about the office rules around cleaning up in the kitchen.

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So what do you do with your mug? Do you wash it up/stack it in the dishwasher? Or do you leave it on the bench for someone else to deal with?

What’s your first instinct when you’re thinking about the mug and deciding what to do with it?

  1. My job is to do sales, and the cleaning staff’s job is to clean.
  2. It’s more efficient for the cleaning staff to spend the time cleaning, and for me to spend my time making sales.
  3. The cleaning staff shouldn’t have to clean up after me.
  4. No one can tell me what to do with my mug.

If you chose 1, you’re most likely to be an Upholder, 2 a Questioner, 3 an Obliger, and 4 a Rebel.

Of course, people are complicated and we don’t all perfectly fit into narrow personality profiles. For example, Rubin says a Questioner might clean the mug thinking that a dirty kitchen will look bad in front of clients, and an Obliger might not clean the mug because they’re worried about losing sales.

I’m a Questioner who always cleans her mug because I remember what it’s like to have to clean up after other people – but I do tend to question everything.

Luckily, Rubin has created an online quiz so you can discover what your tendency is and find out why Linda in accounts NEVER cleans up after herself (bloody Linda).

LISTEN: Rules for open plan offices. 

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