Penguins: They Exist and May Actually Help You PengWIN at Your Career


Well guys, you may not know it but tomorrow is THE most exciting day of the year: Penguin Awareness Day. That’s right – penguins exist, and we need to be aware of them. So all those Happy Feet fans out there can rejoice, because tomorrow is a full day dedicated to penguiny goodness.

Now, because this is a careers blog, we of course could not miss the opportunity to take a note from our feathery friends (more feathery than most other birds, with around 70 feathers per square inch on average – hello penguin fact!), and share some career tips inspired by our truly weird and wonderful, flightless, aquatic bird-mates.

There’s more than meets the eye

People, like penguins, are complex and many layered creatures. For example, did you know that a penguin’s colouring is actually camouflage for them while they swim? ‘The black plumage on their back is hard to see from above, while the white plumage on their front looks like the sun reflecting off the surface of the water when seen from below’ (x). See, if you’d only ever met a penguin on land then you’d have no idea about this amazing other side to them!

The same is true with people – when meeting someone new, you’re going to have a different perspective of them than their mum, best-friend, or even fellow colleague would. It’s this sort of complexity that makes the world go ‘round, and increases the importance of emotional intelligence. Being able to understand that what you see or experience of a person doesn’t necessarily give you the full picture of them, is a helpful skill to have when you’re working with a diverse work environment. So read up on how to strengthen your emotional intelligence, and get ready for a new, more understanding (more employable) you!

Bad can lead to good

Another thing about penguins is that they can be a bit, well, weird. Penguins actually swallow stones alongside their food, and not just because they’re a super delicious side dish (although who knows, they might be?). ‘Scientists believe that the stones may help grind up and digest their food. The stones may also add enough extra weight to help penguins dive deeper’ (x). So basically, by putting themselves through something that isn’t particularly nutritious, delicious, or – you know – comfortable, they’re actually reaping some pretty awesome side benefits.

The career takeaway here is that while you may not be enjoying your work or study at the moment, the ultimate outcome may prove to be super beneficial to future professional you. Think of all the great interview answers about your struggles you can give. Or how you’re now really great at juggling priorities, working with diverse personalities, or succeeding under pressure!

Julieanne, our manager here at Careers, even wrote a piece about the benefits of having a terrible job – it’s worth a read if you’re currently going through the struggle.

Self-care is IMPORTANT

A penguin’s main job is swimming – it’s how they catch food, and they do the whole zipping through the water thing pretty darn well. But, unlike many humans, they understand that they wouldn’t be able to keep up this awesome swimming work without some down time and self-care out of the water: ‘Penguins spend several hours a day preening or caring for their feathers. If penguins don’t keep them well maintained, their feathers would not stay waterproof’ (x).

Hate the break it to everyone, but human work is the same – you’ve got to look after your mental feathers so that you not only feel good and become more resilient, but also so you can do a better job when you are at work or uni. This means taking down time to relax when you can, eating well and exercising, and doing things you enjoy – particularly when things are getting stressful with work or study! Taking care of yourself is a huge part of being successful, so it’s important to find that happy work-life balance if you want to avoid that dreaded burnout.

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.

By Mia Casey

By Mia Casey


Mia is a Sydney-based copywriter and content creator, who ran the UTS Careers Blog for five years since its conception in 2016.
Her freelance work focuses on branding development and helping companies create a cohesive identity narrative tailored for each of their platforms.
She enjoys piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.