As 2022 is the Year of the Water Tiger, I decided to take a light hearted look at the position of the tiger in the Chinese horoscope & what are said to be the characteristics of those born under the sign of the tiger? How might this influence your working relationships?

If traditions around Asia are more your thing, you might like to take a look at my post from last year where I looked more closely at that topic.

Lunar New Year falls on 1st February in 2022, with the Lantern Festival signalling the end of the celebrations on 15th February. Babies born after the beginning of February are born into the year of the tiger 2022, whilst those born in January are still counted as oxen (other tiger years are 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010).

So what are your initial thoughts of what a tiger is like? A ferocious hunter? Someone brave and independent?

5 Earth Elements

As I explained in my post about the story of the Chinese zodiac last year there are 12 animal signs in the Chinese horoscope, giving a 12 year cycle. However there are also 5 Earth elements associated with those signs (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water) which in combination with the heavenly creatures give a 60 year cycle in total. According to Chinese cultural tradition there are variations between the different elements, meaning that a wood tiger is different to a water tiger – this is all extremely complicated so I’m not going to go into the details today! However for the Year of the Tiger 2022 the associated element is water.

Cultural Symbolism

As with other zodiac animals, the tiger has a prominent position in the mythology and culture of China (& other Asian countries).

The creature appears not only in religious parables, but in art & architecture, in the names of buildings & mountains and of course also in sayings and proverbs as well as phrases such as “tiger moms”.

Year of the Tiger 2022. Idiom: if you ride a tiger it's difficult to dismount
This proverb means something similar to “holding a snake by the tail”.

The idiom above refers to any situation where quitting could have disastrous results. So now you’ve started doing whatever it is, you have to carry it through to the end to avoid even worse problems.


In Daoism, the giant cats are often portrayed as the “avenging servants of justice” who oppose evil spirits and who represent divine providence in folk tales & parables.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the tiger has also been represented for centuries. Tiger claws have been used as amulets to convey courage, but also other body parts have been used as both painkillers and aphrodisiacs. Unfortunately this has resulted in tigers being hunted almost to the point of extinction, although the Chinese government is now working hard to protect the remaining population.

Tiger Leaping Gorge, China
Tiger Leaping Gorge, China.
Photo: Pixabay

“Typical” Tiger Characteristics

Anyone who is born under the sign of the big cat is expected to have a “strong personality”. Like the tiger itself, those born in tiger years are often perceived to be rather brash and impetuous. Self assured, imposing creatures who can be dangerous if provoked. They are not to be compared with the meek & mild “sheep” or more reticent “rabbits”.

It has been said that they strike fear into the hearts of their enemies, whilst inspiring confidence in their allies! Certainly not people you want to get on the wrong side of!

On the other hand, tigers are known for their charisma and charm. Whilst they are a “force of nature” & extremely ambitious (in the zodiac story, the tiger is also described as being competitive), they are also perceived as unpredictable and can be irritable.

What does this mean for your career if you were born in a tiger year?

Those born in tiger years are often drawn to leadership, both by their ambition, and also their bold and quick thinking natures. Often they crave attention and have a natural talent for commanding a room being confident and optimistic.

Consequently, many CEOs, other C-suite executives (especially marketing), actors, comedians, managers & artists have been born in tiger years.

Examples include Queen Elizabeth II, Fidel Castro, Marilyn Monroe or Leonardo di Caprio.

Other fields which are often deemed “typical” for talented tigers to excel in are politics, business, investing, entrepreneurship, competitive sports or research & development (finding new ways of doing things).

The positive points

People born as “big cats” are often described as being sensitive & humorous. They can be generous and loving with a strong sense of responsibility (this also fits in with the leadership aspect I mentioned above).

Like the cats the year is named after they are independent with a strong sense of adventure.

These factors together can often make them skilled at analysing situations leading to unique insights, which in turn can lead to great opportunities.

The less attractive side

People born under this sign are often perceived as rebellious (there’s that independent aspect again) & difficult. This can result in them being lonely as in it’s extreme form, it can manifest as being dictatorial. (I had to chuckle as I read this, thinking of one particular “tiger” I’m close to 🙊 )

Dragon Tiger Mountain, Jiangxi, China (Longhu Shan)

Building working relationships

Whilst tigers inspire respect, they’re often regarded as being short tempered which can lead to conflicts. That may make it difficult to work with such a colleague, especially if they happen to be your boss!

Usually they don’t enjoy mundane tasks as they need the variety in their activities. Since most jobs involve a certain amount of those kinds of tasks, I’m sure you can see how this could lead to conflicts with other colleagues!

For sure, tigers don’t mince their words, which can mean that whilst their charisma brings them many acquaintances, they don’t always have too many close friends.

If you have a tiger in your work team, you probably will need to exercise understanding, patience & tact when dealing with them if you want to avoid them dominating what’s going on.

Year of the Tiger 2022

What will the year bring? As my focus is more on business than on horoscopes, you’ll have to look elsewhere to find what is forecast for your particular birth sign.

However, the year might be a good one for those who are working in the mom and baby sector, which is so huge in China & where the birth rate is one of the key factors to determine sector growth. You can expect a reasonable number of babies will be born in the year of the tiger 2022 as this is one of the more popular signs for parents compared to eg. sheep or monkey. Their parents will be hoping that those children will be blessed with the auspicious qualities such as strength, courage, ambition and the ability to exorcise evil. Not quite sure about the exorcising evil bit these days but there you go…

A baby born in the year of 2022 will be a Water Tiger. They’re smart, humorous, and good at socializing. They usually have good luck in making money and have a strong ability to adapt to new things.

China Highlights

For those born in previous cycles, they may be expected to face many challenges in the year of their birth sign. For most tigers, 2022 will probably be an unlucky year relatively speaking,  as they are thought to offend the God of Age, which may bring them bad luck. 

Of course, this is just a lighthearted look at what makes a “tiger” so special – I’m not moving into horoscopes so I’ll stay away for making any predictions for the year of the tiger 2022 for all the different horoscope signs.

If you’re interested you can find huge quantities of information about what is lucky & what is unlucky, but I found so much conflicting information out there that I decided not to include any of it!

If traditions around Asia are more your thing, you might like to take a look at my post from last year where I looked more closely at that topic.

Thinking that working with a consultant would accelerate your international expansion?

If you’d like to learn more about working with me for support on your internationalisation projects or personal export knowledge, you can book a 30 minute international clarity call here.

If you haven’t already signed up for my free e-book about how to select which international market to enter next, you can do so here, or using the form below.

If you enjoyed this content please share it on social media or recommend it to your network.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin


  1. […] Update: for 2022 the New Year begins on 1st February, and will be the Year of the Tiger. […]

  2. […] to arrive was the Tiger with the Rabbit coming in fourth. Although both are fast and competitive, the Tiger was faster. The Rabbit explained to the Jade Emperor that he only managed to cross the river by […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You Might Also Like...

Exhibiting at International Trade Fairs
street in south korea
women doing successful global business
picture of Kathryn Read speaking at an event in China
Products on a shelf in a store