I’ve realized something about myself. It’s not earth-shattering, or even interesting in the slightest. It does, however, make me uncomfortable and at times will make me actually prefer working to it. I’m talking about one of the most dreaded and horrific traditions in the workplace: the birthday celebration.
Do you remember that scene in “Office Space” where everyone is staring with hate in their eyes while cake is being passed around to celebrate the birth of someone they all hate? That’s a slice of shiny rainbow-filled heaven compared to what happens at my office.
We must each, though not everyone actually desires to participate, sponsor someone else’s birthday each calendar year. You must buy the cake of their choice, buy a card and send it around for snippets of “Happy Birthday!” and “Enjoy your day!”, you must decorate the conference room, you must put a banner up on the day of the party, you must send an email out announcing the BIG DAY, you must adhere to office traditions involving a stupid song and holding the cake cutter upside down. To put it plainly, it is the bane of my existence.
God forbid you choose to not have cake because, oh I don’t know, you’re a vegan. Instead you choose to have veggies and hummus. You are really really happy to have these foods because you can actually eat them. This will NEVER BE FORGOTTEN. Your office mates will rue the day you didn’t have cake and will remind you at every meeting that “people who don’t eat cake are weird.” They will make fun of you. They will act like 12-year-old bullies and you will feel like you no longer belong.
Thankfully, my days of awkward hate-filled birthday celebrations for people I don’t like will soon be numbered. I’m moving on to places where you tell no one when your birthday is except for the few friends you make at work, and even those people will simply give you a hug, unless they don’t really like to be touched, in which case I may get a hi-five. I’ll take a hi-five any day.