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Celebrate birthdays at work?
Old 04-17-2007, 09:18 PM   #1
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Celebrate birthdays at work?

I've worked at 4 different places and two of them celebrate birthdays. At my current employer, whenever someone has a birthday (16 in our group, so some months there are more than one...blah) we get them a cake and sing happy birthday to them. We socialize for about 1/2 an hour and then go back to work. I truly absolutely hate doing this! It is a complete waste of time, and the singing, in my opinion should stop once you are over the age of 12. Any other workplace do this? I mean after you are a certain age, ones birthday is not really a big deal, and quite frankly I couldn't care less if Joe Blow in the corner just turned 30.....
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?
Old 04-17-2007, 09:25 PM   #2
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?

I think it is a nice touch, although we don't normally do this. Sometimes if a few people have a birthday around the same time, someone might get a cake.

I try to take my birthday off. The years I don't it seems like any other day and not anything special at all. Even if I just hang out, run errands, etc being off on my birthday is great. Of course when it is a weekend I do not have to use a vacation day.
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?
Old 04-17-2007, 09:35 PM   #3
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?

One office I was in would have a once a month birthday party with a cake and cards for all with a birthday that month.
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?
Old 04-17-2007, 09:40 PM   #4
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by accountingsucks
I truly absolutely hate doing this! It is a complete waste of time, and the singing, in my opinion should stop once you are over the age of 12. Any other workplace do this? I mean after you are a certain age, ones birthday is not really a big deal, and quite frankly I couldn't care less if Joe Blow in the corner just turned 30.....
I couldn't have said it better!!! I purposefully do not tell people when my birthday is in the hopes that they'll let me pass the day in peace. I've warned all my friends that if I'm ever in a restaurant and the wait staff starts singing to me, I'm walking out.
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?
Old 04-17-2007, 10:49 PM   #5
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?

Mine doesn't celebrate birthdays, but we do get a floating holiday for our birthday we can use whenever we want.

My wife and I don't celebrate birthdays anyway, so it's probably better this way.
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?
Old 04-18-2007, 12:22 AM   #6
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?

You have my sympathies on yet another practice in the workplace that I detest. I already put out the warning that I did not want my birthday acknowledged in any way. I would rather they save a tree by not giving me a card as it would be headed straight to the trash can.
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?
Old 04-18-2007, 12:27 AM   #7
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?

Wow, I have never worked at a place that did this. I'd want to twist my head off in embarassment if my co-workers were singing to me.

Of course I'm an engineer which is predominantly a guy thing, so we'd never be thoughtful enough to come up with such a scheme in the first place

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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?
Old 04-18-2007, 12:40 AM   #8
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?

We NEVER celebrated birthdays where I w*rked. Heck, we didn't even know when each other's birthdays were! Thank God!!!

I agree with "accountingsucks".....skip the singing (and parties...in my opinion) after about age 12....maybe 13!!!
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?
Old 04-18-2007, 07:04 AM   #9
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?

I love it!

No singing for us, but somebody always brings in a tub of Starbucks coffee and usually a box of scones, or dunkin donuts, or Panera bread pastries.

What's not to like?

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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?
Old 04-18-2007, 09:23 AM   #10
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?

My last two workplaces have celebrated birthdays. Having an off key rendition of Happy Birthday sung to you and then served cake with enough sugar to keep you buzzed for days is not my idea of fun. I opted out. Although I did have one workplace where the organizer insisted that no one opt out. It would have been a battle to continue to resist so I reluctantly showed up each month as we celebrated whoever's birthday was on the list. Work is considered part of many people's social life and they want to think of their coworkers as friends. They will gossip about each other and in the same day or week want to share birthday cake. Not saying that I haven't found good friends at my various work places but there's also many other people that are coworkers only and I could care less about their birthday, family, etc. To really make a bad situation worse, management in some workplaces encourage these events calling them motivational apparently under the assumption that if we hold hands and sing kumbaya there will be peace in the world or at least in the workplace. I find birthday celebrations, lunch potlucks and other get together events are becoming more and more common. So I grit my teeth and endure the ones I can't avoid.
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?
Old 04-18-2007, 09:32 AM   #11
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?

I'm with Saluki.

I only get one of these per year (sort of a personal holiday) Friday is my B-day...and I'll be off, but tomorrow I suspect there will be some extra coffee, sweets, etc. for celebratory purposes. Nothing wrong for lightening up a bit...life is too short to be grumpy about a birthday (yours or someone else's) For all we know, the birthday person might really appreciate still being alive and survived hells we are unaware of.
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?
Old 04-18-2007, 12:33 PM   #12
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?

We do it here and the employees find it a nice break, they can put the phones on DND and take a few minutes for an extra break. It's a small office and we know each other, we also don't sing which makes it nice. We also don't "insist" everyone take part, you want cake fine, you don't fine too.

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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?
Old 04-18-2007, 12:46 PM   #13
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?

You could probably correlate the enjoyment of birthday celebrations with extrovert/introvert status.

I'm guessing the extroverts think "Hey it's great what's not to like, lighten up and have a good time", while the introverts are thinking "Just leave me alone I don't want to be the subject of attention and I'd be much happier just reading the early retirement board"

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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?
Old 04-18-2007, 12:58 PM   #14
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by runchman
You could probably correlate the enjoyment of birthday celebrations with extrovert/introvert status.

I'm guessing the extroverts think "Hey it's great what's not to like, lighten up and have a good time", while the introverts are thinking "Just leave me alone I don't want to be the subject of attention and I'd be much happier just reading the early retirement board"

Yup.

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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?
Old 04-18-2007, 12:59 PM   #15
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan
One office I was in would have a once a month birthday party with a cake and cards for all with a birthday that month.
That's how we do it, except with just cake and no cards. The e-mail announcing the cake says whose birthdays are being celebrated. I like doing it. We don't generally sing "Happy Birthday".
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?
Old 04-18-2007, 01:13 PM   #16
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?

I purposefully do not tell people when my birthday is in the hopes that they'll let me pass the day in peace.

I just had my 30th birthday and I work with a group of people between 35-50 years old. All are vaguely aware that I am a bit younger, but none would guess I'm 5 years younger than anyone else in my group.

My assistant knew about my 30th and wanted to plan a party. I asked her (very nicely) not to make plans. I went home at 3pm and went to the driving range instead. Worked out perfectly.

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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?
Old 04-18-2007, 01:21 PM   #17
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?

Normally in our office, we'll just do an all-inclusive birthday for everybody who had a birthday in that particular month. Sometimes there are exceptions though, like if it's for one of the bigwigs, or if one small group gets together and does something for someone.

But I've noticed that it also tends to breed bad feelings. I remember a few years back, one of the ladies here at work wanted to do something for her assistant. She bought him a cake, decorated up his cubicle, and had another assistant send out a mass email saying come on down at such-and-such a time and sing happy birthday and such. Well, another co-worker, who's the cousin to this guy, got her nose bent out of shape over it. She went and complained to someone about it. That person then sent an email back to the lady who sent out the mass email saying "then you should do something for Rachel (not her real name) too, since she recently had a birthday."

I don't think we ever did anything for her, though, that time.

Another time, the whole floor remembered my birthday, and got together and sang. I heard a lot of bitching about that, too, from the same co-worker. But then later that year, when her birthday came up, it was remembered, although it wasn't a big to-do. The following year, they forgot about my birthday, but honestly I didn't care. Although about a month later, my co-worker happened to look on a birthday list we have circulating around and said in a dismissive tone "Oops, looks like we missed your birthday. Guess we'll have to get you the next time around". Considering how she threw her little temper tantrum that time her birthday got missed, I thought it was pretty crappy for her to then turn around and just dismiss my birthday like that.

I remember yet another time, some people down the hall threw a small birthday breakfast for somebody. Metaphorically speaking, they practically twisted my arm to come down, sing for the dude, and have something to eat. Someone brought in fruit, bagels, and some other breakfast crap. Well, about an hour later, one of the ladies comes up the hall to my office, pokes her head in, and mumbles something. I didn't make out what she was trying to say, and actually had to have her repeat it about 3 times. It was "That'll be 8 dollars". I thought that was pretty crappy, trying to fill the crowd with birthday singers, get them to eat, and then hit them up for money. I can understand if you're going to do something that's kinda pricey, let people know UP FRONT that it's going to cost something. But that time it just rubbed me the wrong way, the way it was handled. After I coughed up the 8 bucks though, I said something along the lines of "Well, in that case I'm going back down there and get my eight bucks worth!". I could tell she was offended, but she kept yer yap shut.

Nowadays, whenever they do a birthday celebration for someone, I'll go sing, but I won't touch the food.

Oh, here's one other note of interest. For somebody else's birthday, my coworker was getting the cake. She was going to get a white cake, but then the Eight Dollar Lady mentioned one person who didn't like white, only chocolate. So, because of that ONE PERSON, the Eight Dollar lady thought that a chocolate cake should have been bought. And it wasn't even that guy's birthday! Oh, the Eight Dollar lady also emailed my coworker a bunch of Bible verses that somehow equated not buying a chocolate cake to doing the work of Satan, because of how it would spite this person!

Anyway, I think they bought a half-and-half cake. I'd still love to know how white cake got to be associated with Satan, though. Heck, I'd think that would be chocolate! You know, Devil's food and all!

Anyway, I think if they'd just do the usual thing, where they get together and celebrate all the birthdays of that month with an inexpensive sheet cake or something, that would be fine. But all this other stuff they try to do just seems to bring up too much drama, gossip, and bad blood.

I'm not the type to make a big deal over my birthday, so I don't care if they miss it or not. This last time around though, I lost track of how many people called me at work on my birthday and sang to me! My Mom did it, my roommate and his mother and sister did it (they think of me as family). Hell, my roommates GRANDMOTHER from North Carolina even called me and sang! My Dad even called me! He didn't sing, but he wished me a happy birthday. That one really struck me as odd, because my Dad's not the most sociable person in the world, and not much of an initiator.

As for celebrating in general though, I think it just depends on your office environment. For instance, in jobs I've worked where I was actually FRIENDS with my coworkers, it would've meant something. But here, with all the gossiping, whining, etc, it just comes off as phoney and something that you just want to get through without going postal.
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?
Old 04-18-2007, 02:02 PM   #18
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?

We not only had cake .We'd have food and depending on the person we'd do happy hour .It was a small Surgery Center and we were a real party group.
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?
Old 04-18-2007, 02:27 PM   #19
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?

I usually took leave on my birthday, often the whole week.

Towards the end, I was scheduling days off for birthday events and staff meeting days.
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?
Old 04-18-2007, 02:41 PM   #20
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Re: Celebrate birthdays at work?

We celebrate birthdays once a month and you're on the published bday list whether you like it or not. There is usually cake or cupcakes, punch, and fruit. Usually 2-3 people will sign up to bring in the goodies for that month. Everyone gathers and sings, but it's not forced.
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