Office Birthdays. (Happy Birthday to Me!)

Office Birthdays. (Happy Birthday to Me!)

It’s my birthday this month, so obviously I’ve been celebrating since December 1st. Some people like to celebrate on their birthday or a weekend that falls close to their birth date, while others like to keep their birthdays nice and simple or even let them go unnoticed. Whatever lights their candles, but I celebrate by giving my parents a high-five and treating myself all month! I might as well with Christmas and New Year’s sharing my month. Right?! December is the best. 

Birthdays can be a source of drama and exclusion at work. My office doesn’t celebrate everyone’s birthday. Birthdays are celebrated on an individual basis with a few close coworkers. A birthday lunch is customary if enough people want to celebrate.

But what if the person is new? What if they are not as popular or as outgoing as other coworkers? Should their birthdays be recognized equally? How do you make sure everyone who wants to be included is included? Is it too intrusive to ask coworkers if they would like to celebrate their birthdays?

Before joining the City of Torrance, my office consisted of seven people. My current department hovers around 220 people. There’s been talk about restarting a Sunshine Club to let people opt-in to a monthly birthday celebration. Employees would contribute a few dollars which would be used for a monthly cake/cupcake/ice cream day. But that gets complicated too! How do you decide on the flavors? What week should it be held?

It sounds like more work than it might be worth. I’m truly unconvinced. I feel like people who want to celebrate their birthday are getting their day celebrated, although I haven’t asked around to see if people wished we would have a special day. Some of the more tenured people talk about the past Sunshine Clubs as something they enjoyed, but faded away as people came and went and interest feigned. A small group in my department is currently reviving the Sunshine Club by testing the waters with some rumors. I’d like to have more people included in celebration without being “that guy” at work. I’m probably failing.

What is your office doing? How do you celebrate office birthdays? Do you have any success stories or horror stories? ELGL is running a birthdays and books program this year. Be on the lookout in January to sign up next year!

Joey Garcia is an Administrative Analyst with the City of Torrance and he occasionally tweets.