I’ve worked for companies where nothing was done for a birthday. I’ve worked for companies where cakes were consumed for birthdays. I’ve worked for companies where cards were given for birthdays. I’ve worked for companies where happy hours were attended for birthdays. I’ve had companies where you got the day off for your birthday. I’ve worked for companies where there were a variety of these things.
After having Hallmark as a client once, I tend to shy way from the celebrations at work for birthdays. Seriously, there were cakes multiple times in a day – I gained a ton of weight! Over time, I’ve found that I have some patterns associated to birthdays and work. When I have direct reports, I make a point to pass around a card. When it’s a colleague’s birthday, I say happy birthday and if able try to have a drink or something to celebrate. I can’t recall every buying a birthday gift for someone at work.
Why am I thinking about this? Well, today is my birthday. But this is not some self-serving post; it’s because someone already contacted me this morning with a “I won’t forget your birthday this year.”. I didn’t remember that they forgot last year because I didn’t expect them to remember, heck, I didn’t even expect them to know. This got me thinking about how different people’s expectations are regarding birthdays and work. Of course, I love to hear happy birthday but our relationship is not built on whether you say this or not. But maybe it is for others? Things I’m contemplating.
What’s your approach to birthdays at work?