Party Pooper


I have to admit, I’m a bit partial to the odd inspirational quote or management soundbite. I know they get on some people’s nerves, but something succinct that’s still thought provoking definitely appeals to my sensibilities. And of course twitter is the perfect medium for this.

One that caught my eye recently said “treat everyone like it’s their birthday”. On the face of it I thought this seemed like a nice idea.

Then I thought about it again, probably much too hard, and ended up imagining some kind of mad hatters’ tea party where employees have to sing “a very merry unbirthday” to each other every day while wearing party hats and hooting on blowouts. The daily cakes and presents probably wouldn’t go amiss but it seems a little forced, and expensive.

In reality birthdays tend to slip under the radar at work. A few close colleagues might hand you a card or wish you “happy birthday”, then it’s back to business as usual. The onus tends to be on the employee whose birthday it is organise the celebration if they want one, which more often than not means bringing in cakes.

As adults, birthdays just don’t have the same appeal as when we were kids, especially as the milestones get larger. That’s fine by me though, I still get to attend many children’s parties with my kids and they’re certainly not how I would want to spend my own birthday. On my birthday I want to be the centre of attention, just for a little bit, because it’s the only day that’s just about me. I want to be treated to something that I can’t have at any other time of the year. I want to be spoiled and most of all I want to be made to feel special.

I would find it exhausting trying to treat everyone like that, all of the time. And I’m sorry but if you’re trying to treat me like it’s my birthday on any old day of the year, that’s not possible, or even desirable. Making birthdays into an every day occurrence is turning them into something mundane and ordinary.

It’s actually my birthday in under two months time (not that I’m counting down the days or anything…). On my birthday I will definitely feel a sense of entitlement to be treated as such. But on any other day of the year, please just treat me as normal. No party poppers required.

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