March 21, 2013 By BJ Cook,
Here it super secret instant message letting you know that I have "something for you to sign" is code for get your butt to my desk and come up with something witty for your co-worker's birthday card. Office birthday celebrations are right up there on the awkward scale with your bosses dancing at the company holiday party. However, the office birthday celebration is as sure as a Monday morning meeting, meaning they're never going away. So why must they be so awful? Why is getting 20 people in a room to sing a song that contains 4 lines, just like a round-house to the face? I'll tell you why, because without the advent of real time auto-tuning the sound of 20 people warbling while shuffling their feet can be uncomfortable and let's face it, a little embarrassing. So why do we as HR professionals do it? Why do we cram you into a room and force your co-workers to stand there like scared baby deer, all in the name of 10 seconds of pure unadulterated cringe? For starters, it's a morale booster. For those 5-10 minutes, it's a way for us to step away from our desks, mingle, interact, and come together as a group to recognize one of our own.  As the office manager, it's my job to enhance the culture here at DO and while it may seem silly, office birthday's are a way for us to bring our group together, take a break, eat some cake (or in a few rare instances a watermelon...hey I was on a diet!) and to acknowledge something other than deadlines and the bottom line. In addition, I've learned to mix it up by getting around the whole, make the birthday boy or girl cut their own cake - which is just cruel - by getting cupcakes, cookies, and even mini-brownies (down with forced cake cutting!). Finally, with each person's birthday I try to do something special whether it be buying a packet of Tostino's for one co-worker who lamented, "I only want pizza on my birthday" (pre Paleo diet obviously). The point is, to make your employees feel special and appreciated. So in the end, it may seem like forced torture but you're worth it. That's right you heard me, you're worth it. Now get back to work!

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