Office Birthdays

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by MRSH, Dec 11, 2004.

  1. MRSH

    MRSH Supporting Member

    This is an article written by Guy Browning of the Weekend Guardian. Not sure when it was written but it is strikes a very true chord and is quite funny.

    Office Birthdays

    In the office, you know you're getting on a bit when you make absolutely no effort to celebrate or even mention your Birthday and you're terrifically surprised if anybody else does.

    You shouldn't be that surprised because the modern office has all sorts of complex technical systems to remember everyone's birthday so that everyone without exception feels valued and loved. Complex spreadsheets are set up by senior secretaries to record everyone's birthday, buy a big card, get it circulated round the office in conditions of great secrecy and then presented to the surprised recipient. And this is supposed to happen in offices where the average internal memo goes out two weeks late and is ignored by half its recipients and lost by the other half.

    What often happens with these big birthday cards is that the first couple of people sign them in tiny writing at the bottom. Then it gets passed onto Filthy Eddy's desk, from which no document, let alone Birthday card, has ever returned. An hour before the presentation of the birthday card no-one remembers where it is until finally a search and rescue team is dispatched to exhume it from Filthy Eddy's compost heap. Of course he hasn't signed it and there are still only two tiny messages at the bottom. That's when passing strangers and photocopier repairmen are press ganged into signing the card in very big writing. If you've ever wondered who those big Best Wishes were from, now you know.

    Deciding what to write in a birthday card is one of the most difficult creative tasks anyone in an office ever has to face (other than reconciling expense claims four months after they've been incurred). No-one writes Happy Birthday who doesn't have the personality of a stick insect and wear grey shoes with a velcro strap. Be careful if you attempt to write a limerick. There is something about limericks that force you into outrageous obscenity especially if the first line is 'There was a young man called Hank'. Under pressure most people end up scribbling 'Have a good one'. However, even this is better than trying really hard to write something clever and witty and ending up covering half the card with absolute meaningless rubbish for someone you've met in the corridor twice.

    The older you are in the office the less likely you are to want to celebrate your birthday. That's because when you reach forty everyone starts to secretly wonder why you're still a junior manager. For people between thirty and fifty the only time you ever get to know it's their birthday is when they've just had an especially miserable day when everything goes wrong and everyone shouts at them. That's when they suddenly burst into tears and say, "And it's my Birthday."

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