Everyone loves it when the people you work with remember your birthday. I mean, come on, we spend more time with these people than our friends or family, so it's nice to hear the off-key song and have a piece of cake. (And equally insulting when your birthday gets completely ignored, but that's a very bitter post I'll save for another day.)
So it's nice when your co-workers celebrate your birthday. Except when it's at the expense of the person whose wallet can least afford it. At the office I'm working right now, there was a birthday yesterday. The receptionist made an amazingly tasty cake. Really, it was awesome. But she let it slip that she had paid for it personally, there was no office fund for it. Not even one of those everyone-chips-in-a-buck so we can have cake. And she did it because without her, the only birthday that would be acknowledged would be the office manager's. I was astonished.
Honestly, receptionists are very important to a business. They work hard to support everyone's work and be the professional face and voice of the business to the general public. For all that, they probably are paid less than anyone else in the office. So if your receptionist is taking on that kind of personal expense, ask them not to. Make a point of either not celebrating birthdays, or celebrating all of them, even if you have cake once a month for that group of people. Fund it from the general budget or ask everyone to chip in every time.
Seriously, if you're the boss and your birthday is the only one that's celebrated in your office, you have a few things to learn about being a boss. Go do it. Morale depends on it.
Copyright 2009 Stapler Tales