Office birthdays are the one thing that no one really cares about until it’s their birthday.
Like, honestly, I don’t care that Carol down the hall is turning another year older. You know why? Cause Carol has been doing the same things year in and year out since she crossed the 30-year mark (excuse me, the 29 year mark for the second time). What’s there to celebrate if there aren’t any changes?
Now if Carol and I were friends, say, and we enjoyed some of the same hobbies, then we’d probably be fine; I’d probably celebrate Carol’s birthday on my own time so the fact that I can spend time at work celebrating instead of off-the-clock makes the deal even sweeter. Unfortunately, my hobbies in my personal time don’t include shopping for high-end catfood or talking about how my daughter did at the swim meet a few weeks ago (HONESTLY, Carol. ENOUGH).
Here’s the kicker: not celebrating everyone else’s birthday is fine and dandy until it comes to MY birthday. Then the rules absolutely change and I will lose my mind if someone forgets it.
Should I not care if other people remember my birthday? Probably. Does that change how I definitively feel about my birthday? Absolutely not. Will it take sustained mental effort to move past this minute oversight by my coworkers who have much better things to worry about than my life? Sure.
Will that change anything? No.
And does everyone else play by these same rules? Absolutely.
So just shut up, smile when the birthday card comes around to sign, and pay your dues so that people will pretend to care about your birthday when it rolls around (aka know how to play the game well or don’t bother to play at all).