Is this overkill in celebrating office birthdays?

Currently my department celebrates the birthdays for the month with a company sponsored cake at the end of each month in the common area. It is a great system.

My team within our department however, feels the need to have our own celebration for each of our team members on top of the monthly cake. For each person (there are 14) we are expected to chip in for cake and a card. Someone has to collect and go buy the treats and then we all stand around awkwardly in a conference room eating it. I'm the newest manager on this team and raised it to my manager that this was overkill and the other teams within the dept do not do this. I was told that "the team likes it". However, the team does nothing to coordinate it unless they are told to do so by myself or the other team leader.

I really cannot stand this ridiculous double celebrating. Do you think it's overkill as well?

7 Answers

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  • 3 weeks ago
    Favorite Answer

    Anything celebrating birthdays in an office is overkill.

  • 3 weeks ago

    Yes I do especially being expected to chip in. That should be voluntary and discreet (i.e. no one knows who contributes or how much).

  • Jerry
    Lv 6
    3 weeks ago

    I'm with you. A brief monthly "ice cream social" type gathering for the entire staff is good team building. But a second "just our department" social is too much of a good things. As manager you can disallow used of company time for these personal parties. That is, people are free to arrange and enjoy celebrations during their breaks, but when they're not on break than they're supposed to be working, not party planning, not partying. 

    If people are insisting on further explanation tell them that you consider using company time for this kind of personal activity to be stealing and your conscious won't let you condone or encourage it. 

  • 3 weeks ago

    Yes, it is overkill and wastes time and resources.  That noted, the questions the need to be asked are:

    1.  Will the new manager take on the responsibility of budgeting for and purchasing 12-14 cakes per year so that this practice is not longer left to employees or will one employee take this on and leave the others alone?

    2.  WHY does the team like this.  Is it because they are addicted to cake, they love any excuse to avoid work, they are all huge birthday celebration fans, they love socializing together, or what?  If you can get to the reason, you may be able to find an alternative such as a team lunch at a local restaurant or meeting at a bar after work that would allow for celebrating and socializing without the need for a cake and card.   

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  • Pearl
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    sounds like it is

  • ted
    Lv 5
    3 weeks ago

    That your team chooses to have another birthday celebration is too much.  

  • Elaine
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    Personally I think having an extra birthday celebration is overkill.  One way to solve this problem is to make a general announcement that starting .... pick a month or two from now..... that you feel that by having the manager plan the celebrations is depriving other team members of the pleasure.  You also state that you will help the volunteers but you won't do the actual planning and organising yourself.   You need to use  diplomatic language here.  It is quite possible that the other team members feel the same way you do but are afraid to say so. If you are quite tactful in your approach to the team you may very well find that this extra celebration dies a natural death. 

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